A Second Republic lawmaker, front line public affairs analyst and one of the prominent voices from the north, Dr. Junaid Mohammed in this interview says President Muhammadu Buhari has not performed to deserve re-election.
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, is the north satisfied with Buhari’s performance? Are going with him or with any other northern candidate?
First and foremost, if I am to vote in 2019, I will only have one vote, because I cannot even guarantee the votes of my wife and children, because they have the right to vote in secret without telling me who they are going to vote for.
However, I believe democracy is a very rational institution. I believe no leader should present himself for election or re-election, unless he has solid reasons to persuade those who are voting that, he is equal to the task, that his leadership will be good for the country, that he can be trusted and who can. So, with these criteria, I am not persuaded that Buhari is qualified to submit himself for re-election, come 2019. I do not, however, rule out the possibility that he may do something spectacular, something good for the country, like he promised at some forum. Now, if there is no improvement, even though I am not foreclosing the possibility of this improvement, but so far, I must say that, I have seen nothing Buhari did since 2015, and I don’t see what miracle he has to offer in 2018 and January to March of 2019 that election will be held.
But, is the north going to vote for him?
As far as I am concerned, rational people will want to leave their decision till the last moment, to give some fairness to him, to his party and those he represents. But, unfortunately, when you look at the people he represents and those he has been trying to protect, because he virtually represents nobody, because the cabals around him are not a representation of the people of Nigeria. The ministers, like (Babatunde) Fashola and others who are busy pretending to be serving his interest are actually undermining him by making sure that, most of the strategic investments are done in the areas where they come from, for their own mischievous agenda, not for the people who actually voted for him. They are alienating the people who voted for him.
There is nothing rational, in fact, everything that has been happening since 2015 till date, there is nothing that a rational person will say, these are the reasons I want to vote for this man. Now, there are these other people who are going about, and that seems to be the sinister campaign that has been going round by the cabals, members of his family and those who are close to him, that, they are now using dangerous traditional, tribal and religious sentiments. They are saying now that, because he is a northerner, he must be voted by northerners. I am a northerner, I am a Muslim and I will not vote for him, and there are several northerners who will not vote for him.
It seems however that, since he came to power, they have collected billions or trillions of money, with which they want to either rig election, or unleash violence on the election or start arresting people unjustly, which was the kind of thing he did when he was in power from 1984 to August 1985. But, if he does that, the country is going to be in hell of confusion. And I don’t think he has the capacity to withstand that confusion in case he decides to go in for the confusion. Because, he seems to be determined and desperate about being the President. Unfortunately also for the country, people who will want to succeed him either within the APC, the PDP or within the so- called northern establishment or Northern notables are also equally desperate. So, APC is desperate, PDP is desperate and also people who are hanging in between like Atiku (Abubakar) and others are also desperate. So, you can see, we have a classical set up that will lead this country into a violent confusion if care is not taken. And I am concerned about that.
Whoever governs this country is entirely not just his own business, but the business of the whole of Nigeria. And we have been very badly treated, very shabbily treated as a people. Even the APC as a party has been badly treated by Buhari, the cabals, his relations and his friends.
I challenge those who will want to come and those who are now coming to say that we should vote for Buhari to tell us what Buhari has done.
Are you not satisfied with his administration’s fight against corruption and insurgency?
Clearly, there is a serious scandal within the fight against insurgency; contrary to what he has been saying, the Boko Haram is re-emerging as a very serious national threat. And nobody can tell me that this government has won the war against Boko Haram. What he said during his New Year broadcast is…(expletives). Clearly, he is not on top of the situation in the Northeast. Other similar insurgencies in the Niger Delta are not necessarily under control; what he does is to continue bribing the miscreants not to make troubles until after the elections.
Again, when you look at the anti-corruption struggle, it is also in shambles, because what is happening is that, the cabals and some of his appointees are the ones undermining the anti-corruption efforts. The biggest threats (Ibrahim) Magu has today are the people within the APC, Buhari’s party. Some of the people he appointed like the DG SSS and others are the people who are now undermining and trying to destroy the anti-corruption war. And most of the people who are emerging untouchable, so to speak in metaphor, are people in his party and holding positions in Buhari’s government.
Also, when you look at the way the economy is being handled, though he did not create the pre-condition for the mismanagement of the nation’s economy, but it has to be admitted that, his ignorance, his incompetence and his economic illiteracy has contributed massively to the country being propelled into economic recession, which has taken the country so long to come out of. He didn’t create the pre-condition for the recession, but certainly his handling of the economy has been very lousy.
So, these are the critical areas, I thought we will see the impact of the new government, whatever government it was, but we have seen the impact and it is a negative impact and there is nothing to show that, he will handle the economy better in the next 12 to 15 months when elections are due.
These are my own impressions and they are personal. And I am ready to confront anybody, from Buhari himself to a janitor or sweeper in the Presidency on these facts. And I am prepared to be challenged also, because what I am saying is based on facts, not based on religious, ethnic or opportunistic sentiment.
He has been taking us for a ride on the issue of ministers. Clearly from day one, I condemned the appointments he made, particularly that of the Secretary to the Government of Federation, who has now been sacked. I described him as a squanderer and he turned out to be one. I also talked about the Chief of Staff whom I said is another squanderer, an opportunist and a very unreliable person and he turned out to be one. And I said most of the people who made appointment as Ministers were smuggled in by Mamman Daura and other members of the Kaduna Mafia and it turned out to be so. And they are now the biggest threats to his national re-election, because they have done very badly. Others are equally useless. The office of the Attorney General is also in another mess. So, what are we talking about?
Now, the President has already jumped the gun by starting to campaign. Look at his New Year speech, which was drafted for him by faceless people who don’t know politics. Everything he was saying there was a campaign. None of the projects he claimed to have started or planning to start are now functional, they are not. And I can give you example. The Abuja-Kaduna – Kano express way was built that way, it is being maintained that way.
And then, there is this, his concept of making every state capital connected to the railway. I don’t know how that can facilitate development and I don’t know what concept of development he knows that he is talking about. When you have a useless concept about building a road; East – West road from Lagos to Calabar and then another railway from Lagos to Calabar. What is it going to carry? Because Lagos is by the sea, Calabar is by the sea. So, what bulk haulage are they going to carry? Nothing. And we are no more in the era when money was not a problem. Now, money is a very serious problem, because we don’t have it. – Culled from Punch.