• Reveals plans to replace Buhari with Kingibe to complete 8-year term of North
• Says Kingibe is promoted by cabals in the presidency
Former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, is a man who never shies away from controversies. As the All Progressives Congress (APC) is basking on the euphoria of giving Chief M.K.O Abiola a posthumous honour of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) and recognizing June 12 as Democracy Day, the leader of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has alleged that there was more that meets the eye in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s action.
He alleged that the award is a smokescreen being used to promote Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, Abiola’s running mate, for the presidency. He spoke exclusively to Sunday Sun at this Kaduna residence.
The Federal Government has conferred on Chief M.K.O Abiola a posthumous award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR). A lot has been said and written about the award. As someone who was in the struggle for the actualization of his mandate about 20 years ago, what is your opinion of the honour bestowed on the late Abiola and his running mate, Amb. Babagana Kingibe?
I don’t want to enter into any controversy any more about June 12. I have done my part in the patriotic struggle in the recognition of June 12 election and the award given to Chief M.K.O Abiola, even after his death. The struggle for the restoration of real democracy and the right to choose continue. But I will avoid being involved in the process, with Afenifere, OPC, cultists, secularists and an unarticulated section of the ACF and other opportunists, whose objectives are to use the recognition and award to promote Babagana Kingibe, as replacement of President Muhammadu Buhari to complete the so-called eight-year term of the North, in particular, to placate the North-east because of the damage done by Boko Haram. The question is has Babagana Kingibe played the role expected of him in the June 12 struggle? Is he worthy of the award? And what he is being promoted for now, is he worth it? I have worked with Babagana Kingibe at the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria (BCNN) between 1971 and 1974. I was Chief Accountant and Company Secretary and he was a producer and later Head of current affairs. My fellow leaders at the BCNN who are still alive and active include Mohammed Ibrahim from Jigawa, who is now the District Head of Ringim and Aliyu Hayatu from Zaria who was the initiator of the FRCN Programme, “Verdict ‘79’’. All these people know him.
Are you saying that the game plan is not just to recognise Abiola and June 12 as Democracy Day, but to also promote the ‘candidacy’ of Babagana Kingibe?
Both, they want to use this recognition of June 12 and award as a means of promoting Kingibe. This plan of promoting Kingibe for the presidency of Nigeria started sometimes ago when there was the feeling that Buhari couldn’t make it due to his health challenge for the 2019 presidential election. And there was a conspiracy to search for someone who can be used to placate the North and in particular, the North-east. And from my experience of how these things are being arranged in the history of Nigeria, remember we have been relevant in the politics of Nigeria since 1950, so to that extent my calculation is that the game plan is still on. And you know that Kingibe is in a central position in the presidency and in APC. This Babagana Kingibe was the running mate of Abiola, but when Abiola went on exile, and there was nobody to lead the struggle for the de-annulment of June 12, we had to force him to take on the responsibility and he did it unwillingly.
You mean Kingibe wanted to abandon the struggle when Abiola was on exile?
At one time, he indicted himself and the press covered it. There was a time that media men asked him why he dumped June 12 and he explained himself and confirmed what the press was saying.
What did he say?
He said so many things. That is why I don’t want to go into this matter. But I don’t just want us to drag Nigeria from one bad choice to another. In 2015, we said ‘anyone but PDP and Jonathan.’ We got APC and Buhari. And now, some people are saying ‘anybody but APC and Buhari ‘and they want to bring in Kingibe. This is their calculation.
Is it a section of the APC that is planning this or the cabal in the presidency?
Kingibe is being promoted by the cabal in the presidency, and he is very well connected by virtue of his position now.
But what position does he hold in government?
I think he is in the Chief of Staff’s office. And you know the power that the Chief of Staff wields in the Nigerian arrangement.
But do you have evidence to back this insinuation or you are just speculating?
The evidence is there. Let people investigate what I have said. People have started saying why should Kingibe be given an award? I am being so open because I know so much!
Can you give further insight of a little of the so much that you know?
No, I don’t want to continue with this; I have said what I know and I want to help Nigerians not to continue making mistakes, one after the other.
You have worked with Kingibe at the BCNN. What manner of man is he?
I don’t want to go any further; I’m avoiding the controversy. I just want to give Nigerians the benefit of my knowledge so that they will be guided.
But you have to guide Nigerians properly by telling us…
(Cuts in) Later, later! I have raised the issue. Let Nigerians debate it. Later, I may be forced to talk further. After commending Buhari for what he did, by giving Abiola the award and recognising June 12, I don’t want to be involved in any controversy on the issue. Now, I am carrying the matter further by saying what I know, to guide Nigerians.
Some people have even faulted the posthumous award given to Abiola. As a former seasoned civil servant, do you think that giving the award was procedurally wrong?
Yes, it is good to give Abiola the posthumous award because he would have been the president if the election was not annulled. In fact, in my commendation of Buhari, I said that he should even go further by recognising some Nigerians who had played patriotic roles in the history of Nigeria. For example, I mentioned Herbert Macaulay who introduced a political party in Nigeria, by leading the NCNC. I also said that he should recognise Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe who popularised NCNC. He played nation-building roles in all his politics. Throughout his life, he never showed that he was an Igbo first and a Nigerian second. In fact, the first thing that he did after becoming the leader of the NCNC after the death of Macaulay was to appoint Sa’ad Zungur the National Secretary of the NCNC. He was also the first person to make a non-Igbo, Altine Mohammed, the Mayor of Enugu. These are patriotic acts that demonstrated that he is a true Nigerian.
I also said that Malam Aminu Kano should be included amongst these pioneers and patriots that should be honoured. I also said that Labour Leader Number 1, Chief Michael Imodu should be recognised. He was the first person to organise a national strike, which threatened colonialism. I even said two women should be recognised for their various roles; the wife of the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, who preferred to die with her husband when the coup plotters struck on January 15, 1966. That was a demonstration of loyalty. Look at this lady, Prof Dora Akunyili, who happened to be an Igbo, but sacrificed her life to fight fake drug barons. And you know, her own people were deeply involved in it. These people should be recognised the same way that Abiola was recognised so that Nigerians will know that we had people who played patriotic roles.
What of the likes of Alhaji Balarabe Musa who stood for the actualisation of a mandate that was annulled by a northern military president?
That is for the future; we are still alive. Our time will come. I’m now talking about people who are no more.
Give us an insight into the June 12 struggle from an insider’s perspective?
I really don’t want to go further. Leave it for another day. You know, those that I exposed in this interview will fight back. When they fight back, I will fight again.