Elder statesman and former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Abubakar Tsav, has said that Nigeria would have been among developed nations if it had tapped the inventions of Biafra after the civil war.
In this interview with VINCENT KALU, the former super cop, wondered why Nigeria cannot conduct credible polls.
Were you satisfied with the conduct of the just concluded elections?
So far, we have not been able to attain what one may describe as perfect election in this country because we have so many areas that need to be looked after.
We have always described elections as free and fair, but from what happened even in the party primaries, we knew that money was used to influence people, delegates and voters. Even everything became bunkum, as the candidates were not based on the acceptability of the majority of the people.
We saw how both major parties spent money to get themselves nominated to contest the elections, and when the elections proper came, we saw vote buying, which resulted in attacks and counter attacks, which also led to ballot stuffing.
I think we are not yet civilised to say that we can conduct a free and fair election in this country. What is responsible for this is that people who are elected take it that they have found themselves in a place that they can make money, as Lumumba said that the easiest way to make money is to go into politics; that is where you make easy and cheap money without struggling for it, without working for it. Some people joined politics just because they want to make money, and not to lead. So, it is now a question of life and death, which is very unfortunate.
Many years back, communities begged individuals to come and serve them because such individuals were found worthy, but now it is no more the case and it depends on who has the money to bribe his way, can tell lies and has the capacity to use thugs against their opponents.
So, the whole thing is a sham.
What is before Nigeria is the composition of the principal officers of the National Assembly and the ruling APC, even though it has majority is divided on this issue. What is your view on that?
We must accept party supremacy. It means the party that has the highest number will control the affairs of the House, and if they control the House, they will do exactly what the president wants. Our democracy would have been very healthy if we had a strong opposition that can put the ruling power in check. But in this case, when you have majority of people in the National Assembly belonging to one party, then it becomes a child’s play.
With the APC obviously enjoying the majority, don’t you think that the 9th NASS will dance to the whims and caprices of the president this time?
Well, let us not jump the gun, let’s wait and see what will happen. Some of the people who are in the NASS have been there for quite a long time, and must have learnt a lot of what happens there. However, a situation where people who are representing the electorate in their various constituencies now dance to the tune of the president at the detriment of the electorate, will be very unfortunate.
For an emerging democracy like Nigeria, do you think it is healthy for the ruling party to control the National Assembly?
If we want to be fair to everybody, we should have a very strong opposition that can rise up and say, Mr. President, what you are doing is not right, and that will take some debates sometimes before it came to conclusion, but when you have people in the NASS, who will just move like a wind, it will not help us.
I only pray that people who are coming now are those who have the interest of the people at heart and are God-fearing; they are not just there to make money, but are there to serve the nation.
Since the end of the civil war, we have not been progressing as a nation because during the civil war for instance, when the Biafrans were confined to their territory, they had no option than to device a means of survival and they were able to manufacture bombs, mines, refine petroleum products, and other technological feats.
If we had accepted, by the time the war was over, by now we would have gone very far beyond where we are today; we would have been technologically advanced.
We never attained that because we are not united, we are corrupt and selfish. If we had tapped the ingenuity of the Biafrans, those inventions, etc, Nigeria would have been far ahead than what we are today, but unfortunately, corruption came in because everybody wanted to make money for himself; that is why we are in this sorry state now. Through corruption, people are making so much money that they don’t know the number of houses they have, and that is why we are still struggling that we cannot produce ordinary toothpick in this country; we cannot produce handkerchief in this country. All these things are imported from different countries of the world. It is a big shame indeed.
Some analysts say that Buhari’s first term won’t be different from his second term. Do you agree with them?
I don’t agree with them. In his first term, he had serious battle with the National Assembly; the leadership of the upper legislative house didn’t seem to cooperate with the president. Not only that, he had health challenges that made him spend some months in London, and when he came back, he had so much opposition and so he was unable to work. This time, with the composition of the NASS, if they cooperate with him, his war against corruption will have teeth to bite, his job creation policy may also work, and other programmes he has.
What they are saying is in terms of lopsided appointment, and continuation of alleged nepotism. He has said that he has realised the mistakes he made and that now he would pick the right people. I think he may not do a lopsided appointment the way he did during his first tenure. If he repeats that, we will keep on criticising and shouting from the rooftops.
We have competent and talented hands in this country; there is no community in this country where you will not get capable hands to work with the president.
Atiku has gone to court to challenge the outcome of the election, what’s your position on this?
In compliance with the dictate of democracy, he is right, but let’s see how he goes. He is convinced that the election was not free and fair and that is why he has gone to court. Whether it was free or fair, whether it was right or wrong, the tribunal will decide.
In my view, he can give the president his own idea of how to move this country forward, because going to court will waste a lot of money and time, etc.
But some argue that he ought to have congratulated the president, instead of doing what will overheat the polity the more?
He has not gone against the constitution of this country; he is fighting for his right. In the end, if proved that he has no case against the president, he would give up and shake hands with Buhari.
What agenda can you set for the president in his second term?
I want him to create jobs for people, improve our economy and improve the security. What is causing these problems in this country is the idleness of the young people. When you are idle, your mind becomes the devil’s workshop. Again, when you are idle and you are denied justice, you become angry and you fight back, and that is why we are having some of these problems in this country. If the government is able to provide jobs for our people, fight against injustice, fight against corruption and be fair to every citizen of this country, then there will be peace.
What do you expect Buhari’s cabinet to look like?
The constitution says that every state should be represented. He should keep to the constitution and look for the best materials in terms of integrity, in terms of intelligence and hard work.
As I said earlier, there is no community you go to without finding people with these qualities I have highlighted. Those who will make up the cabinet are people of proven integrity, people who know what they are doing, and not thieves; people who will serve the country not those who will be serving their pockets.
People are calling on the president to look beyond his party in picking his cabinet members. What do you say to this?
Naturally, when somebody is elected as the president, you become the president of the whole country; you are not just the president of your party. If you find good people in other political parties, why not use them. If you say, it is only your party, you are creating a deep disillusion, and that won’t help you.
However, one other issue that is bothering us in this country is that every party wants to rule, and if you bring people from other parties and make them members of your cabinet, they may build themselves up that at the next election, they may unseat you. It is wise for unity sake and mutual cooperation to include members of the opposition parties in your cabinet.
Source : The Sun Nigeria