Tuesday, August 26, 2014 5:07 pm
Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa is the former governor of defunct Kaduna State and National Chairman of People’s Redemption Party, PRP. The 77-year-old chartered accountant and politician is widely known for his left-wing ideology and has remained resolute about it despite his old age. In this interview with FEMI ADI, Musa, who was elected and sworn into office in October 1979 but was kicked out on 23 June 1981 by the National Party of Nigeria, NPN-dominated House of Assembly for failing to compromise his integrity, bares his mind on issues of impeachment, insecurity, the Chibok girls and ways to end insurgency. He also explains reasons the military may take over again.
Recently the Adamawa State lawmakers impeached Governor Murtala Nyako and in Nasarawa the same thing is being revived. What is your reaction to this gale of impeachments?
In the first place, it had affected other governors before Nyako. Between the time I was impeached and that of Governor Nyako, many governors, both within the ruling and opposition parties, were impeached. Now, let us clear an illusion that we have democracy, which people call nascent democracy.
We don’t have anything like democracy now in the country. We are either deceiving ourselves or are ignorant of the correct situation in the country. What is happening in Nigeria has nothing to do with democracy. What we really have is a civilian rule, as opposed to a military rule, which of course is desirable. But definitely it is far less than what can be justifiably called democracy. Democracy means the supremacy of the will of the people. Is there any indication of the supremacy of the will of the people?
There are institutions that have been established to concretise this idea of the supremacy of the will of the people, such as separation of power and so many other things, but they’re so bastardised that it doesn’t even make sense. Look at the high level of corruption, stealing and criminal waste of resources. Look at the level of insecurity, organised violence, collapse of public services and the unfortunate situation where over 20 million unemployed post-secondary school graduates are roaming the streets.
If you consider what I have mentioned, can you call the situation in Nigeria a democracy or even nascent democracy when this is the reality on ground? I am disappointed that few people wake up when they are fed up with a governor and call for his impeachment. Do you think impeaching a governor will solve our problem? No. Until and unless the lawmakers understand that democracy is not about impeachment, but providing the people with good governance and dividends of democracy, we’ll remain backward democratically. I was impeached by an NPN-dominated house of assembly, but was the house able to provide any meaningful development to justify their claims for my impeachment? Again, I say No. I can also tell you now that nothing good will come out of these impeachments you are witnessing at the moment.
You were once quoted to have said the way the present crop of politicians are handling the issue of governance is a sign of inviting the military to strike again, like they did in 1983 when Alhaji Shehu Shagari was overthrown. Do you hold the hold the view?
Definitely! Yes, I once said it is an indirect way of warning Jonathan. If you critically study the way things are going, you will see that this is how Shehu Shagari invited the military in 1983. He was told what to do about the state of the nation. He was also told by friends and even opponents. I can remember vividly, I personally met President Shagari, but I doubt if he considered all that we told him before the military struck. It was on the very day I was with President Shagari at about 9pm that the coup was announced.
This was shortly after I advised Shagari about the state of the nation; in particular, the renewed conflict between the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, and the National Party of Nigeria, NPN. And later, after the coup, when we were in detention, I got to know that Waziri Ibrahim also advised him on the same line and so did the Governor of Borno State at that time. At that time, his party leaders told him that he was invincible; there was nothing the opposition could do. Eventually, it led to my impeachment.
But it cautioned NPP, which was then in alliance with NPN, to withdraw from the alliance. For the NPN, it was the road to collapse. And the situation now is even more serious because in totality, while Shagari was identified with implementing the reactionary policies of the NPN, now Jonathan has been narrowed down so much, that he’s only identified with an ethnic group, not even the Niger-Delta, not the South-South, but with the Ijaws.
I hope I’m not correct, but this is the impression. Now, how large is the Ijaw nation in the context of Nigeria when we’re talking about power? Can you compare by any sense, for instance, the Igbo grievances which led to the 1966 coup with the grievances of the Ijaws today? If you regard the grievance of the Ijaws, however relevant or genuine, it is secondary in terms of national politics. But this is what he has identified with and he has not tried to make the people of Nigeria believe it is not so. I can be convinced it is so, only if we take statistics of the role of the Ijaws in the governance of Nigeria. It is then that the allegation can be justified; and nobody has done so.
It is now over 100 days after the Chibok girls were abducted by Boko Haram. What, in your view, is stalling the rescue of these girls?
Of course, it is obvious that it is incompetence on the side of the government. Those in government have been deceiving themselves that the work they can do and ought to be doing can only be done if they used former colonial masters and imperialists. This shows complete incompetence, because this issue can easily be dealt with by the government. In the case where the governments, both federal and state, have spent at least one quarter of the annual budget on security for the past two or three years including this year, without being able to contain the Boko Haram, is worrisome.
And look at this latest incompetence which apparently is being covered by a series of conspiracy amongst the Nigeria’s institutions! It was announced that President Jonathan has established a committee to deal with the problems of the victims of Boko Haram. There is no doubt that the establishment of the committee shows great incompetence on his side again.
First of all, he mentioned among the terms of reference that the committee will source money for assistance to victims of Boko Haram. Clearly, anybody who has sense, who understands the situation in the country, should be able to know that it is not possible for this committee to succeed without dialogue and amnesty. Because if there is dialogue and amnesty, however weak, the Boko Haram attacks will reduce because some of the members of Boko Haram must be tired by now.