A former member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Hajia Najaatu Mohammed, on Monday, alleged that the candidate of the party, Bola Tinubu, shared money to the party’s governors to influence his emergence as the presidential standard bearer of the party, a situation she described as “shameful”.
Mohammed said the gaffes and blunders trailing Tinubu’s campaign appearances were an indication of ill health, and the fact that he was incapable of presiding over the affairs of the nation.
The former APC member, who said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would have been a better choice given Tinubu’s poor health, however, dismissed supporters of the presidential hopeful as greedy and interested only in his money.
But the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the APC, has said, contrary to claim of quitting the party out of her freewill, Mohammed was sacked for her incompetence, quarrelsomeness and after being uncovered to be a mole planted in the campaign.
In a no-holds-barred interview with THISDAY, Mohammed said she was shell-shocked, when Tinubu told her he didn’t have a blueprint for the North but instead, asked her to itemise what she thought should be the needs of the north.
Disclosing that the party primary election was a cash and carry exercise, she said, “You see, there is nothing like democracy in this democratic system. The whole thing is a hoax. I will tell you for instance what happened in their primary election. People were given ballot papers with Asiwaju written on it. That was what happened and we saw a clip in which governors were collecting money. It’s so shameful. It’s a disgrace.
“Yes collecting money, sharing money given to them by Asiwaju. It is such a disgrace. It is the first time that I have heard or seen such. At least in this dispensation, I have been in politics for decades, I was born into it. But this is the first time that a presidential candidate will be sponsoring governors.
“This is what is happening. So, you see Asiwaju is synonymous with money. So, for God’s sake, if all it takes is money, then, what else will he do when he takes over power? It’s for him to retrieve his money. It is not even about Egbe Omo Oduduwa, Osinbajo is even more Egbe Omo Oduduwa than Tinubu.
“He’s a Professor, he’s brilliant. For few weeks he was given to govern this country, he did a great job. But the Lagos-Ibadan press, they said all sort of things against him. Tinubu controls the strongest propaganda machine in this country, which is the Lagos–Ibadan press.”
The former director of the APC campaign in charge of civil society, said, the candidate’s supporters were a greedy lot only after Tinubu’s war chest.
“Let me tell you why they are following Asiwaju, they know that he’s incapable. They know that he can’t decipher, they know that there is something seriously wrong with his brain. It is like they say in Hausa, somebody will hold the horn, and you will be milking. So, all of these people talking all these nonsense know that he’s incapable, know that he’s handicapped but they also know that he’s already a cabal that they can depend on for the piece of a pie.
“No more, no less. I want to tell you that I have not spoken to anyone, both in or outside APC from up north that I know that has told me or that believes Asiwaju is capable. But all they are saying is that you know we have to get something out of it.
“The problem is extreme selfishness. All these people that you are talking about are thinking of themselves as individual, their personal interest; they don’t have the country at heart. That is why I said I have to follow my conscience because I cannot afford…in fact, to be silent is criminal. This is my position. Anyone that refuses to talk when they are supposed to talk is either a hypocrite or a coward or both. So, that is why I took the position I took.
“These people that you are talking about, in Hausa, we say they are the plugs from north to south. But they are an insignificant minority and the voice of the generality of Nigerians that they have allowed themselves to be pulled by the nose, some out of ignorance, some out of tribal or religious sentiments.
“Let me tell you what our prophet said, when they said Muslim-Muslim ticket,…because Islam is explicit on the question of leadership. What it says is a chosen atheist is better than an unjust Muslim. The first law chosen by God is the law in which Allah himself put on himself. The first law was that if he had denied himself the right to oppress, that is the law and then he went on to say that he had denied injustice within my creation. So, what are we talking about, what the hell about Muslim-Muslim,” she said.
Explaining Tinubu’s assertion that he had no blueprint for the North, she said: “It started the day he made that declaration in Ogun when he said it is his turn. By saying that, it means that Nigeria has become the personal property of some people. It is like…you pound the yam now, you cut your own, you eat you own, now it is time to cut my own. That was what he said and that is what he meant.
“I excused that because in life, you have to be patient, you have to use your wisdom. I didn’t partake in any of their activities and then they called me to be the director of the civil society organisations, which I rejected. Having rejected it, they started to plead with me, please in the name of God, please take it. I said I don’t want to take it because I haven’t sat with Asiwaju to actually tell me what he has for us, particularly, up north and I don’t want to be arrogant.
“So to cut a long story short, we agreed that I will be sitting with Asiwaju as soon as possible and if I am not satisfied with what he tells me, then, I can opt out. And that is why if you noticed, when they put my name, two names were put, I was made a co-director in case I rejected it, they still have a director, So that I wouldn’t be embarrassing them if turned them than.
“I went to London the next day to see Asiwaju on his invitation, because he called me to say Naja, I appreciate your stand that you rejected the appointment. I said yes sir, because I can’t be a zombie at this point in time, I have to know what you have for us, then he said if I can come to London. I took a flight the next day and went to see him in London and we sat down for two hours.
“The first question I asked him was what he has for us up north, he told me point blank that he didn’t have anything. I asked him, I said sir, you mean you don’t have a blueprint, he said no! I cannot have a blueprint until I win the election. I said sir, if we wait for you to win the election, there will be a lot of distraction, you have to have a blue print. You have to be able to tell us what you intend to do.
“I said we have so many problems, aren’t you aware of the insecurity? Aren’t you aware of out-of-school kids? Aren’t you aware of the hunger? That people cannot go to the farms? He said look Naja, if you can please, write out what you want so that I can put it in my manifesto. I was angry, I still remain patient. I left him, I stayed back in London,
I mobilised our people and we came out with some demands so to say.
Till date, sir, they have refused me to see Asiwaju and give it to him. I did everything possible, I haven’t seen Asiwaju; I haven’t sat with Asiwaju since then. They didn’t allow me to see him. The man is caged,” he said.
But the APC-PCC, in a statement, Monday night, by the Adviser on Public Affairs, Tinubu Media Office, Mahmud Jega, said Mohammed deceived the gullible public by claiming that she resigned.
According to Jega, “The Asiwaju/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council received with amusement the hasty ‘resignation’ of Hajiya Naja’atu Mohammed from her position as Director of Civil Society Organisations just before she was sacked for incompetence, quarrelsomeness and after being uncovered to be a mole planted in our winning campaign in order to leak sensitive information to our desperate opponents.
“Although she deceived the gullible public by claiming that she resigned, her sack letter with ignominy from the campaign and the party had just arrived at her desk.”
The campaign noted that Mohammed’s desperate, fact-free, machination-filled and imaginary utterances since her sack from the campaign has proven beyond doubt that she was unfit to serve in the first place, until it was discovered that she was actually a “mole”.
It added: “Not being a medical doctor but whose profession in the last three decades was as a political jobber
and expert name dropper, she nevertheless issued a pseudo-medical report on our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, after a brief meeting in London.”
The campaign stressed that even the association of native doctors would sack her for quackery and for reaching a medical conclusion without any test.
It added that despite his position as the clear front runner in the 2023 presidential race, Tinubu has been running the most punishing campaign schedule of any of the presidential candidates, and has already visited many parts of the country with an almost non-stop schedule of rallies, town hall meetings and meetings with professional, community, business
and religious groups and associations.
“Naja’atu claimed that when she asked Asiwaju what plans he had for the North, he answered that he had none. This is strange and questions the integrity of the woman and her story.
“Asíwájú has unfolded an Action plan for the whole country, in which problems bedeviling the North got very comprehensive attention. Asiwaju also attended the Arewa Summit last year, at which he unfolded and elaborated on these programs,” the statement stated.
The APC campaign stressed that as a conclusive proof of her unstable and unreliable character, Mohammed said in her pre-emptive “resignation letter” that she was quitting party politics as the political parties have no ideological differences and her values and beliefs no longer aligned with party politics.
It further noted, however, that, “Within a day, pictures surfaced in the media showing her meeting with the PDP presidential candidate and declaring her support for him. All Nigerians must be wondering what kind of “values and beliefs” she has apart from opportunism, selfishness and greed.”
The ruling party said it was least surprised about her dramatic exit, coming after she went on TV to disparage the party and President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that, “Only a mole could behave in such a manner.”
The party, therefore, urged its supporters all over the country to ignore the antics of “this political soldier of fortune and concentrate on the job of delivering the Tinubu/Shettima ticket at the polls in barely a month from now.”
Kingsley Nwezeh and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja