Friday, 26 June 2015

Buhari and Me (6)



Buhari and Me (6)
Continued from last week…
Buhari: (contininues…) So really Nigerians know. That is why I am shifting this thing to the electorate. For us to get this multiparty democratic system workable in Nigeria, the electorate must have to go and deliver their constituency. If they don’t, they will be the losers, because if the country is not properly managed, it means there will be so much unemployment. Look at what we earned in the last eleven years; look at the state of our infrastructure; factories closed… Kaduna is one of the biggest casualties in terms of closure of factories… Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, all the industrial centres. Go and conduct a survey… the millions of Nigerians out of job because of incompetence in governance; illegal governments for that matter. So really, there’s no contradiction, which is why I was upset when there was so much talk about (electoral) reform. All those five documents that I mentioned: the constitution, the INEC Act, the parties constitutions, the Electoral Act; they are comprehensive enough to guarantee free and fair elections, but they are not being respected. So to reform what you haven’t practiced… I am so happy now that Jega is the chairman of INEC because he was part of that reform committee… (general laughter). The second question is about the cost of the legislature and so on. I think there’s a lot of literature recently about this, and the Honourables and the Distinguisheds get nervous when you ask them what their take-home pay is… some say it’s up to about 11million a month. Well, they’re arguing about it and…
Me: (Cut in) Well at any rate, even though we do not know precisely the figure, we’re very certain that they are the most highly paid legislators world over…
Buhari: Well, there were other problems about this constituency allowances and so on. If there are capital projects, for instance, you are going to do a dual carriage way, say from Zaria to Sokoto. How many constituencies would that cover between the two towns? Then if you take that money and give it to a legislator, what does he do? Sink a borehole? Instead of building a dual carriage road that will bring security and economic benefits to the whole area in that stretch?
Me: (cut in) So how do you react to that and what can you do in the event you emerge president?
Buhari: Well, those things have to be dealt with dispassionately. What I said in a previous interview is that we’ll have to secure and manage this country. What do I mean by security in this country? All this feeling of insecurity, which Mr President himself identified and told Obama – about these kidnappings and assassination. You can’t even afford to succeed in Nigeria. May be you’re not a contractor, you’re not a Perm-Sec in charge of the vote of your ministry; you’re just a trader and you’re successful. You made your money, you can’t build a good house and send your child to a good school; you just get kidnapped! And then you have to turn over all you capital to the kidnappers. So this country has to be secured and then managed; and managing it is that the resources must be properly utilized for Nigerians. It is a scandal what we’ve earned in this country in the last eleven years and the state of our infrastructure. It’s a big scandal.
Me: Alright, there’s the question of zoning…
Buhari: Well, I think I have partially answered the question of this zoning. This zoning is a PDP agenda; it is their own convenience. When the CPC was registered, we registered it as a political party for the whole country and we appealed to the electorate to go and educate their constituencies and deliver that to us, because we promised them that our manifesto is going to address the things closest to Nigerians’ lives; the security of lives and property and the management of resources and getting industry and infrastructure up so that people can get jobs, they can pay taxes; and the social services that collapsed like education, healthcare, even drinking water will be  back. This is what is contained in our manifesto. So the question of zoning is a PDP affair. Let them go and carry on with their problems. I don’t believe in zoning. Let us play democracy. That is why I am insisting and begging the electorate to go and deliver their constituencies. When people are properly educated, when you remove the religious, the tribal and other negative postures people take… I can understand if somebody wants to be a councilor, but if you’re in Kaduna, even if you want to be a councilor, can you afford to bring in religion? You can’t because you’ll be voted out. If you bring tribe you’ll be voted out. So anybody with a national outlook cannot bring the question of zoning. It will give people some confidence that somebody is from their area may be, but what is the point of somebody from your area, whom, after voting him, you will not see until after four years? What is the use?
To be concluded next week…

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