From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
As the clamour for the restructuring of the country is rising by the day, former Bauchi State governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda, has warned that there is no need fanning the ember that is capable of dividing the country into regions.
Yuguda also said that the Southeast should be allowed to take a shot at the presidency, maintaining that it will strengthen the country.
In this interview with Sunday Sun, Yuguda, a former Minister of Aviation who ruled Bauchi State for eight years (2007-2015) on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and later, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), maintained that no region will be better off in the event of restructuring.
According to Yuguda, “No region will be better off in the event of restructuring because of the uniqueness of Nigeria. Let’s strive to have patriotic and God fearing leadership that will place Nigeria on the path of sustainable growth and development.”
Yuguda also said that from the nation’s history, no region will be politically stable to allow for economic growth.
“We will eventually have tribal regions making up Federal Republic of Nigeria. Are you not proud of America appointing our Yoruba brother as Treasury Secretary under Joe Biden? America achieved this by accommodating races. Why can’t Nigeria do that?” Yuguda queried.
What have you been doing since you left office in 2015?
Since I left office in 2015 after 35 years of service to our dear country, I continued my farming activities and ventured into mining.
What was the Bauchi you left in 2015 like now? Has the state improved or degenerated?
I did my best while serving the state for eight years and my successors offered and are offering their best. The people are there to judge.
You recently returned to the business of mining. What accounted for that?
I went into mining because it is a job creating business second to agriculture. Not is it a job creating activity only, but will grow the nation’s GDP and foreign reserves of our country.
Why do you have to go back to mining five years after leaving office?
I started mining one year after living office.
What natural resources are you mining?
I am into lead, lithium and zinc mining and may diversify to other minerals in due course.
The oil in the South-south is under the control of the Federal Government, but in Zamfara State, we see gold miners selling to the Federal Government. Does this apply in your case?
Nigeria must as a matter of necessity build up its gold reserves as other countries are doing, as very soon, the world will go back to the gold standard in determining value of a currency and strength of the economy of a country. It is also envisaged that reserves of a country will be in gold not dollar. With this development, Nigeria must amass gold in anticipation of the return to gold standard. China, for instance, has been amassing gold in the past 15 years, giving the increasing threat of the dollar as an international currency and a reserves currency. Nigerian must start realizing that soon, water will be cheaper than oil, especially if there is no consensus among oil producers, especially Saudi Arabia and Russia. Not only that, America was a major oil importer, but it is exporting and producing oil through fracking. Many more discoveries are made everyday. It, therefore, makes no sense for the government of Nigeria to buy oil as a substitute to gold. We can’t amass oil to substitute gold when eventually the gold standard replaces the dollar standard. Oil is a depleting asset, while gold isn’t. We must stop being sentimental when it comes to our national interest. If the Federal Government can bring in joint venture partners to mine the gold with state-of-the-art technology as it does for the oil industry, the better for Zamfara State as its derivation revenues may be higher than that of Akwa Ibom State or Delta State. Just as the Federal Government invested our national resources in discovering and mining oil, they should have done that for all our mineral resources. Playing politics with the future of our country is spelling doom for Nigeria. In my case, once I start exporting, the profits will be in a domiciliary account which will improve our foreign reserves. It is almost the same as is in the case of oil revenues.
How do you see the clamour for restructuring? Is it not better for regions to be independent in order to enjoy their natural resources and give a percentage to government?
No region will be better off in the event of restructuring because of the uniqueness of Nigeria. Let’s strive to have patriotic and God-fearing leadership that will place Nigeria on the path of sustainable growth and development. From our history, no region will be politically stable to allow for economic growth. We will eventually have tribal regions making up Federal Republic of Nigeria. Are you not proud of America appointing our Yoruba brother as Treasury Secretary under Joe Biden? America achieved this by accommodating races. Why can’t Nigeria do that?
There is hostility also in Bauchi like Boko Haram in Borno and banditry in Zamfara. How safe is Bauchi?
As at the time I left office in 2015, Bauchi was the safest state in Nigeria. You can confirm that from the appropriate national security agencies. I can’t speak on how secure Bauchi is today. The governor, I believe, is doing his best to secure the state.
How do you see the political configuration in the country where we have over several political parties, but two are dominant? Is it something that should be encouraged? Should we allow multiple parties or two?
Two parties and making provision for private candidates will be fine for our country. Proliferation of political parties mess up our ballot papers and many people see ownership of a political party as an enterprise. It must be discouraged to allow for a healthy electoral system.
It was reported earlier that you left the PDP and have joined the APC. Is it true?
I am at liberty to decide who to partner with in politics. What constitutes culture of political party leadership that is upright may change and you realize that you don’t belong and a compelling need for you to leave arise so long as you want to participate. I have been confronted with such situations and had taken decision to decamp. I have come to a bitter conclusion that it is all the same in all the parties. God will one day give us good, experienced, just and equitable leadership with the fear of God in our political parties so that the need to decamp will not arise.
The reasons you gave for leaving the PDP, looking back, don’t you think you left the party in error?
I have taken a decision and will stand by the decision and pray God to give APC good, just and equitable leadership. There is no difference in the style and culture of leadership in the parties. The leadership of APC that will emerge next year, I strongly believe, will be the ideal leadership Nigerians have been looking for.
2023 and the politics of zoning: Southerners, particularly the Southeast, are saying it is their turn. What is your take on this?
I strongly believe in justice and equity and in oneness of our a dear nation. Much as politics is a game of numbers, we must strive to build confidence among our regions, i.e, the North, East and West. The East should be given a shot for the Presidency, but should not be seen as a right, but comfort in the minds of our brothers and sisters, that as region, they have had it too. If North-South is flying for now, why not North-West and East fly? If that will strengthen our unity and faith in our country, why can’t we have it? Igbo Presidency will strengthen our country.
Youths across the country protested recently, which led to some shootings. They planned another protest for December 7th which the president said they were free to protest. Will you support continuous protest or for the government to address the demands that led to the protest?
Conditions that facilitates protest should be avoided, but if protests are on and are peaceful, they must be allowed as the constitution has given citizens the right. Continuous protest are unnecessary as hoodlums may end up wreaking havoc on society.