In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES, a former Senate deputy minority leader, Emmanuel Bwacha, who recently dumped the PDP for the APC, speaks about his new party, power rotation in Taraba State, and his ambition to become governor of the state.
PT: You recently crossed from the PDP to APC, just like other prominent politicians in Taraba. Don’t you fear a clash of egos with other prominent members in the party?
Bwacha: A clash of egos where?
PT: In the APC, considering that you met other prominent politicians in the party?
Bwacha: I am not considering any major threat from the APC members I met on ground. APC members a fortnight ago organised a dinner for me in Abuja, the attendance was very impressive and the remarks by our various leaders from the party chairman, from my colleague, who was then the only APC senator from Taraba, the minister whose comments were simply fantastic and encouraging – a lot of other prominent members from the APC like Engineer Ahmed Yusuf, His Excellency Uba Maigari, and a couple of them.
Those who attended the dinner will bear me witness that the reception was marvelous. Even my colleague, Senator Yusuf, said any prominent APC member that was not there is an IDP, which means an Internally Displaced Politician, because all those that matter in the APC were there. So we are good to go.
PT: With your movement, the APC now has two senators from Taraba. Is it a sign that the PDP is becoming weak in the state?
Bwacha: It is not only becoming weak, it is becoming irrelevant. You see, if you get power and you don’t use it well, people somewhere along the line are bound to react. And that is what we did. They cannot be held down, they want development. They cannot be held down based on party, they didn’t create PDP, they didn’t come into this world with PDP. But they came into this world desiring to live like God wanted them to live and whoever wants to lead them must lead them justly. So if PDP did not provide that vehicle for them, they will change to another party. And that is what is happening in Taraba. People are angry. They are yearning for development and they are not getting it in PDP.
PT: The present governor is from Taraba South, where you hail from. A lot of people are clamouring for change, for the North to take its turn. What do you think?
Bwacha: There is nothing wrong with anybody clamouring for a power shift. When you are talking about democracy, it is all about inclusiveness, you don’t exclude anybody. Well, there is nothing we are doing that would have offended the power configuration or power equation in the state. First and foremost, we have been involved in the power equation from day one. And as it stands today the three senatorial districts have had a fair share of exercise of power or rotation of power. The North had about 10 years, the centre had about eight years while the South is now serving for another eight years, so it has virtually gone round. Now, the governor of the state can be produced by any zone – if the south produces it the zoning begins from there, if it is in the central or North, the zoning also begins from there. So there is nothing we are doing that offends the rotation of power. This is just common sense.
PT: What are your plans for Taraba, given its potentials?
Bwacha: I am yet to make a public declaration about my gubernatorial ambition, of course, I am under tremendous pressure by politicians and by people who call the shots in the state, across the length and breadth of the state, not only from my zone, we have our people across the state. I am impressed by the level of confidence people have in me. By the time we finally decide and make a declaration on how to tackle the problems of Taraba State, it will not be a big deal because it is a terrain that I know very well and I have worked through the ranks to get to where Grace has placed me now. I am trusting God for the next level, we already have a team of experts on ground working and also studying the situation.
PT: Your new party is finding it ‘difficult’ to organise a national convention, doesn’t that indicate internal disharmony? If so, wouldn’t that affect your aspiration?
Bwacha: I don’t see that as a threat to the future of the party. Remember, it is the ruling party and it is not just easy because of the competition and various interests. Remember, people go to where things are happening, and because it is happening in the APC, there are bound to be contending forces and power play here and there What you see in the postponement going on is to get all clusters of interest to fuse together to have a common understanding, that is the position so far.
PT: What do you consider as the most critical factors going to the general elections next year?
Bwacha: What I know is that political activities have heightened in all the political parties, so as we face the general election, we are conscious of certain indices in the polity, like insecurity, like factors that could affect the economy, and a couple of other things. But essentially, these are things that we are familiar with and this is a year of heightening political activities so we are not expecting anything different.
PT: Your take on Governor Darius’ style of politics?
Bwacha: Well, I will leave that to those who are in Jalingo (the state capital). But at the appropriate time, I will speak on that. We have a lot to say, there is still time and the time is on our side.
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