2023: Many Northern politicians can’t travel home anymore – Senator Marafa

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From Fred Itua, Abuja

Senator Kabiru Marafa served in the 7th and 8th Senate. He is also a former member of the House of Representatives. He hails from Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria.

In this exclusive interview with Sunday Sun, he spoke on a possible take over of the reins of power by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023 and why many Northern politicians can’t travel home anymore. Excerpt:

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Why are you leaving the APC? You are a founding member?

May be if you had listened to my radio interview, that would have answered your question. I said that the new APC leadership is in touch with us, though not with me personally, but with Governor Yari and he briefed me appropriately on what they approached him with. And so many other political parties are also talking to us. As for whether we are still in the APC or not, I think it is entirely our decision. APC has done their worst. And the only reason we’re even talking about APC now is because there is a new change in the APC itself, but that is not to say that all is well. Or that we have forgotten all they have done to us. So, I don’t know. It depends on what the new leadership does.

…That will make you decide on what to do next?

We have already decided on what to do. We are only talking. You know, when you are leading people, decisions of that nature are not just very simple. You have to look up and down look, you know, left and right, back and forth and everything. So, we are not leaving anything to chance. We are looking at everything and anybody talking to us. The most important thing is that it was APC that rejected us, not we that rejected APC. So, we are at liberty to do whatever we want to do.

Okay, so with this whole crisis bedevilling APC, do you see any chances that it can retain power in 2023 if elections are free and fair? 

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It depends on what the opposition parties, especially PDP, will do. How they play their cards is what matters. That is just it. We are talking politics and you should know what that means. The reason even APC is on the menu today in Nigeria is because the opposition parties are not sending the right signal. Yes, I believe so.

On the issue of zoning, which you’ve not spoken on so far, where do you stand?

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Anytime people talk about zoning, especially the elite, I look at them with an open mouth in amazement, because I think with what we have seen happened between 2015 and today, I think it is wrong to talk about it. I don’t know the right words to use. You know, I don’t want to be misquoted. Well, because what we have seen now, I think that every Nigerian today should forget about zoning. We should be talking about a just and fair leader that will treat people equally and it is not about where the man comes from. This is because if you look at the mess now we are in, especially where I come from the Northwest, you’ll understand. Now, you come and talk to me about zoning. I will just look at you, because I’m looking forward to somebody that can stand in for me, somebody that you know, can protect me. Somebody that can be fair just to me. That is just what I’m looking for. I don’t care from where he or she comes from. All this issue of zoning to me revolves around just one thing – I think corruption. And that is all. So, our own is there. We let him invite us to come and chop. Otherwise, if a mega country like the United States, the seat of power, can elect somebody whose father came from Africa? Less than 50 years, and gave birth to a child and that child grew up to become a president of that country. I think we are just making a jest of ourselves when we talk about this zonning. I think we should forget about this. Look, let us talk about people, genuine people that can come and salvage this country of ours. People that will make a difference. People that would protect lives and property of people. Now, you are talking about zoning, zoning. Now, 

how do you enjoy it if you are not alive? That’s true. The country needs to be safe first.

Do you also think age should be a factor in determining who will succeed Buhari next year? Does that matter to Nigerians?    

Do Nigerians consider anything? The only thing Nigerians consider is zoning and zoning and zoning and zoning. Who is there? Is he from my village? Is he from my local government? Otherwise these are some of the things that we should all sit down and look at and and come up with something that will help the poor masses that rely on the elite to do everything we can. We should all fear God and begin to look inwards and do what we’re supposed to do otherwise, all these things now will backfire. Have I not said almost everything on the floor of the Senate when I was there? So, what is it? These are the things that you must look into. But the issue is, are we ready? You know, the whole political class is becoming more and more like, what do you call it? Subservient. People that you think can stand up to anybody and speak the truth, you will see them melting before the powers that be when issues of national importance, issue that concerns them, issues that concern their parents, their wives, their daughter, their children are raised. And everything, their religion, their villages and everything. And you will see people taking very, very funny decisions. A lot of people today cannot go to their villages. All of us now from here to Kaduna, we cannot go to Kaduna you will see people flying all the way to Kano, from Kano drive back to Kaduna. You know, a journey of more than how many kilometers and I know nobody wants to ask any question. Nobody’s talking anything.                                

What is your take on the performance of the 9th Senate?

The ones I participated in, I know what was done and I know what I did because I was responsible for my actions and inactions in that Senate or that period. And if God is going to ask me, I am aware of that and what anybody does after that I don’t know. What I know is that the situation has degenerated into an unacceptable limit now and I pray that they put their act together to rescue the whole thing because we are all riding in the same vehicle.      

If this insecurity is not resolved before 2023, do you feel it will affect the conduct of that election?        

I think that is for INEC to say, not for me. If INEC says they are going to conduct elections, politicians will participate in the elections no matter what. If INEC says it is not okay, then it is not okay. So, I think that question should be directed to INEC. You see, I think that will amount to insulting the sensibilities of Nigerians. Everybody should do everything possible to solve the security situation in the country regardless of the election. It is not about the election. Life is not just about elections. It is about the lives of people. The lives of your father, your mother, my father, my mother, my daughter, my sister, my brother, my child. We should not be talking about elections. What is election all about? Election is for the betterment of the people. If the people are not better and you are just talking about election and election and election. You are only counting 2019, 2023, 2027, 3031, and so on. I don’t think we are being fair ourselves. We are not being fair to our God. This God we are serving is a just God and I am afraid what will happen when He decides to defend these defenceless masses. I don’t know what He is going to do. I pray God gives us the courage to do these things by ourselves otherwise if He decides to do it by Himself, it is going to be disastrous. So please, we should not be talking about elections. Whatever that needs to be done should be done right now. Some people are in captivity. Some are in IDP camps. Some don’t even have the camps. If you go to states like Zamfara, we don’t even have the camps. Only God knows where those people are sleeping, what they are eating, how they are fairing. You don’t know and we are just talking about elections.