- Challenges customs boss to provide evidence he contributed 100 votes to Buhari’s election
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara APC), has tackled the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) over comments credited to the latter that the All Progressives Congress (APC) had been derailed by politicians who joined it from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Marafa said Ali’s statement was politically irresponsible as the same set of people joined hands with the APC to ensure its success at the 2015 polls.
Ali speaking during the unveiling of the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) in Abuja recently accused former PDP members of hijacking the government, and causing it to derail from its mandate and principles.
But Marafa, speaking with some journalists during the week, said the Customs helmsman was speaking from both sides of the mouth, as his comments were berating the President on one hand, and lauding the President on the other hand. He challenged Ali to provide evidence that he contributed 100 votes to the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari during the presidential elections.
Marafa who first won elections to the Senate on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party in 2011, had defected then from the PDP.
“In politics, anybody who identifies with you and joins you before ballots are cast is part and parcel of your struggle. Anybody at whatever stage they join before going to the polls is part of you and your victory. It is only those who join you after election that can be called any name.
“We must not forget the five out of the seven governors who initially broke the back of the PDP; those governors who walked out of the Eagle Square; they staged a walkout on the sitting President at the Eagle Square. That was the beginning of the end PDP. These people formed a splinter group and created a faction in the PDP which gave some members of the National Assembly – who by the Constitution cannot leave their party unless there is a division – the reason to decamp and many of them did,” Marafa said.
“Let him say, if he is accusing the President of failing, I think the most reasonable and responsible thing he should do is to resign his position and say I am resigning because this government has derailed. But he cannot sit down in one corner and say this or that. These are the people who sat somewhere in the comfort of their offices and did not know how this victory came about.
“Yes, I was a player; I was part of the campaign at the local, grassroots level; even when it was freezing cold, we were going out from village to village campaigning for the success of this administration. I don’t know what he did. I am not quite sure if President Buhari got 100 votes that can be attributable to the Customs boss; to say that I voted Buhari because of Hameed Ali’ I don’t (think) we can get that. And I challenge him to bring them out if there is any,” Marafa added.
The senator noted that the opening of the BSO office was not politically expedient, as Buhari was already a national figure.
“To me, I look at this as a sabotage. Whoever is behind that idea is just trying to sabotage the government of the President; to demean and bring him back to a small organisation after achieving a larger ambition. Anybody who likes the President and his government will think of how to bring the different forces that came together to give the President the platform and the necessary ‘energy’ to win the (2015) election; not to go back to a small group that definitely cannot win a national election,” Marafa said.