Alhaji Haruna Yunusa Sae’ed is a staunch supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari. He ran on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC but lost in controversial circumstances to the PDP candidate, the late Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa in 2011. He was a former Executive Secretary of NEITI and the longest serving Accountant General of Kaduna State.
Ques: The letter from former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been generating series of comments from all sections of the country. Some say it is a welcomed development while others condemn it. As a stakeholder of the ruling APC here in Kaduna state, what is your own view about the letter and its contents itself?
Ans: Well, it is a normal thing for a citizen of any nation to express his opinion because, as a Nigerian, there is the freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Constitution and, Obasanjo, being a former President, has that as any other citizen and indeed, he has more channels to do that than an ordinary person because, he and Mr. President along with other former Presidents and some other key national leaders, have a common meeting place where they meet to discuss issues.
It is clear and it is there in the Constitution that former Heads of States and the likes of them, meet with the President and the President normally calls for that.
So, he had that channel to advise and also to comment on issues. So, regardless of whether he has exercised that or not, you cannot take away that from him and now, he has chosen to do that. We do not see anything wrong in the expression; he has the right to his own expression and so, he has expressed it.
The second issue is the channel. Like we said, he has one channel that is given to him from the Constitution; the second channel that is guaranteed equally by the Constitution. The third one is a personal issue. He could have sat with him and advised him on matters of such as this.
So, he has chosen to do it the third way or, the second way and that is to say, to the public domain and announced what he has announced because, he has made the letter public therefore, this one has issues that will be talked about. If he had advised him just at the meeting, we may not have known. But, coming out to the public domain means that he wants us to know and he wants us to be part of what he is thinking. So, he is within his rights.
The question is whether the contents are anything, is another issue. I for one, in the question of advising Mr. President not to run for a second term; I don’t think he has moral grounds. He can say it but has no moral grounds to do that because; we know he wanted a third term that the Constitution does not even allow. But in this case, the second term is allowed. So, the President has personal right to contest for a second term.
For the other observations that things are not right, then it is judgmental equally. We can judge and say, yes he is right or say he is wrong. Some of the things there, we can agree that there are things that Mr. President can take from them if he wishes to take as comments and observations that are really germane to the governance of the country because, certain things mentioned there, are of course, many people have said that, so it is left for Mr. President to see whether to make amend. And, he has given him some pass mark in other areas which we all know too; issues of security, issues of corruption, issues that Mr. President has pledged to fight and he is fighting that. And, we want him to continue because, such issues are never eliminated completely but you can reduce them to the barest minimum in such a way that people can feel comfortable that they can move around freely knowing that they are secure or, in the case of corruption, they can invest their legitimate wealth feeling that the economy will not go down with them because of corruption and other issues.
So, these are few things that one can away from that and, again, Mr. President has the personal right to decide whether he wants to run or, not to run and that is his own. Nobody can take that away from him.
Que:. Sir, two issues comes to mind. Security and again, the fight against corruption; there is so much insecurity in the country as at today with killings in several parts of the country by herdsmen suspected to be foreigners. These have not being tackled. And also, the issue of corruption cases involving some aides of the President; especially that of the GMD of the NNPC.
Many say the President has not been proactive enough in genuinely fighting the corruption mantra where it involves members of his own political party. How do you react to that, sir?
Ans:. There are two issues that you have mentioned here; one is the issue of insecurity. Yes we can say we have not gotten to where we are supposed to expecting to get to. There is some level of insecurity; kidnapping, killings on the scale that is not acceptable. We believe that improvements can take place. However, we must understand first, the real enemy. We must identify an enemy before you can handle that. You see, when issues of this magnitude arise in a large scale, you must identify there is a group or individual as you cannot label a whole race and say this is a race or racial issue and therefore, all the people belonging to that race must be dealt with because, it has happened in too many places and there are others that are affected in the same race or, there are others affected of the same faith, or, there are others affected of the same environment.
You see, there are clashes and there are attacks on both sides. You have a community made up of predominantly, Christians or one common tribe or ethnic grouping being attacked and then, you have another group of mainly Muslim or even non-believers being attacked and the communities are being set ablaze. So, all this are affecting the level of inter-personal security that we have ourselves or, how secure are we with our neighbours, how secure are we with our relations. So, we must look at it holistically.
The major issue one will say is this; we must work hard to identify the enemy, because, if you don’t identify the enemy, you cannot deal with the situation. And, the enemy can be on a daily basis; he can be different. What I mean here is, it can be a one chance effect; somebody could be a criminal for the first time but he needs to be caught all the same.
So, you will need to identify who does what and whatever. That is the job. But, the major issue too, is to identify the source of the quarrel because one, it could be based on reprisal attacks and another one could be just groups amongst themselves; rival groups as in cults that we have seen. So, you must identify who is responsible and like I said, the major issue is to catch the culprit in each instance. If it happens here, catch the culprit and try to arrest the situation because, over time, we have not been punishing people that are said to have done things wrong. That is the beginning of peace when you punish the culprits.
Again, talking about corruption, if we are only identifying the issue of NNPC, I don’t see anything that has been said about NNPC that people can come and talk about. It is an issue of procedure. Nobody has said money was stolen. The Group Managing Director was not accused of taking. The GMD did not accuse the Minister of State of taking but they were all accused of abuse of processes.
Abuse of processes is corruption but that is not yet a crime per se. the crime will come to being if certain things are abused especially when you have monetary issues or when you have people that suffer some consequences because of an action.
So, we are not yet at the danger zone because none of the two are saying this and that. For a start, we are told that the Minister was not expected to give his consent on that, separately, after the Board had assented to the whole process.
This is my understanding. The moment the Board gives its own nod on a situation, then it implementations comes to being. So, what the GMD is saying is that, he is merely implementing, a decision that is being carried out or, executed.
Que:. Lastly sir, APC in Kaduna state and the ongoing crisis between the state Governor, Labour Unions and then, the electorates; how will all of these impact on its chances in the future?
Will the elders; persons like yourself who are men of integrity, sit back and allow their party to be consumed by this entire crisis?
Ans:. Well, there are two issues here and one of them is that, we don’t like what has been going on and we have objected to that in many instances. Because, we don’t believe it is right to do certain things that are being done. And, we have mentioned them; sacking of teachers in the way and manner it was done. It was wrong. Sacking of other groups of workers, including traditional title holders, we believe in the manner in which it was done, it was wrong. You don’t sack everybody only to do re-arrangement. It is not done.
You can do certain things and then, conclude your actions after. So, those are things that we have said and we believe that they must be addressed or, they should be addressed. If you don’t address them, then the consequences will be far reaching. We have not remained quiet and, as a matter of consequence, yes, we believe that there are consequences. Of course, in a political setting, electorates will decide where they should place their votes if they are not happy with the performance of any government, they will certainly decide to do otherwise.
So, we fear that and we believe that it can have far reaching consequences.
Que:. Sir, before we round up, former President Olusegun Obasanjo made mention of a “Coalition of Nigeria Movement”.
How do you view this Coalition in the face of the forthcoming elections in 2019?
Ans :. Well, my take is that, based on the thing that he wants to do, it is a question of trying to undo, a process that somebody is believing in. if the President wants to re-contest, he has the right, like I said, to do so.
Obasanjo, being a citizen, if he doesn’t want to support, he has the right not to support him. So, if he chooses to set up a “coalition”, then he is part of that resistance to deny him the success.
However, I sense something because, the chairman of the coalition, General Olagunsoye Oyinlola, he has said that they are not a political party as of now. We however believe that they are working towards a political party and maybe, Obasanjo wants to re-contest. That is my take on that. So, if he wants to re-contest, there is nothing wrong in that. Let him come and meet and he had tried the “third term” during his stint and it failed but he has a right now to re-contest because he has exhausted his two terms consecutively and nobody says he has no right to comeback. If he wants to comeback, let him do so through the normal campaign process and we will see if he will win the election or not.
So, we are waiting for him.