Aliyu Ikra Bilbis a former Minister Information and Communication, who recently dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) upon which he built his political career, was received into the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) along with his followers in Zamfara state. In this interview with Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Bilbis tells his story. Excerpts:
You have just dropped PDP for APC, can you tell us why you dumped the party?
The reason is obvious; and you should have the knowledge that I was a recognised party to the formation of PDP right from the day one of its existence to the day I flicked it off my mind. The PDP of today has absolutely derailed from the main objective for its formation. You see, the sleepless nights and restless hours of times spent by highly respected citizens, whose crusades were to ensure a solid foundation for the development of this country were arrogantly betrayed by the current leadership of the party.
What exactly do you mean?
Do not rush me. I was heading to where people must agree with why I quit and even symphatize with the entire innocent citizens of the country as the PDP is driving it on high speed to no-going back hell hole; especially considering low rate of grudges from any region of this country when it comes to federal sharing formula during past administrations.
I have so many reasons that virtually made me to quit the ruling PDP; but the issue of unending security challenges which the PDP does not seem ready to tackle override everything. No right thinking person, be it a Muslim or Christian or of any belief, would be convinced that the incessant bomb attacks and merciless killings of thousands of innocent citizens across the north were beyond the control of Federal Government, therefore, the situation could not be contained. This is a mere lie.
A multitude of decent politicians have since quit the party before me, and believe you me, their reasons for doing so were the same with mine. It is insecurity and useless honour of invertebrate, corrupted government officials and politicians in power.
But what effort have you made to facilitate reforms in the government and the party?
Not only me, you see, myself and people like me, with the intense support of our leaders from all geopolitical zones of this country have done a lot to see to it that something is put in place to curtail the two disturbing major obstacles, insecurity and corruption. But, all suggestions, advices and deliberations were in vain as there was no room to entertain any.
I recalled with emotion how, using the instrument of the party being a leading member who served as a minister in the federal cabinet under the able leadership of Late Umaru Musa ‘Yar Adua, I sought to bring about change to the polity by remaining firm to our commitments to the development of the nation. We began the reformation of of the country by surmounting security challenges and the creation of a peaceful and conducive atmosphere for social and economic development through policies like the amnesty programme and the fight against corruption.
How would you assess the PDP politically?
The PDP we have today is absolutely blinded to the aims and objectives of its establishment; it has deviated from the focus of its founding fathers and has shrunken into a ghost of itself with no clear cut programme while allowing itself to be defeated by what ordinarily should have been opportunities to show its potentialities.
I have decided I can no longer be part of a leadership which its hallmark has become the inability to deliver on set objectives and total failure to fashion out a cause out of the many problems our country is facing.
And why have you chosen to join the APC?
The alternative for good governance, clear vision, purposeful leadership driven by the zeal to serve the people and bring about the much needed change in the country has therefore inspired me to take a bold decision ; to identify with the progressives; to identify with those who have said ‘no’ to corruption; ‘no’ to power failure; ‘no’ to insecurity and ‘no’ to bad leadership. But ‘yes’ to job creation; ‘yes’ to agricultural development; ‘yes’ to perfect unity among tribes and beliefs and ‘yes’ to quality education and nation building.
Are you satisfied with the way theAPC government is running Zamfara state?
That is even why I chose the party. Keep politics aside and talk of reality. Before the coming of Abdulaziz Yari as Zmafara state Governor, people, especially thoseliving in rural areas including myself were suffering for dearth of roads; a situation that crippled the state economy. For example, farmers have no where to take their farm products to after harvest period; they either have to consume or waste it because there are no roads to transport it to markets.
The idea of directing the resources of the state to building new Zamfara state by embarking on road network by Governor Yari is quite a welcome development. Only those who are greedy and unpatriotic would not be happy simply because they can not be given chance to empty the state’s treasury.
As 2015 is fast approaching, do you have anything to tell the people of Zamfara and the nation at large?
They should avoid casting their votes for the PDP because it is like committing suicide. The PDP is not ready to stop killings and that is even why the APC was formed to ensure adequate security and fight against corruption. We must continue to live peacefully, travel from north to east without any fear. All Nigerians have equal rights to enjoy federal services without tribalism. We have brothers and sisters, and so we will continue, therefore, only APC can restore our lost glory.