Elder Statesman Tanko Yakasai has predicted that the 2019 presidential election will be a straight fight between President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He warned that the sentiments that appealed to majority of Northerners who gave Buhari victory over former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, are no more there for the president in the 2019 election.
In this interview with VINCENT KALU, Yakasai, a founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), called on President Buhari to act like Jonathan by not interfering with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of the coming elections.
What are you expecting from the political parties as the presidential and National Assembly campaigns kicked earlier in the week?
Unfortunately, in Nigeria political parties issue what they call manifestoes. Most of these manifestoes are the creation of the political parties themselves. They contracted people to write anything they feel will appeal to the masses, and they put it there just to get the votes. As soon as they got the votes, they forget their manifestoes, and we have seen it so many times. I hope that the two leading contenders will make realistic manifestoes that they can implement, and not general statements, but concrete issues.
The issue that is very critical is power. Without power, we cannot develop. People come and say they were going to provide power, but they don’t, and we still remain where we were.
I remember when APC said that in matter of six months that they were going to provide power, but how many years after, it didn’t come to pass.
Also, either early this year or late last year, I read that we were adding additional 9000 megawatts of electricity, and recently, I also read that Power Holding Company of Nigeria is struggling to reach about 4000 megawatts. What happens to the remaining 5000 megawatts?
Let the politicians that are contesting elections make honest, genuine promise that by the end of their tenure, they would be proud to say this is what I have achieved.
Corruption fight is going to be an issue in the campaigns. The ruling APC will insist that it is fighting corruption, but the opposition PDP will likely taunt them with unresolved graft cases in government circle. What do you say to this?
Look, I have said it many years ago that corruption fight by this government is only to intimidate political opponents and perceived enemies. If you are honestly fighting corruption, why is it that somebody who was questioned yesterday on account of billions of naira, the day he declared for the ruling party nobody remembers his alleged corruption again?
In fact, the moment anybody talks of corruption fight, my head aches; I just develop headache; the lies are too much for my head to accommodate, until I see the real thing. For instance, there are 36 state governors in Nigeria; I don’t remember the number of ministries we have, I know that a governor was fighting a senator of the same party, and eventually he emerged recognised candidate by INEC of that party in that state, the man has been serving senator and is alleged to be corrupt and he is not invisible all these days, that he could not have been arrested or questioned.
If there were going to be any promise to fighting corruption, at least with the people in power today, people would have seen the result. It should not be only members of the opposition party or opponents of the government that should be arrested, but everybody. To me, in all honesty, I cannot see this government fighting corruption. The case of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Lawal Babachir is enough to convince any doubting Thomas that the government is not sincerely fighting corruption. The case of the SGF was discovered by accident by an ad-hoc committee of the Senate, and he was indicted over the award of grass cutting contract at IDP camp.
A committee was set up in which the EFCC chairman was a member, the Attorney General was also a member, and other members, and they concluded their investigations and unfortunately the president was away for medical treatment, and when he came back he accepted the report, but didn’t see the reason to believe that the SGF has committed an infraction, even though he was removed. How many months now, what has the EFCC done in this matter? Since then, nobody has heard anything about it. Honestly, I see something better in the future, but now.
The DSS investigated the APC National Chairman over bribery allegation, and some people argue that the Secret Service doesn’t have the power to investigate him. Do you align with them?
I don’t know why it should be DSS, but whether they have the power to do that or not, the question is that what have they done? They invited him and he went, has he been arraigned? Why should it be shrouded in secrecy?
Kano State governor is also accused of alleged $5 million bribery but the state Assembly has stopped the investigation, and nothing is heard from the ruling party. What’s your view on this?
The matter is before the court, and I wouldn’t like to comment so that it would not appear that I have decided to swing the opinion of the court in one way or the other. When the court starts hearing the proceedings, then people will be free to discuss.
What is your projection of the February 16 presidential election, between Buhari and Atiku, who do you think has the chances of winning?
As a matter of fact, Buhari has been given the mandate for about three and half years, and most Nigerians didn’t see any change. This is a fact. Atiku has not tried, but we know that he is a former vice president and he has some experience, no doubt about it. Buhari is also a former head of state, and he too has some experience. Most of the factors that made Buhari defeat Jonathan in 2015, are no longer there.
One, in 2015, Buhari was a Northerner, while Jonathan was a Southerner. Two, Buhari was a Muslim, while Jonathan was a Christian. Thirdly, Buhari was Hausa/Fulani, while Jonathan was Ijaw. Those factors that appealed to the sentiments of majority of Northerners are no more there because both Buhari and Atiku are Hausa/Fulani; they are also Muslims, and Northerners.
So, it is everybody’s chance between Atiku and Buhari to succeed if they can win the hearts of the majority of the people, but the problem is if INEC will conduct credible elections. It is a fact that Jonathan appointed the chairman of INEC in his time, the INEC chairman at that time confirmed that Jonathan never interfered in the conduct of the presidential election, and everybody agreed because if he had interfered, he wouldn’t have been defeated.
So, my concern now, is the enormous powers in the hands of Buhari, and if he should act like Jonathan and avoid interference with INEC, that is number one. Number two, will INEC be bold enough like during Jonathan to commit itself to conducting free and fair election next year? These questions will determine the outcome of the election next year. If it’s determined to conduct free, fair and credible election in the country, then there is hope, if not, then there is no hope.
You are an elder statesman, you have seen it all and you know the two leading candidates, Buhari and Atiku; you also know the problems of this country, between these two candidates, who do you think can fix or reposition Nigeria?
There are two things. One, Atiku is a politician, while Buhari is not. He is a military man. Not that a military man cannot be a good politician, but experience has proven that Buhari is always a military man.
This is my assessment of the two men. However, I believe Atiku has the capacity to reposition Nigeria, since Buhari has tried, Atiku has not tried, so, let us give him a chance.
Between Buhari and Atiku who do you think that the north will queue behind?
Like I told you, Buhari is a military man, and experience has shown that he has not changed. If it is between Atiku and Babangida, for instance, I will tell you that both of them are politicians, but Atiku and Buhari, one is a politician, the other is a military man. The difference between the two is that the politician will listen and respect other people’s opinions, while the military takes order and gives order.
The post 2019: Why Buhari’s victory over Atiku will be tough – Tanko Yakasai appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.
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.”
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.
Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike
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.”
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