The Senator representing Yobe-East, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, has given a damning verdict on the performance of his party, the All Progressives Congress, over the last three years.
Ibrahim who was a three-time governor of Yobe State said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC was in many ways not better than the Peoples Democratic Party it defeated in 2015.
The APC senator spoke at a dinner to mark his 70th birthday and book launch at Barcelona Hotel in Abuja on Saturday.
Ibrahim said he, like most Nigerians, had a dream that the nation would be changed for the better when the APC took over in 2015, but that more than three years down the line, those hopes had been dashed.
He warned that unlike in 2015 when it had a smooth ride to power, the APC would have to do more to convince the people of the North-East to consider voting for it because a lot had changed.
The senator, who is a founding member of the APC, said, “Without mincing words, as an elder statesman, I must say that my dreams and hopes have been dashed.
“We have certainly not done what I dreamed we would do and in many ways, we are no better than the PDP that we sought to displace.
“As we move towards the elections, I have to give a dire warning to the APC. Things are no longer the way they were in 2015 when we rode to power on a cloud of euphoria believing that things will change.
Simply put, things have not changed and many things are worse and the people are bitter. We should not assume that we can win even with massive rigging.”
The senator, who is not seeking re-election following a political arrangement which saw him ceding his seat to Governor Ibrahim Geidam, said a lot of work was required if the APC was to return to power in 2019.
Ibrahim said, “The economy has gone down because of our actions and we are blaming the past too much rather than solving the present problems. I am going to give a dire warning.
“Let the North-East not be taken for granted that we must support the APC. Our interest in the North-East has always been progressive and I will personally be watching for improvement in the APC.
“Improvements that will guarantee us victory (should) include respecting the rule of law and releasing political prisoners. If we are fighting corruption, let us fight every corrupt person and not select people in what may be seen as a one-sided witch-hunt.”
He added, “I shall sit back and continue encouraging my party to do the right thing. But if we don’t, I still reserve the capacity to ask my people to go our separate ways and do what must be done for good governance to reign in Nigeria.”
Ibrahim stressed that he had no reason to lie at his age. The senator described himself as a socialist progressive amidst politicians in the zone who were mostly capitalist conservatives.
Another APC senator who spoke on condition of anonymity because he claimed he did “not want to jeopardise ongoing peace efforts”, said the party was toying with its chances in 2019 with its poor handling of the fallout of the primaries.
The lawmaker said, “The party has not lived up to our expectations, the least one expects of a political party like the APC which promised change is for it to respect the principle of internal democracy. A political party should respect the wishes of the majority of its members not an individual.”
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