By Job Osazuwa
The President of the Movement for Better Nigeria in Diaspora (MBND), Mr. Dickson Kalu Uwakwe, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the anti-corruption war to the members of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other loyalists of his.
Uwakwe, who is also the Founder of South- East Renaissance Project (SERP), urged Buhari to be open to critics, and never to see those criticising him as enemies.
What is your reaction to those who still see President Buhari as Nigeria’s messiah?
This type of hypocrisy is not new in Nigeria politics. Those who are hailing the President would soon abandon him as they did to his predecessor. If I were Buhari, I will simply address the genuine yearnings of Nigerians, especially in the area of food insufficiency, unfavourable environment to businesses and rising unemployment in the land.
If you recall, few years back, the same people gathered for their selfish interest, praising former President Goodluck Jonathan the way they are praising Buhari now. But at the end, they turned against him. Buhari should love those criticizing his government and take them as his best friends because there is a lot going in this country which he did not know and those dining with him have refused to tell him the truth.
What truth are you talking about?
He should be told that his policies have brought more pains than succour to Nigerians. His party members and aids are leading Nigerians into a ditch which might take years to come out from. Why should a dollar become gold overnight? Where are the jobs he promised and why is there so much bitterness and disunity everywhere in the land? Nigerians have waited for one year and eight months, yet, no clear roadmap to lead us out of the cloud. 2019 now appears too far to the people. The hunger in the land is unbearable, and if the President’s men are not selfish with the truth, they would have been telling him that the people are disappointed in his leadership style.
The ruling party had told Nigerians that the past administrations were responsible for today’s mess, what is your take on that?
This is one excuse that is now offending almost every Nigerian. Buhari has to save the country now because it is his obligation to do so. The President must stop blaming past governments; former President Olusegun Obasanjo didn’t blame the military or other governments before him when he assumed office in 1999. But he saw it as a task before him, to contribute his best for the development of the country. Nigerians expect Buhari to do what Jonathan couldn’t do and that is why he was voted into power by the people who supported him. He campaigned to bring positive change to the people, so the people are not expecting anything less. Gone are the days when Nigerians were taken for fools; they are now more conscious of political happenings around them.
What is your assessment of Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign?
Yes, I strongly believe in fighting corruption because the disease has plunged us into political and economic crises, including our present state. But Nigerians will only take the President serious when he begins to fight corruption without being selective. Buhari needs to fish out the corrupt members of his party and cabinet, using them as scapegoats. It is after then that Nigerians will believe that the President means well for everybody in the country. The President can’t pretend or assume that all members of APC are saints. High level corruption still takes place at different ministries, agencies with impunity. There are many of such atrocities that the President is too old to figure out.
If the President continues to keep mute over the matter, it would be a suggestion that the corrupt members in his cabinet have his backing, which would, therefore, contradict his corruption crusade.
Many of the President’s loyalists are using his good name to cause political crises in different states. But Buhari is keeping quiet to allow such impunity to continue. They are praising him, calling him the best President, whereas, Nigerians are dying of hunger. There is hardship everywhere in the country; massive job losses, yet, none of Buhari’s friends is willing to tell him the truth. This is democracy and nobody should be afraid to say what is right or wrong.
How will you compare conducting elections in Nigeria with those of other countries?
Let me not go as far as the United States of America (USA). I was in Ghana to monitor the country’s general elections last year. I was surprised at the level of sanity displayed by the politicians and voters. Nigeria needs to learn a lot from the violence-free manner the country conducted its elections, ranging from been transparent, to violence-free, the conduct there is worthy of emulation.
I went there as a Diaspora observer for our movement, being the President. I never saw military and police the way I saw them in Rivers State National Assembly election. Our democracy must be protected, using all institutions in the country, but not through intimidations.
Should Buhari take all the blame for Nigeria’s problems?
The problem of Nigeria should not be limited to Buhari alone. This is bitter but the truth remains that virtually all politicians and public servants have neglected their statutory responsibility for financial gains.
One of the ways Nigeria can be free from recession is for Nigerians, especially politicians, to demonstrate an unflinching love, patriotism, tolerance and unity towards one another. The hatred and disunity in the land is making things worse for the common man. There is an unbelievable backwardness in most of the states.