It’s time for Igbo presidency, you can’t stop it – Ex-gov. Balarabe Musa

Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, a left wing politician, was the governor of Kaduna State in the Second Republic. He holds the rare honour of being the first governor to be impeached in Nigeria.

In this interview, he speaks on contemporary national issues, including the 2023 presidential elections, rotational presidency, insecurity, new minimum wage, corruption, among others.


The lingering insecurity in the country has now been extended to judges. In three weeks, about three judicial officers have been kidnapped. How do you look at this development with respect to its impact on cases in court? Do you not think this situation is designed to frighten judges over fair adjudication of cases before them?

It is not just about judges. Nobody is safe in Nigeria. Anybody can be abducted. There is no exception. No sacred cow, from top to bottom. Anyone can fall victim. That is the true situation. There is no security in the country, nobody can hide.  It has turned into a nightmare. We are all worried about the way it is going.

But are you not more disturbed that it has been extended to serving judges, which means that they can be intimidated to give “Jankara” judgments?

Stop talking about judges. I said there is no more exception. Anyone can be abducted and no one is excluded. They are Nigerians. Today, it is a judge, tomorrow it can be a governor, a senator or even the president himself. That is where Nigeria is today. Nobody is secure in the country today. So, it is not a question of judges. That judges are being abducted shows that nobody is safe in the country.

But the present government used security as a mantra in winning elections. What do you think should be done that they have not done?

Yeah! Let me say the truth. The problem has overwhelmed the government. There is no way the government can solve the problem. It has become very clear that nothing can be done. A section of the government is involved neck deep in the insecurity you’re talking about. It is clear now that soldiers and policemen are part of the abductors.

The reality we should then face is that nobody is safe in Nigeria and that the government is helpless about the situation. It is because of the kind of social, political and economic systems that control all developments in the country. This has permeated every fabric in the nation’s affairs. The system controls all developments in the country with a political leadership created by it.

Above this, what we have is self-interest first, public-interest second. And it is characterized by the intolerable level of corruption, stealing and graft. Nothing can be done today in Nigeria without money. That is why Nigeria keeps retrogressing. Nigeria has not made any progress after so many years of independence and it is a shame. There is no social discipline, no morality.

The government of Goodluck Jonathan was heavily criticized and booted out of office over its inability to bring down the level of problems bedeviling Nigeria. Looking back now, how do you situate the situation, vis-avis the current government and the many problems confronting it?

Jonathan’s government made the problems worse rather than solving them. The present government of Muhammadu Buhari even made it worst and it continues until the D-day.

 When and what is the D-day?

The D-day is when everything fails. We are now at the stage of social anarchy, a stage when confusion and disorder will take over the land. We are on the way to clinching social anarchy, in which case there will be no law and order. We are almost there. It is a stage when all will be based on survival of the fittest. At the moment now, the only thing that is going on which is done without conscience is the law of balance of terror. Nobody respects the law. Some people believe that the law is not meant for them and must be circumvented. It is the balance of terror that rules the country. It is the balance of terror that prevents the country from moving forward. It is the balance of terror that encourages tyranny and farcical leadership. It is the balance of terror that encourages people to resort to underhand ways of solving problems.

We are approaching that, and from that we will reach social anarchy. And you know what social anarchy means. It means everything has broken down. Can you ask anybody to obey the law or listen to any religion? No. Everybody is only afraid, if the other party he offends can do more harm to him. That is when people will respect the individual and not the law. It is imminent and no one appears to have the power to stop it.

Do you not believe just like some separatists have advocated that a break-up will instill sanity in the country and reduce the growing tension and fear of anarchy?

That is another issue. It is another issue for us to ponder over. If we break-up, the other units will also suffer from the same thing they have tried to run away from. It is the same thing. It is like running from your shadows.

There are people especially in the Southeast who are clamouring for break-up in the belief that  they will have an el-dorado of sorts in the land they call Biafra?

No. The solution to this is change the social, political and economic systems that have thwarted all good developments in the country. Also the political leadership foisted by the system should be changed. Both the political leadership and the system are based on self-interest first, public-interest second. That is how Nigeria is running on.

You cannot do anything about this because this system has produced a leadership that is not concerned with the welfare of the people. It is concerned only with perpetuation of power and deepening of the problems it created. It is a system that serves its interest only. Everybody is after money only, so as to get money – power.

The pursuit and ugly use of money have arrested the brains of people and development. The only way out is to change the system and the political leadership it produced. The reality in Nigeria today is that we will not abandon this decadent system and pursue socialist system that will bring about social development. That is the reality. We need to be aware of this that it is only a change from the capitalist system to a socialist system that will make a change of direction in the nation’s affairs. The more we tend to run away from it, the more we stay at the crossroads. We should allow it to play a leading role in the economy to ensure justice, social order, dignity of the human person, and development all over the country. That is the answer. It is the only thing. That is the solution which is near, but which we have refused to grab. That is the only answer. America, Britain, Germany, China, Russia, they did it and became the most powerful people and countries in the world. We can also do it. They placed humanity above other considerations in their march to freedom. They are now the most advanced nations in the world today. They placed public-interest first.

Enlightened self-interest has no place in the development and advancement of nations. We are going through what other people had gone through and emerged stronger because of the system they put in place. For instance, for how long have we been fighting those we elected to power? For how long have we been fighting to bring about free and compulsory primary and secondary education in Nigeria? And if it is possible also, have a free post-secondary education in Nigeria, because when you have an educated citizenry, it will be easy to put in place a system that will ensure progress and development in all ramifications.

All we are interested in is money-power. Nothing has been achieved; no progress at all. Since the leadership in Nigeria, starting from 1966, or even 1960, it has always been a march backwards instead of a march forward, and when you make one step forward and three steps backward, you can’t progress. That is the truth many people don’t want to hear. Where is justice in Nigeria? I can’t find it.

Some people are saying the drift in the present circumstances is because of the alleged powerful cabal that is running the country. Do you subscribe to that?

It is inevitable because the leadership is not based on a credible system.      Therefore, you can have a situation where it is not the leader that decides, but a cabal. We know everything about the cabal. It is true. But it is the failure of the leadership that brought about the cabal. You can’t expect the leadership to succeed with this negative system. You can’t avoid the cabal because it is a question of survival of the fittest. It is garbage in, garbage out. It is what you sow that you will reap.

There is this palaver about new minimum wage. The Federal Government has approved N30,000 as new minimum wage, but most of the states are saying that they will not pay because we run a federal set up where states  should not be controlled by the Federal Government. What is your view on that?

It shows that we, the intellectuals are hopeless. We are not equal to the advanced countries. Those intellectuals who are in power today; when I say intellectuals, I mean those who have secondary education and above, and who are saddled with the responsibility of driving the ship of state of Nigeria. We are too bankrupt that what is happening in Nigeria goes on like that, whereby governors fail to pay workers.

I want to say that if we are really what I say of intellectuals, no governor can avoid impeachment if he fails to pay pensioners and workers, or if he fails to pay the minimum wage of N30,000 to workers. No excuse can be used to justify that. I don’t see any reason the Federal Government should bail out the state governments when they can’t pay workers.

If we have a good system in place, any governor who fails to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000 will be severely sanctioned through impeachment. That is it. The Federal Government should not give him bailout funds and the people should organize impeachment and get him out of the way.

The last election has been won and lost and the Supreme Court finally ruled on it last week. There appears to be a growing gulf between the two leading parties based on this.

Do you believe there was an election? I am asking you. Do you honestly believe there was an election? You are also an intellectual. Answer the question?

It is subjective. It depends on the angle you’re looking at it sir.

No matter the angle you’re looking at it. For example, didn’t you know the role money played in the elections? Didn’t you know that there were credible reports that in some places there were no elections and yet results were written and declared? Didn’t you know of the huge column of security agents dispatched to the polling stations to intimidate the voters and snatch victory for their sponsors? It was a war.

How can you under this circumstance talk about election? No, there was no legitimate election. A legitimate election arises when there is a free, fair, and transparent election leading to a government. There had never been anything like election in Nigeria since this dispensation. I can prove it. Each election had happened to be worse than the previous one.

There have been controversies over which geo-political zone should take the presidency in 2023. Some say the North should retain it. Others are canvassing for the Southwest. Yet there are others who insist it must go to the Southeast in the interest of justice, equity, peace, national harmony and good conscience. Where do you think it should go, based on these premises?

Do you want me to be involved in this impartiality? Okay, I will be involved. I will not be scared of being involved. Let me get involved. We are talking of free, fair and credible elections. We are talking of equality. We are talking of justice. We are talking of social belonging. Now, it happened that since the history of Nigeria, I think, since the military handed over power to democratically elected people; we are talking about social justice, to give people sense of belonging, then we have to do the right things.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, even as it is the most vilified party came up with rotational presidency to create an atmosphere of justice, equity and sense of belonging. Everybody keyed into it because it is believed that it will bring about peace and justice and allay fears of domination by any group. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. The only certain way to guarantee peace and social belonging is to let power rotate among the disparate entities that make up the country. There are some of us who don’t like PDP, but have embraced this policy.

Then, if we are really talking of equality, equity, justice, sense of belonging, then, we should know that the presidency went to the North so many times under both the military and civilian regimes for so many years. Then it went to the Southwest, and went to the South-south. The only section it has not gone to is the Southeast. Why stop the Southeast from having it? Why? Haven’t the south- east produced the best that we have had to date? Haven’t the Southeast produced the Great Zik of Africa? Yes, they did that. Has any section of Nigeria produced anyone like the Great Zik of Africa, a great unifier?

Remember, it was the Zik of Africa during the colonial times that produced the first mayor of Enugu, from Kano; a Hausa/Fulani Muslim from Kano – Umaru Atne. He was the first mayor of Enugu, the then capital of Eastern Nigeria, mostly inhabited by Christian Igbo. Has any section of Nigeria done such a thing to demonstrate national unity? When partisan politics started in 1950, was it not the Great Zik of Africa who sowed the seed of bringing unity in Nigeria as the national chairman of NCNC to make Argungu, a Hausa/Fulani Muslim from Bauchi to become the first national secretary of NCNC (National Council of Nigerian Citizens)? Is there any section of Nigeria, whether the Southwest, the North, the South-south that has demonstrated this sense of national unity? Why deny these people this right?

In addition to other things that have been denied them, why deny them this justice? We are talking about somebody who is capable of uniting the country and Zik of Africa had shown and demonstrated it more than any other Nigerian, living or dead has ever done. Is it because of the allegation that they were responsible for the civil war? Why place lies on them to discredit them and deny them justice. Some people are going about saying that they were responsible for the civil war. But the civil war was not of their making.

The Hausa/Fulani, the Yoruba, the Ijaw, in fact, everybody contributed to the civil war. The Igbo was played out. They were deceived and made victims. Lies were told about them, which have stuck. Lies were so much told about them that it appeared that they were responsible for the 1966 coup.

The 1966 coup was a work of havoc by those who were afraid of Nigeria, including the Igbo, but the Igbo were played out and the deed was hung on them till today.

Today, they call it Igbo coup, but actually every section of Nigeria had a reason to bring about the 1966 coup. – Culled from The Sun.

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