IT’S becoming a tradition to evaluate public office holders after 100 days in office, what would you say of President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance?
The President could not have done enough in 100 days, though, 100 days goes a long way in the life of a nation. In the last 100 days, we expected we would have clear direction of government policies, what the government intends to do. The 100 days in office would have been enough to put all these in place before the implementation of those policies. It is unfortunate that the government is neither here nor there because none of the policies has been demonstrated, government has not demonstrated anything. The APC government promised Nigerians lot of things, they assured Nigerians that the government will bring change but they have nothing in place. So, it will be assumed that they were not really prepared to go into governance. Well, if the 100 days is wasted without anything, we can still pinpoint that the fear of Buhari is beginning to influence public attitudes in Nigeria. The power sector has improved but it is not because Buhari did anything. People became jittery the moment he came to power because he is a no-nonsense president and he is a man that does not tolerate corruption. He is incorruptible. Though, it is one thing for him as an individual to be incorruptible and it is another thing for him to manage the system with the kind of ideology he has and the ideology of our larger society. If he has his ways, he will do well but I also have the fear that he cannot run the government alone. Him alone cannot have the country on his shoulder and assume that he is the Alpha and Omega. No matter how brilliant he is, he is only but a human. So, he can’t be said to be perfect, though he has integrity.
So, there would have been clear direction of government policies or interest in the economy that will guide foreign investors on business decisions to ascertain level of safety or risk in their analysis and calculations. But as it is now, nothing is moving at all. The rate of poverty is higher now than ever in the country. Everything is static. Nobody wants to put his money on anything now. People are living in a total hunger. The country is sick. If the country is sick, it means that there is something wrong. If the country cannot provide for the people, it means there is a problem.
What do you mean that Nigeria is sick?
The country is sick because there is already a threat to our nationhood. The rate of suspicion is high, and those that have just been kicked out of power because of their failure to deliver in governance are not sleeping too. Those that think they hold the power have shown a clear indication that they are not prepared too. They are beginning to think of what to do because an excuse that they never knew there is so much rot in the system cannot be an excuse to Nigerians. They know all these before promising Nigerians change. It is expected that before they come to power, they must have their blue print and road map to ensure that as they come, they will begin to execute those things they felt are the problems of the country. Let us see the fight against corruption in practice not in the intent.
President Buhari said during his inauguration that he does not belong to anybody but to all, did you see him demonstrating this in his appointments?
The President is right in either way you look at the statement. He belongs to nobody means that he cannot be allowed to be subjected to anybody’s stooge which he has demonstrated and still demonstrating. In fact, some of them that think that they will corner him are not finding it funny because he cannot be cornered. Buhari disappointed those people who planned to control him in governance after the elections. Good he did not make that statement before the election, perhaps, he would have been dropped. Now, he has been sworn in, they are not finding it easy. If he says that he is for everybody, we must also be made to see him doing that to all Nigerians because that is the promise he must ensure that everything he does takes cognizance of everybody’s interest and for the betterment of the country. So, we must be mindful of our political decisions. He must take cognizance of all the federating units that make up the country. None of them, no matter how small, must be neglected. Every part must be treated equally because we are a nation where everybody has a stake to be treated equally. There is nowhere equity says that one part is greater than the other. When it comes to vote, one must use his voting power to get the benefit of that vote but when it comes to policy implementation every part of the country must be considered. We are not saying Buhari never meant well for the country. We must also be seen to be advising him. The president is vested with too many powers. Whatever he does, people will say it is correct because of the favour they get from him. But some of us must bring to the notice of the government their wrongs. So, we must ensure we guide President Buhari. We believe in his integrity and we also believe that if he is guided properly Buhari will perform better. So, our guidance was not to cast aspersion on him but to advise him and tell him this is how it should be done.
Do you see any of the president’s actions relating to ethnic sentiment?
If you want peace; you must be prepared to do justice and equity to all. No matter how you detain those that agitate for Biafra State, any time they perceive any form of injustice, they are bound to agitate against the government. It may not be good to us to break the country but leaders must be seen to demonstrate justice to all. If there is justice and equity in this country there will be no problem. President Buhari did not make MASSOB, he only met the problem, it has been existing for many years. From the onset, there were injustices meted on the citizens of Nigeria. Nobody would have felt marginalized and nobody will have any reason to think of breaking away. That is the reason some agitators are doing what they are doing. In as much as I did not support MASSOB, the leaders must be seen doing justice to all Nigerians. If there is justice, there would have been no OPC, MASSOB, Niger Delta militants and other groups, these are consequences of injustice.
You once predicted that Niger Delta militancy will be a child’s play to what another group may be; Boko Haram later emerged; do you foresee another group succeeding Boko Haram?
Well, sometimes if we want to address issues, we don’t look at the root causes of that problem. We only look at the surface of the problems without minding the genesis of the problem so that we can avert reoccurrences in future. When the Niger Delta struggle was on, they were so volatile; I predicted that if the government fails to address the problem properly, we are likely to be in a serious problem in the nearest future where another group may emerge from the northern part of the country. If measures were not taken, it might be more volatile than that of the Niger Delta and it came to be. I gave my reasons; one was our background; second, our level of consciousness; third, the level of education in the northern part of the country was a disaster and today we are into the disaster. Also the situation in the Niger Delta was uncomfortable when government failed to address it properly rather they granted amnesty to them. Amnesty was not the problem, the problem was that the people said that about 90 per cent of the resources of the country are being taken from their soil but the government was not doing anything for them. What the government did was to give money to some powerful individuals and leave the younger ones that are the foot soldiers. If anybody cuts of the head and the body is still working, then the problem has not been solved. If you look at the damages done by Boko Haram, there is no comparism between it and the Niger Delta militants. For Boko Haram, there is no exception when they attack. Bombs don’t know who is Hausa/Fulani or non Muslims or Christians. We condemned it and we still remain resolute. What will be the business of government to negotiate with that group? But some people out of mischief still say go and negotiate with them. The government is now negotiating with Boko Haram for exchange of innocent Chibok Girls with criminal insurgents. If we do not tackle the issue of Boko Haram very well, the next group that will emerge will not bomb markets or villages but will come to Abuja permanently and form their base.
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