Wabara who was the acting Secretary of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and clocked 70 on Friday, added that his travails saved his life.
Here are excerpts from the chat;
Your tenure as Senate President was cut short by your resignation. Looking back, how do you feel about the events that led to that decision?
God showed it to you in the heat of the controversy?
Yes. God showed it to me in the heat of the controversy that I should just leave. I was, at the risk of being immodest, powerful enough as Senate President to hold on to the Senate and close the Senate for about two weeks. Some senators then came banging on the doors of the Senate, saying that we should resist. But note that then the Senate was at the whims and caprices of the President, he had his boys, he had his people who danced to him for whatever. But spiritually, it was time to go.
You said that exiting that position kept you alive, were there threats?
No, there was none at all, but I would have been the first President of the Senate to die on active service. I knew how my health deteriorated that period because of the work. We were not sleeping till about 5 am, because of the work. These days I see some people occupy the position and still find time to do one thing or the other. If I have something doing, I put my all into it. I worked to a point that I felt like dropping. That is why I said if I had continued I would have dropped dead. The stress was much because we were there to satisfy all senators.
But it is surprising that Obasanjo came after you because many people thought you were doing his bidding
If indeed I was doing his bidding, he would have secured a third term. It was discussed. But you see, people with military background have a way of recruiting their own people. Maybe if I had military background, I would have understood when I was approached on the issue of third term.
They spoke in parables but I had made up my mind as a democrat. My answer to him when we were discussing all those things was “how can”? But we are now friends.
You have forgiven him?
How fulfilled do you feel at 70?
At 70 I give God the glory. I never thought I could get here. You know politics is a rough business. Many people died in the process, through assassinations. So I give God the glory that nothing of such happened to me. I am so happy and I feel very fulfilled.
What is your assessment of Buhari’s three years in office?
There is a difference between democracy and governance. Our democracy is going through a natural phase. But governance is completely a different kettle of fish. In a situation where government cannot provide security, in a situation where government cannot create jobs, in a situation where government does not know what nationhood is all about, you cannot tie that down to democracy. Our democracy is growing. If not, you would not have had the Senate President from the APC and his Deputy from the opposition party. That is democracy. But when it comes to governance, what you don’t have, you can’t give. I’ve never seen, even in faraway America where we borrow leaf from, that since the inception of this government, everybody in the cabinet is perfect; even those who cannot perform. So, it just shows that the man at the helm of the affairs does not know what he is doing.
What are the chances of your party in 2019 elections?
Our chances are very bright because Nigerians have tasted APC and PDP, so they will be the judge. However, politics is no mathematics, anything can happen. APC’s perceived failure does not translate into automatic victory for PDP. So, we have to do a lot of work. We have started with the apology to Nigerians and I’m sure Nigerians have accepted it. We must have made mistakes but that cannot be compared to the calamity that befell Nigerians in 2015. With our 16 years of experience we know where we went wrong. I don’t want to go into details.
How do you describe the fight against corruption?
All these so called fight against corruption are not real and nobody is above the law. If the government wants to fight corruption, then it should go after all those who have looted the country’s treasury not a select group of persons.
Do you have any regret at 70?
There are so many things that if I’m given the opportunity again, I will not do it the same way because I now know better. So, I pray again to God to forgive me my sins and to Nigerians, those that I offended on my way up, now that I’m down, they should please forgive me.
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