Posted: July 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Prof. Daniel Saror a two time Senator and former Minority leader in
the 5th National Assembly in this interview with ATI TERKULA, bares
his mind on a lot of issues including the nation wide failure of his
party ANPP and the fate of the opposition in the nation.
Question: Sir as an arrow head of the ANPP nationwide can you asses
the performance of your party nationwide?
Answer: Disastrous, let me use one word, a disastrous experience. The
ANPP went into election not expecting the kind of result we got from
the presidential, to the national assembly, to the state and other
elections but you can se that the party seems to have collapsed. It
collapsed on the wave of public expectation of change. people were
generally tired of the PDP across the board and they wanted change,
for us in the north the arrow head for change was Gen. Buhari, so the
course for change in the north was anchored around Buhari in the South
West the crave for change was anchored around ACN and I think these
are the two forces that came to play in 2011 and you can see that in
the National Assembly results. for the first time in Nigeria’s you can
see several parties represented in the national assembly in the senate
and house of representatives, ACN, ANPP, APGA and all others so that’s
what happened nationally. Here at home, it was the same thing , Benue
people in my estimation were tried of the PDP government, they wanted
change and thechange in the case of Benue was being orchestrated
mainly the ACN, the ACN came in very strong talking about change that
was the battle cry and I who stood election on the platform of the ACN
on a weak financial base with very little mobilization from the
grassroots, for those who stood elections.So in Benue even in the
ANPP, they migrated to CAN even close supporters migrated to CAN, on
the day of elections I looked and did not see them, but I knew before
time that they were going to go because, they were all craving for
change believing that if they go to ACN they will get the change that
the want and will move on from there. So it was like I was literally
abandoned on the eve of elections but that is how worked in Benue
Question: Sir in you mentioned afferents parties making up the
national assembly, what does it portend for our democracy?
Answer: I think it is very good, for the first time remember before
2011 PDP had more than two third majority in both house, they could do
and undo, now they have to lack to other parties to get what they
want, they can not dictate the tune and the tone of what happened, so
that is good. Even Benue the last time all the 29 state assembly
members at the end of the day only one remained in the ANPP and all
the 23 local government were ruled by one party .Very unnatural, but
that is what they did.
Question: before the polls the opposition’s chances seemed very bright
there were talks of alliance among the apposition with machinery set
in place to enable the alliance but it reached a deadlock. What do you
think was responsible for this and the subsequent victory of the PDP?
Answer: The efforts to form a formidable opposition started way back
in 2009 in the north by October 2009 there was a coming daughter of
Buhari, Atiku Abubakar and Bafarawa they formed an organization called
the National Democratic Movement and the idea was to ensure that the
northern opposition presented one formidable candidate, I served on
that committee, we came close to reaching that kind of accord. By
January 2010 we had talked to Gen Buhari, Atiku Abubaka, and Bafarawa
and told them to sign a memorandum of understanding that if anyone of
them succeeded as a candidate, they will all back the other who had
won. By March 2010 Buhari said he was leaving ANPP because he was in a
discussion with other people who have platforms that were reliable,
Atiku had a platform Bafarawa had a platform, he didn’t have a
platform because he didn’t trust the ANPP and by April last year he
declared for CPC which had been formed on the 26th December 2009 by my
friend senator Rufai Hanga of Kano state. So he joined that CPC around
April last year and that Weakened ANPP, no question about it and
especially that there was no cohesion among the ANPP that was left.
Ahmodu Sheriff of Borno was just ANPP by name, he was contributing
nothing to the stability and growth of that party, the Governor of
Yobe who was relatively a new person because he took over from late
Mamman Bello Ali, so he was the second one, the 3rd was Shekarau,
there people did not support Shekarau when he launched his campaign in
August last year, they were not there when he did his campaign
launching they were not there, when he flagged off his campaign
nationwide they were not there. so you can see that the ANPP was
weakened internally, there was not much cohesion amongst them, couple
with the popularity of general Buhari and the battle any for change
that swaged a lot of people in the north particularly the Talakawa (if
I can use that word) to Buhari, so Buhari was now the agent of change
on far as they were concerned do you see what I am talking so there
are the issued that affected the party, I think it will be difficult
to now say we have a formidable opposition group that is northern
based because as you can see Buhari made initial gains but at the end
of the day he ended up with one state that his party controls and that
is dangerous. ANPP didn’t gain and didn’t loose but they just kept the
3 states but they lost Kano, so between them it is only CPC 1, ANPP 3
states, 4 out of 19 it is not a good number so I don’t know where the
opposition will go I don’t think they will go for ACN because there
is no natural chemistry between them, the efforts to merge the 2 kept
on failing I know that ANPP was in talks with ACN and CPC, it never
worked because of individual differences and I don’t think it will
work in the near future because their political goals are not the
Question: in the state here, the talks had also reached a high point,
you all had come together and talked amongst yourself, what went
Answer: In the state, there was a committee that was attempting to
galvanize the opposition in the state and they were doing
consultation. They met with me in my campaign office, labour party was
there other parties were there, we had a meeting at the HAF Haven
Hotel, we met there all the parties were there except the PDP, but you
see it our place rumour will is too high. when we finished that
meeting and we came out the rumour was that we had withdrawn for the
ACN candidate but there was no such agreement as that, we were to hold
a follow up meeting but in could not hold again because everyone was
disenchanted, so everybody went its way, the ANPP stood alone, ACN
stood alone, APGA and labour party all stood alone, there was no
concerted effort but to be candid at that moment, the rallying point
was the broom, or ACN so people were just there for change, they
wanted change at all cost, whatever will take Gabriel out of
government they wanted it, that was the general situation in the
state and they in the end the PDP still did their mago mago and you
got the result that you got.
Question: Sir you have a petition filed Gov. Suswam at the tribunal
what are your prayers?
Answer: They are simple, the constitution says that if you present a
forged document to INEC, the constitution of Nigeria says you are
automatically disqualified from the election, secondly the election
act stipulates the procedure for nomination within a party and if you
did not follow the procedure within your party another party can
complain about you have already seen it in the ACN where they have
contested election of some condition that they did not conduct a
proper primaries, Orker Jev and others, so we are saying the PDP
primaries were not done in accordance with the provisions of the
electoral and therefore is rule and void. if you have to do primaries
within a party, you still have a duty to do it within the confines of
the law, not that you go and bracingly carry the thing the way you
live . So the same thing that ACN is suffering from because they came
late and pushed people aside, they are now in court among themselves,
we are contesting that the PDP primaries were not done according to
law. Just two things. The issues of certificate, I don’t know why the
governor is allowing the issue to drag on for so long because this
matter has been with him and nobody took him to court because of that
initially, he filled a suit against Terver Kakih and Terver Kakih did
not challenge him, he went and said well, this man you are not
qualified to contest election, if he had allowed that case to be
heard, since last year the matter would not have arisen, but the have
kept on using the judiciary, kept on delaying the issue up till now
the matter is still in court it was to be held in Abuja last week on
the 8th it couldn’t happen. you see when Jack Gyado claimed that I was
dismissed from ABU during the CNC elections I showed evidence that I
was never dismissed, when Gov, Suswam said I was sacked from ABU I
presented my certificate and said look gentlemen here in my
certificate of retirement, here in the certificate I got from the
university and the gentlemen in here telling you that I was sacked, so
who sacked who? So if we say he has no certificate that is genuine it
is a simple matter, let him bring his certificate and let me look
stupid, it why is he dragging has feet over a price of paper? If I say
you don’t have certificate, I have, see it, Gbam! And I am finished so
why is he not willing to bring out the paper. when the republicans
were harassing Obama that he didn’t have a certificate of birth, that
he wasn’t a bona fide American, he said, look here is in and he
brought them up, the other guy had to even withdraw from the race
because we has the architect of that thing. If Gabriel had a true
certificate let him come out and show Benue people, matter closed. Why
is he wasting so much time and energy frustrating everybody so there
are 2 prayers. I did not say I won election but I said he is not
qualified to stand election because of constitutional violation,
violation of the electoral Act, those two issues those are my prayers.
He just needs to answer them they are simple. They are in the public
domain; they are not something you can hide under anything, that’s it.
Question: Initially Paul Unongo who was of your party but jumped ship
to PDP in 2006 has been under fire for his comments and actions which
have been considered a double standard by his party. As a former ally
of yours in the ANPP, what is your opinion of this development?
Answer: (laughs) Quite honestly I would not want to talk about Paul
Unongo, he was a leader in the ANPP after 2006 he left the ANPP,
accused me of trying to hijack the party and I had travelled to
Canada, when I was reading on the internet the things that happened at
home by the time I came back he had left the party and since them I
have not had any serious political discussion with him because I
suffered with Paul Unongo during the in Kwande. The positions he made
about the PDP, about Akume, about Gabriel were damaging, so bad that I
never imagined Paul Unongo will go back and embrace and work with
these people become the lord of the party. if you read, I mean you are
a young man, if you read what he wrote and signed himself and
deposited with the Anishilowo committee, you will be shocked. So I do
not wish to go into any exchange of comments, but he is politically
not stable, so know that he decamped to ACN because when she was in
place called me that night that they did the declaration that oh! Your
man has changed again oh! I said what? she said Paul has declared for
the ACN demanding everybody to vote for ACN . He helped to rig the
elections for ACN his area. I know that because I have a candidate who
stood for elections from that area and all he got was 4 votes now you
know that is not normal you stand election in your own place and all
you have total is 4 votes, something is. So that is what he did. So
that is good for the goose has to be good for the gander, he has to
reap what he has sound. Even Akume is getting exactly his medicine, he
is a man who has publicly acknowledged that he took elections from
late Mahmud Akiga and gave to Gabriel in 2003 something we all know.
He admitted that he took elections from me and gave Gabriel Suswam,
well I have evidence the INEC results and the one they wrote with
hands and I have copies now, somebody who could not conduct election,
who could not allow election in Kwande in 2004, who could not allow
election in Benue in 2009 as governor he is asking for justice what
justice in he asking for? He could not under his watch conduct a
credible election and when the people of Kwande said they wanted to
have their own, he bullied them, killed them and did everything in
Kwande what is he asking for now? What justice is he asking for? He
who comes with justice must come with clean hands. So it is joke, the
people who are telling you Akume is now the Messiah you need to
examine their heads because a leopard can not change colours
overnight. This is somebody who ruled this state for 8 year, he in not
a democrat, he never allowed elections anytime that he was in office,
not once, not even ordinary primaries he wouldn’t allow it and how he
wants elections to be done credibly, something he could not give the
people. So I am watching their petition very carefully and closely, he
is just playing to the gallery as far as concerned, he does not want
any true elections, he would never give you a free and fair election
if he were in power he has shown it, I have given you examples. So
there is where we are, Benue is in a mess, I don’t know whether we can
clean this mess ourselves or we need someone from outside to clean it
for us because the leadership that tends to emerge from ACN , then
forget if it emerges from Akume. Akume is not just the leader for us
regardless of what anybody tells you because of his antecedents and
they are bad.
Question: finally where do we see Prof. Sarror in the next 10 years
after retirement from active politics?
Answer: I have almost practically retired from active politics, I am
definitely not contesting for election in 2005. I will remain the
leader of ANPP in Benue State until such time that I either leave the
party or I formally just withdraw to do something else. But I am not
going to just abandon the party just like that for the time being.
This is particularly important now because I noticed that, a day
before election 90% of my supporters went to ACN of them went to ACN.
when we contested election in 2007, the correct result we had was over
900,000 votes although Akume and INEC trued around and gave us 216,000
this time it was less than 10,000 I think it was not a true reflection
of what happened but there was substantial decline in our support base
be can people were expecting change and they did not see us in the
position to deliver that change, so they moved to ACN and I don’t them
but having moved and left me with a party that is almost comatose, I
don’t think it will be right for me to take to my and our away so I
will remain and hold the bit I can till somebody emerges to take over
from me then I can go into retirement meanwhile, I have decided to
take my time and write my memoirs and I am still teaching part-time at
University of Agriculture Makurdi.

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