Gyang Bere, Jos
The Deputy National Welfare Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Danladi Jok-Alamba has said the response of the Vice President to the recent allegations of financial misappropriation raised against him calls for public support and that it shows his commitment to the fight against corruption by President Muhammadu Buhari. He said the ruling APC will be stronger ahead of the 2023 general elections largely based on the developmental strides it has put on ground.
Nigeria just celebrated 59th Independence; are we where we are supposed to be in terms of development?
I want to believe that from history of development across the world, Nigeria is one of the luckiest countries to have got independence right from 1960 and it came up at a time that the country was still very buoyant, resource-wise. But unfortunately, the trend of leadership that we found ourselves right from the military regime, we have not got our developmental agenda well articulated and right. That is the more reason why I want to emphasise on the fact that we are not where we ought to have been years back; we are behind on the type of development that should be expected of a country that got its Independence right from 1960. Especially, when we compare ourselves with some developed world like China whom we got independence the same year; we cannot say we have pursued our development very constructively and articulated.
What do you think are some of the factors responsible for underdevelopment in the country?
Bad leadership, real commitment to good leadership, our focus on the masses, our focus on the people of Nigeria has been very poor as far as past leadership are concerned. You will find out that the quest for leadership has not necessarily been for service; it has been for aggrandizement, it has been towards mobilizing resources for individuals on a large scale, thereby bringing up the albatross that has been frustrating our development today; that is corruption. Corruption has been on the emphasis for a longer time in Nigeria and it is not giving way. If corruption had been faced headlong as it is being faced now, believe you me, there would have been drastic reduction in corruption and they would have been coming up with the kind of leadership that will be very constructive, that will be very focused, that will be very concerned about the welfare of Nigerians, about the infrastructural progress of Nigeria and that would have got Nigeria to the level of development in the whole world that would have been appreciated.
President Muhammadu Buhari has made the fight against corruption one of the critical agenda of his administration, do you think his leadership style is friendly to the masses?
Nigeria being who they are, I want to believe that no matter how good a leader you are today in Nigeria, with the type of mature tribal sentiment and religious sentiment that have been planted on ground, there is no way you can boast of public support that can rate you as very friendly. When you say friendly, it becomes relative upon who specifically you are referring to. Generally speaking, I will tell you that Buhari cannot be seen to be friendly to everybody in Nigeria because we are divided along tribal lines; we are divided along religious lines and all forms of sectional sentiments. But looking at the leadership style of Buhari, and because of its constructiveness and objectivity to some extent, even the fight against corruption, tells you that if you go by the indices of development, you will want to say yes, it is friendly in the sense that it is caring, it is concerned and it is putting the necessary structures for development in place. However, the people themselves cannot be seen to love Buhari to the point that we can say yes, the people are friendly to President Muhammadu Buhari on a general note; it is very difficult.
There are these allegations that were raised against the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for taking N90 billion from Federal Internal Revenue Service to prosecute the 2019 Presidential election and the Vice President has come out openly to say there is nothing like that and that he should be probed on that; are you aware of that and what is your take on that?
Yes, I am very much aware of that development and the response of the Vice President to me is very mature in the sense that we need to reduce sentimental accusations; we need to reduce empty accusations on Netflix another. We have been seen and found to have been accusing one another just on sentimental basis either because we do not belong to the same party or even the same tribe and someone who wants to inject sanity in leadership and even in the society generally, I believe that the move that he has made deserves our public support. This is because he is not doing it just for himself; he is doing it for the sanity of our nation.
During the 2019 elections, there were a lot of gang ups against the reelection of Governor Simon Lalong from some elders in the state which the election was challenged at the tribunal and last week, the tribunal affirms Lalong’s election; how did you receive the news?
I believe in justice; I have every reason to believe that the tribunal went through the petition very transparently. If you followed the case right from day one to the end, you will know what the end will likely be. The news for the affirmation of Lalong’s election came to be with a lot of contentment and appreciation for the judiciary. If the judiciary can continue in a transparent lane, I believe there is hope for our society as far as the judiciary is concerned. This also injects a lot of hope for the common man in the handling of cases, especially electoral cases in the future. I also want to see this development as a very big challenge for Governor Lalong. Having the affirmation of his mandate becomes a challenge in the sense that he should know that the people gave him their support for a purpose and that it is for him to deliver on the dividends of democracy even beyond expectations. He should take this reaffirmation as a challenge to do justice and act of service to the people of Plateau State. He should reflect on the mistake that probably might have been made in the past and build on his strength in the remaining three years that are left so that at the end of his tenure, we will have every course to even further appreciate the judgement of the tribunal.
His opponent in the PDP, Gen. Jeremiah Useni said the judgement provides so many grounds for appeal and that he has instructed his legal team to appeal the case, how will you advise him?
For me to come out strong to advise anyone on a case of this nature, I should be very much aware of some of the details that he is looking at. I must tell you that I don’t have knowledge of some of the details that he is looking at but if I were to advise on a political note, I will advise him that he should realise that we are all fighting for the progress of Plateau State and if this mandate has been joined by God, no one should put asunder. Therefore, we see the hand of God behind the mandate, regardless of some of the legal technicalities and you can be courageous enough to say in the interest of Plateau State, let’s join hands and move forward. The victory of anybody is not as important as the progress of Plateau State at the end of the day. Gen. Jeremiah Useni being an elderly person, I know that he probably knows the details of this case and he should know the details of this case more than myself and I want him to look at the political angle of the case and the developmental need of Plateau State and should just go ahead and stretch the hand of friendship to Plateau State regardless of who God has anointed to be the leader.
Now that the governor has come out victorious, what area of the economy will you want him to focus more on?
The whole world is being challenged security wise, everything that moves on and make meaning in life is dependent upon life itself. I will urge Governor Simon Lalong that having made some appreciative efforts about bringing relative peace on the Plateau, he should further concretize it; he should ensure that security is more reenforced so as to deal with all these stress; stress of kidnappers, bandits and yours developing into secret cults within the town so that the independence that we are talking about will be truly found within our comfort of living. So, he should concentrate on the area of security and on the area of health. People die on a daily basis; people are just dying and largely because due to lack of effective treatment. If government can come up with better and more people-oriented health policy to be able to provide room for the poor people to access easy treatments in hospitals, I think we will have a stronger society that will be strong enough to do a kind of business to take our economy higher. Without good health, you can’t do anything productive, without anything productive, the economy will never be bouyant, so Governor Lalong should focus more on security, health and education.
As National Officer of APC, there has been so much agitation with regards to where the Presidency should be zoned to in 2023, with this agitation, do you think APC will be very much stronger ahead of 2023 election?
The strength of APC by 2023 will largely depend on what this administration is able to put on ground; there is a lot to do for the people of Nigeria between now and 2023. What is planted on ground by the APC will determine whether or not, we will be strong enough to call the shots by 2023 and I see from every indication that based on the build up experience of this administration and its determination to effect some corrections, APC is going to be largely strong to match any other force by the end of 2023. In as much as we focus.on what is happening in the APC, we must.also reflect on what is happening elsewhere; it is only then that you will know that APC has higher chances of making it in 2023 more than other groups of party.