By Dapo Akinrefon
MR Shehu Bankole-Hameed is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ogun State and also an author. In this interview, he reviews the nearly three month stewardship of President Muhammadu Buhari. Excerpts:
President Muhammadu Buhari has been dubbed ‘baba go-slow’ by his critics over perceived failure to hit the ground running? Do you agree with this notion?
I’m not sure that the slogan ‘baba go slow ‘ is appropriate; in the context of what the winner of the last election and indeed the entire economy has endured, any attempt to ‘ hit the ground running ‘, by pronouncements of political appointees without due diligence will amount to political blunder. It is fair to be patient and persevere in order to gain eventually.
Do you think the president has been marginalising other zones of the country in terms of appointments?
If I’m to be fair to the President, he has been fair to the entire Northern block; noting that a huge chunk of his votes came from that part of the country, now he seems to have bent backwards to accommodate the Igbos who not only did not vote for him, they openly castigated him during the electioneering campaign. The Southwest in my mind is being offered the short end of the stick.Judging by the balance of appointments so far, I think the southwest has been shortchanged.
Part of the president’s campaign promises was to fight corruption, but many have the impression that the war is selective, do you agree with this?
This question is in itself hilarious; who is complaining about the fight against corruption if not those in PDP. The fight against corruption by this administration has not even started. All that is being done right now as I see it is investigation and the perception that such actions are aimed at a reasonable number of people from the Igbo stock is understandable. They formed the bulk of political appointees of Jonathan and also formed the largest in number and also by percentage the top hierarchy of permanent secretaries and directors of parastatals in the civil service. It is thus logical to expect the fall out of such a house cleaning exercise to impact this group severely.
You are a close ally of two former governors of Lagos State, (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola), but there seems to be a cold war between them. What do you think is responsible?
Really many different versions of a supposed cold war are being touted in the press. However, I think Asiwaju recognizes the superlative qualities of Fashola and likewise, Fashola does accept like the rest of us in APC that Asiwaju is a national leader of great worth; none of them has ever admitted to me or anyone in private or public of a strained relationship.
But we know how even within family members and friends, there are differences; I think the elders in the party are up to the task of ironing out any misconception. As to what might be responsible for the perceived cold war, one has to look to the press and opposition in order to understand the whole story.