Alhaji Balarabe Musa, a second republic governor of the old Kaduna State, is a politician of the leftist tendency. In this interview, Balarabe speaks on the state of the nation, especially the Buhari administration that is one year old and the problem of corruption in Nigeria.
By Yinka Ajayi
You have been consistent in your call for the probe of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Why?
I wasn’t speaking of Jonathan administration alone. I said President Muhammadu Buhari should probe past administrations from 1966, when the military took over, till date, because the manner of corruption and criminality in Nigeria started when the military took over power. So, if we really want to clean the system, we truly have to do that. The earlier he (Buhari) does that, the better for the nation, anything otherwise, is a waste of time.
However, my reason for the probe of the Jonathan administration is not far-fetched. One can now say he led the most corrupt administration in the nation’s history. We know it developed over time, and Jonathan was a victim, but he made it worse. Based on calculations, you will be surprised that treasury looting in Jonathan’s administration is worse than what happened under the late Gen. Sani Abacha regime. We are aware that Abacha did not allow anybody to steal, except himself. He was the sole thief.
Meanwhile, did you hear of anybody stealing public funds before 1966 and getting away with it? Or a president of a country being so rich from the period of amalgamation till 1965? Or did you hear of any credible allegation against the likes of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; the Great Zik of Africa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe; the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo; the Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello; the late Mallam Aminu Kano and many others in government or in the opposition? It is from 1966 that the issue of corruption started rearing its ugly head in this country. .
It started with the probe under Gen. Murtala Mohammed’s regime, which found all the governors who served under General Gowon guilty of corruption except the late Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson, a former military governor of Lagos State.
So it is true that this level of corruption and criminality started with military rule since 1966. That is the reason any credible probe should start from that time. I know it is an enormous task but any serious government should try to be sincere.
How do you rate the Buhari administration one year after?
It is quite obvious that this administration is a complete failure and does not have the capacity to solve any problems. The unfortunate thing is that the situation in Nigeria is so bad that the electorate is now cursing their luck for electing it. Even though he is incompetent, President Buhari when compared with those that would be coming in 2019, he will be better than them.
The situation in Nigeria is so bad that we would need a clean-up in the form of a revolution. The nation is in a negative state. Can you tell me of anything that is positive about Nigeria presently, aside that we are still one nation? You could say: ‘After all, fight against corruption is on”. ‘hat is the essence of the fight against corruption, when those we know to be corrupt are walking freely? We know that many of Nigeria’s corrupt leaders are free enjoying their looted funds in Nigeria.
How do you react to the fuel price hike?
It is a reactionary conspiracy between the Federal Government and oil marketers to rip off Nigerians. They seem to have been working jointly together. Government is looking for money to fund the 2016 Budget . The second reason is that it wants to cover up the fraud from the past administration; Also, it is part of the plan of the APC to prepare ahead of the 2019 presidential election against the PDP Naira for Naira.
In the case of the marketers, they conspired with government to create artificial fuel scarcity in order for Nigerians to have first-hand experience through the black market, whereby Nigerians buy fuel for N200-N300 per litre. It will surprise you to hear that I also bought fuel for N600 per liter in the black market. Seriously, the logic behind the increment of the official pump-price from N86 – N145 is stupid. It is also shameful that government has contradicted its stand on private sector partnership. Before he became President, he (Buhari) openly opposed fuel price hike at different fora.
How do you see British PM Cameron’s description of Nigeria as being ‘fantastically corrupt’?
Honestly, it is a true statement. But the man who made that statement has no moral right to say so, because his country aids and abets the fantastic ally corrupt leaders in Nigeria.
Do you justify President Buhari’s trip to the anti-corruption summit?
With the protection of privatisation, self-interest first before public interest, any talk or summit on anti-corruption does not make sense. It is this privatisation that had promoted the order of corruption. It is obvious government has no solution to our predicament as a nation. There is need to change the system that runs our country. It is then that we can see a fundamental qualitative change. The only way government can save itself, is to return the pump-price to N86 per liter.