Sunday Magazine

Presidency 2023: Atiku, Tinubu should quit the stage –El-Buba

Prophet Isa El-Buba is the General Overseer of the Evangelical Outreach Ministries International, with headquarters in Jos, Plateau State. He is also the Convener of the Initiative for a Better and Brighter Nigeria. In this interview with MUSA PAM, he said Nigeria is on oxygen, describing the Buhari administration as failed regime, saying Peter Obi of the Labour Party is the best presidential candidate while Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar are not qualified to govern Nigeria. He spoke on several issues affecting the nation

 

How would you assess the state of the nation today regarding security and the economy?

 

 

It is very pathetic from where we pick it up, we can see the way things are deteriorating in the nation. It is something that one had foreseen if you listened to my past broadcast. I have raised this issue and we have seen a larger break out of this thing all over this country.

Right now, we are in a very, very bad situation in terms of security in this country.

So, it means that things are not going as they should. That is why the US Embassy and other international communities are raising the red flag and even moving some of their citizens.

It just shows us that there is a situation on the ground. I saw it. I saw this was going to be a full-scale war if it was not handled properly, and that is what we are seeing.

 

You just mentioned the US which recently placed the nation on terror alert. How do you see the seriousness of the alert and the Federal Government’s reaction?

I don’t see anything serious about them because as a responsible government there was an alarm. What you are supposed to do is to calm the people down. The fact is that seriousness comes in three levels. The US is supposed not to be the one to speak to the nation, rather the President is supposed to communicate to its citizens, not even his spokesperson.

Number two, the military, the police and the DSS are supposed to have a briefing where they brief the Nigerian people so that every State the police Commissioners are supposed to have a constant engagement with the media presenting minute-by-minute briefings in each state because each state has its own uniqueness. That is what we supposed to be seeing. Number three is search on movement.

We want to see aircrafts moving around, taking shots and monitoring movement of people, you know, whether trailers, vehicles or people coming by land or foot, but that is not going on. Rather we are seeing the Minister of Defence trying to say that the US government should rather pray for us. Yes, we need a lot of prayers.

Nigerian I think with the volume of prayers we prayed we don’t need the prayers of other nations. We are serious people when it comes to prayers, it is a prayer that keeps us as a nation.

So, the leaders should do their bit, and we should be able to see that bit physically; how they are mapping out strategies at flash points so that Nigerians would take them seriously in dealing with this issue.

So, to me, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is the most unserious. Very unserious!

What do you make of cases of kidnappings even after assurances by security agencies?   

 

The kidnapping continues when you don’t have a serious government; when you have unserious leadership. Even if the security agencies have the desire to do the right thing, when the leadership is rotten up you virtually summarise what is going to happen to the citizens. The leadership of this country is sick.

He is the Commanderin- Chief; he is supposed to be the one in charge of the security situation and giving matching orders to the heads of security agencies but it is not so.

We are in the 21st century where things can happen with the use of just simple technology. You can send an aircraft on surveillance of the whole of the Plateau State and give signals on movement and give security reports.

For instance, in the case of kidnapping, security agencies can identify such locations within 30 minutes or one hour, but when there is no confrontation to pick the victims, people have no choice but to pay ransom. They know that the leadership is not serious.

It is pathetic. I am worried about the government’s inability to harness and put the Nigerian state together to drive the process of development.

How would you assess the three presidential candidates, of the APC, PDP and LP as well as their capability to save the nation from a current malaise?

I would say on a very fair note, on the part of justice, I am not a tribalistic person, because I don’t believe in tribalism; I don’t belong to a tribalistic group if not I would have supported Tinubu because Tinubu picks somebody from my state and we are of the same tribe.

 

So this would be the first Vice President that is going to come from there since our existence. But then on the issue of fairness and justice from the holy books, God is the God of justice and fairness.

No matter how you treat the people, no matter how the people are, if you treat them unfairly one day they are going to revolt against it. That is number one. Number two, Nigeria is on the sick bed, Nigeria is almost breaking down totally.

So you need someone very active to be able to handle Nigeria state right now; somebody who has a track record of no looting. Number three is that you need somebody who is not sick.

I know anybody can fall sick at any time, but someone who has shown consistency in terms of sickness. Number four you need to look at their track records. So based on that for justice and equity Atiku is out, and Tinubu is out.

When you look at the issue of corruption, not on my lips only go to La-  gos State today and ask about almost half of the properties that Tinubu have been able to amass for himself. What type of business does he do?

What kind of business does he anchor? Let’s face the reality, yes I know businessmen in Nigeria are getting their money from running government contracts. But where did he get his money from? What did he do to be able to get that money?

And then they said 60 per cent of Lagos properties are in the man’s pocket. So is that the kind of person you want to bring into leadership, then the age when he was younger he was articulate, but now age is not by his side.

So he is not qualified and he should go and rest, bring children and make them kings and I think he will get the best honour to me. And talking about Atiku, Atiku is from the North; Buhari has been in the Presidency for eight years and he is from the North. So, why should the presidency move from one Fulani to another Fulani?

They are not the only tribe in Nigeria. Yes, he has the capacity more than Buhari, he can create some businesses but he is not qualified for it. The most qualified person right now to govern Nigeria is Peter Obi. When you put them on scale Peter Obi is 70 per cent above both of them. Tinubu is 10 percent, and Atiku is 15 per cent.

 

So the gap in terms of capacity is wide. On the grounds of age and mental capacity he is at advantage; in terms of running the business and the ability to be very shrewd on human management. And when it comes to spirituality, he has it.

Then, look at his family, he has shrouded his family from running the government and that is very good. He has trained them very well and they have their business and are running their stuffs.

Then when you look at ability to handle the economy he is a guru; he can retrain himself, and he knows how to invest N10 and get N50.

We don’t need looters that would just empower their friends; we just need the people that can help bring out the nation. Look at what he just said recently, for me as a northerner I am going for him. As he said, the crude oil of the North is the agricultural land and the North can feed this nation efficiently.

So, the Almajiri programme is going to look at how to restructure the programme to be able to see how the majority of youths can go to school, they are enlightened which is a great thing for me as a northerner.

We the northerners have ruled this country for more than 40 years, but if you look at the resources only it is only available to a few people, the majority of the northerners are living in abject poverty. So we want somebody who will come to help my region to get better!

 

Just recently the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki said that Nigeria may break up if APC wins the next election. How do you see this statement?

Well, if APC eventually wins Nigeria will break. It just tells you that in the true sense of it, it is not Nigerians’ votes. It is trying to force somebody in the Nigerian people and the Nigerians are not going to take it. I will tell you this. I know my followership, all over the world I know the people that are following me.

Okay, let me just give the average, I have 5,000, 000-man followership and all of these five million people are going to vote for one person that I mention to them. So you can think about this and about others who have their followers. And right now after assessing all the candidates, I saw that out of them Peter Obi is the most marketable one.

 

You are one of the voices for Christendom and also a voice for the church in Nigeria. To what extent is the Church galvanised for the 2023 elections?

 

The Church is pulling itself and I will tell you more than before. The Church has woken up to reality and we understand that we have the responsibility to be able to give back to the Nigerian people a future, a nation that would be able to make them more productive and fruitful in future-the nation whereby they can raise their children and raised their families in a secure environment. We don’t want this thing. A lot of Nigerians want to find the slightest way to go out even if it is slavery they are ready to go out for slavery.

So, as Church leaders we come to that realisation, we prayed about it and are praying about it and we will continue  to pray about it, but at the same time guiding our people correctly on what to do. It is not about religion; it is not about the tribe; it is not about language but about the credible person at this critical time when Nigeria needs to be reconstructed.

 

Have you encouraged members of your congregation to go into politics, especially 2023 elections?

I have moved the people to understand that if righteous men don’t rise up, unrighteous people will; if people that have light don’t step into the environment, people that carry darkness will move in. So, I have prepared the people to know that at this particular juncture, we have to step into the political arena. Politics is about a display of power between evil and good.

And so, we have to bring good people into leadership and that’s why I said at this point we are not going to look for politicians in leadership; we are going to look for leaders in politics; and that’s why Initiative For a Better and Brighter Nigeria was born.

And on that platform, we are mobilising credible men and women across the country to be able, for the first time, to rescue this country from the hands of wrong drivers.

We want to make sure that, by the grace and mercies of God, they are pushed out of the system. I call it the holy revolution. We are going through strategic leadership training to be able to see how we can arrest the present ugly situation, and that is why we are doing our mobilisation all over the country too.

First of all, seek God’s intervention because without God’s intervention, we can do nothing. We are going full blast into the political arena to drive the process.

We are not going to allow them to drive us this time round because if blind men should drive you, everyone will end up in a ditch and we cannot afford to do that for the salvation of Nigeria. We are bringing everybody on board, both Christians and Muslims.

What is your view concerning the same-faith presidential ticket?

It is not a big deal for me because they have shot themselves in the foot. When there was a voice message of wisdom they refused to hear. To me, if you can look down on a set of people because of their faith and you think you can win the election that is why you did what you did, then you don’t deserve my honour.

I don’t care whether your wife, your children are Christians but the fact is that the larger population in the North, the North today if you break the North in terms of Muslim-Christians, it is virtually 50/50. That is the reality. Nobody should deceive anybody because it is virtually a 50/50 Muslim-Christian population in the North.

So, you see sometimes people are deceived that in the far North somebody gets more than one wife, they don’t know that in the Middle Belt, there are so many families that are polygamy family and they produced children like any other region.

So even in the Scriptures they are the ones who are in the priesthood, they are in the service as ministers and all of that and still with one wife but you realise that the indigenes find out three wives, five wives, six wives and they have  20 children and all of that. So they don’t know that the Middle Belt is the one controlling the population in the North.

Some have said that national cohesion is currently lacking. How can this be restored?

It can be restored when the right leadership is in place, the leadership that does not think about the tribe, religion but humanity and treats you with the eye of humanity.

And I can see that apart from the drums of war that are being sounded everywhere now, in 2023 Peter Obi is going to unify this country from all directions and the kind of people that surround him closely are the people that had Nigeria at heart not the region at heart.

So when you have somebody speaking now, supposedly I am a Hausa man from the North he tells you that that man is not qualified, this is my turn, somebody is speaking from the West our turn, that is to tell you that they are self-centered.

We need somebody who wants to salvage the Nigerian state. That is what is going to cause the unification.

What role can religious and sociocultural groups play in national unity at this point in time?

Number one, we have to make the people understand the purpose of their existence, why are we exist as a nation, and what is the purpose of God for us as a nation, those religious leaders can educate the people on purpose. When purpose within the people is not well defined is inevitable and people begin to behave anyhow.

Number two is the level of sensitisation for people to know their right and what is not their right. What they should do to be able to save themselves from people who are coming to buy their conscience? How can somebody come with a bag of rice to buy your future?

The bag of rice a family of 10 will consume in just about a month. So why should I use something of one month to mortgage 39 years and 11 months? So, sensitisation is very key.

Then number three, religious leaders have the responsibility to be able to lead the way. Lead the way in the right direction in terms of governance, because we are all going through the pains because the people find solace in their faces.

So they come to church, they come to Mosque and they sit down and listen to their message that would strengthen their hearts. The nation is putting a lot of pain in their hearts. It doesn’t give them hope anymore.

So the only place of hope is when they came to service and that is where the religious leaders will give them direction. That is why you are a shepherd, and a shepherd leads the sheep and that is why Jesus said my sheep knows my voice and the voice of strangers they would not hear! Religious leaders have that responsibility.

How would you assess Buhari’s government in the last seven years?

I will tell you the truth – minus 10! You see, I know that they have done a little bit in terms of infrastructure, and roads because I travel by road, and I have checked. They have done well  in terms of road construction in a few states on some highways. So I commend them for that.

But for every other thing like the economy, it is minus. In terms of agriculture maybe they might say well they were been able to boost the agricultural level in terms of production and all of that but if you check the price of food items, yes we know there is inflation globally but when you have an abundance, your people supposed to end salaries and allowances but people are still earning what they were earning 10 years ago.

So 10 years ago what you could buy with N10 now you need N100 to buy it. So you just go and that is minus.

 

What is your advice to politicians as we go into campaigns ahead of the 2023 elections?

My advice is that they should know that this is a game, not a war that they should be fighting each other. Let people be free, let’s help the system, and let’s try and enhance stability.

At the end of the day whatever you do if you don’t build a strong family you discover that by the time you are gone your children will not even keep it. Let’s look at history and also the politicians that are dead today go and look at their families it is a pity. Look at the families that were been able to look clean and contented, the difference is very clear.

So, the truth is that no matter what you try to harness now, for instance, late Senator Ibrahim Mantu, where do you hear about Mantu and what is the state of Mantu’s children now? There are so many of them littered all over the place.

So the greatest thing a father can do is to be able to build a platform of integrity where your children can build upon your no more in terms of discipline, contentment, character and integrity.

My father never looted one Kobo from government. He served in Nigeria’s frontiers and was part of the formation of the Nigerian Army where he held several positions and contributed to helping people.

So we grew up in that kind of environment. So, we stand up on that shoulder doing better and my father died at the age of over 118 but you realise that there is no nation in the world you go you have people who don’t know El-Buba. His name is everywhere in the world. It was because of the foundation. Now, my children are growing up to do better than myself!

So as a father and grandfather of seven, I am very satisfied. So let no politician begin to think politics is do or die affair, because foundation matters. Most of these politicians don’t have a good parental foundation, most of them came from very, very retched families but only retched but also the family that have not been cultured and now they are exposed.

So they think that life is about killing, life is about inducement, life is about trying to pack the money to yourself and all of that, and at the end of the day, money has wings. That is why you see many of them who were governors, today they are just shadows of themselves. It is a pity.

They were the governors but if you look at them they were pitiable states. So, the good thing is to have a good name, have a good culture and that is my advice to all politicians

 

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