A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and former Senate Chief Whip, Prof Sola Adeyeye, speaks with OLADIMEJI RAMON and TUNDE AJAJA on Buhari’s seven years in office, the ongoing party primaries, the 2023 general elections and why he supports Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s candidacy
The All Progressives Congress has adjusted its timetable several times and it looks like the party may adopt the consensus option, do you think that’s a better route to take despite having about 28 presidential aspirants?
Honestly, I don’t know what is going on and I will not want to pre-empt the leaders of the party, who must find themselves right now in tough situations, trying to make sure that they avert a crisis. In the past, things like this led to the implosion of parties and in the end, everybody ended up losing. If you remember, the original Nigerian Peoples Party had Ibrahim Waziri as the chairman and he also wanted to be the presidential candidate, but other members of the party like Adeniran Ogunsanya, Areoye Oyebola, Nnamdi Azikiwe and others said no, it couldn’t be like that. The party then split into what became the NPP and the Great Nigeria People’s Party, because Waziri and others walked away (to form the GNPP). By the time the election was held, the GNPP came fifth among the political parties; the NPN came first, UPN came second and the NPP came third.
But in terms of geographical spread, the party had one-quarter in so many states. It outperformed Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s party, the Unity Party of Nigeria, when it came to geographical spread. What it showed was that if you had combined the votes of the NPP with the GNPP, they could have come first and they would have had the geographical spread, and all that drama would never have taken place, but for the implosion. Imagine if Zik (Nnamdi Azikiwe of the NPP) had been a presidential candidate and Waziri (of the GNPP) had been a vice-presidential candidate, and they were able to maintain the same votes, they would have won. These are the kind of things parties at this critical juncture must be trying to balance and it will not be wise for me to pre-empt them. I can only be praying for them that they will be fair to everybody and do the right thing.
On a number of occasions you have maintained that one of the frontline aspirants, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is not fit to be president mainly on account of his health, what in your opinion are the odds against his candidacy?
In Nigerian politics, anybody who speaks with absolute confidence is a fool. I said so because the truth is there is a lot of deceit in Nigerian politicking. Let me give you an example; the night before the Senate and the House of Representatives voted on the attempt by (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo to alter the 1999 Constitution to have a third term for himself, voting was first done in the Aso Villa. In fact, the present Chairman of the APC, who was the governor of Nasarawa State, was at the villa on that day. The then governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Mu’azu, a handsome young man then, was the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. They took the votes and they had 83 senators saying they would vote to support the alteration of the constitution.
The following day when Ken Nnamani (the then Senate President), called for a vote, only three senators voted in support of the third term. He then explained what the voting was about and asked that they vote again, one of the senators, who had previously supported it, changed his mind. In the end, only two senators out of 109 supported the alteration of the constitution. You see what happened in Kaduna when Tinubu went there. You saw the abracadabra that went on there. We all saw what happened when Amaechi, Fayemi and Osinbajo went there. Great things were said about all of them. What do I mean exactly? I believe some of these governors are playing games.