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2019: Nigerians Must Be Ready for Revolution, Says Balarabe Musa |RN

By ONWUKA NZESHI

 Balarabe-Musa

Former Governor of Kaduna State during the Second Republic, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, is one politician who is down to earth any time he airs his views on the state of the nation. In this interview with ONWUKA NZESHI, he delves into various contemporary political issues. Excerpts…

 

What is your take on the recent apology rendered by the PDP to Nigerians?
It is a sensible political reaction to the allegations against them. What the PDP has done is sensible. It improves its image in the eyes of the public. It means they can admit mistakes and hopefully, they can correct the mistakes.

But the ruling party has dismissed the apology as a hoax that should not be taken seriously
No. The thing is this, APC should not say a thing like this because whatever mistakes PDP made, the APC is making the same mistakes, with even more serious consequences for the country.

Are you saying that Nigerians should forgive the PDP for its mistakes?
Yes, honestly, we should forgive them. They should give them another chance. But that doesn’t mean that I am supporting the PDP or supporting the APC. No. I am just being fair to them and everybody.

What is your reaction to the Third Force springing up outside the main political parties?
We have been having such political coalitions with various names, particularly after the Second Republic, but let us give them a chance too. Let us not dismiss them with a wave of the hand but let us be careful in dealing with them. They have not promised us what their predecessors did not promise us. For instance, we’ve had groups that proposed mega alliances and mega parties and those who promised to change Nigeria in various ways.
Apart from this Obasanjo group, there is still another group which has not appeared but maybe they are afraid of appearing. They are a group of secessionists from both the North and South. These groups include the Afenifere in the South West; the Middle Belt Forum in North Central and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in the far North.

These are socio-cultural organisations in different regions. Why are you calling them secessionist groups?
Of course, they are all secessionist groups. If you know the history of every one of them including the Ohaneze, you will agree with me that they are secessionist groups. I am telling you what they are in reality. In the case of ACF, they are not so vocal about it but you know they have been secessionists right from the beginning. They don’t openly call for secession from Nigeria but they want Nigeria on their terms and if they can’t get it, they must secede. The same thing with the Afenifere; the same thing with Ohaneze Ndigbo and the other groups. The philosophy of these groups is that their ethnic or regional agenda must come first and Nigeria comes second. If they can’t get Nigeria on their terms, they will rather break away.

This is strange. Do you really believe that these groups are not socio-cultural organisations?
They are more than socio-cultural organisations; they are basically secessionists. They wear the toga of the socio-cultural organisation but basically, they are secessionist groups because, for them, it is not Nigeria first. It is their area first, Nigeria second. That is the truth.
I know you are surprised at what I have said but that’s the truth. The political parties are the only groups working for Nigeria. No matter how much you dislike the PRO, APC and the other political parties, they don’t champion the cause of one particular area, they champion the cause of one united Nigeria. I call them secessionist groups because they want a Nigeria created only on their own terms.

What could be responsible for people placing sectional interests above national interest?
It is a major challenge. Every country has nearly the same problems as we have in Nigeria but other concentrates on their national interest first and whatever sectional interest they have is secondary because they know that they need to have a country first before they pursue their individual interests. For instance, if Nigeria breaks up, do you think there will be anything left in Nigeria?
If the secessionists, particularly the ACF, Ohaneze and Afenifere, the three biggest groups; if each of them gets what they want then what will be left of Nigeria? If the ACF does not get Nigeria on its terms, they could secede. But after that what are they going to do? Is there really anything new they can bring to the table? After all, they have been involved in the governance of Nigeria right from the beginning. I think you know the leaders of these groups, ask them what contributions have they made when they had the opportunity to preside over the affairs of Nigeria. The same thing you should ask the Afenifere. Most of them have been involved in Nigerian politics right from the beginning. What have they done specifically for the West?
I will give you an example. We have now a political party solely for the East and that is APGA. What have they done for the East particularly? It is a regional political party based on ethnic sentiments. The party has even won governorship election in Anambra State and has been ruling the state since the party was formed. Can they point at anything significant that the party has done in furtherance of the interest of the South East more than the other political parties? I mean other parties such as NPN, PDP, APC and so on. Can they name any distinguishing achievement of any of these ethnic and secessionist groups? No. Nothing.

How do we get over this sectionalism and enthrone nationalism in Nigeria?
First of all, let us have a true Nigeria. The root cause of all these is the social, economic and system controlling all developments in the country and the political leadership produced by the system.
Both our economic and social systems are based on self-interest first and public interest is secondary or even non-existent. Let us change the system and the political leadership produced by the system. We need to have a system based on public interest first and enlightened self-interest, second.
In addition, let us by any means possible work towards free, fair and transparent elections capable of establishing a legitimate government in Nigeria.
Thirdly, let us begin the whole process by re-defining the leading role of the government in the economy to ensure peace, justice, equality, the dignity of the human person and progressive even development of the whole country. These are possible things to achieve and if we do these things, then we will be able to eliminate these divisive tendencies.
All countries that are advanced in terms of national unity, peace and progress have done what I suggested that we should do. If we adopt this approach we would have eliminated a lot of problems confronting us as a country.
Even the advanced countries have not solved all their problems but that has not resulted in the collapse of those countries or made it impossible to develop. Take for example Britain, Germany, United States and the rest of them, have some of these sectional tendencies but it has not made it impossible to govern with national unity, democracy and progress.

What is your reading of the political dynamics that will shape 2019?
Unless we work hard; unless those of us who are conscious enough, who have the vision, who are committed and who want to see a united, democratic and progressive Nigeria, make every sacrifice to bring these dreams about, the present negative state of the nation will continue until it leads to… well, we hope a constitutional revolution. If the constitutional revolution becomes impossible, we may have a proletarian revolution. These are the realities of life.

How do we achieve this constitutional revolution?
We should aim at solving our problems to avoid a distraction or disruption of social order. We should face our problems with a constitutional revolutionary approach. Constitutional revolution is possible, by which I mean, let the National Assembly, states houses of assembly and even the legislative arms of the local government councils be really what they ought to be. Let them work for the people and not for themselves. Let them be revolutionary in their work and by so doing they can bring about changes in the constitution which will enable us to solve our problem constitutionally or legally and without disruption of social order.
But if this becomes impossible, then the inevitable will happen which is a proletarian revolution. Check the history of all the advanced countries particularly the western countries we know are better: Britain, France, United States, Germany etc. They are today what they are because they got themselves involved in a constitutional revolution. Remember what happened in these countries before they got to where they are today. The American Civil War, during which they fought over two issues -slave trade and British colonial policy. Britain itself had to deal with a monarchy to enable parliament to function. The same thing happened in France and Germany. These were revolutions but constitutional ones.

If we are to embark on a constitutional revolution in Nigeria, what issues should we be tackling?
The issues are so many. The issue of restructuring will be part of it. Whether there is a revolution or not, restructuring is a normal thing. The only mistake in Nigeria is the misuse of the idea of restructuring which unnecessarily frightens some people. Every person who wants to know whether he is going accordingly or not; everybody who wants to find out whether what he is doing is right or wrong will have to review it. Restructuring means reviewing a system. For instance, we have lasted 100 years since the creation of Nigeria. We have adopted various types of government, adopted so many policies but now we see a lot of problems like corruption and waste of economic resources, political anarchy and the rest of them. Why should we keep suffering in these problems for 100 years without going back to find out what went wrong? How can we change things for the better? That is simply the goal of restructuring. It is only the political manoeuvres who want to manipulate things for selfish purposes that have made the idea of restructuring bad and frightening. But in truth, it means a holistic review of the state of the nation. What is wrong with that?   (New Telegraph)

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2019: Igbo Deserve The Presidency, They Are More Committed To One Nigeria – Balarabe Musa

Balarabe-Musa

Balarabe Musa, former Governor of Kaduna State, wants the 2019 Presidency zoned to the South East.

Musa said people of the South East were more republican than the North and other zones of the country.

Noting that Hausas and Yorubas were the problem of Nigeria, the former governor stressed that Igbos were more committed to one Nigeria.

In a chat with The Sun, Musa maintained that other zones of the country were afraid of the South-East because they were very competitive.

He said, “It was because the civil war hit them badly. The civil war ended over 40 years ago, we should forgive everybody and forge ahead. The Igbo felt not wanted in Nigeria or something like that. So it makes them slow down their commitment to the unity of Nigeria.

“They became committed to separation. So historically, it is the Igbo that are more committed to one Nigeria. Even now if you take the separatist tendency and look at the separatist tendency in the North by Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), in the West as represented by Afenifere, and in the East by Ohanaeze Ndigbo, that separatist tendency from the East is not as serious as that of the North and the West.

” It is easy to compromise once you bring sense of belonging to the Igbo separatists, they will go back to one united Nigeria. But in the case of Northerners, the Hausa and the Yoruba, it is very difficult because of this inhibition.

“You know, feudal arrangement makes it now difficult to convince the Hausa about the unity of Nigeria. But it is easier to convince the Igbo. So, why keeping the Igbo out of power for so long? Is it because of the civil war or because of the fear that they are more competitive?

“There is no doubt about it; Igbo are more competitive both in practice and history. The Igbo are more competitive than the Hausa and the Yoruba. The Hausa and Yoruba bourgeoisie are afraid of this, in particular when there is so much to share in Nigeria.

“They are afraid of the Igbo because they are not competitive. Igbo are more competitive because they don’t have inhibition. The inhibition of Hausa, the inhibition of Yoruba is not there. The Yoruba can only talk of Oduduwa, the Hausa can only talk to you about empires and so on.

“But the Igbo are not that inhibitive, they are more republican. You can say largely that Igbo are free thinkers; they are more free thinkers than the Hausa and the Yoruba, which means Igbo can take things on face value, while the Yoruba and Hausa will not. Igbo are more competitive in terms of economic activities. An Igbo man is more competitive than a Yoruba man and an Hausa man.”

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BOMBSHELL: Buhari Makes Me Sad – Balarabe Musa |The Republican News

buhari1

President Muhammadu Buhari

… For Failing Nigerians

Half way into the President Buhari’s tenure, elder statesman and former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa assessed and scored the Buhari-led administration low in providing effective leadership and dividends of democracy to Nigerians. In this interview with Henry Okonkwo, the National Chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) further faulted the president’s statement during his New Year speech on the lingering debate on restructuring the country. 

He also warned on the growing belief and calls to allow the private sector play a more prominient role in managing and steering the direction of key sectors of Nigeria’s economy.

Take a brief review of 2017, and tell us some of the situations or things that happened in the country that made you feel sad?

One of them is the inability of this government to perform. Because everybody expected this government to make a difference but they have not. In some areas they are even making things worse.

But they have always said that the rot they met on ground was so much and that it has hampered them from settling fully into governance and delivering dividends to the Nigerians

Didn’t they know the situation before they came in? They, at a time, were all in government including the president. Didn’t they have in mind what to expect on ground when the take over? What plans did they make to correct what they knew they would find. Nothing!

Okay. So what else disappointed you most in the country last year?

Increase in the level of unemployment, poverty and the virtual commercialisation of education. In all parts of Nigeria, a level 12 officer cannot educate his child up to the secondary level. There are so many things. These are just the few I have mentioned. So there is every reason for the loss of public confidence in governance.

And the worse part of it, before and during the Second Republic, in the election, you can easily observe with reason that such a person is capable of correcting the rot in the country. That was that time. But today, 2018, when negative situation in the country is even worse, you still cannot say who can do better than the present administration that has not performed well. Can you say so with honesty? So, we have a tragedy whereby the present government has not done well, and you don’t know who can come onboard to salvage the situation. It is a national tragedy and we have to face it. And this tragedy happened simply because of the deciding role money and power play in politics and elections. The person who is patriotic and capable cannot emerge, because only thieves emerge. So what else can we ask? We have no choice; there are no alternatives we have to fall on the least risk. That is a national tragedy.

The president in his speech has a firm view that Nigeria’s problem has more to do with process than structure. Do you share in that belief?

Of course I don’t. It is just like the people saying that the problem is with the leadership and for the fact that the system itself is responsible in creating the leadership.

First of all, it is very important to realize that what we require is restructuring. Restructuring means rebuilding and strengthening your work towards national unity, democracy and progress. Now we have survived for more than 100 years and it is self deceit to say that we don’t need to restructure the country to achieve more and prevent the lapses we experienced before. It is 100 years of nationhood, and anybody who thinks that throughout this 100 year we don’t need to review is deceiving himself. We see quite clearly the need for restructuring. Restructuring means fundamental change. That is what it means. There are fundamental changes that we have recognized that are necessary. To have lived for 100 years you need to review everything. You need to have a fundamental look at everything. 100 years is a long time. Many things have happened and we have identified lapses, we need to correct them. Particularly the last 20 years of those 100 years. We have seen the need for national unity. Up till now, we have not settled on whether we have one united country or not. We have secessionist tendencies everywhere throughout the country. We have secessionist tendency in the North, East, and West, everywhere. The secessionist tendency has been there even before Nigeria’s independence in 1960. And we have not solved the problem. So we have to take a fundamental look at our project of national unity. That’s one.

Secondly, we have to look at how much we have done to ensure democracy in the country. There is a lot of need, for instance; our electoral process is not free, fair and transparent leading to a legitimate government. We have seen how election has been bastardized. Now if you don’t have a viable electoral system you cannot have democracy. And you must have democracy before you can move forward. It is social progress. We have to have democracy in this country. We have to have a situation in which there is free, fair and transparent election leading to a legitimate government. We have to have a situation where the voter decides the fate of a political party and an election candidate.

Thirdly, we have to look at the government structure. Even the current structure is not efficient. We have seen the rot that has been brought about by the military in state creation. We have 36 states, and most of them are not viable. We have almost 30 of them unable to pay the basic pay to workers. In about 30 states the state government can’t pay workers. How can you say this is progress? To have a viable state we must go back to the regional arrangement where have regions that where viable. We never heard reports of any of the regions in the North, East, West and Mid-western being unable to pay workers’ salaries. We never heard such. We started seeing that only when states where created, particularly during the Second Republic when we had for the first time in Nigeria’s history a state government that cannot pay salaries of teachers. That was Benue.

That was the first shocker in our politics in the 1980s. Some states with effective leadership took action to make sure that that didn’t happen in their state. In our own state- Kaduna State, we went to the extent of calling all the local governments and asking them if they can pay teachers’ salary. Those of them who admitted that they had difficulty and might not be able to pay; we struck an agreement with them that the state government would take over teaching and the cost of teaching in the local governments. And that was what we did to avoid the situation of owing workers.

Now it is not the local governments but an entire state unable to pay workers salaries; not only teachers but workers.

Some states in Nigeria are unable to pay workers for months. How can we not talk about it? Did we hear such thing when we had regions? Why can’t we remember that we had a good time and return to that good time? Why can’t we abandon this system, and go back to the regional arrangement, where we can have like eight viable regions. Each region can create as many state and local government as it can cope with whatever allocation it gets from the centre. Of course, we have to reduce the allocation that goes to the centre. So we need political restructuring.

We also need social restructuring. For instance, that we are bogged down by calls for secession is simply because we have not reconciled ourselves. Gowon after the civil war introduced this system of reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation- the three Rs. Now if those three Rs had worked, we wouldn’t have to keep with the situation whereby some sections of the country doubt whether we need to be in one united Nigeria or we should have our way.

Then we must have reconstruction of the economy. At the moment now the state does not play the leading role in the economy. Every government, right from Babangida’s government up to the present government is talking about a leading role for the private sector in the economy. How can the private sector in the neo-colonial set up play the leading role in the economy. How can they; a private sector of which was not based on hard work, thrift and foresight; private sector that was built on stealing of public funds. How can you give the responsibility of the welfare of the people to that private sector? We must have the state play a leading role in the economy of the country to ensure peace, equality, and justice, dignity of the human person, progress and even development of the country.

Still on the speech, a lot of Nigerians applauded some of infrastructural projects the president said they would execute. Are you impressed at this?

Of course, I am not impressed in any way. How can I be when the ordinary people in a country that produce petrol, cannot buy it at a reasonable price? As I am talking to you now in most parts of Nigeria, a litre of fuel sells for N200. Our economy, in the name of privatisation has deteriorated so much. Why has the situation become so bad? It is because of the foreign manipulations that want to hand the leading role of the economy to the private sector. Our economy was stable and progressive when we had the leading role of the state in the economy. Back then one dollar was sold at one naira. Presently, there is nothing to enable the government to control prices, corruption and unemployment. How can you expect the private sector to solve this problem? Whether we like it or not the role of the public sector must be strengthened.  So that everybody must make public interest first and the enlightened self interest second. There is no other way round.

Calls for restructuring have been shot down severally…

(Call in) Those people that are talking against restructuring are the ones who are stealing public funds using the institutions we have today particularly the leading role of private sector. Look at the scandals in the oil industry, pension fund in everywhere. This stealing has been facilitated by the attempt to privatize everything and bring about minimal government input. That is the situation in which government can only just oversee key economic sectors.

But many have support the private sector involvement because they believe that government does not have any business running businesses, and that they should be left for investors from the private sector.

When do we have a private sector like we had in Britain, France and other places, where private sector thrived on the basis of forced slavery, and secondly on the basis of capitalism? Can we enslave any country to enrich ourselves? No.  The private sector is anti-progressive. 

Yes, we know certainly that there are areas where the private sector can operate for the health of the economy. But it can be done only if the private sector is controlled, and does not allow abuses. Saying that government has no business in running businesses is nonsense. All the progressive governments in the continent, even in America, in spite of their capitalism system brought about planning and subsidy. All these are interfering with the so-called public privatisation.    (The Sun)

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Economic Legacy: APC Chief, Balarabe Musa Tackle Goodluck Jonathan |RN

cec85-president-goodluck-jonathan5b15d

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

Niyi Odebode,  John Alechenu,  Olusola Fabiyi and Olaleye Aluko

The National Vice-Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (South-East), Chief Emma Eneukwu, and a  former governor of the old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, have berated former President Goodluck Jonathan over his claim that his government had good economic programmes.

Jonathan had, at the Non-Elective National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party held in Abuja on Saturday, said his government had a sound economic team.

Related: Corruption: We Didn’t Plug All Loopholes, I Did Well, Had Good Economic Team, Says Jonathan

He recalled that in 2012, there were flood disasters in many parts of the country, stressing that the floods damaged homes and farmlands on the plains of River Niger and River Benue, adding that despite the devastating effects of the natural disaster, there were no food shortages or arbitrary increase in prices.

On the economic front, he said his government provided focused leadership through institutional reforms which he said impacted positively on the fundamentals for growth, especially in the last four years of his time in power.

But Eneukwu, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, accused the former President of throwing the country into a mess.

He said, “Even a blind man in Nigeria knows that (Goodluck) Jonathan threw this country into a mess. Billions and billions of naira are being refunded and found in private houses. Is the money not being refunded by people who served under Jonathan?

“The man shouldn’t talk, he should bury his head in shame; his administration is almost the worst I can think of.  He never checked people who worked under him; it was free-for-all corruption.”

Also commenting on Jonathan’s statement, Balarabe Musa, said past presidents, including Goodluck Jonathan, played on Nigerians’ short memories.

Describing Jonathan’s handling of the economy as worse, Balarabe said, “Of course, Nigerians have short memories. What is our attitude to all the former presidents, particularly as to how they handled our economy?

“We seem not to have realised that they did less than the present. They are now heroes in a way. They are almost now gloating and trying to decide the fate of the country.

“The ex-President is not only to blame for our failures, his own was even worse. In the present, we have seen competence in a few things, but in his own (Jonathan) case, he showed competence in nothing. He allowed corruption to fester during his own time. But we are not sure if the present administration is not doing worse. This is because the state of the economy can only be reasonably determined by the state of the people.”

Meanwhile, the ruling All Progressives Congress has asked the Peoples Democratic Party to forget its idea of returning to power in 2019.

It alleged that the damage caused the country by the PDP when it was in power for 16 years was enough testimony of its alleged ineptitude.

The PDP had said during its Non-Elective National Convention that it was ready to take over the government at the centre in 2019.

Different members of the party who spoke at the event asked members of the former ruling party to get set to return to power in 2019.

But the spokesperson for the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, told our correspondent that the PDP was merely dreaming.

He said while there was nothing wrong in dreaming, it was wrong for the PDP leaders to think that Nigerians would trust them with power again.

He said what “Nigerians are thinking now is restructuring,” which he said, was not the focus of the PDP.

Abdullahi, who was a former minister of sports, said, “The PDP will not come back to power in 2019. For me, it is a mere expression of a wish, which will not come to pass.

“They are talking about what they wish and not what is on the ground. The biggest issue now that Nigerians want is the restructuring of the country. The PDP does not think that way.

“Does the PDP, which was in power for 16 years, has anything like that in its manifesto, the answer is no. So, the party should forget it.”

When reminded that something close to it was in the report of the 2014 Constitutional Conference which the present APC government had refused to implement, Abdullahi said the last administration was also not ready for the implementation.

“What did that government do with the report which was submitted to it about a year before the election? Nothing. So, how can they be talking about restructuring,” he asked. (Punchng.com)

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Ohanaeze, Afenifere, Balarabe Slam Kwankwaso For Supporting Anti-Igbo Threat

 Rabiu-Musa-Kwankwaso
                                     Rabiu Kwankwaso

Adelani Adepegba, Ihuoma Chiedozie, and Olaleye Aluko

The pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo have condemned Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso’s opposition to the call for the arrest of northern youths, who said the Igbo should leave the North before October 1.

Prominent Nigerians and groups including Afenifere, Ohanaeze and the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, have demanded the arrest of the youths by security agents.

But Kwankwaso was reported on Thursday to have opposed the call for the arrest of the youths. According to a national newspaper (not The PUNCH), the former Kano State governor in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday said the youths should be engaged in dialogue.

However, Afenifere and Ohanaeze, in separate interviews with The PUNCH on Thursday described the former governor’s position as unfortunate.

The Deputy Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Mr Chuks Ibegbu, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Enugu, said  Kwankwaso’s position should be probed.

The Ohanaeze spokesman said, “Nobody is above the law so the security agencies should investigate him.

“We want to warn that those that are fanning the embers of disunity should desist from doing so, because, if at the end of the day, the country descends into anarchy, they will also lose out.”

Ibegbu added that Kwankwaso’s statement did not come as a surprise.  “We have not forgotten that when he was governor, he stated that there was no need for more states to be created in the South-East. He said the land mass of the South-East would not support a new state, but he chose to forget the fact that state creation is not just about land mass but population.

He advised Kwankwaso, whom he said wanted to be President of Nigeria, to turn a new leaf.

The spokesman for Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said he was not surprised by the ex-governor’s utterances, noting that he had always been known for his bigotry.

He stated that Kwankwaso was trying to position himself as a defender of the Arewa.

Odumakin said his statement had further confirmed the widely held notion that the northern youths had backers.

He said, “He (Kwankwaso) is trying to position himself as a defender of the Arewa and anyone who knows him over the years would have observed his bigotry and it shows clearly that he doesn’t believe in Nigeria.

“When a crisis happened in Ife, it was Kwankwaso that was making incendiary remarks and yet there are rumours that he wants to be president of Nigeria. We have noted his utterances.”

“When people like him talk about one Nigeria, it is pure deception. I endorse what the Southern Nigeria Youths Coalition said that they wanted a referendum to determine the future of the country. I support their plan to retaliate any genocide against the Igbo in the North,” the Afenifere chieftain said.

Also, a former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, said  Kwankwaso’s call to negotiate with Arewa youths was wrong, adding that the northern youths drumming the quit notice should be arrested.

Balarabe Musa said the arrest would serve as “deterrence” and uncover the sponsors of the youths calling for a quit notice.

He said, “There is nothing wrong in inviting the youths, but definitely, the position of the Kaduna State Governor, El-Rufai, calling for arrest is the position of the majority of Nigerians. The call of people is that these young ones must be held responsible for their actions, not just to teach them a lesson for their crime, but also to expose those behind the quit notice.

“This is because the quit notice is clearly illegal and unconstitutional. How can you tell another Nigerian to quit and then give a date? That means that after that date, the youths can do anything illegal. The Federal Government and 80 per cent of Nigerians are clearly opposed to this notice. All the steps being taken by the government are correct and the government should immediately arrest these youths. Kwankwaso is wrong and the Kaduna State governor is right.”  (Punchng.com)

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Buhari’s Two-year Government Is Pure Civilian Dictatorship |The Republican News

Alhaji Balarabe Musa

Second Republic governor of Kaduna State, Mr Balarabe Musa, speaks on the state of the nation.

It is May 29, another Democracy Day? What is your take on the state of the nation?

May 29 has nothing to do with democracy, it is just a day in Nigeria’s history when the military handed over power to a civilian government. So that does not amount to the day being called Democracy Day. Democracy means more than that. Democracy means the absolute will and supremacy of the will of the people. This administration is not fit to be called democratic, it’s mere political manipulation to cover the reality. The reality is that there is civilian dictatorship in Nigeria! But it is being presented as the will of the people.

Are you saying that what we have is far from the will of the people?

It is absolutely far from the will of the people! With the level of disunity in the country and dictatorship, do you call that democracy? How do you call what we have democracy when there is this high level of poverty and anger in the land? How can you tag this as democracy when there is the leading role of the private sector in the economy? The disabling level of corruption cannot be such a thing that would happen in a democratic setting! Let us stop deceiving ourselves that we have democracy by calling May 29 Democracy Day.

With the fight against corruption by this administration being hailed, do you see this as an achievement?

Government is divided into the legislative arm, the executive arm and the judiciary arm. The two heads of one of the three arms of government, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, have made it quite clear that the anti-corruption campaign is not realistic and has been affected by a number of negative factors such as political marginalization, revenge and selective punishment. These factors have taken over the anti-corruption campaign!

Some groups have been calling for the restructuring of Nigeria. What is your stand?

Some people are actually agitating for legislative restructuring in Nigeria is very necessary. Since the amalgamation of the Southern and the Northern protectorates in 1914 by our colonial masters, we ought to have realized that there are many things we ought to look into, like reviewing some of our policies, and in the process dropping the insignificant once that are not moving us forward as a nation and deepening the ones that would better the lives of citizenry. For instance, the dividing of the nation into 36 units has not favored us as a nation. We ought to go back to when we were running four regions.

Every country worldwide has a system that works for it. But in Nigeria self interest comes first while public interest is secondary. We should take that out if our system so that public interest comes first and self comes last. From the colonial rule up till the military took over in 1956, the system controlling development in Nigeria was based on public interest.

That was the reason we did not have at that time this disabling level of corruption back then. Nobody could steal public fund unlike what you have today. People are agitated about the issue of poor power supply but this can be taken care of when we put public interest first and we are selfless.

But it is believed in many quarters that the 2014 National Conference report, if implemented by the Buhari administration, is what we require to take us out of our structural challenges. You don’t share that view?

Former President Jonathan’s National Conference is nonsense! It doesn’t represent the will of Nigerians. Jonathan brought about that conference in order to facilitate his second term bid! So why should Nigerians be boxed into accepting the report? One of the challenges we have as a people in Nigeria is the gap in education between the North and the South. It is 40 years gap. It means the North is 40 years behind the South in educational development. With such gap, how do you expect unity and who do you think would be at the forefront forever? As long as the gap is not bridged, the North would feel threatened. That is the problem. And it has been like this since the inception of Nigeria. For instance, in 1951, there was only one secondary school in the North, while there were about 100 in the South and nothing was done to bridge the gap. For as long as this continues, we may not have peace and progress in this country.

Do you think the South-East has had a fair share in the affairs of Nigeria since after the civil war?

Sincerely, the South-East has not had their fair share since after the civil war. Their marginalization is quite obvious. If the policy of reconstruction, reintegration and reconciliation of Gen.Gowon and the late Gen.Murtala Muhammed had continued, the agitation by the few Igbo for the Biafra state would have been a thing of the past. It is the marginalization that is making a small section of the Igbo to agitate for Biafra. If the reconstruction and reconciliation policy had been continued, there wouldn’t have been any need for Biafra because the number of the Igbo asking for Biafra is not more than 10 percent.

The majority of the Igbo crave for a better Nigeria particularly because of their civil war experience and they are prepared to fight for the unity of Nigeria. The majority of Igbo leaders have said in clear terms that they want a better Nigeria where they can expand because their people are enterprising in nature. And as you are aware, people that are enterprising would prefer a big community to a small community. Some of them desire a better Nigeria because they don’t want the previous experience of war to repeat itself. But the agitation for Biafra is a ticking time – bomb just as the level of poverty in Nigeria.

Like I said earlier, the system of development in Nigeria tends to divide the people. There was a time in history when the Igbo were targeted and isolated because they were enterprising all because of the system that operates in Nigeria. And it is possible the system continues to marginalise some people until there is a brutal revolution.

What would be your advice to this administration in that regard?

There is no point advising them. What you can do is to compete for power and change the situation. Because how do you advise somebody whose position is always negative. Chairman of APC, Chief Odigie – Oyegun said recently that the situation in Nigeria will not change for the next eight years. Oyegun is the Chairman of the party controlling the government. So should we allow them to continue when they cannot bring about any obvious and qualitative change. What Oyegun said is an evidence of the complete failure of APC government. Mathematically it’s means if we rely on APC we will never get out of our predicament forever.

How do Nigerians go about the actual change they envisage as a people?

The first step is to reconcile Nigerians. Secondly, the system controlling the country is based on self-interest first and public interest secondary. This system should be changed in favor of public interest first. And we can begin this by taking leadership role in the states to ensure peace, equality and justice and we take it up to the development of the whole country.

Vanguard

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