Nigeria : Against the backlog of the PDP crisis, Chairman of the party in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria, Mr. Hassan Hyat has said that litigation never bring harmony in any human crisis.
This, he said , was because the court always looking out for who was at fault to meet out punishment appropriately.
Mr. Hyat who was speaking with newsmen in Kaduna, said even the court recognised this hence it encouraged Alternative Dispute Resolution which was now taking centre stage , rather than waiting for the court to pass judgment.
The Kaduna State PDP Chairman said he welcome the suggestion of dialogue by former President Good luck Jonathan , though it came too late, ” it is better late than never “, he added.
Mr. Hyat said the party in the state was united and solidly behind Makarfi and that the member who recently claimed belonging to Sheriff faction was however exercising his personal opinion as he does not hold any office in the party heir achy in the state.
On the local government elections in the state, the PDP Chairman said the party demands for a level playing ground and nothing else.
” If elections are conducted in a free and fair atmosphere , a level playing ground provided and we lose , we shall accept defeat. But if they don’t and some declare us loser, we will not accept it”, he warned.
Read Full Details of the Interview;
We just read in the newspapers that in view of the crisis rocking your party, former President Goodluck Jonathan has advised Senators Ahmed Makarfi and Modu Sheriff to both step down as factional chair men so that the party could move forward. What is your view on that?
HYAT: Well, litigation in the court has never brought harmony in any human crisis because the court is always looking out for whom is at fault to meet out punishment appropriately. You will find out that the person who loses in the court will be feeling the pain of losing, he will feel aggrieved. Therefore, if you are talking of reconciliation, the courts have always encouraged reconciliation. The courts often encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Today, Alternative Dispute Resolution is taking centre-stage rather than waiting for the courts to pass judgements.
Remember that whenever there is a dispute between you and somebody and the courts decides on the matter, if the decision made is not in your favour, you will go back and tell your family members, relations and whoever is on your side and the person will take it up with the other side. Therefore, there will be a continuous enmity between the feuding parties, but if you are able to settle before the court passes judgement, you will shake hands anytime you meet with each other. You will be eager to meet with each other to do things together again. Therefore, the suggestion of the former president is a welcome development and to the best of my knowledge, both sides have accepted to work towards that settlement. I am sure the details will come later. It is a welcome development even it came late; it is better late than never.
We hear that the PDP in Kaduna State is divided. That some of you are for Makarfi while the others are for Sheriff. How truthful is that information?
HYAT: Let me correct that impression. One of our party members was on the air saying that he supports Senator Sheriff because of the Court of Appeal judgement. The issue is that the leaderships of the party from the Ward, Local Government and up to the State levels are united, that as long as an appeal has been made to the Supreme Court, we remain solidly behind Ahmed Makarfi. The person who made that statement did so in his personal right as an individual. He does not occupy any office in the hierarchy of the party in the state. Therefore, he cannot speak on behalf of the party. As an individual, he has the right to hold his views and we are not quarrelling with him because we cannot think the same. We are all individuals with differences. That is his perception and I don’t think there is a problem with that, but that does not mean that there is a division in the PDP in Kaduna State.
There is the perception in many quarters that despite being in power for 16 years, after the defeat that your party the PDP suffered in 2015, you have not been able to provide the needed strong opposition to the ruling party. You are considered as a weak opposition party.
HYAT: Yes, I have heard of that. We have to face reality, the victory of APC in 2015 was not a victory based on any reasoning as to lack of performance by the PDP. I can say without any fear of contradiction that it was a gang up. A gang up because the people in the north felt that it was their turn to rule and they were denied. The civil servants felt that PDP had been in government for 16 years and they had not had what they wanted. The media became completely one-sided. Anything about PDP was not welcome. There are some media organizations that some of you here are representing; we know what some of you here did. They did not even hide their hatred for the PDP. Now you can go and ask the same civil servants, the same press and the same northerners what they voted for, do they have it? They don’t have it! Let us be sincere to ourselves, for the first time in this country, we have a democratic set up that run for 16 hears uninterrupted. Even military regimes cannot boast of that. There were many coups attempts to unseat Babangida, to unseat the late Abacha. Within the military itself, they were not able to lead this country for this length of period. Two, for PDP to have accepted that it lost the elections even though there were so many lapses without going to court to challenge those lapses are enough indication that PDP was more interested in the unity of the country than being in government. This was well captured by former President Jonathan when he said that his political ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian and he went ahead to demonstrate that. Therefore, everybody is supposed to be praising PDP for that maturity of putting the country ahead of political interest.
I was reading a newspaper report where it was said that under Prof. Jega, 80 per cent of the election was fraud. Jega conducted that election; you know that we saw during the 2015 election how almajirai, here in Kaduna lined up to vote. We know they are all under-aged. It is not lie, it happened. Nobody challenged it. We kept quiet and allowed it to go. Lieutenant General TY Danjuma said he thanked former President Jonathan for accepting defeat in order for the country to remain united. Now I want to ask a question, you are aware that if Goodluck had not accepted defeat, there would have been problems. And that is already an act that has set up a very dangerous precedence. So if somebody tomorrow realizes that he will not win election, he begins to look for areas to cause problems, you will allow him to go free? This is so because we have already set out a precedence. It is very unfortunate and dangerous! You mean that we cannot call one individual to order? It happened on 2011, many people were killed, properties destroyed. And it was coming again in 2015. So, the single action of one individual, Goodluck Jonathan, saved this country from disintegration. And today people are not recognizing that, which is very unfortunate.
You are hammering on what the former president did to save the country from disintegration, but we also understand that your party was not happy with his decision to accept defeat.
HYAT: The party supported him. The fact remains that at our state level here, we didn’t go to court to challenge the result of the election. What happened during the presidential election happened during the gubernatorial. We were affected but we supported Jonathan because we believe in the unity of this country.
Are you now saying that the 2015 elections were rigged?
HYAT: What does it mean when you said elections are rigged? When you saw it very clearly that the rules of the game were turned upside down.
By who? Was it the ruling party that upturned the rules or the opposition?
HYAT: It was the umpire, INEC! I have earlier made reference to it here. I said just yesterday I read a report published by a newspaper that 80 per cent of elections under Jega were fraudulent. I am not the one that said it.
If for the unity of this country Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has accepted defeat under an unjust umpire, should you accept defeat in an unjust election? I am surprised that a sitting president will accept defeat under a partial umpire.
HYAT: Are you denying that there was rigging in the 2015 elections? …All we are saying is that we want a level playing ground and nothing else. If elections are conducted in a free and fair atmosphere, level playing ground provided and we lose we shall accept defeat. But if we don’t lose and somebody declares us the loser, we will not accept it. The government is talking of electronic voting. We have asked one simple question and the answer has not been provided. SIECOM does not have the names of registered voters, they rely on INEC. What they are doing now is that they have collected the voter’s register and are transferring the names into their card reader. The issue is that for any election to be credible there must be a voters’ register, which you will display for people to go and see. I asked them, can you display it from the card reader and their answer was no. Now if you cannot display from the card reader what you feed in, how are we sure that it was what you collected from the INEC that you fed into the card reader? Therefore, we will not accept that. Certainly, we shall not accept it. Two, SIECOM has gone to China and were shown how it will work and it has stopped there. The state government has taken over through the office of the SSG. How the machine will be configured SIECOM is not aware and it is SIECOM that is going to conduct elections, not state government. Therefore, for the state government to be involved in the procurement of the materials that will be used gives a question mark. It simply shows that it is the government that is conducting the elections and if the government is to conduct elections, we will not accept it.
Who should conduct the election?
HYAT: SIECOM, of course.
But SIECOM is a government agency?
HYAT: Yes of course, but SIECOM was established by law and members there are appointed in accordance with the law. And it is that law that says they are independent. They are therefore supposed to be independent. If they allow themselves to be controlled by government it is a different thing altogether. It is that independence that we want to see.
How would you assess Governor El-Rufa’i’s administration in terms of impacting positively on the lives of the citizens of Kaduna State?
HYAT: I don’t know if the living standard of all of you here has improved. But I am sure that it is an abysmal performance.
Why did you say so?
HYAT: Why? Because I know that my living standard has not improved, it has only gone down. If we are to tell ourselves the truth, all of us here know that what I am saying is the truth. Look, PDP meant well for this country because we never believed in the concept of winner takes it all. That is why we had an office called Special Adviser to the governor on inter-party affairs. This Special Adviser was liaising with the existing political parties. The Special Adviser was receiving the complaints and suggestions of all the political parties and forwarding same to the governor. So also, when there was anything to be shared including contracts, the political parties were given their share through the office of the Special Adviser on inter-party affairs. Government sponsored sits to Jerusalem and to Hajj were given to all the political parties in the state. Also, whatever was shared to PDP members during Christmas or Sallah celebrations, all the political parties had their share. But today, the government is saying that even civil servants are members of the PDP so they should be dealt with. How can you run a government after election in favour of few? Meanwhile, you took the oath of office and in that oath there is a provision that says you shall treat all manner of people fairly without exception. So, when you wake up and say members of a particular political party are not going to benefit from your government, what does that mean? The resources of the state belong to everybody.
You are reported to have said that the Southern Kaduna crisis is as a result of the breakdown of good governance. What did you really mean?
HYAT: Let us look the issues critically. You don’t have a one-sided crisis. You are faced with a crisis that involves different parties. The first thing you should do is to identify those involved and sit with them to find out what is the problem. But by the time you come out as governor of all to say I am going to deal with you, I am going to deal with you without finding out what is the problem certainly, you are bound to make mistakes. Two, the government said it has traced those who are responsible up to outside the country. If you said you have traced them to outside the country only to come back later to tell us that it is a communal crisis, what do you want us to believe? The same government saying people from outside is also saying it is communal clashes. When the governor made reference to the General Martin Agwai Committee, General Martin Agwai came out to say that he did not submit a one-sided recommendation. He said both sides. Up till now, the governor has not responded to that position of General Martin Agwai; neither in a statement nor in action. Those whose houses were burnt, nothing has been done for them, yet he has followed those who lost their cattle to their countries to give them money to placate them. We are not saying that he should not do it, but in doing it, he should bring both parties together and say; we heard this is what happened. This is what we are going to do so that tomorrow if you hear that we have done this for the other party, you will not feel bad or think that we do not care about you. We want to start with those outside, but when we come back, we shall handle the issue at home. Definitely, people will give him maximum cooperation.
Again, when you say you are going to declare a State of Emergency, declaring a State of Emergency is not a child’s play. Before you do it, you are supposed to have mobilized your security agencies all over, map out strategies, put people at the right places then declare. How do you declare a State of Emergency on those who obey the laws of the land? You will end up finding these law abiding citizens being killed and their house burnt? Why will they not say that government is one-sided? It may not necessarily be that government is one-sided but because there is bad governance and that is why people are accusing this administration of been one-sided. Therefore, we have this problem of taking wrong decisions that if you don’t involve the people, it can get bad.
I was privileged to serve two governors as SSG. So I was involved in the security set up of the state and what should be done. I am speaking from experience, certainly the government handled these things wrongly and that is why things are worsened. Today we are hearing that even with the high presence of security agencies people cannot go to their farms. Then you start asking why? Why can’t they go to their farms? Why will security agencies be deployed to an area, a small section of a senatorial district, not the entire senatorial district; a fraction of it and people cannot go to their farms? If people cannot go to their farms, that means we are waiting for hunger. What will the government do with the people? It is dangerous! So government needs to review its style of handling security issues and be proactive when handling security matters. People keep saying that this is not the first time that crises are happening. Yes, but are we not supposed to be learning? There are reports and so of the people that handled the crises are alive, is it too much for the government to invite those who handled similar problems before and ask from them how they handled it so that they can learn from the mistakes of those who handled past crises? From such meeting, they can also hear and see where they did well and build on it. Everybody is interested in peace! The aspect of allowing the crisis to degenerate into a religious one is unfortunate. We should not allow it to degenerate.
In a SUNRISE discussion programme of ChannelsTv, the governor said what General Agwai said is correct but that it was also incorrect.
HYAT: You see this is what we are saying: if General Agwai didn’t say the correct thing, the report is with the governor, General Agwai also has his own copy of the report, let them present the report to the public.