•Those alleging Al-Mustapha gave me money are liars, I challenge them to provide proof
Founder, Oodua Peoples Congress, Dr Fredrick Fasehun has challenged Nigerians accusing him of being ‘settled’ by Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha to come out with proof or stop disparaging his name.
Throwing the challenge in this interview conducted by TUNDE THOMAS, Fasehun lamented that some Nigerians who were shocked by his decision to forgive Al-Mustapha who was part of Abacha’s regime that tortured and detained him have been spreading falsehood over his decision to forgive the former CSO.
“It is my own decision and I have no regret over it. Those saying I collected money from Al-Mustapha are spreading falsehood. I challenge them to come out with proof, otherwise they should keep quiet for ever,” he said. The OPC leader also spoke on other national issues.
What is your reaction to recent comments by the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, and Kogi State governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello that there is no alternative to President Buhari in 2019?
I’m surprised by the comments credited to both of them. They are speaking like Nigerian politicians. They are saying what should be expected from them. These are politicians that people refer to as Agip politicians. That is politicians supporting any government in power. And in Oyegun and Bello’s case, they must speak in support of their principal and ally, President Buhari.
Now coming to their comments, both of them have goofed. Oyegun and Bello have goofed. How can Buhari be Nigeria’s messiah? Nigeria’s messiah in what way? Does Oyegun know the true meaning of a messiah? A messiah means somebody that has come to save and protect. But can Buhari be described as a savior or a protector when Nigeria has been turned into a killing field under his watch?
The news coming out of Nigeria daily since Buhari took over in 2015 is very scaring. It is news of innocent Nigerians being killed all over the place by bandits, kidnappers, and Fulani herdsmen. Nigeria has gradually been turned into a killing field. From Benue to Taraba, Taraba to Adamawa, Adamawa to Kaduna to Zamfara, it is tales of gory killings and bloodshed. It is as if Nigeria is without a leader, and yet Buhari is there as President, and it is under his watch that all these killings and loss of lives are taking place, and yet some callous and heartless Nigerians like Oyegun could have the boldness to describe him as Nigeria’s messiah – this is very sad and unfortunate. I wonder if Oyegun is a genuine Christian, I wonder if Oyegun is a man with conscience. It is only a heartless man that will describe Buhari as Nigeria’s messiah.
Again, what are the criteria Oyegun is using to describe his principal and ally, as a messiah. Does Buhari deserve the accolade of a messiah when millions of Nigerians are dying of hunger daily? Hunger, poverty, unemployment, suffering and hardship are what millions of Nigerians have come to know since 2015 when Buhari became President.
For Yahaya Bello to say that there is no alternative to Buhari in 2019 is a big insult to Nigerians. Governor Yahaya Bello and others in his shoes saying that there is no alternative to Buhari are saying rubbish. They should apologise to Nigerians. How can Yahaya Bello say that there is no alternative to Buhari in a country of over 170 million people? There are hundreds of alternatives if not thousands of alternatives to Buhari in Nigeria.
However, I’m not shocked by Bello’s comments, he is only trying to sing praise of Buhari who is his benefactor and God-sent helper. The bitter truth today is that millions of Nigerians are not satisfied with Buhari, and his party APC. Both have disappointed the nation – they have performed poorly – they have failed Nigerians. In fact, I wept for Nigeria the day Buhari was elected President.
But what those supporting President Buhari’s reelection are saying is that he should be voted for a second term to enable him consolidate on his current achievements …
Cuts in … Which achievements? As far as I’m concerned, Buhari has not done anything to merit a second term in office. Buhari has failed, and APC has also failed. To ask Buhari to continue in office for a second term will only mean one thing, and that is prolongation of sufferings for Nigerians. Millions of Nigerians that voted for APC and Buhari in 2015 are now regretting their action. They are now angry and they are now waiting for 2019 to punish APC and Buhari with their votes. Honestly, Buhari and APC have shortchanged Nigerians, and that’s why the song on the lips of many disappointed Nigerians now is change the changers. That’s to tell you the extent to which APC has become a big bundle of disappointment. My sincere advice to Buhari is that he should forget 2019. He should just do his first term and retire to his village in Daura.
With your disappointment with APC, are you in support of the return of PDP to power as some Nigerians and PDP supporters have been canvassing?
No. None of the two parties should be in power again. Both PDP and APC have disappointed Nigerians. PDP was even better. But I believe that it is time for Nigeria to have new a party in power. We have over 69 political parties. From these, we can have alliances that will bring up a new political party that will provide dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
With the way APC has disappointed there is no way I will canvass for APC to win 2019 general elections. PDP and APC are birds of the same feather. Both parties should quit the stage for a new political party to take over.
Honestly, Buhari and APC have nothing to offer again. We need a new political order to take Nigeria to the next level.
What’s your view on the Coalition for Nigeria Movement that former President Olusegun Obasanjo floated as a way of providing an alternative to PDP and APC?
Obasanjo should stop interfering in Nigeria’s affairs. Nigerians should be allowed to decide their own fate. Obasanjo can’t divorce himself from some of the problems confronting us in Nigeria today. He was part of the problem. Obasanjo should leave Nigeria alone, enough is enough. Although as a former leader, he has a right to talk and offer advice but I believe he should leave Nigerians alone – Obasanjo has paid his dues, it is time for him to quit politics. He should retire from politics.
What is your take on the letters written to President Buhari by Obasanjo, and former President Ibrahim Babangida?
Both of them are in order by writing Buhari. As elder statesmen and leaders of this nation, they are eminently qualified to write Buhari. I disagree with those who have been criticizing the two former leaders for writing Buhari – Obasanjo and Buhari should be allowed to express their minds, especially if doing so will make Buhari to do the right thing in the best interests of Nigeria. As far as I’m concerned, Obasanjo’s regime or administration was far better than Buhari’s government. There is nothing wrong in both former leaders writing to Buhari to advise, and also to criticize him. I believe what Obasanjo and Babangida have done, they did in the best interest of Nigeria.
What’s your take on the present state of insecurity across the land especially with the recent killings in Benue, Zamfara, Taraba and other parts of the country?
It is sad and very worrisome that Nigeria is gradually being turned into a state of blood. Almost everyday now you have blood of innocent Nigerians being spilled either by bandits or Fulani herdsmen. The menace of herdsmen has now reached such an alarming proportion that the whole country is now endangered by the activities of these herdsmen.
But what is baffling is this, are we not supposed to have a leader who also doubles as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces? We have, and that person is President Muhammadu Buhari, but from what we have seen so far, it appears as if Buhari is on vacation or seems not to be troubled or bothered by the nefarious activities of the herdsmen. But for how long will the blood spilling and murder of innocent Nigerians continue before a drastic solution is found?
I’m appealing to members of the National Assembly, both the upper and the lower chambers to hold a joint emergency session to chart a way out. But Buhari should remember that what he promised Nigerians was that he was for nobody but for everybody. But from his actions so far, he has clearly demonstrated that he has not been acting or behaving as if all parts of Nigeria is his constituency, he has not been behaving the way a father should behave to all his children. The killings in Nigeria today have become a serious national embarrassment. One of the primary duties of any government is protection of lives and properties, but today it appears as if nobody is in charge.
Buhari should remember that he is President of Nigeria, and the onerous task of securing the lives and property of all Nigerians rest squarely on his shoulders. He should remember that the buck stops on his table. If those he appointed in charge of security are not living up to expectations, he should not hesitate to fire them. He should sack any security chief found to be negligent in his duty.
If Buhari refuses to take urgent action on this insecurity crisis, it will be one of the issues that will be used against him by his opponents during the 2019 general elections campaign. Security is a serious business. It is not a team affair, federal government should wake up to its responsibilities. Enough of bloodshed. Enough of blood spilling. Even the blood of those being killed unjustly is crying out for justice. Buhari has to find a way out to stop this blood flow.
Buhari and APC leaders who are in government should remember the goodwill they enjoyed in 2015 during the build up to that general elections. While some of us that are not Buhari’s admirers were warning Nigerians not to vote for Buhari and APC, instead of listening to our warnings and advice, they called us names, and rejected our advice. They were cheering Buhari and APC.
But today the story has changed. Those Nigerians that were cheering Buhari and APC leaders are now jeering at them – that’s even enough to tell APC leaders that the tide has changed, and that’s why it has become imperative for Buhari and APC to undertake positive changes. But first and foremost, something urgent has to be done about insecurity, killings, hunger and poverty that have become daily companions of Nigerians since 2015. Nigerians don’t deserve what they are presently getting from the APC led government today.
Is restructuring the way out of all these crises facing Nigeria as some people have been saying?
I support those saying so. Restructuring, genuine one will help to diffuse a lot of tension. In the First Republic, when Nigeria was practicing true federalism, there was development, steady growth, and healthy rivalry for development among the regions and the component units that make up the federation. Then fiscal federalism was in practice unlike now when everybody depends on revenues from crude oil to survive. There was no tension and friction.
But with the military incursion into power, everything changed, federalism became bastardised, and since then genuine peace has eluded Nigeria. To get it right, we have to restructure. To get it right we have to return to a true practice of federalism. It is the only way to have enduring peace in the country.
For the South West governors, what will be your advice, or how do you think they can handle the issue of herdsmen?
As the chief security officer of their states, they are vested with power to take actions to secure the lives and properties of all citizens in their domain not only Yoruba – they should make laws that will protect farmers and people from violent attacks by herdsmen.
Like Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose has done something in that regard. While I enjoin all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic diversity to live in peace and harmony, no individual or group should however be seen to be taking actions that will hurt the interests of others. Human life is very precious. It is not something to be toyed with. Human life is sacrosanct, and this is why I expect governors to take actions that will secure the lives and properties of their people.
I also believe that ranching option can help to stop these senseless killings. Fulani herdsmen should be encouraged to imbibe the ranching option, while modalities should be worked out on how to make the option easier for them to embrace.
Not much is being heard about the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN which you floated some years back, some people even claimed that you have been sacked with a new exco now in place, what is the true position of things?
The true situation of things is that today as we are speaking, I remain the bona fide chairman and founder of UPN. All those claiming to be this and that concerning UPN including one Professor are all fakes. They are all impostors. UPN Certificate of Registration is in my custody. But for those doubting Thomases, and others that may be confused about the current status of UPN, they can direct their enquiries to INEC. INEC would then enlighten them, and open their eyes to the truth. There is no controversy or crisis in UPN at all. I’m still in charge, and my party members are still very loyal to me. My leadership enjoys the confidence of all UPN members.
Some Nigerians have expressed concern over your friendship with and deep affections for Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer to the late General Sani Abacha whose regime tortured and incarcerated you for a long time when he was in power. Some people are alleging that Al-Mustapha has settled you, and that’s why you have become his new godfather, what’s your response to that?
I laugh when people make allegations that can’t be substantiated. What do I need Al-Mustapha’s money for? Why should I collect money from Al-Mustapha? I’m a Christian, and what the Bible teaches us is forgiveness. I simply forgave Al-Mustapha over what Abacha’s regime did to me and some other Nigerians, and I don’t have any apology for that.
Jesus Christ taught about forgiveness, and I believe in Christ and his teachings, and that’s why I forgave Al-Mustapha, and I have no apology to offer anybody over that. For those who are making allegations that I collected money from Al-Mustapha, I challenge them to come out with any proof. They are all big liars – they are those Nigerians who profess to be genuine Christians and Muslims but still have unforgiving spirits.