Former Kaduna State governor, Balarabe Musa has made case for restructuring of the country and return to regional government, as a panacea for the multifarious problems confronting Nigeria. In this interview, the elder statesman, belching fire, called on Nigerians to rise up for a revolution that will get rid of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for taking the nation to the abyss of underdevelopment.
What is your view on the current state of the nation?
It is very negative, very dangerous and it could lead to anything tomorrow.
How do you think the problem of insecurity especially in the North can be addressed?
The insecurity is throughout the country, but is it more alarming in the North; unfortunately, the president of the country is from the North. The state of insecurity is as a result of other aspects of the negative state of the nation. For instance, the level of poverty, unemployment, the level of corruption, stealing and waste of resources, which apply to the whole country, particularly in the North. The president and his party are clearly incompetent, and the governors throughout the country, except very few of them are either ignorant or grossly irresponsible. Both the APC, the PDP, and their governors are insisting on continuing in power, they should be stopped because the continuation of the two parties will lead to a worse situation.
Against the insecurity in the North, Kano governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje called on the federal government to halt the movement of herdsmen from other countries into Nigeria, what is your position on this?
Herdsmen are not the source of the problem we have in the country. The source of the problem is the incompetence of the federal government and irrelevance of the state governors. How can herdsmen or those bringing them into Nigeria come freely without the indifference of the federal government and the state government, particularly, the federal government?
You said the APC and PDP should not be allowed to continue, how can this be made possible?
Either another party, which is patriotic and credible and concerned with the future of Nigeria and Nigerians should come to power, or a coalition of parties that are capable and united and credible. The thing is either a capable political party or a coalition of a number of credible parties.
When it happens, you find out that politicians from APC and PDP will move into the new party you are talking about and possibly hijack it
We will make sure that it doesn’t happen because we know the danger of that. The leaders of the parties must be responsible. In 2002, many political parties came together and formed the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), when we realised that President Obasanjo and his party, PDP were planning one party system, but because of their problem with the North, they conceded and started thinking of a two party system, whereby, one controls the government, while the other, a cooperating opposition.
We saw their plan and when INEC called for a consultative meeting for all the political parties, the electoral body refused to listen to the submission of all the other political parties, and we then concluded that INEC and the federal government were planning for one party system, but if necessary because of the character of Nigeria nationalism, a two party system was necessary, but we fought against it by forming the CNPP under the support of one of the party leaders, the late Gani Fawehinmi. He spearheaded the move for a multi party system in this country, instead of the one party system or two party system, and we succeeded through the CNPP. However, when money politics took a greater measure, undermining the state of the nation, the political parties that were united, fought for multi party system began to disorganise themselves; instead of fighting for freedom, they fought for money, and CNPP was weakened, and as a result, INEC and government formed what was called, Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), which didn’t succeed because it failed to do what they wanted it to do, which was to undermine political parties.
The solution is to go back and re-strengthen the CNPP under the leadership of one of the most credible party chairmen; if we get that, the political parties under credible leadership will unit and protect the interest of the country and bring about a better state of the nation; better still, bring about social reconstruction of Nigeria, starting with the role of the state in the economy to ensure peace, equality, justice to the majority of the human person, and progress, as well as even development of the country.
The CNPP has not died, but it has been weakened. I’m still its national chairman. It has been weakened by money power. It still exists, we have credible party leaders among them, for instance, there is Adeniran, and there is Sasado and others, who are dependable and can replace Gani Fawehinmi, and bring about the relevance of CNPP in other to bring about a better state of the nation. If for instance, Adeniran, who has political experience, and Sasado, who also has political experience, can come together, study the objective of the CNPP, and revive it, we will see a way forward to get rid of the nonsense of APC and PDP peacefully. We are talking of peaceful revolution, we are not talking of revolution by any means, we hope it will not resort to that, but the moment the revolution is by peaceful means; a revolution in which the electorate have the power to decide the fate of a political party and the fate of a candidate in an election. You can ensure peaceful revolution, but if you can make this thing possible or either the alterative becomes necessarily inevitable because Nigeria has to move forward; Nigeria has to be equal with any other nation in the world. America, China, Russia, Germany and so on, fought and became what they are today; they just didn’t sit down there, deceiving themselves and hoping for the best.
Considering our diversity, the elites divide the people along ethnic and religious lines, don’t you think it will be difficult for the people to come together and push for revolution, as you recommended?
The same people were they not able to get rid of feudalism, the same people were they not able to get rid of colonialism, and the same people were they not able to get rid of military dictatorship? The same people who have done these, even though it is not enough, but still, it is something; it is two steps forward, one step backward. Nigeria, in spite of its diversity has achieved two steps forward, one step backward by getting rid of feudalism, colonialism, military dictatorship, and now, even civilian dictatorship. Look at APC and PDP. Let Nigerians continue, but qualitatively, and they will get rid of these parties and bring about the desirable state of the nation, peace and progress and make the country equal with any nation in the world.
What type of leadership do you expect to emerge after Buhari?
A worse leadership has been the trend, and that trend will continue unless something decisively is done by the Nigerian people, we will not see a better situation when Buhari goes in 2023; we will see a situation worse than during Buhari.
After all Buhari himself became the president because he constituted the least risk, we knew; we knew him. When he came into power and up till now he is not behaving as we had thought him to be a better risk. We should continue taking the risk until we do what other countries do gradually to get rid of our problems and establish a nation, which everybody can be proud of.
Based on what you have said, people are talking about rotation, zoning, what is your stand on this , and which zone do you think should produce the next president of Nigeria?
Let us think of what will unite Nigerians; what will make Nigerians proud of themselves and of their country. In practical terms, we have seen experiences of governance in this country over a long period of time. The request for restructuring is valid, but those people who are supporting it should then make it clear to Nigerians what restructuring constitutes; is it ethnic nationalities problems because some of the people are thinking that it is about creation of more states. As far as we are concerned, our restructuring idea is that, we have now seen the problem of weakening our regional government. When we had regional government, we had more responsible leadership and we had more progress. Let us go back to the regional arrangement, where we had Eastern Region, Northern Region, Western Region and later, Mid Western Region, and we saw more sense of responsibility in the leadership and we also saw coordinated progress, so, let us go back to that arrangement. Let us restructure the country and go back to the regional arrangement, and so, should abolish the states and go back to regions; instead of the 36 states, we should have six or seven regions. Let each regional government decide how many states and local governments it wants to have and finance. The federating units should be the regions, and resources should be allocated to the regions, and each region can create as many states and local governments it wants based on allocations it has and resources available to it.
We will make the centre not as strong as it is, and make the regions and local governments stronger, but the federal government will also be strong enough to coordinate and protect the interest of Nigerians who don’t want to identify themselves with regions, but Nigeria. We can do that only if we have a relevant central government that is not too strong, but certainly not too weak to be able to coordinate and bring about national unity. – Culled from The Sun.