Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.


...Says, ‘PRP too poor to field presidential candidate’

Former governor of old Kaduna State, and the Board of Trustees (BOT) chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa is worried about the negative state of the nation. Musa said he would no longer comment on regional issues until the situation is right at the national level.

He almost aborted this interview for asking him about northern elders’ position on Atiku and Buhari because for him, “It is Nigeria first before you talk of north, west and east.”

But when he spoke about national politics, he did not waste time to submit that neither APC nor PDP could solve the country’s problems.

He asked Nigerians to seek for what he called the third alternative, recalling that when he challenged the two-party system of former military president Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), he was detained for six months.

Nicholas Shaibu, Kaduna.

Sir, it is believed that there were challenges facing the North during the 16-year rule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).  Has the current ruling All Progressives Congress been able to solve those challenges?

I will not comment on this. I don’t involve myself with regional politics. I concern myself with Nigeria’s issues. So I can’t answer the challenges you are talking about the North.


But North is part of Nigeria?

It doesn’t matter because there is nothing that can be good without Nigeria being good.

So, first it must be Nigeria. Secondly, if there is a fundamental difference, we can talk about educational development, which is against the North.

In that case we are talking about Nigeria, and not the North.

READ ALSO: Why I rebelled against Fela – Femi Kuti

Ok, let’s talk about educational development in the North…

(cuts in) No, not educational development in the North, but in Nigeria as a whole because there are problems of education in every part of Nigeria.

Ok, Sir, this brings us to the issue of ASUU strike. Don’t you think it is a setback to Nigeria’s educational development?

Of course, yes, it is. And it is left for the government to meet their demands. They are not striking for no reason. They have the reason and they have stated the reasons. And what is government doing about the reason?

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that if ASUU does not call off the strike, it may be short of adhoc staff to use for the general election. What’s your reaction to this?

INEC should inform the government about this, and tell government to do something about it. But the lecturers are protesting their rights.

Sir, why are you not comfortable commenting on Northern issues?

This is because Northern issues, Western issues and Eastern issues are part of Nigeria’s issues. We need to solve Nigeria’s problem first before we talk of regional issue.

I told you about 40-year gap in education between the North and the South. But the solution to it is not to look at the disadvantage of the North, but it is to look at Nigeria as a whole because if you take into account the resources in the country and the need to utilise these resources for the development of the country, you can see that even in the South, the level of educational development is not as high as it ought to be.

For instance, we now have a situation in the whole of Nigeria.  The son of a common man cannot have education beyond primary school.

There are more than 50 percent in Nigeria that cannot afford quality tertiary education.

Only those who can send their children to private schools can do so. For example, it costs about one million naira yearly to train your child to become a lawyer, including going to Law School.

How many Nigerian parents can afford this? Even a director in a ministry cannot afford this, so you can see the type of education we have.

Is it the type of education that can lead to the development and even progress of Nigeria? No. In fact, we now see the situation of so many Almajiris (street beggars) in the North, but so many people are ignorant of the problem. They now have Almajiris in the other form in the South…

I was coming to that, Sir. In Lagos today, one can easily spot Hausa teenagers in large number hawking fruits and polishing shoes on major streets?

(Cuts in)…… that is where you are wrong; they are not Hausa teenagers, they are Nigerians, including Yoruba, Igbo, they are everywhere doing these petty trades.

The last time I made a journey from Lagos to Akure, I was shocked at the number of school age children hawking on the streets, particularly at motor parks.

Do you expect this in the South, which has a 40-year education development ahead of the North?

But some Lagosians identified majority of those hawkers as Hausa boys?

No, they are not Hausa boys. We know they are not Hausa boys, this is stupidity of Nigerians.

They are not from the  North, you don’t need to give the situation a regional, religious and tribal colouration.

READ ALSO: Billion naira investments in coma

They are Igbo, they are yoruba, we know it. You, yourself (pointing at the reporter), will you say all those hawkers in Lagos are all  Northerners?

Let us say the Hausa boys constitute remarkable percentage of the hawkers in Lagos?

No, they are not, you better check very well. You the media are trying to bring misunderstanding.

Even if you think so, go and carry out social investigation, and you will find out that it is not so.

You find elders in the South hawking because of unemployment, particularly women.

We have traveled a lot, we have seen them, but the situation in the North is worst. The situation is equally bad in the South.

So, for the whole of Nigeria, it is a disgraceful situation.

Sir, while President Buhari was presenting the 2019 budget on the floor of the National Assembly before the joint session of the lawmakers, some of them booed him, others cheered him. What is your reaction to this?

It is unfortunate. It shows that Nigerians are not united. And it did not mean that those who booed him belong to the opposition and those who cheered him belong to the ruling party because we have to know who they are before we even think of their motives.

But was it a good development?

It is not, it shows that the government is not consistent with the wishes of the people, particularly the representatives of the people.

The legislators are the representatives of the people. But they are exercising their fundamental human rights.

By booing the President?

Why not, it means they are emphasising their case. Why not, they have the right to do so…

Northern elders are divided over Atiku and Buhari…

(cuts in)…Please, don’t talk to me about Northern elders…

But Buhari and Atiku are national figures, sir?

Then why are you talking to me about Northern Elders.

Ok. Nigerians are divided over Buhari and Atiku for the 2019 general elections. What is your advice to Nigerians?

Well, first, I will tell Nigerians that they should not take disagreement over the two candidates too far because none of them is capable of solving Nigeria’s problems. None of them.

Attempts have been made to bring about the third alternative to PDP and APC, but this has not been possible because of the leading role of money power in politics and elections, particularly stolen money in politics and election.

This makes it impossible for Nigerians to find an alternative to the two parties. So Nigeria as a country is in a desperate position. And for the politicians, it is even more serious.

For us in the PRP, we are looking at the party that is a lesser threat to us in the future to make sure that we have understanding with the other side to reduce the greater threat.

Which is the greater threat?

When I am talking about the future of Nigeria, APC and PDP are a threat to Nigeria.

None of them is capable of handling the negative state of the nation, and if any one of them continues, the situation will be very bad for Nigeria.

But if, like during the regime of former Military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), when he created NRC and SDP, and no one, who wants to play politics, had any choice than to join either NRC or SDP.

I can tell you about Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) under my leadership that it tried to form the third alternative to NRC and SDP in spite of what the law said.

The law was gazzetted during the military regime, but because I challenged the imposition of the two-party system, Babangida came to me and detained me for six months.

But today, there are alternatives, you don’t have to be in PDP or APC, you can have the third alternative. So it is a different thing now.

Since you have the alternative, you have to look at the two, and see which is a greater threat. And I think in this case, when you take everything into consideration, PDP is a greater threat because the table has turned.

In 2015, APC was a greater threat because of the seeming fascist tendency. But the table has turned from 2015 to date.

Today, definitely PDP is a greater threat because of its alliance with the former heads of state, both military and civilian, who definitely are the root of negative state of the nation today.

So, I think PDP is a greater threat to the whole country because there is greater tendency for fascism with the PDP than with APC, before it was with APC in 2015, it was quite clear then.

And for PDP because of the alliance with former heads of state. The alliance was to stop Buhari without saying specifically what they can do better than Buhari.

They couldn’t even convince any Nigerian that they can do better than Buhari. After all they are of the same root.

They came from the same root. So taking everything into consideration, PDP is a greater threat to Nigeria and to political parties because of this possibility of greater threat to fascism.

Definitely PDP cannot do better than APC, they can make things worse. And looking at history from colonisation till today, you will see that PDP is more powerful than APC. PDP is a history of NPN, NRC, NPC. PDP is feudal and conservative in nature.

Why didn’t your party, PRP, field a presidential candidate for the 2019 election?

Well, that is another problem. In our estimation, a successful presidential candidate will have not less than N15 billion for presidential project.

Where can PRP get that kind of amount of money when we have never participated in stealing. So, it is a problem.

We decided to concern ourselves with the positions of Governor, House of Representatives, the Senate, House of Assembly, for now till 2023 when we may field a presidential candidate.