•Stop Buhari’s cabal
•Nigerians back first lady’s call
By Omoniyi Salaudeen, Olakunle Olafioye, Ayo Alonge
AS reactions continue to trail the recent interview of the wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari, on the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), more eminent Nigerians have applauded the courage of the First Lady for crying out loud against the cabal in the seat of power that has allegedly seized the government by the scruff of the neck.
A respected leader of thought in the Southeast and former governor of the old Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, in an interview with Sunday Sun, said Aisha has done a great favour for both Buhari and Nigerians as a whole for exposing the cabals who are holding down the country. His words: “I have read some reactions already. I think in my judgment, the lady, Aisha, has done a great favour for both Buhari and Nigerians. For Buhari, she has let people know that what is happening in government is not all Buhari’s fault. Anybody who takes what is happening in government as order from Buhari will not have much respect for him because what he is going on doesn’t reflect intellect or even conscience. But now, we know that the people who are controlling the affairs of the country are not the people Nigerians gave their mandate to. Buhari cannot be as poor in judgment as what we are seeing happening from the seat of power.”
He further described Aisha’s outburst as a divine inspiration, saying “Nigerians can be more forgiving now than before.”
According to him, her courageous exposure of the cabal had relieved Nigerians of the perceived regret by the electorate who felt shortchanged by the performance of the All Progressives Congress-led government in the last one and a half years. “I sympathize with both of them because the issue is made public. But they should forgive each other and see what has happened as a divine inspiration. It has relieved Nigerians of the worst of thinking that they had elected somebody who did not deserve to be elected,” he added.
Ezeife urged Buhari to listen to his wife and do the needful, adding that Southeast should be compensated for the low patronage the Igbo had got from the present government. “The president needs to do many things right. The president has to compensate the Southeast for not being appointed appropriately. Today, as I am talking to you now, there is no single Igbo in the National Security Council,” he lamented.
Also speaking in the same vein, the presidential candidate of the United Progressive Party (UPP) in the last election, Chekwas Okorie, commended Aisha’s courage, describing her as an activist in the villa. “I look at the boldness and courage of the woman (Aisha) in taking the step she has taken and I see her as conscience of the presidency and an activist in the villa. By what she has done, she has attracted overwhelming support of the Nigerian women. Surprisingly, the highly conservative Northern elite seem to completely agree with her. I will advise the president to take what the woman has said in good faith because nothing is new in what she said ,it is just that it is coming from her. He (Buhari) himself had said that he didn’t know most of the people he appointed. So, the president should take a second look at his cabinet and do a re-jig so that he can put people in the areas of their cognate experiences where they can bring out their best for the country. So far, public reaction is in her favour. So, the president should see her more as an asset and listen to her,” he advised.
On his own part, the Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, called on President Buhari to investigate the issues raised by his wife and make good his electoral promises. “I think it is the duty of Mr. President to decide whether he wants to surrender the country to the cabal or not. He told Nigerians that he belongs to nobody and he is for everybody. He has to investigate the matter and be true to his words. Nigerians cannot go to Aso Villa to start pulling out the cabal. The wife of the president has her reasons for saying what she said. She has made a salient point which cannot be dismissed with a wave of hand,” he said.
Onyekachi Ubani, a former Chairman, NBA Ikeja branch, also expressing the same sentiment saying: “The President may have to listen to some of the issues raised by the wife and see how they can be addressed. I hope the President will be on top of the situation. I don’t know what avenue his wife had used to express the grievance she is now expressing openly. Perhaps, she decided to go public when the grievances were not addressed. If I were in the President’s shoes, I will take another look at what she said and see what can be done to assuage her, because the President cannot afford any form of distractions now either from his family or the opposition.”
Below is the concluding part of the interview as monitored
By Abdullahi Hassan, Zaria.
But some will say whenever you are elected into government, you have to bring in professionals, experts who know how to do the job and not just politicians?
Yeah; but if you look at the journey that we had; after the merger, we didn’t call it merger or APC again, we called it a movement because it was a collective effort of millions of people, only for us to find out that the government is being operated by a few people. Very few, in the sense that we have, may be, four to six people that really started the journey with us in the system.
Unfortunately, the people that are occupying the seats, I don’t think they have any expertise that our supporters in APC do not have. We have supporters all over the world. It was a real collective effort by those who supported APC and felt that enough is enough; let us have sanity in the society.
Nobody will say that ‘it was as a result of my hard work that I brought this government’; it was a real team work and we wish that the team work should continue.
Everybody knows what my husband wants to achieve in four years. But having new set of people on board that are not part of us or know what we promised Nigerians is the thing we are facing now.
Who are these 4 to 5 people you are talking about?
People like Ogbonnaya Onu, Amaechi, Fashola. After the merger, it was a huge group that came together and started the struggle. It is sad that only a few of them are in the system now. Though I heard that they are about to announce 3000 names as Board members. We feel that those that have started the struggle should not be limited to board members; they should be in positions like heading agencies that will impact positively on the lives of Nigerians.
We know what we campaigned for, only for us to bring people that are busy telling people that they are not politicians but they are occupying seats that were brought in by politicians. This is a huge disrespect for politicians. We are just starting; we have not got to 2017, much less 2018 and then 2019 for us to go back to the polls. You understand what I mean?
Who are these few people you said are surrounding President Muhammadu Buhari and have you spoken to him about this?
After receiving complaints upon complaints, I decided to tell him. But all the same, a lot of people have been coming on their own and also collectively to tell him that things are not going the way it should when it comes to putting people in certain positions. Because most of those that are occupying positions in agencies, nobody knows them and they themselves don’t know our party manifesto; what we campaigned for; they were not part of us completely. People were sitting down in their houses, folding their arms only for them to be called upon to come and head an agency or a ministerial position. They don’t have a mission or vision of our APC. You understand what I mean?
Whose fault is this?
It’s the fault of 15.429 million people, because they are the ones that brought in the government. It’s their fault!
But theirs is just to elect APC and President Muhammadu Buhari and he is the one that is supposed to be in charge. Is he not?
Because they elected him; that’s why he is here. If they can stand firm and strengthen the party and tell everybody that ‘No, we can’t take this; we can’t take you because you are not a card carrying member, you don’t know what we want to achieve within so and so time’. Fifteen-point-something million people is a huge number that can control a country.
Somebody listening to this will feel like President Muhammadu Buhari is not in charge of this government?
It is left for the people to decide whether he is in charge or he is not in charge. People actually accepted his ideology and decided to follow him for the past 13 years. That is what brought him to this current position.
As his wife, what will be your advice to him to move forward?
My advice is to the whole people that voted for him. They should strengthen the party and whoever is not part of the party should not have control over fifteen-point-something million people. We are in a democracy and not military era; so, we have to play it well and leave a legacy.
What you are saying is that if things continue like this, you will not leave any legacy?
As a person, I have my right to say how I feel about something. If it continues like this, I am not going to be part of any movement again, because I need to work with the people that we started the journey with collectively so that we can achieve what we want to achieve, so that he would leave a legacy.
Have you told your husband all this?
Yeah! He knows! At my own level, I have done it personally. I have also listened to people’s complaints and I tried to tell him what they are coming to tell me so that if there is anything to be corrected; it can be corrected.
Concluding part of the translated Version of an interview with the wife of president, Hajia Aisha Buhari, by the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC. Monitored in Zaria by Abdullahi Hassan, Zaria.