Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the new Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and a former Governor of Nasarawa state, has told Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi it was wrong for them to have criticised the same APC government they are part of.
He said it was wrong for one to take a knife and rip open his stomach.
In the aftermath of a recent attack on a Kaduna-bound train by terrorists, Amaechi had said the tragedy would have been averted if the government had procured N3 billion his ministry had proposed.
El-Rufai had threatened that North-West governors could opt for the services of foreign mercenaries if attacks continued in the country, an indictment on the Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, who heads the central government controlling the army, navy, air force, police and other security agencies.
Adamu spoke in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), monitored by Vanguard in Kaduna.
He said he would not take issues with the party chieftains but cautioned that “one should not use a knife to rip open his stomach”.
“I am a human being, I don’t know what was in their minds when they made their assertions, but I advise you to go and meet them,” he said.
Asked why he never took offence if people called him a wizard, he said he was not eating humans and such name-calling only amused him but he never felt angry.
The National Chairman of the APC, however, said they would work assiduously and round the clock to ensure victory for the ruling party come 2023.
He said, “This job is not a child’s play or joke. It’s a great burden that’s bestowed on us. Our prayer to Allah, and from all our good friends and well-wishers, is to wish us success…..First of all, we should find ways of uniting members of our party. We should be united, like a broom tied with one rope. Once that is done, our next move should be to confront the forthcoming election. We are the government, nothing will earn us praise unless we win the election.
“We should win, win again, this is the task ahead of us. By the will of Allah, we will do what we can to be successful.”
On how they will pacify those who were aggrieved by the outcome of the recently concluded convention of the APC, the APC Chairman said, “First and foremost, it should be known that Allah gives leadership and not man.
“Allah will not come down and give leadership, there must be a cause, your fellow human will be. Whoever believes in this would not be worried if he vied to be Chairman, Secretary, etc., but couldn’t be successful.
“But a human being has his limitations. Some would think they’ve invested their money, and their time in seeking these positions that were opened for the contest. But we have a responsibility to our party. It is our responsibility to meet these people, as much as we can to pacify them.
“We know they are respectable, we know they are men of integrity and as the President had mentioned, anyone amongst them could be Chairman. But there is no way 7, 8 people could become Chairman at the same time. So, we should do all we can to have a good understanding of these people.”
On the assertion that going along with him would not be smooth because people consider him to be rigid and hard to work with, the former governor said “no one should be worried simply because someone told him I’m difficult to relate with.”
He continued, “Well, I don’t even understand who is a person that it will be easy to relate with. I know of a person that is principled, with a clear mission that is on the path of Allah. No matter what; such a person will stick to the path of truth, will ensure only the right thing is being done and people would be happy about that.
“We know, human beings have their weakness. I’ve mine, but whoever knows me and he feels he has a way of confronting me, that’s left to him.
“But there is nothing to ponder about that I could be rigid. I have my opinion. But this is a party affair, not my property. It’s for the people so there is no way I can be dictatorial. If you come up with something contrary, I will say no right away. But if you’re able to explain and convince me, that will be okay.
“But if you try to force things on us, without cogent reasons, something that will not be good for us….or because you have a personal relationship with me, you come with something different and you want me to accept because I’m the leader, I will not agree with that.”
Replying to critics who have noted that at 70, he may not be able to withstand the rigours of party affairs, Adamu said, “You’ve reduced my age perhaps because you like me or you have aligned with them. Conventionally, I am 75 years old and going by the Islamic calendar, I am 77 plus. I’m proud of that and I thank Allah. My contemporaries, my primary and secondary schoolmates are no longer with us. Even University mates; some are longer with us. So, it’s a blessing from Allah and I thank Allah for that.”
He said people should understand that old age was like a living capital.
“Being a party chairman shouldn’t be likened to going to a boxing ring or engaging in a marathon race…I was chosen to give the party leadership; the party has its ideology; this ideology is not gotten from the boxing arena.
“But everything has its time. Where strength is required, we can ask the young ones to do that. This is not my first time; I’ve not started today. Some could be genuinely concerned if one could accomplish the task despite the age. But to some others is based on enmity, to ridicule. To me, ageing is not a thing of ridicule. To me, it’s something to be proud of.”
On the security challenges in Nigeria which might affect the chances of the APC during elections, he said, “Human beings want peace and must strive to find peace. This insecurity now, although our soldiers and other security agents are doing their very best…but has defied solution. Our parents told us that if a wound refuses to heal, it could be targeting life.
“Noise making will not lead us to surmount this security problem. Everyone knows Buhari. But there is a difference between military and civilian life. Once he strikes, there would be shouts of human rights, democracy, this and that. But in the military, he can do things without your consent.”