Obviously infuriated by the internal crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC), former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, in this interview, says President Muhammadu Buhari must address issues confronting his party. He believes that such failure to confront the issues affected former president Shehu Shagari in the Second Republic. Excerpts:
You had doubts about peaceful transition because of the tension leading to the elections. How did it go?
Yes, that was before the elections. But I later commended former president Goodluck Jonathan for a rare record-breaking effort at embracing peace in Africa. I also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his victory.
What do you say on the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President of the 8th Assembly and Hon. Dagora as the Speaker of the House of Representatives?
It is history repeating itself. This happened during Shehu Shagari’s administration. When Shagari failed to address it quickly, it resulted in corruption and killings. And Shagari could not control it. Now that similar situation has arisen again; if Buhari does not address these issues quickly, the same thing could happen to him. Because he is the President of the country, people must listen to him. As I said earlier, Dr. Joseph Wayas’ position then at the Senate caused the failure of the Shagari administration during the Second Republic. If Buhari does not come out to address the issues now, worse situation than Shagari may befall this administration.
But Buhari has said he would work with anybody that emerges. Don’t you think it is too early to start distracting the President with issues of internal rivalry in his party?
No! People with this view are making things more difficult for APC. One month after the President was sworn-in, he ought to have resolved everything. Imagine that if the President cannot tell those fighting for key positions that they cannot have them, then who will? Is there any country in the world, where millions of Naira wardrobe allowance is mentioned amidst the austerity measures staring us as a country, even as senators are getting millions of Naira? Does it not sound stupid and laughable in a country where they forcefully pay the minimum wage of N18,000 per month and states are yet to pay workers several months of salary arrears? Imagine what the newly elected Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, said on national television: ‘We are going to reduce our pay from N150 billion to N130 billion” Is that not an insult to the conscience and intelligence of Nigerians!
Some political analysts say Senator Bukola Saraki may not work well with President Buhari to achieve the goal of the party. What is your view on this?
It is obvious, because their moral and value system are by far different. By now, they ought to have scrapped the budget on wardrobe allowance based on his statement. The President needs every support he can get to move Nigeria forward.
But with the rivalry in the party, do you foresee an APC President come 2019?
Obviously, the party is divided. The rivalry in APC is between PDP 1 and PDP 2. You can imagine a senator elected under APC going to consult former President Olusegun Obasanjo! For what?
How do you mean?
The infection of the so-called APC is nothing but the PDP! Why will the APC be going to the chief maker of the PDP to resolve its problem! Is that not PDP1 and PDP 2.
So who is now calling the shots for APC? If they are starting to consult Obasanjo, and not party leaders like President Buhari or Asiwaju Bola Tinubu without whom there will be no APC and others. The fact is, these two people should unite the APC and ensure it succeeds. For Senator Saraki to be consulting Chief Obasanjo to resolve issues affecting APC is an insult to APC leaders.
What is the way forward?
The way forward is for President Buhari to stand up and address the issues as the President of Nigeria. He should take the right step because our collective interest as a nation is more important for peace, stability and progress in Nigeria.