From Abdullahi Hassan, Zaria
Malam Adnan Na-Habu is a cousin to President Muhammadu Buhari and the official spokesman for the family. He is a political analyst and a civil servant in Katsina state. He dismissed the concern that President Buhari’s health condition may render him incapable of running the affairs of the country.
There have been mixed- views on the performance of the Buhari administration. What would be your candid assessment in that regard?
Well, I will say so far so good because Mr. President is bent on fulfilling his campaign promises. I believe Nigerians can see that on the ground, the vision is matched with action.
But Nigerians are still complaining of growing poverty, bad roads, inadequate electricity, escalating prices of commodities among others. What can you say on that?
That is not true, I believe this administration has done a lot of things which Nigerians can see, perceive and of course feel. As I always say, Buhari’s administration whether we like or not has put Nigeria on its right place in the comity of nations. Nigerians are now respected at the global level unlike in the past, because they know a serious government is in place now.
Secondly, people should not forget that when this administration came in to power, Nigeria was virtually grounded, nothing was working , take electricity as an example, the generation capacity was also below 400 mega watts, but no matter how cynical one may be, he knows that electricity supply has improved. Many areas that spend weeks or months without light are now enjoying 6 to 10 hours of electricity.
On the economy, the last administration of Jonathan threw this country into economic bankruptcy where both macro and micro finance completely collapsed. Nigeria was purely an import- driven economy, no effort to revive industries or make our economy stronger, except sale of the public assets in the name of privatisation. But you can see the difference now, with the introduction economic diversification, the nation economy began to have a clear direction.
On Mr. President’s health status, there has been growing anxiety among Nigerians over his state of health. What is actually the true state of the President’s health?
Well, as far as I know Mr. President’s health status is nothing to worry about as far as governance of this country is concerned. I know him and I am very close to him in the family, we speak and eat together whenever I am in Abuja. You see in the family if there is anything that will make him incapable to govern this country, we are the first set of persons that will ask him to throw in the towel. Mr. president is in power not because he wants to be the President but he want to make a significant impact and contributions to the development of the country by correcting the anomalies in the governance which I believe, Nigerians must have seen in his approach.
Another thing is that, it has been a practice in Nigeria that no sitting President has ever transmitted power to his vice-president in constitutional manner, but President Muhammadu Buhari did it. So Nigerians are seeing the President’s action as a new thing. We all know what happened during Late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. We also knew what happened during Obasanjo/Atiku era. Obasanjo never handed over powers to Atiku, each time he travelled out of the country. But Buhari is a constitution man; he did what constitution demanded of him.
Do you think that the President can still seek for a second term, come to 2019?
Of course yes, I know some Nigerians especially the critics of this administrations have been using age and sickness to propagate the idea that Buhari should not run this country now and beyond 2019.I don’t think there is a problem with his health as I said earlier. You see there is difference between sickness and being aged. When someone is aged we believe that, he cannot act the way you and I can act because of the age. Be it as it may, Nigerians should judge Mr. President by his performance not based on his age, because in Africa, there are leaders that are far older than him, and they are still in power, managing their country successfully. So being aged is not a deformity. Instead, the person will be given more wisdom to reason. I believe that most of the statements are coming from his opponents. It is purely politics. Obviously, by 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari has chance to continue, provided he chooses to re-contest the presidency.
As a member of the family, there are some of Mr. President’s relations that are said to be running the presidency by proxy. How true can that be?
I read in the social media severally on allegations against these two innocent gently men- Malam Lawal Daura and Malam Mamman Daura. To start with, I am not only providing defense for these two Daura sons, but to tell the truth of what is happening there in the Villa. You see, Lawal Daura is a professional detective and he has been in the state security throughout his life. He put in many years in service and he retired. In fact he garnered all the experience required to manage that place. By law, it is at the discretion of the President to bring anybody he wishes if that person can make an impact, in line with government mission and vision, to work for him. In translating these things therefore, people should understand that Lawal Daura is not just handpicked and put there. In fact, nobody in the security circle that does not know Lawal Daura.
Having said that, he is doing his work and so people should understand this. I believe he is not doing anything outside his work. The fact that he is from Daura, is not be the issue, he is a Nigerian and possess all it takes to do the job.
On Mallam Mamman Daura, people should understand that whenever you are in a position of authority, you must have some people you trust and can advise you personally. It is a tradition in Nigeria that, our leaders have official and unofficial advisers. You cannot tell me that there is any leader in Nigeria who does not have these advisers? But I don’t know why Malam Mamman Daura stands out. Malam Mamman Daura has been a retired Civil servant and a business man all his life. He worked with New Nigerian Newspapers and rose to the rank of Managing Director, and later retired and established his business which is doing very well. He is a Chairman of Many Private and Public companies. Malam Mamman Daura, as a veteran Journalist, knows a lot about Nigerian politics. So by virtue of that he has all the requisite experience to advice someone. Having said that Mamman Daura is not officially appointed as an adviser, in other words, he is not an official of this government; I don’t see reason people should always pick on the gentle man. Is it because of truthfulness, sincerity and honesty? Or Is it because of his intimacy with Mr. President? Let us be very fair to him and Mr. President. Malam Mamman has never interfered in the affairs of anybody in this government. Malam Mamman is a Nephew (son of the President eldest brother) to Mr. President and they grew up together, though he is older than President Muhammadu Buhari, and they share many things in common. If there is anybody with evidence that can proof to me that Mallam Mamman Daura did something wrong in this government, let him bring it forward. It is not a reality and it is even difficult to throw away your relations or childhood friends just because you are a President or a governor. What kind of attitude is that?