BY GBENGA OKE
Alhaji Isyaku Ibrahim, businessman and politician was one of the founders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and subsequently a member of the Board of Trustees of the party until he decamped and joined the Congress for Progressive Change, (CPC).
In this interview, Alhaji Rabiu reviews events in the polity, expresses his frustration with many of the governors who he claims have abandoned governance for filthy lucre and lashes out at the prophets of doom asserting that Nigeria would remain indivisible despite proclamations of a Nigeria apocalypse in 2015. Excerpts:
DO you believe the dreams of the nation’s founding fathers are still on course?Mallam Aminu Kano and Dr Nnamdi Azikwe were my political mentors. When I was growing up, I joined Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) and had the opportunity to be the Secretary of NEPU in the Western region then.
I also had the opportunity to meet a number of leaders of the Western region, people like late Osadebey who was the leader of the opposition in the Western House because National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroon’s, (NCNC) was in the minority. Then you could see what the founding fathers were doing to develop Nigeria because they believed in true democracy.
Meaning of democracyBut in Nigeria of today, we don’t even understand the meaning of democracy let alone believe in it and that is why there is confusion everywhere. We have a constitution and it’s the document which guides the process of government in a particular country, we have a constitution but we do not respect it. There is no accountability.
Imagine when the country was boiling, our President traveled to Brazil for World Environmental Conference when Damaturu, Yobe, Kaduna and other parts of the North were on fire. If it were President Obama of the United States and with a crisis in Chicago, Los Angeles or Houston; he would not have attended that meeting.
They kill innocent people, every other time you open your mouth and say we are on top of it and as the President of the country, you don’t feel anything because the killing is happening in one part of the country which is the North, so you don’t give a damn.
You say the North did not vote for you, therefore they can be killing themselves, which is how Jonathan is leads us.
Do you share the view that Nigeria may not remain one till 2015?
In the first place, who is talking about 2015 at this present moment when we don’t even have stability.
This is a country where you call a house wife the first lady which does not exist in the constitution of this country and she will use the property of Nigeria to be gallivanting. It is only in Nigeria that you see people that have nothing to do with government enjoying what belongs to Nigerians.
I participated in the Shagari government who was the first executive President of this country; no Nigerian will tell you that he knows who Mrs. Shagari was
Those thinking Nigeria will break are deceiving themselves; it’s just only few disgruntled intellectual elites who are disgusted that are talking about it. Go to Wuse market in Abuja, you see Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa and they are the true Nigerians.
It is said that poverty is the cause of insecurity in the North. Do you agree?
Who created poverty? The governors in their respective states did. When they are given allocation, they divert it to their personal use. If the money they are collecting from the federal allocation was used to develop their various states, there won’t be poverty there.
Remember there was a governor who throughout did not stay in his state. He only came around to collect the state allocation and after giving to local governments, he would disappear again. There are still many of them doing this.
So, it is the government and the system that creates poverty. There are many state governors that give construction works and will not give money, how do they expect the construction company to commence work.
With all these happening, how can you experience stability and peace? This is a country where we wake up and find out that one Nigerian has stolen over N 100 billion.
It is worrisome today that you see the Nigerian police in uniform staying behind or carrying bag for rich Nigerians. In Britain, you can never see a British policeman behind any rich Briton; you provide your own security. After all, why are you afraid if you are doing a genuine business?
What is your observation on the bribery scam related to the House of Representatives investigation on subsidy management?
It is the ingredient of corruption. You know the report pointed to the culprits and this report has been there for two months and we have not heard that President Jonathan has called his agents who deal with these things to arrest the companies indicted.
Blackmailing committee chairman
Rather than that, he and his friends were busy trying to see how they can blackmail the committee chairman, Farouk Lawan who was naïve. We respected him but he let us down to have gotten himself involved in this kind of situation.
What we are asking is that, what has happened to the N2.6 trillion subsidy money? Also, we expected that by now government should have started arresting those people involved, then we would have known that the President is serious.
Otherwise, people who are accusing him of being part of the whole exercise will have something to hang on while people who still doubt his stance on it will then believe.
For now, we still give him the benefit of the doubt but when he comes back, he should ensure that those indicted are arrested including his friends.