BALARABE: Government has shown lack of direction in solving Nigeria’s problems

balarabe-musa1Alhaji Abdukadri Balarabe Musa is the chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP). He was Governor of old Kaduna State from 1979 to 1981. He spoke with our Northern Bureau Chief, SAXONE AKHAINE, on the social, economic and political challenges facing President Muhammadu Buhari. According to him, if Buhari and the APC government fail to combat the present negative situation in the economy, a radical measure may serve as corrective approach.

The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been grappling with several challenges bothering on economy. How can the government convince Nigerians that it can overcome them?

WELL, the President is really facing a lot of problems. They are so numerous that one is forced to imagine, who can cope with them. Is there any known Nigerian leader, who can cope with these problems? They are enormous, and we know their root. But who really has the moral authority and courage to cope with so many problems as the ones we have today? We hope the President can, but we are not sure, because the problems require radical or even revolutionary solutions.

The point is, do we have the radical or revolutionary leader, who can take the necessary steps to deal with the situation? A number of negative factors are confronting us as a people in this country. The Northeast, Niger Delta and the emerging clamour for a Biafra State. There is high level of poverty and desperation in this country. There are so many other security problems. The problems are not only numerous, but however, the solution lies in a revolutionary measure.

Do we have the revolutionary leader to bring about the solution? That is the question we should ask ourselves. Can any one of these problems be solved by reforms? Certainly no.

They have to be solved by radical approaches. We know that we are in a democracy, in other words, we are in a civilian rule as opposed to military rule, so, there are some dictatorial actions that we don’t expect from civilian rule. But we have to face the reality of our situation. At least, the least anybody can do is to comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. And the provisions of the Constitution do not allow this negative state of the nation. It has also provided solutions to this negative state, but it is not being complied with. For example, the fundamental provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria, particularly chapter 2, do not allow the anarchy that is going on today; as well as, does not allow the leading role of private interests in the economy as we have it today. The Constitution provides for a situation where the State plays a leading role in the economy and monopoly in any aspect, especially, in the economy. But what happens today, the provisions of the Constitutions are violated with impunity. Now, if we can only comply with the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria the situation will not be as negative as it is today.

Looking at the happenings in the Northeast today, the insurgency of Boko Haram has persisted. How do you think President Buhari can restore confidence in Nigerians that the government is on top of the situation?

First of all, the President had earlier promised an end to the insurgency within a stipulated period. The period had passed and the problem has not been solved. Can he still solve the problem after having lost time and initiative immediately after he was sworn in? And now, we have a serious situation, which shows lack of political direction or political judgment on the part of the All Progressives Congress government.

There is still no accountability in the government and that had also been the problem with the Peoples Democratic Party government in the country. Look at the problem of the budget, how it was mis-prepared and mis-represented? That is the root of accountability. If there is no credible budget, there cannot be accountability.

And look at this situation, whereby, the government makes promises on the recovery of looted funds, apparently looted funds are being recovered, but there is no accountability. Those from whom the looted funds were recovered are protected, as their names are not mentioned.

Because these looted funds when they are collected, they must be treated like any revenue of the government, they must be credited to the federation account and the amount must be voted for by the legislature. But this has not been done and everything has been kept secret. Now, who are you protecting? Are you protecting the thieves, why should you protect them? Are you not supposed to deal with the matter in such a way that it acts as a restrain to others? Now, where is the restrain if the thieves are protected? There are lots of problems that the President has to deal with. The question is, does he have the moral authority and moral courage to cope with the problems?

Let me make it clear, if this APC government doesn’t succeed then the only thing people would be talking about is a revolution to clear the way. Whether it is peaceful or otherwise revolution is another matter.

But a revolution will become inevitable, if this benefit of doubt, which has been extended to this APC government does not show any encouragement, and then people will be thinking of only one alternative, that is a revolution.

There is this new initiative by government to protect the Niger Delta crude extraction and supply because of the problems posed by militants?

Why is the situation in the Niger Delta a roll back to the old days before the late President Umaru Yar’adua took the right action? Because Yar’adua took the right action in bringing down the level of insurgency in the Niger Delta region by first, granting amnesty and other measures and the problem there went down very much. Why is it now resurfacing? It means the APC government has mismanaged the situation, and has not continued the application of the correct policies of Yar’adua and even Jonathan. Because we should not be talking about this problem of Niger Delta, we should rather be moving forward. The problem was earlier solved to the satisfaction of almost 90 per cent of the people of Niger Delta and they have been cooperating with the government and we have been seeing the result.

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