Nigeria at 56 years since her independence has nothing to celebrate said the former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa.
|Former Governor Of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa|
What is your take on Nigeria at 56?
During these 56 years, other countries in the world have achieved greater developments than we in terms of national unity, freedom and all round development of their countries. In the past 56 years, China has become the second world power in the world. We could have achieved the third but we have not. The reason why we have not is that we are bogged down by two evils. One, the system controlling all development – the socio-political and economic system controlling all developments in this country.
The second is the leadership, the political leadership produced by the system, both of which are built toward self-interest first, public interest second or secondary instead of public interest first and little self-interest second. It is the system and the leadership which is directly responsible for the negative state of the nation particularly, this disabling level of corruption, and the only way we can achieve anything comparable with our advantages is to change the leadership and the system.
The only way we can be our self and for us to become one of the ten most developed countries in the world is to change the system and the leadership and what we say will require structural reconstruction of Nigeria starting with the leading role of the states in the economy to ensure peace, equality, justice, dignity of the human person, and progressive even development of the country. There is no way we can make any progress at all, there is no way we can have peace with this neocolonial system controlling all developments in the country. There is no way; we can only continue to go backward.
So, what you are saying is that there is nothing to celebrate?
There is no reason to celebrate but we thank God; we have survived, we have remained one country in spite of odds, this is the grace of God. We should go to our mosques and churches and anywhere we use in thanking God, we should go there and thank God for enabling us to maintain unity, stay as one country with all the problems because that is the grace of God; it means something. It means we can always start all over again.
If we go by the prescription of the most difficult elements on this country, those who are asking for the breakup of Nigeria, they are asking for ethnic sovereignty, we will go back to the primitive time. We should ignore them. We should also ignore those who are campaigning for the leading role of the private sector in the economy because there is no way we can advance with that.
Our destinies in Nigeria did not grow from hard work. They grow out from either public favour or pure stealing and the greatest example I will give you now is this controversy about the wife of the former president – the amount of money she had in banks. She is said by the media to be the richest first lady Nigerians ever had. Now who is that lady? She was just a food seller on the street but because she became the wife of a president, now she used the position of her husband to acquire so much wealth. Now this attitude characterized leadership in Nigeria and we can’t make progress with that kind of leadership.
What are your reflections on the general state of the nation today?
Negative! The state of the nation is negative in almost every respect. To get away from this, you have to change the socio-economic and political system controlling all developments in the country, and the political leadership inevitably produced by the system, most of which are based on self-interest first, and public interest second. We should go back to what we had before 1970 – public interest first and little self-interest second.
Now, if we want to do that, the starting point is the leading role of the state in the economy to ensure peace, equality, justice, dignity of the human person and progressive even development of the whole country. We should be able to do this again; we should deal decisively with this deceivable level of corruption, stealing and economic waste of resources.
We should deal with this dangerous situation of poverty and unemployment; we should deal with this dependence on foreigners, for example, more than 60 per cent of the food we eat is being imported, we rely on import so much that our foreign exchange is always decreasing in tens. There is inflation everywhere and so on and now we are hearing the worst.
The National Assembly is aligning with the President in instituting the leading role of the private sector in the economy. Remember the President said two months ago, that his policy seeks to be the leading role of the private sector in the economy. And two weeks ago, the Senate President came out openly and supported the sale of basic public institutions to the private sector which means the senate President is going in line with the President, which means the National Assembly and the current executive are on the same line in the leading role of the private sector in the economy.
So, what am I doing? I am calling on those patriotic Nigerians who realize what the leading role of the state in the economy did to this country up to 1970 to stand up and reject the position of the President and the National Assembly. Even if it means protest, let them protest because this will lead Nigeria to even greater problem. The whole politics talk about Nigeria being the biggest country in Africa, the biggest economy, all is bunkum.
All your life, you’ve always been advocating for social justice and good governance and up till now, the situation of the common man has not improved.
Read the full interview on The Sun Newspaper.