By Chioma Gabriel, Editor Special Features
Alhaji Buba Galadima, President Muhammadu’s Buhari’s former political associate, social commentator and now a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in this interview, speaks on issues of national importance.Excerpts:
There is a bill against hate speech
at the National Assembly which could be passed into law. The bill has passed second reading. Do you think it will succeed?
Is there anything that is not possible? These ones can do anything. They don’t need the legislature to do anything. When the people shout “no”, government can announce “yes” and then the judiciary will announce what they say because anything government says for the judiciary is right and correct.
Do you think the judiciary and the National Assembly will continue to act at the beck and call of the Presidency because there is a limit to the level of control by the Presidency and there’s outrage against the bill.
Does this government care about any outrage? Does this government care about any public opinion? Does this government care about the feeling of any human being in this country? They have already made themselves god. They even believe that God is too small and cannot direct them. That is their view in this government. If not, why should the President for example allow people to toy with the future of this country by destroying military hegemony and security? That people who have finished their 35 years’ service according to military law are still allowed to continue in the military to the disadvantage of their juniors and there is a growing discontent and disaffection all over. So, I don’t think the judiciary or the legislature can ever dare this government. After all, the Senate President was quoted severally as saying that if Buhari wants to be a life President, he is prepared to make it possible and you can see that the judiciary is no longer looking at facts of cases. They are only looking for technicalities. It is no more the last hope of the common man but it is now the grave of the weak and the common man.
Renovation of NASS complex
As far as Nigerians remain docile, they can even build it with 370billion Naira. There is nothing one can do because Nigerians cannot voice properly their own opinion, let alone come out to challenge the actions of government they supposedly voted for. So, anything can happen to us and we have no say, after all, tell me one road or project worth 100million, not even one billion that was put up or executed for the benefit of the people in any part of Nigeria by this government after collecting a loan of over 16 trillion naira.
Nigerians are raising hell over it but one cannot say whether the loan will be approved
Who is raising hell over it? In other countries, we would have all been on the streets protesting: no hospitals, no schools; no roads, nothing for the people.
Even Aisha Buhari is tired of speaking…
You know there is a Hausa saying that the pulling back for a ram fighting another does not mean cowardice. It is just gathering momentum. You know how two rams fight. Before they lock horns, they usually pull back before they come forward with extra force. You can see Boko Haram now in the whole of the North-East, you cannot sleep anymore.
Recently, people were saying Aisha only speaks when she has the need to and that she is not speaking in the interest of Nigerians.
Well, that is good for her because it concerns her own interest. I am speaking for my own interest because whatever affects Nigerians affects me; so what’s wrong with that? If her interest will positively impact the people of this country, what’s wrong? She is the conscience of Aso Rock and, through her, Nigerians are getting to know what is going on.
You talked about Boko Haram but the military said they have defeated Boko Haram.
It’s okay, so let any of the soldiers in Borno enter their cars and go back to their villages. I dare them to do so. If they can’t, why then should they say they have defeated Boko Haram.
But we ended 2019 peacefully.
Peacefully? What is the meaning of peace? People had problems travelling. People are being abducted on their farms. How can you abduct a security man living on somebody’s farm? Where will he get the money to pay ransom? They are still kidnapping people on the highways. So, don’t discuss peace here, maybe there is peace in Lagos where you live.
One would expect you to commend government and APC on the release of Colonel Dasuki and Omoyele Sowore. At least, government is beginning to show respect for the rule of law.
Well, I am very happy for my friend, Dasuki, and Sowore. Dasuki has been a benefactor to me in several ways even before the 1984 coup. Sowore had been in trenches with me because when Buhari and I were in the opposition, he helped us a lot with his opinion to the world and not only in Nigeria and when they found themselves in such a situation, I felt very bad and thought that they never deserved what had happened to them and, last Monday, when members of civil society organizations were waylaid by agents of government and beaten at the human rights headquarters, I felt very bad for my country, that a civilized country could do what they did because I could bet my life, even without evidence, that the hoodlums that carried out the attack were agents of government, sponsored by government to do what they did. However, I believe that every disappointment has its own blessings and the blessings would come because now that government has ignored the civil society organizations, the world would come in. Just 24 hours later, the United States came in and the ambassador went to see Buhari. You could see him shivering and apologizing and, without any inquiry, invited the Attorney General to issue a statement releasing Dasuki and Sowore. I think the Americans forgot something. There are still other people in detention, some of them granted bail by the court including Sheikh El Zakzaky and his wife and others who were not even taken to court like Jalingo. They should unconditionally be released.
However, the danger for Nigeria is that the legislature and the judiciary are now under the armpit of the executive. It is what the executive wants that the legislature will do and what the judiciary will also do. This portends danger for all of us in this country. Therefore, in as much as I am happy for Sowore and Dasuki, I still pray that the United States should still descend on these people because, during an Arise TV morning interview, I said that this government fears the white man more than they fear God and that was exactly what happened within the 24 hours.
There are still problems with payment of the new minimum wage.
Exactly! And people still eulogize them. Some people have the guts to go and beat civil society organizations people who are fighting for our liberty, our freedom and our rights. I think something is wrong with Nigerians.
What is your take on closed borders and the free visa entry granted some Africans into Nigeria?
How can they close borders and still grant free visa entry? It means there is a contradiction of policy by those in authority and it means we should tell them what they are doing wrong. They shouldn’t do that. Also, they do not know the effects of closing the border against everybody, against people’s businesses.
They say it is because of rice
Is rice something you can put inside the pocket?
This free entry, won’t it raise insecurity in the country?
You see the truth of the matter is that we can’t have our cake and eat it. We say we have signed ECOWAS protocol of free movement of people across the borders of these countries. We are also talking about having common currency member countries of ECOWAS. If we don’t want that, we should get out of ECOWAS, sack everyone that is here, nationalize their headquarters, then close our borders. Simple! No Nigerian should go out and no one should come in but we can’t sign an international protocol and yet say we cannot subject ourselves to it. It is a contradiction to close the borders and at the same time grant free movement into Nigeria.
APC is on fire in Edo State. What do you think about what is happening between APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Obaseki?
Maybe you should ask the Oba of Benin what he told Oshiomhole before bringing Obaseki. Find out what he told Oshiomhole.
But I think Oshiomhole just wants to be a godfather, like Tinubu is controlling Lagos.
Really? Okay, go and ask Oshiomhole. God says it is what you do unto others that others will do unto you. What did he do to Tony Anenih? He was not only predicting the past, he was also predicting the future.