Balarabe Musa’s Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) is one of the major political parties that slugged it out with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano State in last Saturday’s governorship election.
Before then, many had looked up to it as a viable Third Force with a strong prospect of making an appreciable showing in the contest in the state. But in the end, its performance was less than impressive, though traditionally, Kano is regarded as its stronghold.
In this interview, Balarabe fumed over the alleged irregularities that characterised the election, describing it as the worst in the annals of Nigeria’s history.
How would you assess the conduct of the 2019 general elections?
First of all, I have to wait until my party takes an overview of the process and issue a definite statement. But definitely, from the media reports, it has turned out to be the worst election in the history of Nigeria in terms of malpractices, injury and even death. We have never had it so bad.
But on the overall, how was the performance of your party?
Generally, what we expected has happened. We have been priced out because election in Nigeria is a monetary game of chance and we have been priced out.
You expected that the party would perform better than it did?
Yes, of course! We had expected that our performance would be better than it was during the Second Republic when we had two governors. We now realised, of course, that the role of money and power in an election has worsened the electoral process and made it impossible for us to achieve even the modest achievement of 1979.
It was expected that your party would do well in Kano which is your traditional stronghold, but you didn’t make any serious impact. What’s your drawback?
This confirms the reality of what I told you that the election is the worst in the history of Nigeria. We never had a situation like this before. After the elections, no winner in Kano, Benue, Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa and Plateau states. In six states, the election was inconclusive. We never had it so bad in the history of Nigeria. Look at the incident that happened in Kano, when a whole Deputy Governor was alleged to have been caught by the police stealing ballot boxes. We never had such thing in the history of Nigeria. Things were not as bad as they are now. For instance, what happened in Kano, if it had been in the Second Republic, all the elections in Kano State, including the presidential and National Assembly elections would have been nullified because of the role played by the deputy governor. Because things have degenerated, we now have lower standard of public conduct in Nigeria. We will soon hear excuses by the INEC. And when the matter goes to the tribunal, there will also be excuses like no substantial evidence.
Then, how do you think the role of money can be played down in politics?
First of all, INEC must do its work honestly and transparently. Secondly, we must make sure we have election that is free, fair and credible leading to transparent government at every level. Thirdly, Nigeria must organise politically and socially to ensure the credibility of the process.
The INEC in turn will blame politicians for the general misconduct you spoke about because it underscores the desperation of the political actors. Isn’t it?
Whatever the INEC and government say is nonsense because they are in power and they have the political authority, and money to do better.
But would you also exonerate the politicians from the general misconduct that charaterised this election?
The political parties in this country have become irrelevant. Nearly all of them have become irrelevant. And, therefore, politicians are more or less the same.
How would you relate this to the scenario that played out in Rivers State?
I will like to stop here. We can talk later when my party has analysed the results of the elections.