Why I Won’t Be Distracted By Propaganda On My Victory- Uba Sani
In an explosive interview with Arise TV on Thursday, September 29, Kaduna state governor, Uba Sani bares his mind on the affirmation of his victory by the Kaduna Elections Petitions Tribunal, his political principle and his take on the historic verdict. Excerpts:
Congratulations would be in order but we need to get clarity on the true position exactly because on the one hand they said the tribunal has removed you and on the other hand they said the election is inconclusive. It’s quite confusing at this point, give us clarity.
I’m not someone who will bother myself about propaganda because of my background as one who has spent three decades as a civil activist, someone who believes in the rule of law, and democracy and fights for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria. I’m someone who always believes in the rule of law and I cannot sit here and join the propaganda of people that want to misinform the public. We know this thing clearly, we listened to the ruling by the judges and I can say here clearly that we shouldn’t be joining propaganda because the ruling is clear.
The case has been dismissed loud and clear by the judges and of course, now it’s left for the PDP’s candidate to approach the court of Appeal. Any propaganda is just a waste of time. For me, sitting here, I have been involved in democratic processes in Nigeria, I contested elections four times, I won twice, and lost twice. So you are talking with someone with experience of winning and losing elections. But never in my life have I gone into propaganda.
The fact of the matter is very clear. Again, as someone who has spent four years in the National Assembly, this Electoral Act we are talking about, I was involved in amending the Electoral Act, I know what it takes and I know that if you have any case that has to do with the election petition, you have to be very clear with what the Electoral Act states there clearly. Every aspect of their case has a time limit.
So it’s not about the judges, it’s about the lawyers who are supposed to file their preliminary objection within the timeframe, and if they don’t do it, that’s the Supreme Court ruling in most of the cases and if they don’t do it, we in the National Assembly who amended the Electoral Act we made it clear.
And in any case, talking about propaganda, I shouldn’t be part of it. For me, what happened today (Yesterday is a true reflection of the mandate given to me by the people of Kaduna State. And of course, I must thank them and I must also thank Hon Isa Ashiru as a Democrat, I believe that he is within his right to ventilate his grievances by going to court, and as stated by the ruling, I will urge him if he has any grievance, he should approach the Appeal court. We are in a democratic setting, the earlier the better for us to stop trying to undermine our democratic system and the judiciary is key. It pays to approach the Court of Appeal.
I think I will welcome him to come and work with me, it is about Kaduna. So I welcome not only him, his supporters, and my supporters to come and work together for the interest of our own state. In the election, there must be only one winner and there must be a loser. So he lost the election by the outcome of the Tribunal today. As far as I am concerned, I’m happy about the judgment but most importantly I also caution my followers to tell them let’s bring everyone together because we are in Kaduna, work together, and contribute to the success of the state. Every person is important, that is where we are today.
Read Also: Tribunal judgement: Join hands with Uba Sani to move Kaduna forward, Abbas tells PDP, others
There has been a concern by the judiciary, you have been in the legislature, the legal weeks started and the judiciary is concerned about politicians who are trying to make it look like it is the judiciary that will decide what the people decide in the election. You have lost twice, what is the feeling of the politicians about the judiciary for their victory especially when they clearly losing out?
For me, like I always say, as a politician what will come to your mind first when you go for an election, you have to understand that there is a possibility you can win the election and you can lose the election. That is the key. So if you have that in your mind, of course, there must be one winner and you might be the winner or you might be the loser. So always have that at the back of your mind, it’s one thing you have to do as a politician.
Secondly, two battles are going into the election. Do you want to go into the election and win the political battle – that is campaigning, putting everything into law or you are going into the election with a propaganda battle? That is the issue here, many politicians believe going into the election with a propaganda battle. It always confuses the public and at the end of the day, you go with nothing. So that is my concern.
I want to advise politicians that there is a judgment after the election whether you like it or not, if you lose at the Tribunal, the first thing you have to do as a politician is sit down and ask yourself if you will appeal or you don’t need to appeal. But going out attacking the judiciary, blaming INEC, blaming everyone except yourself. If you are a Democrat, except you are not, going into the election it’s either you win or you lose.
Like I said, I contested four times, I lost twice, and won twice. But in all the times I lose an election you will never hear me going to the media, attacking the judiciary, attacking INEC. I get back. I contested to go to the Senate in 2011, but l lost the election. It took me eight years to contest again and I won the election, then I went to the senate. I contested in 2003 for the House of Representatives, I lost and it took me another eight years to contest for the senate again and I won. After that, I contested for governor and I won. So for me, as a Democrat, always have it at the back of your mind, someone must win the election.
Today, those that defeated me at the previous elections, issued a statement congratulating them as winners. For someone like me, who has spent most of my life fighting for democracy in Nigeria, to the extent we fought the military, I went to detention two times. I believe we have to continue to improve this democracy. We cannot sit down there, if we lose the election we attack the process, if we win, it’s fine. That clearly shows that you are not a Democrat, a Democrat won’t do that.
Today I am sitting as a governor of Kaduna State believing that the people of Kaduna State came out freely and voted for me and when my opponent went to the court, I sat down with my lawyers and said let’s meet in court, and eventually the judgment came out in my favour. But importantly it’s not about Uba Sani, it’s about Kaduna State because we have a lot to do in Kaduna State, and I believe, everyone whether PDP, APC, Labour Party, or even those who are not in politics they have something to offer. I will make sure that we work together. The key is what we can do for Kaduna State and move the state forward.
Do you think this upturning election at the courts is also an indictment on INEC being the electoral umpire that may not have done a thorough convincing job that will move all the ambiguity around not just the electoral process but the outcome?
Let me answer this clearly because as someone who was in the National Assembly, we believe it’s a process that will continue to be amended. Let me give you an example, American democracy is 250 years older than our democracy but remember there was an election not long ago, when President Trump lost the election, he came out openly and said there was rigging, and there was no election. So everywhere in the world, you have to understand that no process is perfect.
In Nigeria, it cannot be perfect, even in developed countries. You have reason to go to court. Even those who lost elections in developed countries, approach the judiciary even up to the Supreme Court, when they lose at that point they respect the judiciary. That is what we need to do. For me what I don’t like is for politicians to come out and mislead their followers, misinformed them.
Is this court case a distraction for you?
Honestly, I have never been distracted. Even today (yesterday) I was at the NEC meeting and we are focused. The most important thing is we have a seven-point agenda and as we are speaking here we have done a lot in the last 100 days and even our opponents have come out to at least encourage us and support what we have been doing. I am the first governor to sign an Executive Order on finance for the underprivileged and vulnerable people who are financially excluded in this country. We are working to ensure that we bring them back to financial service in Nigeria and we are doing a lot.