Nigerians are never satisfied with any leader and they will find reasons to adduce as to why they are dissatisfied with such a leader. Yar’adua’s health, whatever it is, he has been governor for eight years when nobody thought he can finish his tenure. Many people have said that Yar’adua’s health will not allow him to continue in office as president. They are not God. If all of us visit a medical center or a hospital and conduct tests on ourselves, we will discover that majority of us are suffering from one sickness or the other. Some will discover that they are diabetic or hypertensive; some will be diagnosed as having hepatitis, some with kidney stone problems and all kinds of sicknesses. But I believe that Yar’adua’s health has not hampered his performance. Since his performance in Katsina and looking at his performance generally based on his health, and insinuations of being slow, I think Nigerians generally are not patient. As soon as the leader is there they want action and most of the actions they want are the negative actions. They want to see you sack this man, they want to see you remove that man, they want you to make pronouncements that you cannot even implement. When you do that, Nigerians will hail you while others will crucify you for what you are doing. If you are not careful, for instance, if you want to remove one person they will want to watch who you are going to bring. If you remove a Yoruba man, they are watching to see who you are going to bring. If you bring an Igbo man the Yoruba man will start to quarrel that you are removing all Yorubas and if you remove an Igbo man, and you bring a Hausa man they will start to say you are a Hausa man, and you will have problems with the Igbos or southerners. So you have to be very, very careful and not to rush into taking decisions because Nigeria is a very complex society; its complexity makes you to be very careful in taking a decision and I think that is why Yar’adua has to be very careful. Yar’adua comes from an administrative family. His father, his brothers and they have never failed this country. He cannot afford to fail this country either.
The president promised to declare a state of emergency in the power sector. Two years on, he still dozing with the problem of power. Do you still believe that Nigeria deserves this inaction?
I have told you before that Nigeria is a complex country with ethnic diversities, extremely different attitudes and behaviours. Yes, Yar’adua came with a 7-point agenda and I’m one of those who believe that the 7-point agenda covers almost every thing that we need for development in this country. But to implement the entire seven point agenda simultaneously, then you can not achieve the kind of development you want. You select a few of the seven point agenda and implement them completely; may be for the first tenure then you know that you have now finished. You can take infrastructure, you can also take power and you can take education or agriculture. Whichever one, make sure you have done all you can do in those areas and then when you move to the next tenure then you pick up another sector of the seven point agenda. You must split them. On economic development which is basic to your question of power. Yes, one would expect to see power overnight, power cannot be seen overnight the way we want it. How many mega watt does the Power Holding Company of Nigeria produce now? With all the dams, with all the gas flaring and with all what we have in this country, one would expect that we should have enough power because without power we cannot develop. People who had the opportunity to handle the power issue during Obasanjo’s regime failed. A lot of leaders in this country had a hand in those contracts scam. So, tell me, where do you start? So Yar’adua has to find out what happened to the power contracts. First it takes time before he can get good information. He must find out who and who where involved in he power scandal contract first before doing something. He thought everything was well until he discovered that things were not well in the power sector and therefore if he had gone ahead to do anything quickly and rashly, perhaps today, Yar’Adua would not have been where he is today because the powers that be, outside the villa are very powerful.
Do you think President Yar’adua has the capacity to win the war against corruption?
The capacity to win the war against corruption in this country cannot be assessed easily. Nigerians are in the haste of getting rich. The insatiable desire of Nigerians to get dollars, to get material gains is high. No matter what kind of agencies you have put in this country to fight corruption, the corruption must be fought within us and by ourselves; our attitudes have to change. We must change peoples attitude otherwise you can have the EFCC, give them everything you want to give, the ICPC, give them all they need to allow them to fight corruption, they cannot fight corruption the way you will want them to fight it because invariably, they themselves will become corrupt. Invariably the agencies you have put forward may become corrupt. And one of the reasons why Yar’adua stands upright among the governors is not that he is not corrupt. I cannot say whether he is corrupt or not, but I think he has a zero tolerance for corruption among the 36 governors that have passed through the states in the past 10 years. What he has done in Katsina showed that he had zero tolerance for corruption. In other words, you cannot find out that him as a person had corrupted himself. It could be government corruption, generally, if you find any corruption in Katsina, throughout his tenure in eight years, it is the people in government but not him as a person. And therefore one would say because of the due process he has introduced and you know very well that due process some times slows down the fight against corruption because lawyers will defend you provided you have paid their fees. And they know very well that the person they are going to defend has committed the offence and yet they will go to court, and when they go to court what do, they delay prosecution. Most of them go to court not because they want to fight corruption. What they want to do is to delay prosecution. But I think that for anybody to fight corruption the person needs patience and I think Yar’adua has the capacity. If you are not a corrupt leader eventually the people you are leading will learn from you and I believe that they are certain policies which you can adopt that may reduce corruption. You cannot wipe out corruption and look at the budget, Yar’Adua’s budget. Look at the bureau for procurement, it is now being centralized. If you cannot finish the spending of the budget at the end of a certain year, you bring it back. In the past, this was not happening. And in the past when it was not happening, the ministries will take away the money just like that but today it is not like that.
How do you view the clamour across the north for another northerner to succeed Yar’adua in 2011?
For anybody to talk about another northerner succeeding Yar’adua, that person is not being fair to Nigeria. At the moment, there is no alternative to Yar’adua come 2011. It is a very simple analysis. Why would anybody want to succeed him? Is it his ill health or because he is slow or what? Simple logic dictates that whoever comes in constitutionally is entitled to two terms. Yar’adua has already done one term and when you give it to another person you can’t ask that person to do one term. Definitely, the constitution gave him a right to occupy the place for two terms. But for today, all northerners should rally round Yar’adua no matter what.You know the country is stable now than at any other time. Forget about what is happening in the Niger Delta. The country in general is watching, it is more stable now, there is improved security now. But if we mess up and give it to somebody else, Nigeria will be plunged into a state of insecurity. We may not even be able to hand over. I think there is no alternative to Yar’adua for the moment.
Nigerians can now earn US Dollars by acquiring premium domain names, most clients earn about $7,000 to $10,000, all paid in US Dollars. Click here to learn how to start.