The former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, has disclosed that Senate President Bukola Saraki; Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Atiku Abubakar and their colleagues (then of the new PDP) only joined the APC after it was formed.
Akande revealed this in an interview with select journalists in Ibadan on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
The former governor of Osun State stated this while answering questions on how Nigerian politics has become so monetized that money bags are the majority of those picking tickets of political parties to contest for elections nowadays. He said those who formed the APC who were largely in the progressives fold never practiced money politics but that those who joined them from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had the mentality of money politics. He said it was good that they were back to their original party where they will be free to continue with the practice of money politics.
According to the octogenarian, money entered politics through the military preparatory to the third republic when former military president, Rtd. Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida and his successor, the late Gen. Sanni Abacha established the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC) and funded them through public treasury. Akande recalled that IBB, Abacha and other military top brass also had their fronts and foot soldiers spreading money in politics which quickly became the norm in their circle. To him, those involved in the act were largely those who formed and peopled the PDP till date. He said they properly established monetization of politics in the first 16 years of the fourth republic when the PDP governed Nigeria.
Akande said he never paid to pick ticket to contest any election, adding that he never took money from anyone to give ticket as party chairman.
When journalists pointed out that there are allegations of money politics in the APC today, Akande said: “I don’t know. It might be. When we formed the All Progressives Congress, we formed it with that mindset but after forming the APC, after becoming a party, some people calling themselves the new PDP walked out of their party and joined us…”
Surprised, journalists asked: “Not that you formed it together?”
Akande said: “No No No. we never formed it together, they only joined. Bukola Saraki, the Atiku Abubakar, Aminu Tambuwal and co. – they only moved in. They moved in to come and join us after we were already APC. We had formed our party before they became members. Our party was already on but we allowed them in because they appeared to be condemning the PDP for what they knew PDP was doing wrong and we thought they were genuine. So we allowed them in but now there has been a mixture of new PDP or old PDP joining old CPC and so on. Thats why you have a lot of people now. So, if you are hearing that some people are using money to get there now, it is a new phenomenon and it started when I had left position in the party.”
Also asked if there is any ideological difference between the APC and PDP of today, he said: “We have clear-cut ideologies.Ideologically, what makes APC different from PDP is that PDP had led Nigeria into a neck-deep problem of corruption which is the foundation of a failing nation.They have led Nigeria neck-deep into indiscipline. But we formed APC to be able to introduce discipline, to be able to eradicate corruption and to be able to mop up all the bad economy that PDP had established 16 years before we were voted. And at the same time, we came to save the country from the doom of insecurity into which PDP had thrown us. If you remember, about 20 local governments in Borno State were in the hands of Boko Haram before APC government came. Before APC came into governmrnt there had been herdsmen killing all over the place. Since the drought in the sahel, since the drying up of water in Lake Chad, there had been pressure from the sahel into Nigeria and we may not have seen it in Yoruba land until Chief Olu Falae was kidnapped in his farm during former president Goodluck Jonathan’s era.That was when Yorubas started knowing herdsmen. But the mischievous politicians started by calling it Fulani herdsmen. But the moment they see that the two presidential candidates are Fulani, they stopped calling it Fulani herdsmen, they returned to herdsmen. Nigerians can be easily deceived by these people. They are very cunning, they have a lot of mischievous tendencies.When Buhari was becoming very popular and was dealing with their corruption, what had happened 20 years before Buhari started happening again. They started calling it Fulani herdsmen. Nigerians bought into it and said it was the Fulani that were killing. But when their own candidate too is Fulani, they dropped the word Fulani and started saying herdsmen killing. And the herdsmen in question, they are the gunmen killing people in Nigeria 20 years earlier since the first drought that destroyed Mali, Sudan before Libya and some other failing countries in Sahel. When a country fails, there is no more control of the army or the police. The weapons in their hands becomes their own and they turn to mercenaries. Anybody can hire them to do evil and most of these people doing it might not be Nigerians. But the mischievous politicians will say Fulani herdsmen in order to discredit Buhari. And Nigerians are credulous a little. When politicians are deceiving us, we dance round them and that’s why it appears particularly to most people that there are no differences between the APC and the PDP.”