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2019: I don’t foresee light at the end of the tunnel — Balarabe

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*Balarabe Musa

By Yinka Ajayi

Alhaji Balarabe Musa is a former governor of old Kaduna State. The veteran politician of leftist tendency, in this interview, bares his mind on the state of the nation.

How do you see the spate of killings in some parts of Nigeria? 

The latest killing in Sokoto proves that it’s a nationwide problem. It is not a regional problem, neither is it the product of Boko Haram insurgency or herdsmen or ethnic, religious – based cleansing. Every reasonable person should know that we have aspects of insecurity in every part of Nigeria. The killing is done in such a sophisticated manner that you cannot trace it to an aggrieved community or group of people. It is well planned, articulated and executed.

So what is to be done? The killings continue while the Federal Government insists it is doing its best to arrest the situation.

Certainly we cannot allow it to continue. But, unfortunately, it will continue because we have a weak government at the centre. In other words, the Federal Government and the ruling party are so weak and irrelevant. The insecurity has reached a level that it has overwhelmed this administration. The overwhelming nature is proved by President Muhammadu Buhari when he said he did not know what next to do, asking for prayers and requesting that Nigerians be patient with his government. How can we be patient when lives are lost everywhere in the country almost on daily basis?

The worrisome aspect of it all is that the killings are dragging into 2019, election year. What do you advice?

As far as I am concerned, knowing the dangers we are facing as a nation, that is, political, the decision regarding 2019 is left for Nigerians to decide. We will not teleguide the people on who to vote for come 2019. All we can do is to present the facts to the people the way they are. But it’s obvious that this administration is overwhelmed by the gruesome killings that are going on in parts of the country and they cannot do anything about it. The question is, what is responsible for the negative state of the nation? That should be our task as citizens to find out.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, Governor Aminu Tambowa of Sokoto State, among others, once called for the sack of Service Chiefs in order to curb the killings. What do you make of the call?

To me, that is stupid. What we need to do is to change the system controlling the country. The leadership of this administration is based on self-interest first and public interest secondary.   And it is characterized by the disabling level of corruption across board. The system that brought the Service Chiefs is self-protection, not public protection.

What is your stand on the just held Ekiti governorship election?

We gathered that 30,000 policemen were deployed to Ekiti. This is one out of 36 states in the country. So what about the people living in the North- East who require police protection, what about the people of Plateau who require police protection, what about the people of Zamfara who require police protection, what about the people of Kaduna who require police protection? Yet government approved 30,000 policemen for mere election in a state. It’s obvious they were sent there to protect the interest of the All Progressives Congress, APC. If you will recall, this was what happened in 1966 when the money meant for the protection of lives and property was used to stage a coup in the South-West to favour the ruling party back then which led to what was referred to ‘Operation Wetie’. This government repeated the same thing in Ekiti by allowing 30,000 policemen to supervise an election in order to make sure APC takes the state from PDP while the whole nation is crying over lingering killings linked to religious and tribal cleansing.

With the proverbial dark tunnel Nigeria has been going through since independence, do you foresee light at the end come 2019?

Sincerely, I don’t foresee any light! The only bright light I foresee come 2019 is if we can bring about a constitutional change through the National Assembly. But, unfortunately, the National Assembly and the Presidency have been at each other’s throats since the beginning of this government in 2015. So you can’t expect a good constitutional change when the executive and the legislative have never agreed. The latest development is that the government is staging a strategic attack on the National Assembly by humiliating the Senate President and the National Assembly is retaliating by threatening to impeach President Buhari. In a situation like this, how do you expect a peaceful constitutional change to happen? It won’t happen! In fact, we should expect the worst. A revolution, that is a change brought about by the power of the masses, a situation whereby citizens take over the affairs of the state themselves.

It has happened in some parts of the world where the executive and legislative arms of government were at loggerheads and the problem was affecting good governance. There is no way the case of Nigeria will be different from those countries that experienced it.

It can happen in Nigeria. Europe faced what we are facing now and they solved theirs through constitutional revolution.

 

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