Lagos State chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and chairman, Conference of APC states chairmen, Chief Henry Ajomale, has urged Nigerians to close ranks and come up with workable solutions to the recurring farmers/herdsmen clashes across the country rather than continue to attack President Muhammadu Buhari over the crisis.
He also spoke on other issues of interest.
What is your reaction to the national outcry that followed recent killings by Fulani herdsmen in Benue, Taraba, and other parts of the country?
It is very sad and very unfortunate. The killings have become a national tragedy. But I believe that the situation will soon be under permanent control as the president has ordered security agencies to take control of the situation. And to show that President Muhammadu Buhari took the issue serious, he ordered the Inspector-General of Police to relocate to Benue State.
What however baffles and worries me is the upsurge in these killings, after all Fulani herdsmen and their host communities all over the country have been living together in harmony for decades without rancour.
This is why I support the arguments by some Nigerians that these killings are being carried out by some foreigners who passed through our borders to wreak havoc on innocent Nigerians. There was a recent security report that these killings are being carried out by some members of the dreaded ISIS terrorist groups who had infiltrated the country. There have also been claims that it is Boko Haram terrorists that are carrying out these attacks. Unfortunately, many Nigerians are pointing fingers at Fulani herdsmen with some even saying these Fulani herdsmen are carrying out the attacks because President Buhari, a fellow Fulani man is the president.
Buhari has never condoned any killing. Look at it again this way, these Fulani herdsmen, how many of them have money to purchase sophisticated arms like AK47 rifles that these killers are using? However it is good that investigations are now being carried out by our security agencies to unmask these killers.
Some Nigerians including members of the PDP have been heaping blames on President Buhari, accusing him of not taking necessary actions to deal with the menace of Fulani herdsmen, what’s your take on that?
It is very unfair to make President Buhari a scapegoat over these killings. These killings have been taking place before Buhari assumed office. The killings took place when Obasanjo was there, it took place when Yar’Adua was there and it took place during the time of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
I believe some Nigerians are just being mischievous especially PDP members and their apologists. They are just looking at any way to get back at Buhari because of the ongoing anti-corruption war which has affected many PDP members. It is corruption fighting back. When somebody now sneezes or cough it is Buhari. It is these looters and enemies of the anti-corruption war that are behind the smear campaign against Buhari.
Like I said earlier, to forestall further killings and in order to restore peace to the affected communities, the President had ordered security agencies to secure the affected areas to prevent further destruction and loss of lives.
Since he assumed office, Buhari has been trying his best to tackle various socio-economic challenges facing Nigeria, but some Nigerians are not comfortable with his anti-corruption war and this is why some of them are deliberately destroying the man’s name – this is why they are trying to demonise him. But Buhari and APC will not be distracted by these few disgruntled elements as the president and APC have a mission to fulfil. APC is on a rescue mission and that mission is to salvage Nigeria. Sixteen years of PDP’s rule of Nigeria were years of waste. They were years of the locust.
But the PDP has been boasting that Nigerians can now see that things were not this bad when it was in power, how do you react to that?
It is unfortunate that these PDP leaders can still have courage to be speaking in public. Was it not under the yoke and burden of 16 years of PDP in power that Nigeria almost became bankrupt? Nigeria would have by now become a failed state if PDP and Jonathan were still there.
Unlike now when Nigerians are more secured, Boko Haram was having a field day during Jonathan’s era, bombings became a daily occurrence. It became so worst that Boko Haram suicide bombers bombed Police Headquarters in Abuja; they bombed United Nations’ office also in Abuja. At a point, Boko Haram suicide bombers almost stormed Aso Rock. No Nigerian was safe. It is unfortunate that these PDP leaders talking now and some Nigerians have short memory.
There is no basis for comparison between APC and PDP at all. PDP is darkness and APC is light, and that’s why more Nigerians embrace APC. Was it not under Jonathan’s watch that almost 300 Chibok girls were abducted? Jonathan and PDP’s government at the time became so ineffective to the extent that Jonathan’s government was described as clueless.
Look at the profligacy of PDP and Jonathan’s administration. During that period, crude oil was selling at over 100 dollars per barrel and Nigeria was making a lot of money, but PDP and Jonathan’s government wasted the billions of dollars revenue got from the oil boom of that era.
Looters were having a swell time under Jonathan’s nose, and at a point he became so confused that he as the president didn’t know the difference between stealing and corruption. Nigeria would have collapsed if the situation had continued like that under Jonathan. Some are currently facing trial over the infamous roles they played in the arms scandal otherwise known as Dasukigate. It is these shameless PDP leaders who ought to apologise to Nigerians that are trying to discredit Buhari’s government. They are not comfortable that they have been exposed, and are still being exposed over the economic crime they committed against Nigeria.
Some Nigerians are saying that Buhari should not seek a re -election based on his performance while others are saying that he should, what’s your take on that?
For us in APC those talking about 2019 are distracting Buhari. Buhari is working. He is seriously working to fix Nigeria. He is not bothered about 2019 for now. When the time comes he will speak on it. Buhari is determined and poised to remain on track, focusing on his work, and APC as a party will not like him to be distracted. Buhari is determined to ensure that things are working very well again. He want to ensure that as many youths as possible are employed or engaged in one meaningful venture or the other. This is why through the N-Power Scheme he introduced, millions of Nigerian youths are being offered employment without discrimination as to whether somebody belongs to the APC or the PDP. Buhari sees himself as a father to all Nigerian youths.
But in your candid assessment, do you think the APC has done well, because some critics are still maintaining that nothing has changed, and that things are even getting worst under the APC and Buhari’s government?
It is only those who are blind or being mischievous that will claim that Nigeria has not changed for better under APC.
Under APC’s administration, security has improved. People can now sleep with their two eyes closed. Before, the fear of Boko Haram was the beginning of wisdom. In Abuja, Kaduna, Kano and some other major northern cities then, the fear of Boko Haram was all pervading, but Buhari’s government has been able to degrade Boko Haram and major parts of the country are now safe from Boko Haram attacks.
Not only that in the area of power generation, before Jonathan left office, power generation under PDP was not up to 3,000 megawatts, but today, Nigeria is generating 7,000 megawatts, and things will still get much better.
Now, accountability and probity is the order of the day unlike the previous era when looters were having field day. With the introduction of TSA, Treasury Single Account, financial sanity had been restored, and all loopholes and avenues for looting had been blocked. Between 2010 and 2015 when Jonathan and PDP were in government, the total revenue remitted to government coffers by JAMB was N51 million whereas under Buhari’s administration, within just a year, JAMB remitted N7.8 billion to the coffers of the federal government. Is the difference not then clear between APC and PDP?
Buhari has also introduced agricultural revolution, and today rice is being cultivated on a large scale across the country thus saving the nation the headache of importing rice. Our foreign reserves have also gone up to 40 billion US dollars, something that had not happened for years, and yet some mischievous Nigerians are saying that Buhari is not working. Buhari and APC have a mission and vision for Nigeria and that mission is to restore Nigeria to the path of greatness, and both APC and Buhari are on course. We are determined to achieve the set goals; we will not allow some unpatriotic elements to distract us.