• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Ribadu, Gundiri and Marwa’s return will boost APC chances in 2019 – Bodes

Usman Sali Bodes, a retired commodore, in this interview with ZEBULON AGOMUO, explained why, according to him, the return of Nuhu Rubadu and others to the All Progressives Congress (APC) has become very controversial and necessary. He also spoke on his own ambition for 2019. Excerpts:
You were first in PDP, then jumped to SDP and then now in the APC. What informed such moves?
When I joined politics, I joined the PDP, and I worked for the party until some of us became uncomfortable with what was going on there and we decided to leave. Before I went to the SDP, I had actually participated in drawing the campaign strategy for Ribadu. We were so close that even today; he can rely on me to deliver Mubi North, Mubi South and Maiha Local Government Areas, where I have a very stronghold. Some of us left the PDP because of some high-handedness and impunity that did not go down well with us. We are still in talking terms with him. He is coming back to the APC. But to tell you his mindset now, whether he is coming to contest for the Presidency in 2019 or governorship is very difficult. I can’t say so.
Don’t you think that his coming back against the wish of some powerful elements in the party could work against the party in the state in 2019?
Ribadu has established himself as somebody of high integrity, dogged, courageous leader and well respected here in the far North, and also not just in Nigeria, but internationally. And that is why some people, especially the governor may be afraid. I will not be surprised because presently, I don’t think one can say people of Adamawa are very happy and comfortable with the policies or policy thrust of the present administration in the state. People are suffering; people are complaining. Civil servants are not being paid their salaries. Quite frankly, the governor is doing very well in infrastructure. With Ribadu coming back to the APC, the governor may see him as a big threat to his second term ambition. Quite a number of the elite in Adamawa are not so much happy with him because of his rich academic background. More enlightened people like Ribadu and Gundiri are being seen as a possible threat. The political situation in the country now requires more and more people like Ribadu who are very enlightened. It is no longer business as usual. It is not everybody now you can buy with money. Yes, money is still a huge influence, but people can still take your money, yet they will not vote for you. Well, for Ribadu, perhaps, he may even think of going for the Presidency, because he has tried it before. Internationally, he is recognised and he can get their support.
Don’t you think that his return and the level of acrimony it breeds in the APC may boost PDP chances in the forth coming council poll in Adamawa?
Well, if the party hierarchy in the state should handle the situation well, I think we will have no problem. But if otherwise, it may prove very dangerous. Why I am saying so is that I cannot be very sure of APC having the upper hand in the forthcoming local government elections in the state because people are not happy with the APC government in the state. The PDP is coming up very strongly and with the rating of the governor in the state at the moment, if nothing is done urgently, the opposition may even win more number of councils. The electorate appears to be having sympathy for the PDP in Adamawa because of the level of poverty right now in the state. But the good thing is that with Ribadu, Gundiri, Marwa, etc, coming back to the APC, the story will change. They will be able to make a difference. But a lot of work needs to be done.
But some people are saying that Atiku may be resisting Ribadu’s return because of his own alleged presidential ambition?
Well, I don’t know about that, but what I can tell you is that some people are just feeling threatened by Ribadu’s return to the APC because they know that he has an intimidating exposure and he is also well respected all over the world. He has made a name for himself. His work has carved a niche for him. So, people have every reason to be jittery. I must tell you that people are expecting that the coming together of Ribadu, Marwa and Gundiri will strengthen the party in the state. Come August 6, 2016, they shall be formally received by the leadership of the APC in the state. It would have been on July 30th, but it has to be shifted because of the LGA elections. You know when I moved back to the APC from SDP, I told Ribadu that we were an advance party and that we were going to prepare a place for him, and I am happy it has come to past.
Your fliers are pasted on your facebook wall, marked ‘Bodes 2019 Project’. Are you nursing any political ambition this time around?
Yes. I still have my ambition, depending on whether my people would want me to go for the House of Representatives or the Senate in 2019. I would want us to work as a team, I mean, the APC family. As I said earlier, I have since gone back to the APC. I have interacted with Ribadu and Gundiri, and I know that they have not forgotten. I would also crave their support when the time comes.