Alhaji Musa Kamale is a former Commissioner in Adamawa State, whose constituency he once represented in the House of Representatives. In this telephone interview with Amos Esele, he speaks on the expectations of Nigerians from the new government and issues the government should focus on immediately
With the new dispensation in government taking off today, don’t you think democracy and politics has won?
Well, it is an established fact that we cannot say by this new development that our democracy has matured. Countries that call themselves democracies took years, some 200 hundred years to develop to the stage they are in today. Ours is just a meager 16 years of uninterrupted democratic governance. We cannot claim we democratic, but if you say we are developing, I will agree and once you admit that then we can look at some of the indices that should portray us as developing.
First and foremost is that all the political parties we have in the country without exception are not ideologically based. Even the with the coming of APC, there is no major difference. APC as far as I am concern is a mere name because as a party it has never won elections at the local government, state and center until now, which makes it difficult for us to see what they are going to perform in office. It is now that the party has start off in positions of government across the country that we can begin to see what they made of. As for the PDP, sixteen years in office has not shown it as a party with clear direction. Others such as APGA, Labour are the same leprous fingers of our developing democracy. Since the parties are not based on ideology, there is no way they can get a clear sense of purpose and direction. Today 28 states including the Federal government cannot pay salaries of their workers, power sector is yet to be fully developed, Boko Haram insurgency is threatening insecurity in the country including the insecurity of the stomach. So you can see the reality of these indices I mentioned in bold relief.
Are you saying that APC cannot turn things around as they have promised Nigerian during electioneering?
No, no, no. APC cannot deliver. To begin from the beginning, vote for APC was as a result of the total disenfranchisement of the people of Nigeria, total commitment to change. And faced with the challenges we are faced with in the economy today, this means a big problem. General Buhari however is not new to government and solving problems. So giving his antecedents, Nigerians have to give him three things: First is patience because it is easy to destroy and difficult to build. Secondly, total support and understanding of the magnitude of the problems and thirdly, cooperation of all and sundry with a lot of prayers. The situation is hopeful, not hopeless.
But the party made campaign promises that Nigerians are expecting it to fulfill as basis for rekindling hope. Now they are saying they are not miracle worker?
It is true they made promises based on actions they intend to take once they come to power. Even if you don’ts know what the other party has in stock, you keep making the promises, that is the nature of politics. The Nigerian situation is not normal, so you cannot bring the normal to an abnormal situation. Even as we are talking now, we don’t know the level of decay, leakages, and wastages if any. So they were quite in order during the campaign. Now that they have the power, they would have to face the start reality on the ground. I must however agree with you that the aspiration of the average Nigeria is very high. I will also agree that their hopes did not emerge from the blues and these hopes and aspirations are not just for anything. It is natural, particularly with this king of change in government. But that does not and should not be taken that things will happen overnight to transform those aspirations to realities.
Are you saying Nigerians are not entitled to expect changes and then press for them if they do not see any?
No. After all no single leader can take credit for this change we have witnessed in the country today, but Nigerians. It may seem a political victory but Nigerians desired it and got it.
For you, what are the basic areas President Buhari should pay attention to now that hew has been sworn into office?
After take-over, first is corruption. You don’t need to know the level to start. Another is insecurity; it is affecting everybody, rich and poor. Third is power sector, once it is rejuvenated, 60 per cent of our social and economic challenges would be solved. Employment would be the first beneficiary of a well-regulated and working power sector because it touches and powers every sector of the economy and social life. Lastly, are dwindling resources. He can start by blocking leakages and wastages and then go on to support diversification of the economy.
President Jonathan has been there for the past six years. How would you assess him and the legacy he is leaving behind?
Well the President has written his name in history by conducting a free and fair election in which he lost and conceded defeat. It is the mark of statesmanship. But as a member of the PDP, I also must say the truth that laudable as his Transformation Agenda was, it also had its problems because there was no time frame and they could not be measured.
Let us go to your home state Adamawa. As a PDP Chieftain can you state sincerely how your party lost the election when it was in control of all levers of governance?
In Adamawa, it was PDP that worked against PDP, quote me. One was the so called kangaroo governorship and national assembly primaries that was held in Abuja instead of Yola as planned. There, none of the delegates participated. I was one of the party leaders that challenged the action in court. This was the same thing that happened in the party in 20 states, so you have to take that into consideration to understand what happened to the PDP at the polls. We lacked internal democracy in the party, lack of injustice, wrong policy adoption and imposition of candidates against the wishes of the members. How in Adamawa did you expect us to cooperate with the candidate. Here the PDP simple disintegrated such that the once powerful and impregnable party not only lost but also came a distant third behind the APC, and the SDP. It was the manifestation of arrogance. These were members of the PDP who simply left to contest on another platform. It was not because APC was stronger.