All Progressives Congress (APC) spokesman, Mr. Bolaji Abdulahi, took time out Thursday to discuss the political situation in the country, the 2018 Budget estimates presented to the National Assembly by President Buhari, the coming Anambra election election with journalists. Below are excerpts:
2018 Budget Estimates
We are very delighted that the budget was presented and as we can see there is a renewed commitment to invest in economically productive sectors in the coming year. I have read a couple of analysis on the budget and noticed that yes, there are different options but we as a party are happy with the budget presented and the promise by the National Assembly to give the budget speedy assessment.
We are very happy also that they have promised speedy review of the budget and the passage as soon as possible. What excites us most was that the kind of rancour and acrimony that attended the previous budget given the relationship between the Legislature and the Executive is not going to happen again.
The relationship has been mended. We are now confident as a party that the two arms of government will work smoothly and closely going forward. We are happy that we are going to start the next year in a more harmonious and coordinated manner.
The on-coming Anambra election
On the issue of Anambra governorship election, whenever we go into primaries as in the case of Anambra where we have 12 aspirants, there will one level of acrimony or the other no matter the effort you make. But what we have done was to get everybody to rally round the candidate.
Yes, there will be residual issues but I can tell you that all of us are working together and have all lined up behind our candidate, Dr Tony Nwoye, to ensure that we win the election in Anambra. The issue of people not working together does not arise including the Minister of Labour who is the leader of the party in the state.
All of us are working together and we have the National Campaign Chairman in the person of Bauchi state governor. Up till yesterday, we were still meeting to strategize and of course you know that the President will be visiting the grand finale of the campaign.
So, all of us are working to ensure victory because Anambra is very important to the party and we understand the significance of the Anambra election. So, we are pulling everything together and everybody is working together to ensure success in Anambra.
The accusation of an alleged plan by APC to rig the Anambra election with soldiers and the police
We believe strongly that the speculation of APC deploying soldiers to rig Anambra election is just a mere rumour because there is no evidence to that and if anybody tells you that the party is planning to deploy Civil Defence, police, soldiers or whatever to do anything in Anambra, tell the person to provide the evidence.
We are planning to win the election election fair and square and if you are following the campaign going on, you will know the impact that our candidate is making. The incumbent will naturally be jittery and when a candidate is jittery the first thing he will do is to turn around and accuse the ruling party of planning to rig or whatever.
We are not going to rig the election. We have won elections since we came to power as a national party and as a ruling party. We have equally lost elections. We lost the election in Osun and if we have soldiers and police and whatever to mobilize why didn’t we do it? We have lost a couple of House of Representatives elections and couple of Senate elections.
So, the speculation that we are planning to rig the election does not hold water. Unless they have credible evidence that this is what we are planning to do but to make this kind of allegation is not what we should dwell on too much.
Allegations that APC is planning to hound 50 PDP members to jail
It is good that the press briefing is ending on a very hilarious note because I don’t know who is making that allegation and it would have been better that the person roll out the names on the list of persons to arrest.
It is a time-worn strategy (to) pre-empt. Some couple of former governors are invited by the EFCC for questioning on their financial conduct during their tenure in office. One way to preempt that is to claim that there is a threat to muscle the opposition.
Have said that as political parties, we don’t arrest and if anybody has issues with the power to arrest, the person should go and deal with it instead of politicizing it. We are concerned with the art of winning elections as a party not arresting anybody.