The governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, has explained the possible reasons that prompted late President Umaru Yar’Adua to turn against him becoming governor in 2007.
Masari, who was the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the botched constitutional amendment that saw to the ‘killing’ of the alleged third term bid of then President Olusegun Obasanjo, said Yar’Adua might have hinged his stance on his support for Obasanjo.
In an interview with Daily Trust, Masari said Yar’adua had “initially, in front of witnesses that are alive, said I should be governor.”
His words : “I was not desperate to be governor; so if for whatever reason he felt he didn’t want me to be I was not bothered.
“My problem with Umaru was that he did not call to tell me he wanted to be president. I was the one who bought the form of expression of interest for the presidency for him. I was among five people Obasanjo trusted to work on the project of Umaru’s presidency.”
On why he thought Yar’Adua decided not to support him after his initial promise, Masari said :” Simple! Because the constitutional amendment failed and Obasanjo was giving Umaru the presidency with certain conditions, would Umaru have said no to them?
” Of course you don’t need anybody to tell you that, but he didn’t offend me. Obasanjo might be right, because he came with a request which he believed I did not support and did not work for it to succeed. So for him, why should I succeed? It was a one-one sitution.”
Speaking on his bounce back from a seemingly political oblivion, Masari, who narrated his ugly encounter with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership, expressed gratitude to God for everything.
” I always thank God I have a very simple life. As governor, I can walk out, take a motorcycle, ride on it and go home without feeling anything.
“Umaru is dead, may his soul rest in peace, but Obasanjo is alive, Nasir el-Rufai is alive, Nuhu Ribadu is alive. I told Obasanjo I didn’t want even the position of a messenger under the government of Umaru in front of them all.
” I wanted to assert my independence, because I believe in God.
” When we left office; with the way PDP was going, Sen Ken Nnamani, myself, El-Rufai, Raymond Dokpesi and many more, some in the background, led a group for a reform of the party. Even Goodluck Jonathan as vice president supported us. We wanted to reform PDP. PDP had 29 states and over 500 local governments. We said if PDP was reformed other smaller parties would reform and we would have a better political environment and the development of democracy would be better for it. In that process, Umaru fell sick and a lot of things happened. We had a meeting in Dubai with Nnamani, El-Rufai, Ribadu and other people, I saw Adamu Waziri, about 54 of us, saying that Umaru should resign because he did not communicate to the National Assembly that he was sick. We looked at the issue, and Nnamani said he was going to issue a statement. Myself and Adamu Waziri said we were not going to withdraw our names, we agreed with it because denying it would make me look bad, myself and Adamu and El-Rufai, we refused. We came back to Nigeria, some of my good friends went to the press, saying that I did not support the movement. I called pressmen to correct it; that I supported what was written. Some people organised a protest in Katsina that I should be removed as Dallatun Katsina; that they were going to burn down my house.
“So about this reform which we wanted, what really shocked me was that Obasanjo supported us. Let me go back a little, PDP suspended me, Nnamani, Dokpesi, Peter Odili and most of us that were prominent when Jonathan became president. Namadi Sambo became vice president and was made chairman to reconcile us.
“He called us and said the party should issue a statement that they had withdrawn the suspension while the issues we raised would be taken to BOT and NEC. Subsequently, they withdrew the suspension and we went to the BOT chaired by Obasanjo and the BOT recommended that we should go to NEC. We went to NEC, Nnamani didn’t go. I represented the forum, governors one by one dressed us down, called us all sorts of names. I pitied Ahmadu Ali who wanted to support us. He was shouted down; by then he had stepped down as PDP chairman. What shocked me was that Jonathan was there, we had a meeting with him when he was vice president and he said if not for his position he would have joined us. We had a meeting after he became president and he directed his Chief of Staff (CoS) to liaise with us. But on that day, governor after governor, chairman after chairman were looking at my face, calling us all sorts of names, but he did not utter a word in our defence.
“So after the meeting, I said, “Well; men, I have no place in this place.”
On working with President Muhammadu Buhari to become governor, Masari said “It’s not as if I was knowing Buhari or his people for the first time. Having worked in the house, I want you to note, about 96 members in the House of Representatives are from the North West, of this 96, 60 at a time came from the ANPP. So to consolidate myself in the North West, I needed them. So my association with them, especially those from Katsina, was excellent. Remember, Ibn Na’Allah came from ANPP, even the governors of Zamfara and Sokoto were from ANPP.
“So it was not a difficult thing for me. I didn’t join ANPP, it was when CPC was formed that Hadi Sirika in particular from Jigawa and Farouq Adamu talked to me. We met Gen Buhari. It wasn’t difficult for me to be in CPC because the foot soldiers of Buhari from the North West are people very familiar with me.”