Igbo Are Architects Of Their Political Fortune

Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande. Image via RFI


-- A former Minister of State for Information and stalwart of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande, has berated politicians who have begun campaigning for the 2023 elections, describing them as political jobbers.

Nakande said such persons were neither governors nor the President himself but political gossips trying to be relevant in the scheme of things or those who have been schemed out in other dispensations, especially in the areas of their ambitions and aspirations.

“These are the people trying to bring the issues of politics to the front burner just barely eight months after the last general elections. For government at various levels, what is uppermost in the minds is to form their governments. The President has taken further steps to enhance the governance structure.

“The budget has been presented to the National Assembly for consideration. You would have seen also that activities are high at the federal level in terms of consideration of the budget. Ministers are going in and out of the national assembly. Chief Executives of Parastatals are following them to defend and justify certain inclusions in the budget,” he noted.

According to Nakande, at the last federal executive council meeting, directives were given to ministers to minimise or not to even go on any foreign trip so as to have sufficient inputs into the defence of the budget as presented by the federal executive council to the national assembly. He stressed that the directive was in line with the general agreement within the party structure to consider and pass the budget in good time so that people can respect the spirit of the appropriation act to start the budget at the beginning of 2020.

Speaking on zoning of the APC presidency, which has started generating controversies, Nakande noted that since the beginning of the new democratic dispensation in 1999, the party had adopted a balanced structure with inclusiveness as the name of the game whereby everybody is given a space within the party structure.

He said that the underlying fact is that Nigeria was made up of many nationalities that must all be given space and sense of belonging. As such, he expressed the view that zoning formula ought not to be jettisoned.

“That is why I said all the political parties are run on the basis of their constitutions. The parties have constitutions and those constitutions are clear as to how the party machinery will emerge to face other political parties come 2023. So, nobody will come up with a structure that is seen to be skewed in favour of a particular side of the country or of a particular religion or a particular ethnic divide whether at the state level or at the local government level. There must be this sense of balance so that we will be able to have peace and development in the country,” he said.

With the major tribes in the country having had a shot at the presidency with the exception of the Southeast, Nakande argued that the Southeast chose to continue to go it alone saying the region could not claim to be alienated.

Nakande said: “Who alienated them? Who has been stopping them? When they made an attempt by trying to form a party, that political party became more of a regional and ethnic political party. There was no bridge across the political divide in the country from that party. The party remains in the Southeast and it has remained so till this moment. So, nobody has alienated anybody. They decided not to be part of the overall general structure of the country.”

Commenting on the winner-takes-all practice common among various parties, Nakande noted that few experts were always brought in by the ruling party especially at the federal level, not necessarily based on party affiliation, to come and help the country.

According to him, “Sometimes, you know, political watchers in the country don’t seem to appreciate that appointments do not necessarily have to manifest in political appointments that we see every now and then. There are other structures of government for which people are associated with a political party. Government has used its wise counsel to take certain far-reaching decisions.

“Take, for example, the committee that President Muhammadu Buhari recently set up, headed by Bismarck Rewane. He is a financial expert in the country and he was called in to advise government on how best to harness all the potentials of revenue at the disposal of government so the revenue projections of the country could be enhanced. This man is an expert and nobody can associate him with any particular political party.

“Just recently, the President also set up an Economic Advisory Council headed by Professor Doyin Salami. He was one of my lecturers when I attended a one-year programme at the Lagos Business School while working in Lagos. These are technocrats in their rights and their fields, who have been doing their best to develop the country without necessarily being political. Professor Charles Soludo and the others on that committee were all brought in based on their merits. So, it is not in every sphere that it is only winner takes all.”

Assessing the APC-led government at the national level, especially with the pervading insecurity in the country, Nakande said that many factors were responsible and that the major one, the Boko Haram, had gone down drastically.

Nakande said: “We are being confronted with new insecurity. Even armed robbery has gone down to some extent. Now, this new threat of kidnapping and banditry is the one that is staring us in the face. As you kill one fire here, another one will rise, to the point that the banditry that we thought was happening more in the rural community is now rearing its head in the state capitals.

“Just few days ago, we heard that an Assistant Commissioner of Police was kidnapped but later released. Whether ransom was paid or not, it is very shocking that our security agents are now being kidnapped. It throws us into a panic mood to the extent that we cannot carry on with our lives peacefully. It is very worrisome.”

Nakande commended the Inspector General of Police and all other security agencies for their effort at securing the society, saying that the situation was not too bad. He called on citizens to support the security agencies in the areas of intelligence, and reportage of nefarious activities of other citizens.

“You have a neighbour who does not go out throughout the day but sleeps and goes out only in the night. We must ask around quietly what such a person does for a living? We should report to the security agencies.”

Nakande also spoke on state police, saying that whether it is enacted or not, it is a phenomenon that has come to stay. “People are coming out as volunteers. Every community now has vigilante groups. There are arguments and counter arguments as to the merits and demerits of the issue of state police. But if you allow me, I will say, let us try it. We need to have a deep understanding of what it really is.

“I think state police will be able to checkmate the local challenges we have security-wise. There will be no victimisation as people are contemplating. What about the law of evidence; what about witnesses? We should understand that we are part of the entire world community. There is a community of the world now, whether in terms of good governance or human rights in particular. So, when establishing state police, it would be established on the basis of law. So, you would not be able to say because you are a governor and is paying the salaries of police officers, you will then begin to use them to victimise your opponents.”

Nakande stressed that any governor who abuses the use of state police would be checked by the structures on ground. “So, once you infringe on these human rights, you will know that the networks of Non-Governmental Organisations, the Civil Society Organisations, for instance, are there to also help to checkmate all kinds of abuses of that kind of infrastructure.”