By Remi Adefulu
Though he has an academic bent, Prof. Adetokunbo Pearse of the department of Literature and Culture, University of Lagos can lay claim to been an authority on Nigerian politics.
In this interview, he speaks on contemporary national issue, including restructuring.
What is your take on the Buhari’s administration so far?
Direct Foreign investment has gone down seriously. The whole of South-East is in turmoil because you have various Biafra groups. You have the Fulani herdsmen causing havoc everywhere. We have a lot of problems in the country. When you talk about quality of life, you look at the cost of regular commodities. A bag of rice has tripled in price. It used to be nine thousand naira under Jonathan. A Derica of gari used to be three hundred naira; it’s now one thousand naira. I tried to buy some eggs; one egg is now fifty naira. Everything has gone up. It means there is poverty in the land. You know poverty usually leads to insecurity. Two years of Buhari, has been hell. The Nigerian currency is the lowest as it has never been in 30 years. We are still in distress, and it’s all because of the policies of the president, poor judgment. When he got into office, the first thing he did were faulty. The first 28 appointments he made were ethnocentric. The whole of the South is unhappy with this administration and unfortunately he is doing the North no favour. No northern leader has been able to govern this country effectively because they are always on the defensive. It has been two years of ineptitude. The administration is also suffering from nepotism. The press is been suppressed but the fight is going on. The president has shown that he is very inefficient and very dishonest.
How well has change been delivered to Nigerians?
You can look at it from various ways. President Buhari got elected based on the promise made by the likes of Tinubu, but when Buhari got elected, he said he didn’t make the promises. They have not kept the promise because the president said he never made the promises. These are empty words. They are just rhetoric. Before you make these promises, you have to check your budget to see whether you can afford it. They were just political sloganeering during the campaign. The first thing the president did when he got into office was to make himself minister of Petroleum. His emphasis was on oil, meanwhile, the world is diversifying from oil. It is only Agric that can save us. Once you saw that, you know we are already going in the wrong way and it is telling. If you can get into office and you find you can’t keep the promises, you make adjustments, but they have not been able to make those adjustments.
How do you juxtapose your position with the pass mark given to the administration by the APC?
It’s like student trying to grade himself after an examination. Of course, the student will say he passed with an A. it is left to the neutral observer to determine and you and I are the neutral observer. It must have cost you more to get here today than it cost you during the days of Jonathan. It costs you more to take care of your wife and children today. Everything is expensive. What have they done to claim that they are doing well? Is it when the country collapses totally? You remember the 2015 prediction of the West that Nigeria will collapse. I want to point to you that disintegration is already with us. It doesn’t have to happen in one day. For everything that happens, there are remote and immediate causes. In fact, we are at the intermediate now. The whole of the South-East does not believe they belong to this country anymore. See what is coming out of Afenifere which is the voice of the South-West. What they are saying is that the only way this country can survive is through restructuring. Everybody is in disagreement with this government.
The government claims to have defeated Boko Haram, but Boko Haram keeps haunting some areas, what do you think?
Well, this is a very dishonest administration. Lai Muhammed is just looking for a way to be relevant. You will recall that at the inception of this administration, he said Bola Tinubu is the leader of the party and the Buhari group replied him. Since then, they have put him on ice. He doesn’t know what is happening. He has been isolated. He said Boko Haram has been technically decimated. It’s like Trump administration saying there is truth and there is alterative truth. Another word for alterative truth is lie. Lai Muhammed is the symbol of that. It’s not easy to defeat a guerrilla group. Boko Haram is still alive. That is why they are able to strike every now and then.
The North seems opposed to restructuring, what do we do?
I don’t think that the North is opposed to it. Some elements in the North like former Vice president Atiku Abubakar, former central bank Governor, Sanusi, General Ibrahim Babangida and others, are strong voices from the area who are saying restructuring is in everybody’s interest. It will create economic progress, it will create peace. The north cannot be educated like the South. Education in the north must be structured along the line of education in the way their educational system must go because of their culture and history.
One of the worst things that have happened is the emergency military constitution called 1999 constitution. There is no military constitution that can solve our problems. The military only run the country for a while. We have a constitution where our mineral resources are in the exclusive list and only the Federal Government can tap the mineral resources. Even geological survey is in the exclusive list, so you can’t even survey the mineral resources in your land. God gave us these resources; let us make use of these resources. We should have our local police, city police, state police and the Federal. That is the only way you can have peace.
The government is also opposed to restructuring, is this not an issue for concern?
President Buhari made it clear that he was not interested in restructuring. That is why he must go. For us to have peace and progress, such administration should not come into office any more, and I am predicting that such shallow minded, retrospective, retrogressive governments are over. Nobody can win election in 2019 if you don’t restructure because the South-West, South-East, South – South and the North- Central are totally for restructuring so that we can have progress, so that we can have peace. I am not worried at all about those who don’t want to restructure. The president has been a very big disappointment.