Friday, 26 June 2015
Buhari and Me (3)
Buhari and Me (3)
Continued from last week…
Buhari: The first question is supposed to basically about management and accountability, from my understanding. As I kept on saying, the constitution is all embracing. Then the institutions that supervise the execution of the constitutional roles… I mentioned the police, the SSS, the military and other law enforcement agencies; and then, for example, the Accountant General’s office, the Auditor General’s office, the central bank, the Ministry of Finance… so there’s nothing you can do really, in terms of releasing and the utilization of resources without a government institution that will follow it to the latter. So, all this question of transparency and accountability is just recklessness on the part of leadership that doesn’t want to do it… because it can always be traced; unless there’s no seriousness in government. It’s good the EFCC is there, the ICPC… they’re all new initiatives; but in spite of them, look at what happened in the last ten years. So, really, it’s a question of getting a leadership that will insist… There’s nothing wrong; there’s room for the constitution to be changed if it becomes necessary, but you don’t just have a law and then you turn back and subvert it because you’re sitting there and you think nothing will happen to you. Look at one of the Prime Ministers of Israel, I think he’s now being probed; I think he will be taken to court. So, in countries that are really advanced, where people are politically aware, they guard the public resources as their own – and indeed they are their own – that whoever you are, if you have this immunity when you’re a governor or a president, when you get out, the office of the Accountant General is there… and the Auditor General and so on; and if you have just been taking money from the central bank or ordering the finance ministry to take money, not according to the law, you can be successfully prosecuted. But Nigerians want to have immunity for life; they just want the next time they should give account, if they believe in God, is when they die and they don’t care what happens here. So I think… what shall I do? I don’t think I’m going to do anything unique other than what I did when I was a military Head of States, but under a different system. This time there’s the executive, there’s the legislature and there’s the judiciary. But what I will do as head of the executive is to make sure that people go by the constitution and laws. Otherwise, let the people change it from the constitution, that whoever is the Head of States, the governor or LG chairman, he can put the treasury in his pocket and do whatever he likes (giggles from the audience).
Now I will attempt to answer the second question. Always in parties to contest… I think you’re being very unfair to me. I joined the APP, then, in April 2002, and it was the second largest party, but it was being systematically killed. So if I was there just to get to office – either LG chairman, or governor or president, to put the treasury into my pocket – I wouldn’t go to APP then. And why did I spend my time – thirty months in the court – oscillating between Kaduna and Abuja when the election 2003 was rigged? And why did I spend twenty months in 2007/2008 to contest, again, the election of Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua? So I think ‘am not in parties to be president… and the ANPP did not refuse to give me ticket when I left it. I left it because, I said, there’s political anarchy…
Me: (cut in) Your Excellency, I like to break in here. A couple of weeks ago, we saw this headline: “I will continue to contest for the presidency as long as I’m fit”. Something to that effect was attributed to you. It only makes people want to ask: “must Buhari be the president of this country?” just as it has been asked. “What is really his agenda?”
Buhari: Parties are the platform, constitutionally. And parties have a system… I told you also of the electoral act. You go through that system to be nominated by your party for whatever office, from councilor to president. So if I’m in the party, I have my vision, and that one of the greatest benefits of democracy is free and fair election and I have been challenging free and fair elections in Nigeria, or lack of it, for fifty months between 2003 and 2008, because I believe in it. I think that’s enough to convince people that I’m not joking. And I left the ANPP then because, I said, there’s political anarchy there and I mentioned why there was political anarchy. The party’s supposed to work according to its constitution deposited with INEC, but we know what use INEC is, or was. So I had to leave the party and then CPC was being floated and I joined.
Maji Peterx: (cuts in from the audience…) Excuse me General – you said we should correct you if you didn’t address the question properly – ‘am asking, why is every party you join about the integrity of the General? Who’re the people you’re going to work with? Because you see people contesting for councilor, Buhari’s picture and theirs’; people contesting for governor, Buhari’s picture and theirs’; why is it about you and your integrity?
To be continued…