By Olayinka Ajayi
Veteran politician and second republic governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, is worried that there appears to be a conspiracy to stop the 2015 presidential election.
Balarabe, in this interview, also speaks on the insecurity challenge the nation is facing, the hostilities between Fulani hersdmen and locals in some parts of Nigeria, and the on-going National Conference which he describes as President Goodluck Jonathan’s strategic committee.
How do you see the clashes between Fulani herdsmen and their host communities, the most recent of which is the clash in Benue State that saw Governor Suswan narrowly escaping death?
The latest we have now is the problem of criminal activities beyond cattle rearing and it’s becoming an insurgency which is worse than Boko-Haram.
Some people are of the opinion that the alleged violent herdsmen are Boko-Haram members in disguise?
They are not Boko-Haram members in disguise. They are worse than that. They are more organized and better equipped than Boko-Haram. All I can say is that the insurgency is purely orchestrated to destabilize Nigeria for political reasons starting with the North and then spreading throughout the country.
Already it is active in the North-east, North-west, South-south. I believe they are organized by internal forces big enough to challenge the Federal Government in collaboration with outside forces that have interest in controlling Nigeria; these people are not just local Boko-Haram and cattle rearers. The bombing in Abuja is a clear indication.
It is a continuation of the distabilisation of the peace of Nigeria for political reasons. The aim of the insurgency is to disorganise our co-existence as a nation.
Some people are of the view that there is the need to re-creates grazing route to bring peaceful co-existence between host communities and the Fulani herdsmen?
That is not a problem because President Jonathan is already doing that. In the first place, the Fulani herdsmen are not organized enough to embark on negotiating an issue like that.
How best do you think insurgency in the country can be curtailed?
Unfortunately we don’t have a National Conference that is truly democratic in nature. It is a National Conference that is built on what the President wants. If it is a true legislative National Conference, it can start the process of resolving the problem because it would have been national and it would have been representative.
Why we need the National Conference to do that is because the government is partially responsible for what is happening either in terms of connivance or in terms of incompetence.
Do you mean the on-going National Conference is not credible enough to address the issues facing us as a nation?
The on-going National Conference is not democratic and does not represent us enough to address the issues facing us as a nation. The means of selecting the delegates was not electoral in process because nobody there was elected. In other words, you can say that every delegate there was appointed by the President either directly or indirectly.
So the conference is not a true representation of the nation. With the undemocratic nature of the National Conference, I don’t see it having any impact on the problems facing us as a nation. Insurgency is a true indication that the CONFAB is not genuine enough to solve our problems is as a country. We cannot have a truly on-going National Conference and insurgency will be going on! The National Conference can never be relevant because of these challenges!
Here are strategic national problems, they should be able to deal with them. But the President wants a National Conference and there is no need wasting time fighting the President over it, let us see what the conference will expose. The National Conference, as far as I am concerned, is not a true National Conference, it is a strategic committee of Mr. President because he appointed everybody without election and he also pointed out the agenda that guides what would be discussed and what should not be discussed.
He also decided whether the report will be submitted to the National Assembly or make it legal through referendum. You are aware that in our nascent democracy, the President is so powerful that he can decide anything and no one will challenge him.
Look at what is going on the NNPC alleged missing $10 billion. The suspended CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi first alleged that it was $ 20 billion which led to the action against him and they admitted that it is $10 billion but it has not been accounted for, and what is the orchestrated National Conference doing about it?
Is there any country in the world with this kind of scandal and nothing is done to address it? We are talking about an amount equivalent to the 2014 budget of the Federal Government and nobody is talking about it. With that situation, do we expect anything good to come out of the conference?
This is the reason the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwa, said the President is encouraging corruption because where does the money to fund the conference come from? Of course it is not from the 2014 budget because it has not been provided for. This is similar to what former President Obasanjo did and got away with it.
What do you think is the best way to curtail insurgency bedeviling the North?
It is in the hands of government to solve the problem; if they can’t, the southern people can keep to themselves through whatever means until it will reach the stage when the sovereign people of Nigeria will withdraw the mandate they gave them under the 1999 Constitution.
With the multifarious challenges facing the nation, do you see Nigeria remaining one nation come 2015?
It is probably the reason the insurgency is becoming stronger because maybe the intention is not to have the 2015 presidential election and, you know, it is stated in the 1999 Constitution that if election is not held, the President has no power to hand over to anybody but to continue. Let us not ignore the fact that it could be a conspiracy staring us in the face.