Balarabe Musa, former Governor of Kaduna State, says the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari has so far fallen short of the expectations of Nigerians.
Musa said there is no alternative to Buhari at the moment, noting that the President has the right to seek a re-election in 2019 despite his poor performance.
“The performance of President Muhammadu Buhari since he came on board in 2015 has fallen short of the expectations of Nigerians. In other words, he has been unable to fulfill promises he made before he got the votes of Nigerians. I can reasonably say without fear that his government has failed,” he said in an interview with Punch.
“Nothing stops him (Buhari) from contesting. After all, every elected public office holder in Nigeria has the right to seek a second term…In the case of Buhari, he is entitled to a second term by law. Whether the issue of a second term will work in President Buhari’s favour is another matter altogether.”
Reacting to the coalition formed by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo ahead of the 2019 elections, he said Obasanjo’s coalition would fizzle out just like those before it.
“I won’t support it because I know the antecedents of Obasanjo. He is a former President of Nigeria and he was not able to solve the problem that his coalition is proposing to solve. What has he learnt better? It (the coalition) will fizzle out just like its predecessor,” Musa said
Asked to comment on the propriety of Buhari’s re-election bid considering the current hardship of Nigerians, he said: “I won’t bother myself too much thinking about that because if today Buhari decides he won’t run for a second term, do you have a better person now in Nigeria who can perform better than him?
“Up to the end of the Second Republic, when (the late Chief Obafemi) Awolowo, Zik (the late Nnamdi Azikiwe), Aminu Kano and so on were there, you could say ‘if not Awolowo, Zik is competent’ and so on. There was, at that time, a clear alternative available for Nigerians; whether you liked it or not, it was a distinctive alternative. But today, where is the alternative?
“We are now in a situation where there is no alternative or it is difficult for the alternative to emerge because this is politics and election in which ‘money power’ plays a leading role. So, it is not possible to find a qualitative and relevant alternative to Buhari at the moment.”
Musa also lamented that Nigerians have so long punished the south-east region because of the Civil War, which took place many years ago. He said the region also deserves to produce a President of the country.
His words: “There will be a situation where every part of Nigeria has a sense of belonging. No part of Nigeria should be left out. Why was Obasanjo, who did not enjoy the support of Nigerians, particularly in the southwest, given the chance to be resident? How did he become the President in 1999?
“It was considered by most reasonable Nigerians that the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential was unfair to the south-west and Nigeria; and the southwest adopted a feeling of ‘we don’t care’ but those who felt that that annulment was unfair felt that the south-west should be consoled. That is why they brought in Obasanjo, otherwise Obasanjo wouldn’t have been brought in at all.
“Even left for the south-west alone, Obasanjo wouldn’t have been brought in because he was so unpopular there. In fact, he was alleged to be part of the annulment of the June 12 but because of this feeling of giving the South-West a sense of belonging, the whole Nigeria, particularly the North, supported the Obasanjo presidency.
“So, why not now that the Igbo don’t have a sense of belonging? There is this feeling that it is because of the 1967 Nigerian Civil War, which took place several years ago, that some reactionary elements have refused to forget. In the early ’70s, one could understand; but we can’t continue to punish the Igbo forever because they are part of Nigeria.
“So, this time, just as we say, ‘let us console the Yoruba because of June 12; let us also say that the Igbo have been punished for so long because of the Nigerian Civil War; so let us give them the presidency this time around. You know the Igbo are republican by nature.
“So, it is the northern and southern elite that don’t like an Igbo presidency because the Igbo man is republican. He is more competitive than both the Hausa and Yoruba elite. That is one of the reasons for the fear but should we continue with this fear?”