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INTERVIEW: Kwankwaso joined NNPP with hidden agenda, will face prosecution – Factional Acting Chair, Agbo Major

Dr Agbo Major, the factional Acting National Chairman of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, in this interview with Ihuoma Chiedozie, gives an update on the crisis in the political party. He insists that the party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and his supporters, the Kwankwasiyya, are no longer members of the party. He also spoke on the state of the nation ahead of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Anniversary.

The Kwankwaso group announced plans to redesign the logo of the NNPP. What is your position on that?

It is good you are calling them Kwankwaso group. NNPP is different from Kwankwasiyya. So Kwankwasiyya cannot come and tamper with NNPP’s logo. And we don’t want to take laws into our hands like they do. Their job is to take laws into their hands. You can see what the judges recently said about them and their attitude towards issues.

But we are not joining issues with them, they only came into the party for the purpose of the 2023 general elections. They have shown the type of people they are and we have terminated the MOU, they have gone so that is it. They don’t have any right to adjust any logo, more so as the matter has been reported to the appropriate agencies. INEC has been informed that any attempt to tamper with the logo is not acceptable to the original NNPP members. That is number one. There are several matters across several courts and their counsels have been advised by judges to let them know that they cannot tamper with that logo or the Constitution of the party, for now.

The Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal nullified the election of Governor Abba Yusuf, who is a protégé of Kwankwaso. Considering the issues in the party, what is your position on the Kano tribunal’s judgement?

What has happened in Kano is beyond Kwankwaso as a person. You don’t throw away the baby with the bath water. Everybody knows NNPP produced a governor on its platform in Kano. So whether he is Kwankwaso’s protégé, whether he is Kwankwaso’s son, whether he is Kwankwaso’s anything, that’s not the issue now. We have a common enemy to confront and the common enemy are the judges who delivered that very unacceptable judgement. But it is not within our capacity to question that judgement.

All we can say is that they overstepped their bounds by showing how openly angry they are with the Kwankwasiyya group and we feel that is unbecoming of people of the temple. That’s our worry but whatever they claim could be their reason for annulling that result and returning the APC candidate for now is not acceptable to us because of the overt anger they have displayed against the Kwankwasiyya group.

And like I said, and I will continue to emphasize, you cannot visit the sin of the Kwankwasiyya group on NNPP. The Kwankwasiyya group is just a mere pressure group that came into the party for the purpose of the election. Whether Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf is Kwankwaso’s son or whatever, that is not the issue. The issue like I said is that the party is not satisfied with the judgement that has been delivered. We have already served the appeal court with a notice that we intend to appeal against the judgement and our lawyers are working. Within the shortest possible time, Nigerians will be told what the party is going to do next. But in the interim, I can tell you that the judgement is not acceptable to us and we have served the appropriate quarters with a notice of appeal.

You recently announced that the NNPP is probing Kwankwaso over alleged mismanagement of over N1 billion raised from sale of forms during the election. What is the update on that probe?

You are aware that as a fallout of that instruction, Kwankwaso was invited by the committee that was set up to interface with him and further demand as to what happened to our campaign funds. He didn’t show up and that was what led to his expulsion from the party. And the matter has been reported to the appropriate security agencies, now that he is no longer a member of the party. The accounts of the party are presently being censored, the appropriate agencies are looking at it with a view to finding out what happened to the public funds that were deposited there. Because the party’s accounts are public accounts, those who administer it must be held accountable for whatever happened to that account, including Kwankwaso himself.

For now, he is no longer a member of our party, so the appropriate thing to do is to report him to the security agencies and that has been done. So the accounts of the party are being checked, they are being scrutinized now. The next line of action is for the security agencies to determine and once they determine and let us know, we will also let the general public know.

From all indications, there is no likelihood of reconciliation between your faction of the NNPP and the Kwankwasiyya group.

We have told you repeatedly and we are still telling you – these people are deceitful. They came to us with a very deceitful mind, with a hidden agenda. Of course you and I are not God, you wouldn’t know what is in somebody’s mind the first time he or she is appearing before you to ask for one thing or the other. And as humans, we were open, we tried to do our best, believing that as a political party we should be open to all Nigerians. We tried to build a relationship but from the blast of the whistle, after the MOU was signed – the MOU that has eventually been cancelled – after it was signed, they now started showing the real picture of who they are – the deceitful attitude that sent them out of APC, out of PDP, and so on and so forth.

But then, the MOU had been signed, that is number one. Number two, the elections were close and we didn’t want upheavals within the party. Now the elections are over and the time to straighten the activities of the party is now and that is why they are being weeded out. Their leader has been sent out of the party so we expect that, all things being equal, he should also be able to move out with his people. Remember that when all these crises started, we told you that we had our windows open for discussions. After the MOU was cancelled we said okay, there is no problem, we are starting all over again. We can start talking again with an aim to build a relationship that is different from the one that was declared bad, having failed to adhere to the tenets of the MOU that was reached. We told you we had a window open for fresh discussions, and a fresh relationship but as it stands now, these people have continued to show that nobody can relate with them and that’s the reason they were shown the way out of APC and PDP.

Before they came to us, they went to the People’s Redemption Party, they also went to the Accord Party. These are people who knew them very well. We, we didn’t know. We believed that they are gentlemen that anybody could relate with. Eventually this is what it has turned out to be. Imagine people who joined a party that is already 22 years old just last year, going on the pages of newspapers and the screens of televisions to deceive Nigerians by saying that they are founding members of the party?

Imagine people who just joined us yesterday, in March, saying they are co-founders when they know that only one person founded this party before millions of Nigerians joined? Today they are putting calls across to other members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, that is the founding mother and father of NNPP to find out if they will make themselves available to be addressed as co-founders. It makes no sense. It shows how funny people think.

I think the window is closing fast. First it was wide open for discussions but the relationship continues to deteriorate everyday and the actions that have been taken so far have taken this whole thing beyond any chances of reconciliation. We need to quickly get this thing done, put it behind us and then move towards 2027 and the only way to get it done is to get these elements who have become problems to our hitherto very peaceful political party out of our way so we can move on.

But the national secretariat of the NNPP is in the possession of the Kwankwaso camp. Do you intend to reclaim it? How would you go about this?

I don’t know what you mean by that. The so called national secretariat of the party is Kwankwaso’s personal property. And from the first day that he gave that place, some of us objected to the use of somebody’s personal property as party secretariat. And some of us were never comfortable staying there. That was never the national secretariat of the party. The national secretariat of the party was located at Willand Plaza in Wuse Zone 4 and we are back there. That is where we are now. So whatever they are doing from Kwankwaso’s personal property in Area 11 is entirely their business because that so-called National Working Committee, NWC, under Kawu has since been disbanded by the Board of Trustees, BOT, who constitutionally have the right as a body to oversee the activities of all other organs of the party. So they are operating illegally. But the court would soon speak on it and the coast will be clear.

Nigeria will in a few days mark its Independence Anniversary. What is your take on the state of the nation?

What you are feeling is what every other Nigerian is feeling. We have suffered for so long under bad leaders. Our problem is not that we don’t have resources to make life comfortable for our people, our problem is who manages the resources. Government is all about managing resources effectively for the good of everybody.

So the missing link is that these resources are there, but who manages them becomes the problem. If you go around the world you will notice that these countries that are advanced, the United States of America and others, don’t have what we have. There is nothing that you don’t find in Nigeria. So we will continue to pray that one day God will intervene but I need to say at this point that, you know, in Africa, we disturb God too much. Even the challenges that we are supposed to deal with as individuals, we still continue to disturb God. Why will we disturb God when all we need is to do the right thing? We just passed through an election, nobody gave the APC any chance because we were already suffering very excruciating pains under the then Buhari-led Federal Government. But look at what happened. Today, they are back in power. Only God knows for how long they will stay and things have deteriorated since this new government came, you can see that our pains have increased. We are buying fuel for over N600, in some other places it is above N700. A liter of diesel is over N1000 now. Yet they expect the industries to work. So for this year’s independence anniversary, what I would request is that we should renew our hopes and see how we can all jointly pray for this country. In sixty something years, this is where we are, it is very unfortunate but all hopes are not lost.

The Independence Day celebration will be low-keyed, as has been the case in the past few years. Do you think the government should continue making the independence anniversary a low-key event?

In the first place have you asked yourself why they are saying low-keyed? It is because they know that the people who should celebrate – that is the ordinary people like you and I – do not even have what it takes to celebrate it. And they don’t want to be seen as living large on our resources whereas the people who generate the resources are not able to buy rice and pieces of meat for our children on Independence Day. What is the low-key aspect of the celebration? They know that people are angry with them, if not they won’t be saying that.