Former Kaduna State governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, has raised the alarm that there might be no hope for Nigeria politically unless Nigerians took a deliberate decision to sanitise the political system.
Musa, who stated this in an interview with Sunday Tribune, decried the situation whereby money power had been determining who become a leaders in the country, noting that “you cannot have a president in Nigeria as it is today or even a local government councillor who is not a thief or is being supported by thieves.”
According to the former governor and activist, no matter the level of knowledge or exposure of an individual, the Nigerian system will make it possible for such person to become an elected leader without money. He added that “the money that is easily come about is the money that is got through either stealing or made available by a thief who is hoping to recoup.”
The former governor, who also spoke on the ongoing agitations for restructuring, said Nigerians needed to make a choice between a constitutional revolution and a social revolution.
Balarabe specifically said he had warned Nigerians before the 2015 elections against the candidacy of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, because of his alleged lack of democratic credentials, coupled with inadequacies of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Alhaji Balarabe, who said the South-West had promoted a secessionist agenda “from the beginning,” said: “The Western region had always demanded for Oduduwa State. But, Awolowo was a little patient. Awolowo never campaigned on the basis of Yorubanism. You know he was a product of the Yoruba nationality. But, he never extolled war, even though he wanted Oduduwa State.
“He didn’t want it in a way that will scare other regions. He had moral restraint and political foresight, unlike leaders today.”
On the clarion demand for restructuring of the country, the former governor said there was an apparent confusion on the part of the promoters on the actual kind of restructuring they were talking about, but he believed restructuring could help in resolving the country’s challenges if properly defined and carried out.
“Yes, it can help. Yes, restructuring is very important. I am in support of restructuring. Once we can determine what restructuring is and what restructuring we want. At the moment, everybody is just pushing his own idea of restructuring; some of the ideas are advanced while some are backward. Return to ethnic nationality is backward. Return to a system whereby the human being matters more than anything is advanced.
“Now, what we are talking about restructuring in Nigeria; some are talking about the most backward form of restructuring, that is ethnic nationalities, while others are talking about the most fundamental and most advanced structure, for instance the leading role of the state in the economy to ensure peace, equality, justice, dignity of the human person and even development of the whole country.
“For instance, restructuring as far as I’m concerned, is made up of three or five components. The first is, are Nigerians reconciling among themselves to accept that they are one nation; to accept that let us have a system in which every Nigerian has the capacity to participate in the affairs of his country?
“Let us have a country where we can have unity and so on. To bring this about, you have to reconcile. We have to sit down at a constitutional conference to agree among ourselves how we can treat each other and live in peace. This reconciliation needs to be promoted by the government in power. But we don’t have the government in power that can do this.”
Also speaking to Sunday Tribune, Second Republic Presidential Adviser on National Assembly, Alhaji Yakassai, who has always accused the Yoruba leaders of a hidden agenda under the guise of championing restructuring, said the unity of the country, it was settled a long time ago.
He noted that there were some unscrupulous elements within and without still trying to undermine the corporate existence of the country.
“The president and many other committed Nigerians have already said Nigerian unity is not negotiable. The National Assembly has unanimously reaffirmed this assertion. This is also my position.
“But, that does not mean there are no more bad elements inside and outside the country who do not mean well for the nation. What is needed is for the leadership and the people of Nigeria to beware of such people and be at all time on guard about the issue of our national unity and protection of the territorial integrity of the country,” he warned.
On the perceived backwardness of the country 57 years after gaining independence from the British colonial masters, Yakassai said: “About the issue of some countries that were at the same level of development with us in the 70s and 80s which are now ahead of us, my position is that it was bad leadership that brought about that set back.
“I believe if we can continue to build strong democracy, our country will in due course overcome the problem of selfish and incompetent leadership at all levels thereby resume our journey to greatness.
“China, which at a time suffered similar problem in the past history, is today a great and respected nation after overcoming deficiency in their leadership situation. I am confident that as a nation, we too will be able to overcome our leadership problem in the nearest future,” he stated.
Pressed further on what he considered as the main problems with Nigeria and how it could overcome them, Yakassai said: “There are shortsighted people in Nigeria as there are some of them in many other countries, including the most developed ones.
“The amalgamation of Nigeria was not negotiated by Nigerians and the entity was handed over to the representatives of the Nigerian people thorough parliament which is the only body empowered by the Nigerian constitution to be the custodians of our sovereignty and no one else.
“Parliament is the only institution empowered by our constitution to decide the fate of Nigeria according to our constitution. This was caused by the usurpation of political power by our military and that was caused by greed and lust for power and money.”