Underrating Obasanjo was PDP undoing said by Hon. Bode Mustapha who was in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003 under the aegis of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) before defecting to the PDP where he rose to become the National Auditor of the party. Chief Mustapha who has since left the PDP to join the All Progressive Congress (APC) in this interview says the alienation of former President Olusegun Obasanjo from PDP spelt doom for it.
What is your view of the crisis in the National Assembly?
As much as I believe in the independence of the legislature, no matter how you look at it, no legislator got to the National Assembly without a party. No matter your post, be you President, Governor, Senator or Local Government Chairman, you are a product of a party. And we haven’t gotten to the stage of independent candidature in Nigerian politics. From the way we learnt politics from the days of UPN and NPN, which I was involved in, the party is always supreme. I believe we will get to that stage even with what is happening now, because the minute you refuse to allow the party have its way you have made mockery of democracy and party politics. Then what is the essence of having parties and parties sponsoring candidates for office. So the party at some point must have its way. I believe in party supremacy.
How do we now solve this impasse?
To me if I were in that situation what I would do, especially when the party said we recognized the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, I would have said I would tow party lines in respect of the other principal offices because the romance with the opposition wont last for too long it won’t last. I wont trust the PDP people as far as I am concerned. Even if I will, I will still believe that the interest of the party must be protected. The party must have a reason for taking the decision it took, more so when the party has met the people half way by conceding and saying ‘we recognise the Senate President and the Deputy and Speaker and the Deputy’. My advice is that for peace to reign and for the party not to be seen as a lame duck, the Party should have its way.
Some people are complaining the President Mohammed Buhari is slow?
They are trained administrators. I will give an example, if you give Baba Obasanjo a-400 page document and he asked you to come back in two days, you will see his markings on it because he would read it to educate himself, make corrections and stuffs like that. I am sure the President is doing that. He has to know the enormity of what’s on ground. it is better. The slow and steady wins the race. And I know he would not do anything or allow anybody to make him a rubber stamp in taking decisions because the buck stops on his table. In the last administration everybody was doing what they want and at the end of the day it was Goodluck Jonathan. So somebody has to take responsibility and if President Buhari has to take responsibility he must know the enormity of what’s on ground. Now the Permanent Secretaries in the various ministries are now briefing him one on one letting him know situation so that he can juxtapose what he read in the document he got and he will know the state of affairs in each ministry before he deploys his troop. To me he is not slow. He is doing Nigeria a world of good.
How do you think he should handle the issue of Boko Haram?
I remember years ago that former President Obasanjo said we had to use the carrot and stick method and I am sure he said it from his wealth of experience as a war tested General because as we are we are in a war situation and even where there is war there is even jaw jaw. And from what i read in newspapers, there may be the possibility of negotiating with Boko Haram. I hope and pray so. but how much of what is to be negotiated and stuff like that I don’t know. After all we had the militants and there was a programme and it stopped. if that would happen in the case of Boko Haram, as long as it does not affect Nigeria and if its going to bring about peace i think that should happen.
As a former leader of PDP what do you think made the party lose that woefully?
To them they said who was Obasanjo? And as such they could do away with him and his boys, the Oyinlolas, Bode Mustaphas and the Segun Onis. I cannot understand if there is a leader of the party in the former President who before his eyes his party was being dismembered. People were trying to say that even the man who God used to bring you to office is a nobody and you could not curtail all that rubbish. Now Jonathan is no longer in office, let us see how many of those people with him before would still be around him. We will see how many of those who led him astray that will still be with him. Former President Obasanjo was trying to protect him, because he knew what the hawks could do to a person in office. He thought he was going to run his office for him. Run his office for what? President Olusegun is the only person who has nothing to look for in this country. The only person who will be in the same position is President Buhari when he leaves office. Then he would become President of Africa like Baba Obasanjo. Baba wanted the best for Jonathan but there were people who did not know in the first place how he got there and they now became the king pins and these were people Baba have tested and found to be disasters. This is why we have found ourselves today where the Dollar is being changed to over N270. We had the loud mouths who thought they could insult anybody and they have done the the colossal damage.
The PDP say it would bounce back?
Good luck to them. I am not interested in them. I have said it that I am no longer with them. Why should I be interested in them? They killed the party themselves. They were behaving as if they were too big.
As more and more people defect to APC will it not be over bloated?
No that was how people were trooping to PDP when it was in power it was not over bloated. The leadership of the APC expected this to happen and that’s why the leadership said people can come into the party and work for the party for 2019. That is the only way you can show that you are a party man. So some people who want to join the party because they are after largeese will leave when they see that there is no largeese to share. The party will never overbloated.