Senate President Bukola Saraki has admitted in an interview with Daily Trust that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party is facing serious issues that is making it drift.
The politician also talked about speculations that he is grooming his son to become governor of Kwara state just as his own father groomed him.
Speaking about the party and the internal rancour it is facing.
The party is drifting and not a rallying point for members.
There is “no APC member that will tell you he is happy with the state of affairs of the party.”
He said a ruling party should definitely see more activities than is presently happening with the APC.
The issues in the party are not as a result of any crisis but relate to “the administrative aspect and the national to provide leadership in driving the party.
“The party is running out of time.”
He added: “If the party goes back to what we all know it to be, holding NEC, and having caucus meetings, spirit and no spirit things will stop.”
On whether his emergence as senate president contributed to weakening the party, Saraki said: “The last meeting the party held with regard to the zoning of the national officers, senate president was zoned to north central.
It was after that the party started to do different things, shifting its position.
The point I’m making is that that’s over two years. Is that the reason why the party cannot move ahead? My own point is that the executive of party just needs to wake up and start managing the party.”
On rumoured moves to groom his son to become Kwara governor, Saraki said there is no such plan. “I am sure my son doesn’t even want to hear politics at all.
You know it is not easy for children who are born to politicians especially in this time. When I was much younger, we were insulated from some of the political issues because well, we didn’t read the newspapers, we didn’t know what was happening.
I reluctantly went into politics, go and check. Once or twice I was given the form to run for House of Reps, I remember I just travelled and turned off my phones and disappeared for months.
After seeing what my father had been through, I thought to myself that this is not for me.”
Talking about devolution of powers, state creation, state electoral commissions, Land Use Act etc, he said: “I think we all need to understand the process.
First of all constitutional review by its nature is not a bill that will just pass through the normal process. It needs two thirds majority.
So that means they must be issues that a majority of Nigerians want. Secondly because of the net effect of it, it is important that wide consultations are done and in a process like that,
lawmakers are representing their people, so if a senator or member house of representative says this amendment I will like to consult more with the people, I am not against it but if I have to vote I will vote against it.
My view is that we must respect that. When you say all Nigerians want something, well if all Nigerians want something you will see it in the vote.
The ones that all Nigerians wanted, you saw it in the vote. The fact that it did not pass through, means that there are some Nigerians that are not sure and a lot of people equated the devolution of power to mean restructuring and that is why I said when I was in Ilorin that we should all blame ourselves because I think the commentaries have built a lot of mistrust.
If the constitutional review had come like eight months, ago devolution would have passed.
saying I want to go and another part is saying I want to stay-all that created this mistrust, people not sure what it is all about and insinuation whether some people want to play a fast one.
So, those who were sceptical said I am not ready to support this and as I keep on saying, we were a country of multiple religions, multiple ethnicity.
We are a diverse country, you cannot stampede me out of here, I can’t stampede you out of here. Once we understand that, then the rhetorics have to calm down.
You can’t bully people to go one way because that is the way you want it.
The constitution has said two thirds, if you say two thirds that means you must have the buying of more than majority of the people.
So, as I said, it has failed now, do I think if it is presented again it will fail? Probably not. As I said, if it had been presented a few months back, it probably would have gone.
What we need to do is educate, enlighten and engage those that have reservations to let them know that this country will be better for it,.
I have given many examples. Even America that we copied, a lot of you must have been following in the last few months the health care bill in America.
They attempted seven times and that is just a health bill. They go, they fail, they come back. They adjust, they go, they come back. They don’t say because they fail they start abusing everybody that did not agree.
We need to understand because if we want this bill to pass, it is the same people that would have to make it pass. So we cannot blackmail or bully them. We must convince them and get them to buy into it.
So I am hopeful. We will try and look at it again after the break and hopefully by then those who are sceptical or who have their concerns would have been convinced