While some Nigerians believe that President Muhamadu Buhari has not properly addressed the issues confronting the country, a politician and activist, Mr. Kayode Salako, believes the president has achieved much. In this interview he granted OLADIPUPO AWOJOBI, Salako speaks on several matters of interest. Excerpts…
What is your honest assessment of this government, the government came to power with many promises in 2015?
From my personal opinion, my assessment of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is that it is better than what we had in the past in the area of spending the resources of the people of Nigeria to impact on infrastructure and the environment for the growth and development of Nigeria. We now see mega railway stations, railway lines, and a lot of infrastructure. He has gone to commission many things in the Niger Delta region. The second Niger bridge is going on, almost getting to completion, road infrastructure is now being taken care of and many other things that this government has been able to put in place. But in the area of the performance of the economy, I am not an economist, I will say that things are hard, I don’t know why it is so. That reason that could be adduced for that may be the situation in the global economy. Many countries are facing what we are facing because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, then fall in the price of crude oil and also the regulatory efforts of this government on many things we used to import and the government wants us to be producing. These include food, the government is trying to improve agriculture despite the fact that it is only in the northern part of Nigeria that you can see that happening. The killer herdsmen, some people call them Fulani herdsmen, have driven our farmers out of the farms in the south. A lot of farmers cannot go to farms. When they go to the farms they get killed, raped and kidnapped. Farmers in the south are afraid of going into their farms. It is only in the northern part of Nigeria that they have food produc-tion in high commercial quantity because nobody is killing their own farmers there. The southerners are not going into their own farms to kill them, they are the ones coming into our own farms to kill us. That is a minus to all the achievements of this government. That is the only clog that I see that is rubbishing all the good works this government has done for Nigeria. When there is no security, the people won’t even see the developmental programmes of the government or any environment that is developing. They won’t see the roads that have been constructed or new things that are coming in because there is no security. The people are not safe, they are afraid. When there is no security the people would not see other areas, where the government is performing because security is the primary objective of the government.
Former president Goodluck Jonathan organized a constitutional conference in 2014, where all these issues were addressed. Do we go back to the conference, recourse to the National Assembly or organize another constitutional conference?
We all know the solution, the fundamental solution to the problem of Nigeria. Even the National Conference that former President Goodluck Jonathan organized, the socio-political leaders of the north criticized it. They didn’t want it and they said from day one that it would be a wasted exercise and exercise in futility because they were not actively part of it. Nigeria could have been restructured because it seems the south is ready, but the north has not agreed. All the fundamental problems of Nigeria have solutions, it is the north that has not agreed. If the north agrees that Nigeria should practice an ideal political system, it would happen. The day the north agrees that Nigeria must be restructured it would happen. The day the north agrees that this present Nigerian system is not working, and cannot work, then things would get better. A lot of solutions to the problems of Nigeria have been advanced and articulated, they are on paper. They are in the public glare, it is the north that has not agreed. Until the north agrees that Nigeria should have peace and practice the right political system this is the way we will continue to be. Nothing much will change until the north and south agree to let Nigeria run under the right political system, we shouldn’t expect anything good. We will continue to get what we have been getting. I am a realistic person, even if Buhari decides that he wants to organize another national conference nothing would change. During his first term in office, he set up a committee that was led by Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State to look into the issue of restructuring of Nigeria. All the recommendations of the committee, have they been implemented. The problem is still with the north. The day the north agrees that Nigeria should have peace, the right political system, it is the day it will happen. If the north does not agree it is only a revolution that will solve it. They don’t even want to hear about restructuring because that is the part of Nigeria that is benefitting more from this current arrangement. If you are benefitting from a system more you will never want that system to change and you will not see anything wrong with that system. That is why the north has not agreed for Nigeria to have another political system.