Connect with us

NATIONAL NEWS

2015: Expect the worst – Balarabe Musa

Published

on

Second Republic governor of old Kaduna State and leader of the nascent Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, Alhaji Balare Musa may be versed in the socio-political dynamics of Nigeria, but he is averse to the surging sentiments of rotational presidency that has recently raised hairs, pitting the North against the South in the rocky race towards 2015 elections.

Swimming against the tide of deep Northern currents, he tells Sunday Sun characteristically in his modest Kaduna home that “Nigeria is at the end of the road,” following the deepening North and South polarisation. He fears that if indeed the 2015 elections becomes a reality, the nation may go down with it.

Musa therefore, concedes that the president can come from anywhere. “This zoning is not sacrosanct. We don’t have to insist that any stupid person must be in power just because a particular position is zoned to his area. The president of Nigeria should be evaluated on the basis of competence and capacity to lead, not because he is from the north or south,” he insists.

In the same breadth, he comes down heavily on President Goodluck Jonathan, describing him as incompetent and useless to his South-south geo-political zone.

His candid assessment of past Heads of State is unreserved: They were all passersby in government, with the exception of Generals Yakubu Gowon and Murtala Mohammed; even as he balances his equivocation with a critique of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying “when you balance everything, he was like a devil.”

The ex-socialist oriented governor, goes deep down to the dreaded “Kaduna Mafia” that held the nation by the jugular for decades. Reeling out names of the mafia, he traced the history of its emergence, the methods, and how it ruled till it began to fizzle out in the 90’s

Shockingly, Musa prefers the ruling and heavily criticised Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the new opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, because “ideologically, PDP is preferable, because it has roots, it has history. You know clearly what they are identified with, you know that they are capitalists.”

He bemoans the superseding power of money politics in the country which has asphyxiated capacity and competence in leadership. He speaks on the emergence of a new third force which he calls “Alternative third alliance”, that will provide Nigeria with an alternative to the PDP and APC. The third force is bringing all the registered political parties together to form “a democratic and electoral alliance,” making the party structure in the nation a tripod.

He, however, throws his hat for any party that will enhance the survival of his PRP now, and for all times.

On the death of ex-President Musa Yar’Adua, which is largely perceived as creating a power void in the North, leading to the high tempo of Northern opposition to Jonathan’s regime, he says it means nothing to the North. “As far as we see it, the death of Yar’Adua transferred power from the Northern section of the Nigerian bourgeoisie to the Southern section of the Nigerian bourgeoisie.”

Musa, who rejected his nomination to the ongoing National Conference, describes it as “the President’s Committee”.

He speaks further, candidly with avid thrusts.

Excerpts.

Your state, Kaduna, is dripping with blood. Why is the state ever so often in the news with bloodletting and communal strife?

What is happening in Kaduna State for a very long time can happen in any state in Nigeria, because Nigeria is controlled by a social, economic, political system which is based on self interest first, public interest second. As opposed to what we were used to in the first and second republics, that is public interest first, enlightened self interest second. Now, this has brought about individualism at a time when there is a lot of loose money in the country. Which means that anybody who is rich can organize violence, that can lead to loss of lives and property, and get away with it.

Are you suggesting that the violence and strife in the state and by extension, in the country, are organized by these people?

Of course. The vast majority of Nigerians are poor and hungry. How can they afford to organize violence. And you know this violence is organized. You should also know that during the colonial times and the First Republic, we used to have organized violence only in long intervals of 25 years or more. And whenever that happened, it was properly investigated and those responsible were properly dealt with in a systematic manner, in a way which will be a lesson to others. But you know, since the Second Republic, this organized violence became very regular. Even when it was investigated, nobody is punished, and they get away with it. It is as if the loose money arising from oil wealth is a problem, and every individual organizes violence and gets away with it.

To what extent are the elite involved in the drama of Political control in the state?

Well, quite a number of the elite are involved, because they are  the ones who provide the money to organize violence and use it as a vehicle for political positioning to enable them become even richer.

There was once what was called ‘Kaduna Mafia’. Nobody hears of it again. In those days they called the shots in Nigeria. Why are they unable to resolve the strife and the insurgency in some parts of the North. Is it still relevant or it has fizzled out?

No. Actually Kaduna Mafia is a phenomenon that arose from the vacuum of power in the North, with the death of the Sardauna. So, a few elite came up and informally organized to fill this vacuum of political power, particularly as it pertained to the south. Gradually, they became kingmakers in the country, particularly under the regime of General Yakubu Gowon. It was they who organized themselves and actually helped General Gowon’s regime to succeed. They helped  General Gowon’s regime to link up with their counterparts in the south, first in the form of super perm secs. Actually, they helped the Gowon regime to succeed, and we must admit that the Gowon regime actually succeeded in keeping the country together, and solving the problem – at least substantial part of the problem that arose from the civil war. It was a vehicle that helped Gowon. So, they played a very positive role. But gradually, they became so powerful and began to be kingmakers even in politics. For instance, during the Second Republic they played a great role in deciding who was who in the country; not as Kaduna Mafia, but as emerging national bourgeoisie. They decided during the Second Republic who became permanent  secretary, who became chairmen of boards of corporations, who won elections, and so on. It was when Murtala Mohammed came on that they were placed in their own place. So, Kaduna Mafia, was an informal organization that arose from the vacuum created by the death of the Sardauna, and gradually they linked up with their counterparts in the south. In the south, they really became a group that can’t really be easily identified, and therefore you can only say they were the elite in the civil service, and even in the private sector. These southern elite linked up with the Kaduna Mafia, and became the nation’s bourgeoisie.

Would you say the Kaduna Mafia has links in our political struggles today?

Actually, they have faded out. You can’t identify them in any form. We know the individuals who were the leaders of the Kaduna mafia.

Who are the leaders?

I think, Mamman Daura is still alive. He was the Managing Director of New Nigeria Newspapers. There is Adamu Ciroma; who you know very well. In the south, there is Phillip Asiodu. They constitute the leadership of the Kaduna Mafia. To some extent, even Chief Olu Falae was one of them, even though his role was diluted by ethnicity, and he couldn’t be as visible as others.

So, Kaduna Mafia at first was a progressive movement, but later it became reactionary; particularly after the Second Republic, and eventually faded away.

At what point did they completely disappear?

I can say after the Second Republic, towards the end of Shehu Shagari’s administration. They were very strong in Shagari’s administration. By that time, they ceased to be referred to as Kaduna Mafia, but as a growing national bourgeoisie.

So, they had no hand in the many military coups that came after the Shagari administration?

I don’t think so. Well, a few of them. Yes. A few of them had hands in the coups but not in an organized fashion. I was with them at Kirikiri prison. So, I know what I am talking about.

Who are the few that were involved in the coups?

No, let’s leave that.

Okay. You are not participating in the on-going national conference. Are you tired of struggles?

First, I would have been there because most of the people there were selected. In my own case, to be fair, I was selected by two organizations, but I turned down the offer; because the national conference is not what we have in mind. We have our own idea of a national conference, a truly national confab, composed of elected members – at least 80% elected members. That was our idea. But you know, the national conference that we have now is not really a national conference because members were not elected. The best description for it is a committee of the president for the president’s political ambition, or purpose.

Do you subscribe to the notion that the 2015 presidency is for the North, or never?

I think the situation in the country is so terrible. We are not even sure of the continuity of the unity of the country, We are not sure of any sense of responsibility. Anything can happen in the country today. I think we are at the end of the road. So, I think it is not important for us to think of where the president should come from. Let the president come from anywhere; but let him be capable of solving the problems of the country. That is more important. I am sure that in spite of the complaints of ethnicity, North – South polarisation, the vast majority of Nigerians prefer to have a president from any section of the country. For us now, we have these characteristics of the negative state of the nation – corruptions, criminal level of stealing, and waste of resources. This inability to conduct free, fair and transparent election leading to a legitimate government. This level of poverty; this level of insecurity. Can we solve these problems through zoning? Even if zoning is alright, yes you can zone; there is nothing wrong with zoning because it gives every section of Nigeria a sense of responsibility. This zoning is not sacrosanct. We don’t have to insist that any stupid person must be in power just because a particular position is zoned to his area. The president of Nigeria should be evaluated on the basis of competence and capacity to lead, not because he is from the North or the South. At the moment now, the presidency has been zoned to three of the six geo-political zones. But have we seen any difference? The President has come from the North numerous times. The President has come from the South West. The President now is from the South-South. Has anyone of them solved any of the basic problems of this country? No. In fact, things are getting worse because of this zoning. So I think we are in a dire situation and we should solve this basic problem by electing the best and most capable candidate from anywhere in the country.

Why is the North apparently up in arms against President Goodluck Jonathan?

I think every Nigerian should be up in arms against Jonathan. Even people from the South South, what have they got? What have they got? Even, whatever they got, they didn’t get it from Jonathan. They got it from previous governments. What did they get other than the shout that “he is our man”. But what did they get?

Are you saying he lacks competence, even to his own people?

I believe that of the past presidents that were incompetent, he is one of them. He is not the only one, but he is one of the incompetent presidents we have had in this country.

Why are we always having incompetent presidents or leaders?

Because of this idea of zoning, and because the elections have never been free, fair,  transparent, and capable of establishing a legitimate government. If we can have free, fair and transparent election, and the election is not decided by money power, that’s the best way to have capable people in positions of power. Of course, we have capable people, who were exemplary, they all came from the North. This is very unfortunate. We also had one from the South West, who was capable, but unfortunately was a devil.

Who was the one from the South West that was a devil?

Obasanjo. Obasanjo was his own man. There is no doubt about it. Obasanjo was nobody’s stooge unlike so many of them in the past. He was his own man, but he was like a devil. When you balance everything, he was like a devil. The two capable people, we ever had in Nigeria that we can be proud of, only two really. One could have been capable, but had so many problems. They were outstanding really and happened to be more acceptable – they were Gowon and Murtala Mohammed. Throughout the history of Nigeria, these were the outstanding leaders.

What about IBB (Babangida)?

IBB. No. I wouldn’t say so.

Let me take you to your party PRP. It is still fledgling, and surprisingly when these parties were coalescing into APC, you did not take your party to APC, which is now the most prominent opposition party in the country. Why did you not merge with APC?

PRP is committed to socialist reconstruction of Nigeria starting with the leading role of the state in the economy, to ensure peace, equality, dignity of the human person and progressive  development  of the country. Is APC anywhere near that? APC, ideologically is not different from PDP. It is only the style that differentiates APC and PDP. It is only style.

In other words, you are saying APC is not a viable option to PDP?

Definitely. We that have neither merged with PDP, nor APC, are thinking of establishing a third alternative alliance. The parties will maintain their seperate identities. But they will go into a democratic and electoral alliance which will make them contest every election in the country. No member of the alliance will contest against another member of the alliance.

Which are the parties involved?

They are many. At the moment now, we have Social Democratic Party led by Olu Falae, we have PRP under my leadership, we have Fresh Democratic Party, we have Hope Democratic Party, we have PPP, and we are trying to woo Accord Party, DPP, and Labour Party. Labour Party started the whole process with us and we hope we’ll be together. The idea is, if you have not merged with PDP, or APC, and you know you can’t stand alone, then come to a group which collectively can move democracy forward in this country. You know, for instance that if these parties come together in a democratic and electoral alliance; at least we can create a democratic alternative. We can make the difference. At the moment now, PDP and APC can’t change anything, about the negative state of the nation, because after all, all those in PDP and APC were in government before.  And they are in government today. PDP has 18 governors, APC has 16 governors. What difference will it make? No difference. The third Alternative Alliance will be different. Definitely, we hope we have not decided on that, but we hope we will build a system for a major role of the state in the economy consistent with the provisions of chapter II of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Bloodletting is fast becoming a past time here in Nigeria. What political measures would you recommend that should be taken to stop the orgy?

No political measure will make the difference. The only thing that will make a difference is a change of the socio-economic and political equation, from the one based on self interest first to the one based on public interest first, and enlightened self interest second. As I told you, during the colonial era and the First Republic, we didn’t see these. It happened. Yes it happened at long intervals of 25 years or more, simply because at that time, the leading role of the state in the economy was in existence. Of course under colonial system and during the First Republic under the initial bourgeoisie, but a more responsible bourgeoisie than the one we now have.

Then what do you consider as the biggest threat to Nigeria’s unity today?

I think the quality of the politicians is very low. This is simply because, not only because of the socio-economic system controlling all governance structures, but this particular feature of the deciding role of money power in politics and election. That is what decides.

You have battled the ruling PDP for a very long time now. The emergence of APC is a counter force. Between PDP and APC, which one is the real devil?

I think it is not PDP. It is not, because we know it. And we have known PDP. PDP and PRP are the only political parties in Nigeria that have been distinctly based on ideology. PDP right from the beginning, kept a pact with its predecessors. PRP right from the beginning associated with the working class, with social welfarism.

So, PDP is ideological?

Yes. Definitely PDP is ideological.

Then why do people say it is evil and self serving?

Maybe because it is implementing a kind of corrupt totalist system. Their capitalism was established with corrupt money from public service.

But some of their governors and other elected public functionaries are now in APC. So what do you make of that?

That is why we say there is no difference between PDP and APC. But you can say ideologically PDP is preferable because it has roots, it has history. You know clearly what they are identified with. You know that they are capitalists. But you cannot say so with APC. But if I were to be forced today to choose, I go for PDP. You know that, for instance, in the PRP today, because of this threat by the electoral body concerning its survival, let the PRP and what it stands for survive. That can make one deal with even the devil without being the devil or being devilish. In other words, if for the sake of survival, we have to align with either the PDP or the APC, then we have no scruples. We too are enlightened opportunists. It is quite clear, because we are talking about survival; the survival of the party, and the survival of what the party stands for. What it stands for is social reconstruction of Nigeria. If either of the two will help us survive, then no problem.

We will not dine with the devil. They will not want us to survive. APC does not want us to survive. PDP does not want us to survive. And we must survive, and we will survive, and we have always survived. We are the oldest political party in the country. We are now 64 years old. Since we were established in 1950 as NEPU, we came out with clear ideological position and we have maintained it. We started off on August 8, 1950.

It was first established by Clare  Ebam Ekuaro. He led the party for three years; before Aminu Kano came on later in 1953.

Since your impeachment in 1981, you have found it difficult to bounce back to that office. Why have you found it so difficult?

I did in 2011. Maybe you forgot. I contested for the governorship election in 2011 in Kaduna state, and I got only 20,000 votes.

What could have happened? You didn’t campaign vigorously or the people did not want you again?

We campaigned very well, in fact more than any other political party, including PDP. But you know money power is the deciding factor in parties and election in Nigeria.

Let us look at the presidential aspirants on the turf now jostling for Jonathan’s seat in 2015. There is former Vice- President Abubakar Atiku, former Head of State Muhammed Buhari, Kano state Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso and many others. Who would you support amongst them?

Whoever will support the survival of the PRP and what it stands for, because that is our primary objective. This is our challenge. The survival of PRP.

How do you think the wound inflicted on the North politically with the death of ex-president Musa Yar’Adua will be healed?

I don’t think the death of Yar’Adua inflicted any wound on the North.

The issue is that his death left the North without power for a long time, necessitating the unfolding hysteria.

As far as we see it, the death of Yar’Adua transferred power from the Northern section of the Nigerian Bourgeoisie to the Southern section of the Nigerian bourgeoisie. That is all it did. There is no qualitative achievement.

What do you see in 2015?

I doubt if 2015 will make things any different. I don’t expect free, fair and transparent election leading to a legitimate government in 2015. No. The conditions are not there. The condition existing now will make 2015 elections worse even, because it is the one who can pay, that will emerge as the president. He is not going to change the system. He is not going to deal with the multifarious problems confronting the nation. He will not be able to deal with the insecurity in the country. He will not be able to deal with anything fundamentally on the state of the nation. He can make things even worse. For instance, 2015 elections particularly with the present electoral body, 2015 elections will even threaten the continued existence of Nigeria and bring greater insecurity. I don’t think we should expect anything better. Things will be worse. In any case, there may not even be 2015 election. There may not be.

How do you think we can cut down the excesses of state power on the people?

You know the constitution has made good provisions for us to deal with this problem at least to some extent. But the problem is how can the corrupt leaders that will continue to emerge implement the constitution. For example, if you read Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution, it makes provisions to enable us to stand united, progressive. This section is violated. For instance, the section provides for a mixed economy without any friction between the public and the private on monopolising the economy. But what do we have now? We have privatisation, transfer of government resources to individuals at give away prices.

 


 

Credit: Sun News Online

CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

Published

on

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

Continue Reading

NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

Published

on

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

Continue Reading

NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

Published

on

Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

Continue Reading

Trending