Frank: why our party is divided
Mr. Timi Frank is Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Congress (APC). Frank, who is of the defunct new PDP bloc of the APC, insists that the party is already divided. He told ADAMU ABUH that the ongoing trial of the Senate president, Bukola Saraki is evidence of the crack within the party.
Going by your recent utterances, do you think there could be implosion in the APC?
I have said it times without number that there is division in the party. Whether we are going to survive or not, it is only God that will tell. Some of us don’t want this party to break or scatter, because we are committed and loyal to it. And we want this party to succeed beyond 2019. But how can we do that again? It is for us to come together the way we started earlier on to bring this change. If we continue to come together as one, we will sustain the ‘change’, if not, maybe it will change us at the appropriate time.
You saw the exchange between Tinubu and Kachikwu and how the Presidency stoutly defended Kachikwu. Don’t you think it is sign of trouble within the party?
The Presidency has the right to back whoever it wants to. If it choses to back Kachikwu, it means Kachikwu is doing the right thing. So, as a person, I’m not going to be against what the Presidency has said.
You are so passionate about the Saraki saga; do you think the party has done enough to save him?
I stand on my position that the party has not done enough to save the situation on Saraki’s case. I can tell you clearly that it can affect the party; if we are not careful with the issue, it can lead to its break up. Come; let me take you back again. It was Amaechi ‘s case that brought the change agenda today. So, if we are not careful now, it could still happen. Some will be laughing now, because Saraki is going through this hurdle, but tomorrow, it could be another person. Today, I’m crying that the party is victimising me, preventing me from being its spokesman, it could be another person tomorrow. The case of Kwankwaso is also there. He is being victimised by a section of the party and nobody is saying anything. So many people have been suspended in some states and the party is not saying anything. We have seen the case of Senator Shehu Sani in Kaduna dragging back and forth. So, there are so many issues that the party at the centre has not done much to present a common front. I have always been saying this, if the party’s leadership at the centre fails, including myself that is part of it, then we should go and hand it over to those people who can bring us together.
Does this presuppose that you don’t have confidence in the chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led national executive committee of the party?
Well, at the appropriate time, I will speak on that.
When you said you were unhappy with the party over the Saraki saga, are you saying he should be left off the hook?
I believe the party should take a side. It is either you are supporting Saraki as a party and strengthening him or you make it very clear that he must face the wrath of the law. But not to sit down quietly and you are not saying anything, whether you are for Saraki or against him. You don’t need to pretend. For somebody like me, it is my duty to protect him, because I am a party man, and I know the price Saraki paid to bring change to this country. We do not need, as a party, to pay a good man with evil. Saraki is a good man, who has not only worked, but is very loyal to this party. There is nothing this party wants that he has not given to it. There is nothing the government at the centre wants that Saraki has not given.
He has done all of this, why do we have to treat him this way?
So, he shouldn’t be made to face the wrath of the law if he is accused of wrongdoings?
Again, this is the same issue. Does it affect Saraki alone? The answer is, no. Let’s go back to the books; if the Code of Conduct Tribunal had this same issue that affected one of our national leaders in the past, and he was set free, based on one or two issues, then what is good for the goose is good for the gander. So whatever that is good for the national leader of our party that made them to give him soft landing or to clear the way, that same step should be given to Saraki as well.
Are you still bitter for not being allowed to play your role as deputy national publicity secretary of the party?
Let me take you back to the issue of acting or not acting, I’m still insisting, and I’m making it clear, that I’m the acting publicity secretary of APC. I’m saying it without fear or favour; I’m the acting spokesperson of the party. Those persons that do not want me to speak, Nigerians will start asking them questions, anytime soon, but I’m on top of my game, and I can tell you its not something I have to beg or lobby anybody. I don’t have any national chairman to beg, I don’t have anybody to lobby to get this position, it’s automatic, except the party wants to portray itself as not democratic or does not follow due process. If this party is a party that follows due process, I don’t need to beg and that is why I have insisted that I won’t beg or lobby anybody.
Whether they like it or not Nigerians on the streets know I’m the acting publicity secretary of this party. I have nothing to worry about that in a matter of short time, this will come to play out. I speak in my state in Bayelsa, people ignored me, I’m speaking again, it would happen soon at the national level that these things we are sweeping or hiding have started already. If anybody should tell you there’s no division even at the national level, they’re telling lies, I can tell you there are issues; there are very critical issues. The issue of the Senate President is still lingering, nobody is saying anything at the national level, but I tell you, any Nigerian that knows will tell you very clearly that with the body language of our party, as at today, if we are not careful, we are going to lose our popularity, it will be a very big disgrace that we have hands that are not competent at the centre to harmonise the aggrieved persons and make us to move forward. So, there is crisis in the party. We have too many divisions right now within the party, so I wont be scared to speak. That is my personal opinion and I have spoken again and I will continue to speak out.