Muhammad Jibrin Barde was the immediate past Managing Director of Sun Trust Bank. He is the Deputy Director, Field Operations of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Presidential election.
He dismissed the opposition against President Muhammadu Buhari and highlighted reasons why he would win.
You have been appointed Director of Logistics for the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Women and Youth Presidential Council and also the Deputy Director, Field Operations, for the Presidential Campaign Council. What are you supposed to be doing?
What I will like to say is that it is an honour and a privilege for one to be given any opportunity to serve this country and it is always an honour and privilege for you to be able to serve in whatever capacity in order to ensure that you have contributed your own quota in progressing and ensuring the success of your own country and of your own people and in particular my own political party. As the Director of Logistics for the Women and Youth Campaign Team under the leadership of the wife of Mr. President, Aisha Buhari, I am certainly responsible for ensuring that there is a smooth running of the campaign itself and it has been a very rewarding experience. So far, we have recorded huge success in all the movement in ensuring that people move from one place to the other successfully, coming back on time and also ensuring that the venue they will attend those rallies are fully functional while also providing comfort for everybody. As the Deputy Director in charge of Field Operations, you can see that this is our headquarters for field operations, we are just ensuring that everything is in place, we have large number of people working and I am sure you would have seen on the ground floor, our huge operations room where we contact people across the country on daily basis, we are reaching the over 8,500 wards and the over 76,000 polling centres across the country reminding them of the need to give President Buhari a second chance to continue with the good job this administration has started.
What are your expectations of the forthcoming elections?
Clearly, there is no competition, because we already have one credible candidate on the table and the Nigerian people have already decided and you have seen the rallies, we have gone round the country. The generality of the people, the masses, the youths, the women have already decided who they want to vote for. There is actually no competition to be honest with you.
What do you think are the best selling points of the Buhari-led administration in terms of concrete achievements beyond integrity?
Integrity is everything, because here is a man who his previous employers or bosses who happen to be an employer of most of other candidates have provided a documented record of him for you and for posterity to judge his character, about his character, competence, level of work and the same man has provided reference for the other candidates about their character. It is very clear that if you are an employer of labour the first thing you will do when I approach you for employment, is to seek for a letter of reference from my previous employers and the reference is very clear for all or some of the contestants in this election including Mr. President himself who has a documented reference from his boss, particularly former President Olusegun Obasanjo has provided documented evidence and reference for you, for me to judge most of the candidates about their character and what we can think of them. To address your point about what the administration has achieved, it is very clear and unquestionable, I am from the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, in fact I am a resident of Abuja and I have known how we use to work under a very tight policing situation both in Abuja and the North- Eastern part of the country where I cannot move from point A to point B of a 100 metres without having road blocks and we have also experienced the bombings that took place Nyanya, the hundreds of thousands of people that have died, the Independence day bombing, the North-Eastern part of the country was taken over by insurgents and let me say this to you that there is no individual, no community, no country and there is nowhere in the world where any single thing can be achieved without peace and security. The responsibility of each government is to provide the security of lives and property, but this the previous administration of PDP for the 16 years they have been in power failed to provide and the height of it was insurgency and the taking over of so many parts of our country particularly the North-Eastern part of the country.
This administration has restored peace, security and this is very fundamental or do you want us to go back to the era of insecurity? The choice is very clear, there is a choice between continuation of the security situation of the country or we go back to the period where there was insecurity. That is number one. The second most important factor in nation building and development is to ensure that you and I do not feel that the system is against us. When this administration came into power, the president met security agencies that were very weak and underfunded whereas billions of dollars have been stolen, money that could have gone into basic infrastructure particularly education and health care. Corruption is a cancer and if you do not kill it, it will kill you. To be honest with you and luckily for us, the president said in 1983 that you and I have no other country than Nigeria and has decided to remain here in Nigeria to salvage the situation together with the people of the country and the only way we can do this is to confront the privileged few who have taken our common good to tell them that we will not give them another opportunity to come back and so many examples abound.
$16 billion has gone down the drain and we do not have power for 16 years. We have also seen a situation where main institutions have been sold to cronies of individuals that want to come back to power. This we really need to ensure that it does not happen again. The sorry state of Ajaokuta Steel, the sorry state of ALSCON, the sorry state of NITEL, the sorry state of power, all happened in the 16 years misrule of a particular party and the party still wants to come back to power and other people are also supporting them. It is very clear that what this government has achieved is to reset the economy. It has made sure the security of lives and property is guaranteed and in order to save the economy, it is also killing the cancer of corruption because corruption is a radicaliser. It creates a lot of issues for and it takes away resources meant for everybody to the privileged few and unless we address these two fundamental issues the economy cannot reset and thirdly, and most important is that our farmers have gone back to farms. You can clearly see that farming is now being seen as a serious business in this county and we have largely arrested the situation where we were dependent on other countries to feed our nation.
Today, we are not only feeding the nation, but also exporting our farm produce and ensuring that we are generating revenues for ourselves and that has helped in resetting the economy while also making sure that job opportunities are provided and people have things to do. The choice is very clear and it is about ensuring security, fighting corruption and creating jobs like we have done in the last four years. From what we have seen, the downtrodden and the masses of this country have made their choice and it is very clear and what you are here talking to me about is argument that takes place between the elites and I need to say this very clearly to remind them.
Let’s come to your state, Gombe, can APC make it this time?
APC is on ground and you have seen our rally. Gombe is an APC state, everybody knows, even in 2015, the election was rigged; the decision has been taken by the generality of people in Nigeria. There is no question about who will win the election. APC will win the election I can tell you this.
Do you envisage violence in some parts of the country during or after the elections as some politicians are already predicting?
No, there won’t be any violence. This country is secured; this government is doing everything to provide security of lives and property. People have realised that there is a clear difference between good and bad governance.
What is your message to APC faithful in Gombe your home state and the country as a whole?
Election is won based on the fact that you go out and ensure that you vote, you protect your vote, you escort your vote and make sure it is counted, that is the best way we can all move together to form an APC government. Contests have been done at the primary levels, people won and some people lost, we all know that for each post contested only one person will emerge and it is the party we believe in and the party has its own policies and constitution. We believe in the party and everybody must go out to support the party and to make sure that we win all our elections.