Balarabe Musa: President has to do more to change present narrative
Former Governor of Kaduna and Chairman, Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa, told SAXONE AKHAINE, that Despite meeting with the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and that of All Progressives Congress (APC), as well as, serving governors, President Muhammadu Buhari has to do more if he wants a change in the negative state of the nation.
What do you make of President Muhammadu Buhari’s meeting with the leadership of the opposition People Democratic Party and that of the All Progressives Congress?
The value of the meeting has been reduced by the fact that the President was unable to enforce his first political responsibility by convening the Federal Executive Council (FEC) first. Now, this is a minus in terms of understanding what was on ground and inspiring confidence. On his return, the first thing he should have done, and which I believe he did was to thank God for his recovery, and also thank Nigerians for the prayers and sympathy they have shown to him.
Secondly, for me, he should have met the FEC because he left the country under the charge of the Vice President, and the FEC. His first institutional responsibility was to meet the council with whom he left the responsibility of running the country while he got treated in London. Not meeting FEC first, casts a lot of doubts on the value of subsequent things he did.
As chair of CNPP, you should have been part of that meeting. Why were you absent?
You see, in the first place it was not all the political parties that were invited. According to what I understand, only the PDP and APC leaders and some other people were invited. In a way the President is right because they are the two most important political institutions directly involved with the state of the nation. That does not mean that other political parties are not important. I can understand the limitations of the President, and why he only extended the invitation mainly to the two political party leaders. It would have been better to have invited more party leaders, particularly those that have remained relevant, to be part of the discourse on the state of the nation. Now, I will come back to the other question on why I was not invited to the meeting.
Let me say that I am incompatible with the system and the leadership. And I believe that explains why I could not be at the meeting. Like I said earlier, not all the political parties were invited, only the ruling party and the main opposition party. Therefore if the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) is excluded, it is understandable because it is not one of the most important two political parties. It is not even one of the parties directly connected with governance, in terms of being part of the groups that have led the nation into the present condition. So, much as I believe that the invitation was institutionalised, I was not invited as an individual because I am so much incompatible with this system and its leadership.
Do you think that meeting is capable of redressing the nation’s current socio-political and economic woes?
The problems have always been there and the APC has not changed anything. The President has to do more if he wants a change in the negative state of the nation. He should have addressed many things since he returned back to the country in order to win the confidence of Nigerians, particularly the critical sectors. Immediately I heard of the President’s plan to return to the country, I began to think of what he should address under the circumstances facing us as a nation, what he should pay attention to, in addition to his electoral promises.
I think one of the first things he should have addressed should have been reassuring Nigerians of his determination to fulfill his electoral promises. Now, it is over two years since after his inauguration, so he should assure Nigerians that he is fit mentally, and physically capable of carrying out his constitutional responsibilities in spite of the state of his health.
Many issues have been cropping up in different parts of the country in his absence. It is now time for him to think about bringing about reconciliation in the country since many Nigerians are still distracted with this issue of whether to continue as one united country or not. All these talks about restructuring, true federalism and the rest are different forms of expression of the lack of unity in the country. So, it is very important for the President to take steps to reconcile Nigerians so that we have confidence in a united, progressive Nigeria that we all belong to, and are all proud of.
Do you see the president’s party as being capable of taking us to the promise land?
At present, and with the way the government is going about things, it is not possible because of the inherent divisions among Nigerians. But, if the President does his work and if he is powerful enough to bring back the sense of belonging that we once had, particularly from 1970s, then we will arrive at the promised land. Poor leadership in the country truncated that sense of belonging. The other issue he should address is the level of poverty in the country. Some people are of the opinion that we have never had so much poverty in the country before. And to some extent they are right because the cost of living is high now. He should also address the issue of restructuring of the country, and should allow Nigerians to understand what restructuring means to the government. He should also make it known, the kind of restructuring the government thinks is relevant to the country. And he should know that restructuring is very essential to a country that has lived for 100 years.
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