Why Nigeria is not working —Balarabe Musa
Former Kaduna State governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa speaks with AYODELE ADESANMI on Nigeria at 58 and the challenges facing the country.
Why do you think nothing works in Nigeria in spite of years of independence?
It was due to the system that is controlling development and because of corruption, stealing and criminal waste of resources that gave room for the personal interest first over the public interest. The public interest is for all-round development in any society or nation. The public interest is superior to personal interest and it is the primary condition for any development in any society, while the self-interest is the survival of the fittest and there is no nation that survives on the survival of the fittest such as the policies on privatisation, deregulation and commercialisation. Public interest is the collective security.
With all these problems bedevilling the country, what do you think can be done?
We need restructuring. l am in support of it inasmuch as we can determine what the restructuring is and the type of restructuring we want to achieve. However, one of the ideas of restructuring is advanced while some are backward, because it is very important. But some of the ideas are backward, like the return to the ethnic nationality. The return to a system whereby people are united is advanced. In the country today some people are talking about restructuring because some people are backward. The most fundamental and advanced restructuring, for instance, is the major role of the state in the economy to ensure peace, equality, justice, dignity of human person and progressive human development for the whole country. For instance, restructuring as far as l am concerned is made up of four components. One, it’s Nigerians reconciling among themselves that would make them one nation and evolve a system except that they are one nation with unity that every Nigeria has the capacity to participate in the affairs of its nation. Let us have a nation where we have unity. At the moment there are conflicting positions. To bring about that unity, you need to reconcile as a nation and we need to sit down in a constitutional conference or whatever type of conference to agree among ourselves how we can treat one another as brothers and live in peace. This reconciliation needs to be promoted by the government and it’s the government in power that can do this. But unfortunately, we don’t have a government presently that can do it. However, this government cannot do it because it is part and parcel of the political conspiracy. Let me tell you the truth about this government and the party, but I don’t know whether you can publish it. The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency are the products of the political conspiracy between the Northern section of the Nigerian bourgeoisie and the South-Western section of the Nigerian bourgeoisie. The government and the party were brought in by the conspiracy of these two blocs. They are marginalising us and are sidelining their counterpart in the South-South and South-East geopolitical zones of the bourgeoisies. A good example is that no government in the country can sideline the South-Western and the Northern bourgeoisies for more than two governments. However, you can sideline the South-Eastern and South-Southern bourgeoisies and get away with it for years. There is no government that can sideline the latter and get away with it more than two months. This is not possible in view of their powers and because of the power structure.
There is need to correct this present power structure to the original arrangement as we had under the 1963 constitution. Create six regions and make them viable. It was impossible to marginalise any of the three regions when they were in operations, as any of them was stronger to stand on their own. However, the creation of the Mid-Western region was a conspiracy between the power blocs, as its creation was against the interest of the South-West.
You are one of those aggrieved with the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and you supported President Muhamadu Buhari government, why are you turning around to say that the government was a conspiracy?
It was the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) that supported the Peoples Democratic Party and the Jonathan government, especially during the campaign. The PRP preferred to support the government of PDP despite its incompetence rather than the APC, which is clearly fascist. The composition of the leadership of the APC was an indication of military leadership.
Nigeria will be 58 years, which of the country’s leaders would you say was fair to all sections and ruled the country fairly?
Relatively, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, even though he controlled the class system, was a decent person and a credible leader no matter where he found himself. If not because of his credibility, the excesses of the leaders, particularly from the South-West and the North would have destroyed the country by that time. However, because of his dignity and sense of responsibility, he was experienced a heavy showdown with the conservative North and the secessionist South-West.
The next Head of State was Yakubu Gowon. He did very well in two areas. In the first place, he was able to fight the civil war without too much rancour and without submitting to imperialists. He also succeeded in fighting the war without foreign debt. Secondly, he was able to create a veranda from the Biafran and immediately instituted the policy of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction. If that policy had been continued, we would not be having the problems we are facing today.
The late Murtala Mohammed did what Gowon did but his own was bigger but he was a radical. That was why the ruling class did not allow him to stay beyond six months. However, beyond these three leaders, I could not see any leader one can be proud of. But let me say a little of President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was a rascal in terms of political leadership. I wish he was a leftist; he would have done wonderfully because of his radicalism. He told them off these blocs as the military head of state. Former President Shehu Shagari told everybody from the outset that he did not see himself beyond the post of a local government chairman. In 1979, he had opportunity to re-construct Nigeria; then every section of the country wanted national unity. They did not want the return of the division of the past encouraged by the military, but he wasn’t capable of doing that. In spite of the tremendous support he had, constitutionally and morally, but he allowed the National Assembly to do what they wanted.
You said earlier that Northern and Western region was a secessionist.
Western Region has always demanded for Oduduwa State. It started with Chief Obafemi Awolowo but he was decent and not vulgar like the present agitators. Chief Awolowo has never campaigned on Yorubanism. In the case of the North, the Northern bourgeoisie who were feudal and conservative, in spite of their low education, had superior belief that the government of their region was better than the national government.
The secessionist tendency has been there in the South-West among the Yoruba and the North among the Hausa-Fulani; they are the head of powers in the North. They are the products of the jihad of Othman Danfodio. The South-East stood for Nigerian unity; supported a political party with the Nigerian interest. The lgbo was the first to support the NCNC even though led by Yoruba man, Herbert Mauculay. The party was stronger but later the Yoruba bourgeoisies destroyed it, as they never wanted it. The lgbo believed in national unity more than the North and the West. They made it clearer in their honesty on the issue of the unity of the country more than the South-West and the North. The Igbo has expanded in the whole of the country through its enterprise.
The Igbo during the Boko Haram crisis made it clear that they would not leave the North, because their assets worth N45 billion in the region. They declared that their territory was not enough for their expansion. Therefore, they required a bigger territory because of their enterprise. In terms of national unity, they are much more reliable than the West and the North and other tribes. However, they have not been able to be the president of the country.