Lawal M. Liman is the current State party Chairman of the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) in Zamfara. In this interview with Anas Sani Anka of Thunder Blowers Online News Medium, he shared his opinions on wide range of issues bordering on prospects and challenges faced by the party in Zamfara, effort to reconcile with all agrieved members of the party, and the strategies the party is putting in place to bounce back in Zamfara in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
APC Zamfara, what has been the journey so far since you lost to the Supreme Court Verdict?
It has been well Alhamdulilah, we have been on and very active in terms of supporting our party and uniting our members more than ever before. In politics you make mistakes to learn lesson and what happened at the Supreme Court only ginger us the more.
Like you know, we went to the general elections and win all the positions from gubernatorial to national and state assembly seats but what happened has happened and we give glory to God almighty for his righteous decision on us.
As a party we have not been quite, a lot of things have been happening since after the Supreme Court judgment and even from our regular local government and zonal meetings you will believe with me that consultation has been on and our party members have been very responsive to the development of the party.
Our party leader Abdul’azeez Yari is also very active in supporting all our activities and this patriotism by all in the party is what keep us more united as party members who believed in the APC project and things are going on well.
What are the strategies employed by the party APC to retain its members, there have been scores of defections by members of your party, what would you attribute this development to and how are you handling it?
The strategies are not different from those you know. Our movement since inception in 2011 is “our religion our people” and we believe losing our mandate to the Supreme Court verdict does not change anything in Zamfara APC.
The party and the movement is the most popular among the people of Zamfara State and I believed people of Zamfara have seen the difference between the APC and other parties.
As for those defecting to the ruling PDP, I believed as a journalist you know from where they came and joined us and it should not surprise you if they left APC and returns back to their old cycle.
The real APC members who shares our philosophy and ideologies are still with us and are working together with us to continue to rebuild the party and makes it stronger.
But for those who left the PDP in 2011 because the government under Mamadu Shinkafi was defeated by our party they are now defecting back to their former party the PDP you should simply understand their logic which is to continue to enjoy the luxury of power and secure appointments.
For us they are not politicians but “political commercialists” who believe politics is all about making money to survive.
So APC Zamfara is not worried and APC Zamfara is not alarmed with their political movement back to their old house, that is where they came from, that is where they belong and let it be. For sure our real members are still with us, working with us and I am sure they will make us proud when the time comes.
To add it all, Zamfara people are with the APC and they believed in the APC project and I am sure you can see for yourself how the party is gathering momentum and winning support from majority of Zamfara citizens and like I said we give glory to God almighty for what is happening to us.
The party has been holding Zonal and local government meetings from time to time what are the aims/rationales behind it?.
The aim of the meeting is to help us sustain our unity as members of the APC and also meet to discuss issues bordering the party and its members.
Like I mentioned earlier, our movement is all about our religion and our people. People are at the center stage of our vision losing our mandate does not mean the end to political meetings.
Alhamdulillahi the outcome of our meetings is giving us a very useful feedback that help us in strategizing and I think so far all our members are fully convinced that even though we don’t have the control of the government but at least the party is active and will continue to remain active because an avenue is left for members to be meeting and reporting issues that will lead to the progress of the party.
Like I told you, the party in power in Zamfara did not win election but the judicial decision of the Supreme Court transferred our mandate to the party and we take that in good faith and we believe four years is not long we shall probe our capacity again as a party.
The party has also being supporting its members with various welfare packages especially during fasting and sallah periods, is this part of the strategies to retaining your party members and what are you doing to bring new people in to the party?.
Since when we were in government precisely in 2011, we have made it to be a tradition during serious festivities like sallah and during the period of Ramadan we provide support to our members and indeed the entire people of Zamfara state.
Don’t forget less than a month after we came to power in 2011 we have sold a bag of fertilizer to Zamfara farmers at the subsidized cost of N1,000 this is first of its kind in the history of Zamfara state.
Again, throughout our eight years in government, every year we provided adequate food stuffs for distribution to both the party members and indeed the people of Zamfara state during Ramadan and Sallah festive period.
We also strengthen Zakkata Board to be able to provide clothing materials and food stuffs to the needy and less privilege.
I think the last time before we left the government we were able to provide food, clothes and money to over 40,000 needy and less privilege ones.
So now that we are not in government we felt we have to sustain this gesture we have initiated so that we can continue to better the lives of others.
This is the more reasons why at the beginning of this year’s Ramadan and considering the effect of the Covid-19 lockdown we have shared over 50, 000 bags of assorted food stuffs to both the APC members and indeed the entire people of the state and also provided thousands of textile materials to the needy and less privileged ones to enable the celebrate Sallah with relative happiness.
You are also a witness to the number of cattle we have distributed to all the 147 poling wards in the state for our members to be able to celebrate their sallah happily.
We have many packages and sorts of interventions for the common masses of Zamfara State and if not because of this Covid-19 lockdown we will have make our initiatives open to the public.
We have done a lot, we are doing more and more lives would be touched by the APC as we continue with the journey toward 2023.
What effort are you doing to reconcile with aggrieved APC members?
We are doing a lot and I am sure you can testify to that because some of the aggrieved members of the APC are already re-uniting with us and I am sure with the ongoing consultation APC Zamfara will emerged as one and all the gray areas that disunited us would be addressed.
Disagreement is natural in politics but at least unity is the basis of sustainable survival. Our reconciliation effort is working very actively and the result is already visible and we hope the remaining aggrieved party members would see reason in joining us.
Like I said disagreement is natural in politics but you must have a sense of direction by belonging to a single political party. All those APC members working in alliance with the PDP government in Zamfara must see reason to quit and come back to rebuild the party if truly we mean APC at heart.
How will the defection of Eng. Ibrahim Shehu and Aminu Sani Jaji add more strength to the future of Zamfara APC?
You see reality always manifest with the time, they are our own and it is not surprising they are back and this should go a long way in telling your how strong APC Zamfara is.
Like I said, we are the most popular party in the state and we always have the majority and the Supreme Court verdict which transfer our mandate to the PDP has not changed that status at all.
Like I told you, our reconciliation effort is on and we are fully engaging all the aggrieved members of the party and by the special wills of Allah they shall all come back home and reunite with us to strengthen the party.
We shall do our best to save Zamfara people and I am optimistic that, APC will bounce back in Zamfara in the next election.
Now that we are in Sallah festive mood what do you have to tell your party supporters?
My call to our party supporters is always one. Let us continue to be law abiding and respect the rule of law in our action and in-actions.
We have seen the bad and urgly in Zamfara as members of the opposition but that should not deter us from doing what we feel is the right thing to do.
Our members have been facing constant harassment and intimidation and we have been lodging formal complaints to the Nigerian Police Force but in their own wisdom they did not see reason in doing justice to us and we are not bothered.
We have written numerous petitions and complaints to the Police Command in the State but nothing is done and we don’t know why the Nigerian Police has to treat us this way but like I said the world is watching and the history of what we have done to others will be binding on us one day.
We are greatful to our party leader former Governor Abdulazeez Yari Abubakar for his giant effort in building the party in the state. As a party, we are greatful to him for his tireless support in providing all our needs as party. He has been doing great work to us and we have always appreciate him and we will remain loyal to him at all time