By Agaju Madugba
Alhaji Mohammed Abdulrahman was a member of the Northern Elders Forum which later transformed into the Arewa Consultative Forum under which he once served as Secretary of the group’s Politics Committee. Abdulrahman in this interview describes the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as underrating the capability of the Igbo people who he says are a force to reckon with in the survival of the nation’s economy. He also speaks on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration warning that some of the President’s men are not comfortable with the change initiative of the All Progressives Congress government.
Nobody can restrict the Igbo to a geographical location
The leader of IPOB and Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, is not responsible enough or adequately equipped to discuss the Biafra issue. Under what context are they discussing Biafra? He is completely lost. We do not want a country where people just wake up, put on fine clothes and use an NGO to try to make money and begin to tell us about indigenous people. The Igbo are my people because I have children who are Igbo as I am married to an Igbo woman from Enugu.
The issue is that these people used Jonathan to steal Nigeria black and blue and they never expected that that government will lose the presidential election. They thought the stealing was going to continue. When they lost the election, it became a little confounding for them and the only way they wanted to protest was using the IPOB. It didn’t make sense to me. In Jonathan’s government, if you look at the list of appointments and those who called the shots, the Igbo people were more than any other set of people from other parts of the country. Almost everything in Nigeria then had the imprint of the Igbo.
So, how can they be talking about the Indigenous People of Biafra when they were in charge of Nigeria then? What did not happen that time was changing Nigeria’s name to Biafra. What do they want, to enslave Nigerians? That is not how to go about it, not by violence. The Igbo people own houses all over the place. They are the main brain behind the Nigerian economy today. From the market women who sell ugu (vegetable) to the men who sell spare parts and vehicles. They own industries. So, what else do they want? What is Biafra? Do they know how Ojukwu got the name? These people are just looking for ways to raise money.
I think they have been reading too many story books. Even Karl Max did not behave this way. The Igbo are responsible people. They are the brains behind the development of the African economy. They are all over the place, in all the nooks and cranny of Africa, from Gabon to Equatorial Guinea, The Igbo people are everywhere. Why should one young man, because he can wear suit and trousers start telling us about indigenous people. Does he know the United Nations more than the other Igbo people? We have the record of Igbo people who hold first positions in so many areas of life throughout the world, in Science and Engineering and so many other fields.
That is the real Igbo life and not the crudity of armed robbery. What does Biafra offer them. The Igbo already have the brain. The Igbo are the Israel of Africa. They are enterprising and virtually the best. The IPOB people are irresponsible, unlearned young men who do not have any work to do and trying to pull some other people into a death trap, in order to make money. The Igbo will not accept that. I am an Igbo parent because I have many children who are Igbo. Nnamdi should go and sit down and eat akpu because I believe he has not eaten enough of it.
At a time when people are talking about the internet computers and Information Technology and development in the world, you cannot compress Nigeria into a small place. The Igbo people have gone too far. If he is talking about IPOB, it means he wants to restrict the Igbo and other people have the right to react. What of the houses and other property owned by the Igbo all over the place? The Igbo are too intelligent to be restricted to one place. The world as they say has become one global village. The real Igbo are the business people. You do not have to have a university degree but the brain is what matters most. This Nnamdi Kanu’s brain is flawed.
The IPOB people are in the wrong market. From the production alone that can take place in Igbo land and exported to other countries, they can turn into an African Japan and Taiwan, all from Igbo land. Biafra should not be a boundary. Countries are no longer about boundaries. It is about the people. For the Igbo people, Nnamdi Kanu is a nuisance. We know what treason is and if he gets himself into the treason issue, he will be in for it and nothing will happen. Murtala was killed and nothing happened, Abiola was killed, nothing happened. Yar’Adua was killed and nothing happened. Abacha was killed and nothing happened.
All of them died and people who thought that Nigeria would come to an end must have known better now. Nothing of such happened. If Nnamdi Kanu is convicted for treasonable felony and he is killed according to the law, nothing is going to happen. It will not spark off a civil war. He is wasting his time. We should all be concerned with the Nigerian enterprise. The oil we depend on is virtually going into non-existence. For the people who say they have oil, the oil is almost finished. The price of oil is heading towards $15 per barrel. Agriculture is going to be the mainstay of the economy. That is what everybody in the world wants. People want food to eat.
Why Buhari government may fail
The issue of Nigeria has changed. Of course, Buhari brought this bandwagon, the change initiative which he told God that he wants to implement and Nigerians decided to follow him. But Buhari should be very careful because some people do not want him to go into the implementation stage of the change mantra. Change has many stages. You cannot remain a good egg forever. You either hatch as a chicken or you get eaten as a good egg. So, Buhari’s change has to be implemented and he should note that there is a bloc within the National Assembly that wants to undo him and they can go to any length because they do not want Buhari to continue.
That is treachery. Members of the National Assembly were put there to represent the people but where it is discovered that they are not there to represent the interest of the people who elected them, then the relevant laws should be applied to deal with them. They should be dealt with when they begin to jeopardize national interest for selfish interests. We cannot afford to continue to use tax payers’ money to protect the lawmakers and they continue to behave like kings and queens. Buhari should face his job and come up with immediate results and he has to drop politics and go straight into what brought him into power.
The first thing the National Assembly did was that phoney election they held at the inception of this administration. They did that to show Buhari that he was not in charge and the second one is the recent issue over the purchase of vehicles for the National Assembly, at these times of austerity when they have all been given money to purchase vehicles. The National Assemble is trying to tell Buhari to his face that they are going to work against him. Some people are not comfortable with the change initiative and they will do everything possible to frustrate the President’s efforts.
What happened in Jonathan’s government was official banditry, from the Ministry of Finance to the Customs. All ministries and parastatals that provided money for government were all composed of bandits. We should have no time for that now because the people who put Buhari there have eyes to see and they have ears to hear. It should no longer be an administration of sirens and bodyguards. Nigeria has to work and he has to allow everybody participate to make Nigeria work. The privileged few who are there in government should not only be seen to be working but they should actually work.
We are fed up with rhetoric. Buhari has the goodwill and no other President had the goodwill as Buhari has and he should not squander it. There is limit to the patience that Nigerians have had over several years. There are groups under the President waiting for him to fail. It is like watching soldiers on a drill. If the commander notices anyone who is too weak to go on, he pushes him aside and Buhari should understand that. The promise of change has made Nigerians impatient because the goodwill given to Buhari is much and nobody should be allowed to squander it.
Buhari, too soft
Fuel and electric power are the twin issues that may bring this government down if the President fails to crush the activities of some people who do not desire the needed change. If Buhari cannot deal with issue of fuel distribution when the refineries produce and the marketers have become government on their own then Buhari does not have a government. If people generate electricity and power and they decide to sell it the way they like and at the same time put service charges and start making free money, that is fraud and corruption.
It was when some people in the Jonathan government were looking for where to steal money that every service provider started talking about service charges. What service are they talking about? The electric power is never there and they charge you for that. If they want to increase electricity tariff, they should do so and stop talking about service charges. It is stealing and corruption.
The privatization process was dubious and it is reversible. Government has to revisit the power privatization thing. Those are the people who want Buhari to fail, along with the fuel cartel. Buhari should look internally into his administration. There are people working with him who want to undo the President. If some people refuse to accept the change in certain sectors, they should be done with.
The distribution network of the NNPC should be checked and the President has to call the oil cartel to order because nobody has the right to hold Nigeria to ransom. We must get results within 12 calendar months and that is the change Nigerians want. We do not want a change where the President is said to be carrying out certain changes and nothing tangible happens at the end of the day. The issue of Dasuki should be handled swiftly and if he is supposed to end up in prison then let him be there.
If Saraki’s case will earn him a prison sentence then it should be done now so that we can move ahead. The rules of engagement must be followed. Those who looted our money should proceed straight to prison until they return such money. They must have invested the money they stole and they must have made some profit out of it. So, they should return the capital and take the profit. Buhari is too soft and it is the people around him who want to ground him, these are the people making him to be soft because they are more interested in seeing to the President’s downfall. Nigerians will continue giving him the goodwill if they see results.
We know it may be hard and difficult at the beginning but it should not be hard all through the period. Government has not started doing things to give Nigerians a hint that the situation will be better. Government is not dealing with the people are killing the system. They are likely to become the problem for government to perform. Buhari has just one year to prove that he can deliver because the people who want him to fail also have one year to execute their plot.