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WHY NORTH’LL CONTINUE TO BE PROBLEM TO NIGERIA –BALARABE MUSA

Says region can’t produce 100 engineers, but a local government in

South can produce 1000 engineers

From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

GRANTING this interview was a Herculean task for the former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, not because he was not willing to talk, but because he admitted, “I am weak, health wise, I don’t think I can speak for very long, but let me try, as long as you will not drill me for too long.”

Alhaji Musa also appeared not to be in a good mood last Tuesday morning when the correspondent went to his house, saying, “Apart from the fact that I am weak, I could not attend INEC meeting in Abuja because they gave only two days notice for the meeting, and I would have loved to attend the meeting myself, but I cannot. So I have asked the national secretary of my party to attend.”

So with this situation, the former governor was not in his usual mood and as such the reporter could not stretch him much on burning national issues. Nevertheless, he managed to release an arsenal, saying, “North is the problem of Nigeria because the region is educationally backwards to be able to help in reconstruction of the country to achieve socio-economic greatness among comity of nations.”   

President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country recently from London where he underwent  medical treatment. He admitted that he had not been so sick in his life, but before now, the President’s handlers did not open up to Nigerians as to the true state of his health. What can you say about this?  

Well, the handling was very bad, very unexpected, they took Nigerians for granted when they should not because the health of the president affects everybody, every Nigerian, whatever any Nigerian feels, Buhari is president, and Nigerians future is linked to the president’s presence or absence. And therefore people should not be indifferent to the health of the president. And the president’s handlers must make sure that they keep on informing Nigerians about the true health of the president. When they said the president was not ill, unfortunately we did not hear about the true health of the President.

This is not the first time, the same thing happened during the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua. But fortunately enough, the president has returned in a healthy condition. I said in a healthy condition because, seeing how the president came down from the aircraft, I was confident that his condition of health is not worse than all of us because he came down from the aircraft without being held and in a strong position. So as long as Nigerians are concerned, unless the president is hiding something medically, he has returned healthy and he is carrying out his responsibility.

Hardly had the President returned to the country than Nigerians were told that he would soon go back to London for another round of medical attention.  Do you think it is good for our politics, don’t you think our politics will suffer for the president’s periodical absence from Nigeria?

No, certainly it is not good for our politics. But this can happen to anybody. We have all been in and out of hospital, so it is not unexpected, particularly when the president has greatest share of pressure. It is not unexpected of him to go back with the hope that his condition will be better than when he was released from the hospital, and what treatment he got after his return, and later he will stay there for the mean time.

Away from Buhari’s ill health, Let’s talk about the last national conference under former President Goodluck Jonathan. As it is today, many Nigerians are yearning for the implementation of the report of that Confab, particularly, the restructuring of the country. But up till now President Buhari has not looked at the recommendations. What is your reaction to this?

President Buhari is right, not to have approved the report of that confab because the national conference was not legitimate; it did not reflect the wishes of Nigerian people. It was Jonathan himself who dictatorially decided that we should have a national conference. It is he who appointed those who participated in the national conference; it is he who gave them the…, so that national conference has nothing to do with the aspirations of Nigerians, it has nothing to do with democracy, and it has to be dismissed. There may be aspects of it that are progressive. For instance, the call for restructuring. This is an incidental thing, and we should pursue it, but not as a result of the national conference. The confab should be dismissed because it is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with the aspirations of Nigerians, and it has nothing to do with the destiny of Nigerians. It has to do with the will of a president who wanted to continue in office.    

From what you have just said, you are in support of restructuring the country. How do you want Nigerians to pursue or go about the restructuring agenda?

Well, in the first place, let’s determine what we mean by restructuring because at the moment now there are various meanings of restructuring. As far as I am concerned, I am in support of restructuring, particularly in two areas; in return to the arrangement of the First Republic, where we had regional governments which were viable, and we should return to that. The 36 states are not viable, and everybody now knows it, and it is not in the interest of the country to continue with it. Let us have six regions, the North-west, the North-east, the North-central, South-west, South-south and South-east. This is the way to transfer Nigeria into three regional governments, each with its own constitution and government. Let also be units and not the statutory states, let any financial allocation come directly from the Federal government to the regions. And let the regions establish as many local governments as they cope with them with regard to financial allocation with the centre. And in fact what they need from centre will be reduced. They will be viable like the former Eastern region, Northern region, the Western region, and even before the Mid western region, they were viable. They needed the Federal Government support just to ensure even development and national unity. But definitely, even without the Federal Government support, they could survive.  This is not what we have now.

The second restructure I want is that let us return to the situation before the military came in where the government played the leading role in the economy to ensure, equality, justice, dignity of the human person and progressive even development of the country. It is the major restructure, this is economic restructure. So we should have this political and economic restructures. There are other aspects of restructuring  that we can tolerate as long as they keep Nigeria united as one nation and capable of equal development because as long as we have one region not having the equality to participate in the affairs of the country, we will not have unity, we will not have peace. For instance, at the moment now we have major problems which we must face and solve as a country. Free education development is central to any form of national development. At the moment now because of historical development, the North is 40 years behind the South in educational development. If this condition continues, there is no way we can have national unity, there is no way we can have even development, there is no way we can avoid the North being the problem of Nigeria. It is a fact, and we have to face it. If we have people like the Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello and so on, their contributions to development would have continued, we will not have problem of even development, particularly in the educational sector. Let’s not forget that because of the colonial policy, the North was left behind right from 1950. For instance, by the time I left school in 1951, there was no single secondary school in the North.

And therefore, a northerner could not go straight to university. He had to go to the South, that was in 1943 when there were about 100 secondary schools in the South. And this disparity has continued up till today, and we are calling on Nigerian leaders to know that this is a threat to peace, to national unity and even development of the whole country.  But Nigerian leaders, particularly, the  present crop of leaders don’t listen to this. But they now have to listen because we want peace and progress, and there is no way we can we have peace and progress if a section of  the country does not have equal rights to participate in the affairs of the country, and you can’t have  the equal rights to participate in the affairs of your country if you have this disparity in educational development. I always give an example. Let us say the present government of APC, (just for the sake of mentioning the party) decides to go revolutionary, decides to face the problems of Nigeria in a revolutionary way, in a way that within a short time we can see Nigeria becoming one of the second largest economy in the world. This is possible, it is not a dream. Take the case of the Soviet Union in 1976, take the case of China in 1949, what are they now, they are the leading countries of the world. Nigeria can achieve this within a short period of time because Nigeria is large in every respect, and it has resources.

Let us suppose, just for the sake of mentioning it, that if the present APC government decides to go and do what these other countries have done to bring them to this present position, if that happens, for instance, the role of the engineers will be very vital. Of course, the roles of doctors, administrators, educationists will be vital. But the roles of engineers will be more vital in the sense of changing.

Let us suppose that that government because of the need to reconstruct the country, to rebuild the nation quickly, wants every one of the 36 States, including FCT, Abuja, to produce 1,000 engineers for the sake of achieving this rapid development, how many states in the North can produce 1,000 engineers instantly without deploying the state engineers to the central pool. Now, maybe, if they can, it is Kwara and Kogi states that can produce such number of engineers, but I don’t think they can. They can’t even produce 100 engineers.

But let us take the South, in the South, even one local government can produce ,1000 engineers to the national pool. How can we expect equal development under this condition where there is an unequal role in the society? So let’s face the problem. And that is why we in the PRP who aimed to bring  about new  and equal Nigeria to its God-given status, advocate socialist reconstruction of Nigeria, starting with the leading role of the state in the economy to ensure peace, equality, justice, dignity of the human person and progressive, even development. If we adopt this, I can tell you that within the next 20 years, even less, Nigeria will be different from what it is today. It will be one of the most developed countries in the world because we have the people, we have the geographical area, and we have the resources.          

 

Sir, you spoke with passion and sincerity about the problems of the North, in this case, will you advise President Buhari to organise a national conference to replace that of former President Jonathan?

I don’t think he can because, I mean, he is not in any way politically different from former president Jonathan.  President Buhari won’t do a better job from Jonathan. Let us find ways and means of agreeing for the need of the relevant national conference, and let us decide how it should come about.

 

You mean President Buhari is politically weak to organise a national confab? 

No, I am saying that President Buhari is not different from Jonathan because Buhari is the product of the wasteful system we have been having for so long since the beginning of Nigeria. So you can’t expect him to do better than Jonathan. Maybe marginally, but not importantly because, for instance, he may have the courtesy to say that Nigeria should decide whether there should be a national conference or not, what is the agenda of the confab, Nigerians should elect who should participate in the conference, and so on. If he does that, he will definitely be ahead of Jonathan.   

 

   Sir, INEC has just released the time table for 2019 general election. What is your observation about the time table because Nigerians are saying is too early, and others are saying it is not too early?   

I think it is proper that INEC has released the time table now because that gives all political parties, at least two years, to prepare for the election. It also gives INEC itself sufficient time to ensure that the time table is followed to the letter, and to conduct free, fair and transparent election leading to a legitimate government. It will also give INEC the time to make sure that the government provides it with the money it requires to conduct the election. So I think the time table is quite good. The only thing is that INEC should know that they are in a privileged position with regards to telling political parties when to starting campaigning doesn’t hold, whatever the law says, whatever INEC says, election campaign should start from now since INEC has announced time table for the election, and INEC should tolerate it.

Kaduna State SIECOM has proposed electronic voting for local government election, are you in support of e-voting system of election?     

I am in support of anything that can lead to legitimate election, leading to a legitimate government.

But many of the stakeholders expressed the fear that the powers-that-be may use the machine to manipulate votes in their favour. How do you react to this?

They can use anything to manipulate votes, but it is up to the political parties to organise themselves, and if necessary to unite and make sure that the election is free, fair and they participate equally.

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7 Comments

  1. AZZO 19th March 2017 at 9:48 am

    Yes sir, well spoken. I have always admired your courage and political sagacity right from the Mallam Aminu Kano days when I was still in primary school in Kaduna. Your sad impeachment as governor at the time which was motivated by blind ambition fanned with insatiable greed is a living testimony to how the state till date have not moved significantly forward. But sir, in your analogy and illustrations, I think you left out the simple fact that the Northerners a die hard breed who do not know and will not allow those who know to teach them. Using your example of Engineers in the south compared to the north, why will the north not have the capacity to have as many engineers as the south and even much more? Why will they(north) not allow the south to help them produce more engineers? Take for example, Innoson Motors in Nnewi Anambra -they have their car engineers go as far as Ghana and South Africa to train citizens of these countries on how to make cars – why and how have they crossed seas to foreign land to render such services when their Northern brothers are lacking? My take, and seriously speaking, is that the North did, and have always refused the south this opportunity to help the North. I support this with the lopsided appointments in the current administration – just as an example. The question then is, why is the North so suspect and unfriendly with the south? Why so much hatred for the south? I think our Northern elites need this answering and somehow proffer solutions to bridge the gap otherwise it will continue to widen in perpetuity. They will be 100 years behind the south and honestly before then, if not now, the current agitation by the south for self determination will become faith accompli.

  2. NWAFOR ACHEBE 19th March 2017 at 9:54 am

    You see the people British park us with in the name of Colonalization me who train me North will continue with blem till the world end upon they the Britain hand over leadership of Nigeria that’s why Achebe call them protected child

  3. Dr. Uche Kalu 19th March 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Chief Noah Ebije and Alhaji Balarabe Musa,seemed to have lost not a single word,on the threat that,the Troglodytes,the so called Fulani muslim sojourners, pose to us,Indigenous Nigerians.
    The Power-That -Be,the Fulani Cliphate of Sokoto, remians an
    anachronism within our Secular Commonwealth Republic of
    Nigeria.It poses a great threat to the unity of our Commonwealth.
    The Fulani muslims in their bid to Islamize the country, have unilaterally gone out their ways into declaring our Fatherland an OIC,C8,O15 Member State.
    They even went further to impose Sharia -jurisprudence upon us.
    Of late,the Fulani Caliphate of Sokoto has through its Institution
    of MACBAN, deployed its Herdsmen and Jihadis Militias all over
    the country.
    They want to imose their Islamic Hegemony upo us all and to control our entire country.
    In the Middle-Belts, Fulani herdsmen and Militias slaughter daily
    Indigenous Christian Minorities and cleanse them from their
    ancestral lands with a genocidal intent.
    Through out the South, Fulani Herdsmen and Militias are on
    rampage.They sack our farmsteds,hamlets and Villages,destroy our farms and crops, rape our women folks and daughters, and they kill those who dare stand on their ways.
    But our Janjaweed Armed and Police Forces dominated and
    commanded by Hausa/Fulani/Kanuri Jihadists do absolutely
    nothing to stop the óngoing heinous acts of barbarism and
    savagery by the rampaging Fulani herdsmen and Militias.
    Why does the likes of Alhaji Balarabe Musa, believe that we
    Indigenous Christian Nigerians, can ever cohabit in harmony
    with his barbaric and bellicose Fulani muslim savages,in this
    moribund country of ours?
    Those who still hold hopes for the continued existence of Nigeria
    as a united entity,must be playing the ostrich or are perhaps,they
    are afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome.
    No to the status quo nte bellum!
    Down with Hausa/Fulani/Kanuri Islamic Hegemony!!
    Hail Biafra!!!

  4. Frank Ikemba 19th March 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Well said Mr Azzo but you did not include the situation in the past where the Sokoto state government preferred to recruit Indian teachers and medical personnel in preference to their southern counterparts. As long as the north continues in their attitude of hate and discrimination against the southerners, Nigeria will remain the way it is- Motion without movement. One step forward, three steps backward. The north is indeed the cause of the nation’s underdeveloped.

  5. Ezekiel Okeke 19th March 2017 at 12:36 pm

    North can no longer be problem for Nigeria because as far as Republic Of Biafra is concerned, north is Nigeria itself. The only problem was north to be in an entity with east and west. Now that Yoruba have wake up to be under entity of their own in the west, the problem is over for the name Nigeria- which is property of the north, they can live comfortably with it. Those names he mentioned- Zik etc. are the basic problem, because they lacked the Intellectual Capability to understand the backgrounds of the natives so as to know what are possible and not within democratic structures and principles. If Zik knew that Igbos do not have Democratic Capacity to exist in one entity with west and north, he would not have gone for it. If he knew at least Igbos may have at least little possibility to exist within one entity with Yoruba or west, if that was the only option, he would have accepted the Southern entity offer in 1957, would not have decided to waited for the north till 1960. Neither Igbos or east nor Yoruba or west have the Democratic Capacity to exist within one entity with the north. That is the Intellectual Reality. Democratic Principles is all about number- east or west do not have the numbers to exist in one entity with the north. That is why Igbos now have Republic Of Biafra. It is up to Yoruba to establish theirs or be slave in one entity with the north.

  6. Ezekiel Okeke 20th March 2017 at 5:41 am

    To show the very low level of the illiterate fools from west and north with their ruined entity called Nigeria, they only think to bribe few natives on the natives properties, with the natives properties. Because they do not have the Intellectual Capability to handle affairs of humanity, to know what is possible and what is not possible, even in their own home in the west and north. I have long said it that they do not have the Intellectual Capability to even know the fundamental issues, not to talk about knowing the instruments to handle them, to develop the instruments to handle them etc. They have lost in all respects. This is 21st century- their level is too low in it- they should just pack their load and vacate Biafraland Now or be driven away in BIAFRAN REVOLUTION WAR.

  7. Alabi 20th March 2017 at 12:34 pm

    There three reasons why North voted Jonathan out of Government. 1.Economy because they control close to 80% of those with oil licence which is likely to expired this year so a northerner needed to in position. 2.Education Jonathan approved 12 university sited 9 in d north and also built alimajiri schools they don’t want to educate their children and the third was National conference with some of d radical recommendations. Those are d ofence of Jonathan they did enjoyed his tenure.

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