Says conditions for credible polls in 2015 don’t exist
Accuses FG of conspiracy in abduction of Chibok girls
Alhaji Balarabe Musa, former governor of Kaduna State, in this interview, fears that the 2015 polls would not be free and fair because the conditions for credible election are not in place. He also justifies northern leaders’ gang-up against President Goodluck Jonathan so long as it is legal. He accuses the Federal Government of conspiracy and cover-up in the abduction of the 219 Chibok schoolgirls and urges the set up of a commission of inquiry on Dr Steven Davis’ comments on sponsors of Boko Haram. Excerpts:
By Dapo Akinrefon
It has been 147 days that the Chibok school girls were abducted and all attempts to rescue them have been futile. Some say there is a conspiracy somewhere. Do you think so?
I think their abduction is very suspicious because we have to face the reality. We are dealing with politics particularly the 2015 elections, which encourages the incumbent to destabilise the country so that elections will not hold in 2015, in which case the provisions of the constitution will prevail. It means that the president will continue.
If the election is conducted for whatever reasons, it is rigged because of the insecurity in the country. The abduction of the girls is part and parcel of the Boko Haram and so, this is a serious issue because such thing cannot happen without the government getting serious information on the matter.
Everything is mysterious and nobody knows anything about the abducted girls. The government has not come out with any reliable information about the whereabouts of the girls.
There were some information a few months ago that international organizations have been involved in the identification of the whereabouts of the girls.
It is unfortunate that in spite of the involvement of the international security agencies, the girls are still missing. Nothing is convincing and if there is no government conspiracy, how can this happen? There is no information and action on the part of the government.
There is also another aspect of it, there were reports that 57 of the girls had escaped and then, we now hear a lot of talks about these escaped girls. We don’t know where they are being kept, we hear also that they are being offered scholarship abroad. How sure are we that these are the girls being talked about? You see, everything is mysterious.
How do you see the allegations of Australian terrorism negotiator, Dr Steven Davis, that former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika and former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff are sponsors of Boko Haram?
It is not impossible because it means there is a conspiracy for political reasons in the action. Therefore, these allegations should be looked into.
Do you think the president has the political will to go after these alleged Boko Haram sponsors?
He may not even have the moral will because the government itself has been accused of conspiring with an interest to do this and to cover it up. There should be a judicial commission of inquiry over this because the political allegations are becoming very serious.
The Boko Haram insurgents have taken over some communities and towns in Boko State and also hoisted their flags there, what signal does this send?
First of all, it shows that the issue we are facing is not just insecurity but an attempt on the sovereignty of Nigeria. This is serious.
How can the activities of these insurgents be nipped in the bud because it is taking a dangerous dimension?
The only way we can do it peacefully because the government has lost moral credibility on this is to have free, fair and transparent elections in this country.
For this to happen, we need to rely on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, but unfortunately, INEC is also part of the problem.
And so, the only thing we can do peacefully is to ask the National Assembly to do something about it and really ensure that there is free, fair and transparent elections leading to a legitimate government. If we can have a legitimate government by any means, we can successfully address this issue.
The Northern Elders Forum has given President Jonathan an ultimatum to bring back the abducted Chibok girls or forfeit 2015. What is your take?
This is nonsense because you cannot identify who these Northern elders are. You cannot identify their relevance because anybody can call himself an elder.
Those who can be referred to as elders can only be elected representatives of the people. In that case, they can be members of the National Assembly from the North or State Houses of Assembly and local government councils. These are the elders. These are the ones who can legitimately represent the people. Let us forget about these sectional elders.
Is it true that there is a gang up by Northern leaders and elders against President Goodluck Jonathan?
It is legitimate and democratic politics. If you gang up against your opponent what is wrong with it as long as you are doing it legally?
Ahead of the 2015 elections, a group has been going round the six geo-political zones of the country to hold rallies for President Jonathan. What is your take on this considering the mood of the nation?
I hold the president responsible for this act of gross misconduct and it is an impeachable offence because he is undermining the law.
Nobody can absolve the president of this because he cannot say he doesn’t know about it. He cannot deny authorizing it because these campaigns are being funded with the approval of the president. Here, Mr President is been charged with gross misconduct and an impeachable offence.
What are your fears for 2015?
It is not possible for us to get over these national crises on or before 2015. It is also not possible for us to conduct free, fair and transparent elections in 2015 because the conditions for it do not exist and there are attempts to bring them about.
So, it is either we do not have 2015 elections at all or the elections will be rigged.
I want to call your attention to what happened some days ago over a report by the media. The president was saying that the government will print the ballot papers for INEC.
Now this shows clearly that INEC is not independent and the president wants to use INEC to rig the elections.
If INEC is an independent electoral agency, how can the government print ballot papers for them in an election where the president is contesting? You can now see that the 2015 elections is a myth because INEC is not independent.
This goes to show that even if the 2015 election holds, it is going to be rigged and it will not bring about a legitimate government.