Sowore/Dasuki: Buhari was jittery, afraid of America, says Galadima
In this interview, a chieftain of reformed All Progressives Congress (rAPC) and former ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Buba Galadima speaks on many burning national issues.
What is your take on the Federal Government’s decision to release Sowore and Dasuki after five months and four years’ extra-judicial detention in DSS custody in defiance of court orders to release them on bail?
I don’t believe they were released on compassionate grounds as they claimed. A day to their release I asked in an interview about civil society organisations whose members were beaten up by hooligans allegedly sponsored by the state. I told them I was disheartened and felt very bad that government has to resort to hooliganism by deliberately setting people against innocent citizens. My view has been very simple. This government has no idea what opposition is, so whatever civil society does is perceived to be promoted by people who oppose it. Therefore, it was my view that what it has done to the civil society groups would become a catalyst in bringing about some positive results for the country, because I still hold that once the government decides to do that to the civil society groups the outside world would speak and that this government would not be able to resist pressure from the outside world.
In fact, it is on record in that interview where I said that this government never fears anything like America and Europe and thank God the following day after my interview the American Ambassador presented her credentials to the president and after the presentation she brought a letter written by the congressmen and senators of the United States. It was said that the president was very jittery and called his attorney general to apologise to America and release Sowore. It was because of Sowore that the letter was written and Dasuki became a beneficiary. Actually, El-Zakzakky would have become a beneficiary of what happened but for the reason that somebody gave a legal position that El-Zakzakky was sued by the Kaduna State Government not by the Federal Government, and that was why he was not released on that day.
They also asked me in that interview about putting Nigeria on the watch list of religious intolerance by government as some people were being persecuted based on their religious beliefs. I also said that whatever is being ascribed to this government, it is the architect of its own problems because if you look at the way and manner it is running this country, the way and manner it makes appointments without due regard to the sensibilities and sensitivity of this country, of things like where one comes from, which religion someone belongs to or which tribe somebody comes from, it has no qualms about the feelings of Nigerians. I said this is one of the few things we will see in this second tenure, because if the citizens have been so cowed that they cannot speak, the outside world is watching them, especially since they have started putting them on the watch list. This is exactly what I said. The interviewer confirmed that I am like a soothsayer, that whatever I have said in the last 15 to 20 years has come to pass except that journalists are not following me.
That then means that the government is under pressure. Why?
Of course, not under pressure but the government was afraid and jittery. You know, if they were under pressure it would have taken time. The American ambassador, before she left the Villa, she was assured; in fact, before she left the Villa, they issued a statement because of fear in them (Americans). Now that the European Union and the American government have seen now that they can threaten this government it has become a lame duck for the rest of its three years.
Where is the hope for the common man in all these?
The common man is also the architect of his own problems because those that are fighting for them like the civil society groups, which are fighting for a better Nigeria, are the same Nigerians are being sponsored and given some token to go and fight. I started wandering what kind of people we are. Ordinarily, when you meet any Nigerian anywhere in the entire country they are complaining that this government is bad, this government is killing us, bringing hunger; the economy is not moving; people cannot even move their goods out of Nigeria to export, and that people cannot even import and to move their goods from the wharf all because of corruption. Yet they are gullible; they can’t talk; they sit down idling, watching, maybe for Buba Galadima to fight for them. No; they themselves have to stand up and ask for their rights, so they would be given, whether government likes it or not.
Are you by this subscribing to Sowore and his #Revolution Now campaign?
It is not a matter of subscribing to Sowore and his revolution; he was only trying to better the country in his own way. It may not be my own; at least, government should know that we are their masters and it is what we want they will do, not what they want. We voted them because we believe they can better our lot, but it is not what they are doing.
Are you now saying Nigerians voted for them? What about your former position on the 2019?
The election was a ruse, but we can only appeal to God because the judiciary has now confirmed them and with what the judiciary and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are doing, they want to throw this country into chaos because there is no more justice for the common man. Justice is only for sale to the highest bidders, the rich.
What do you suggest for a better electoral process then?
Why are you journalists not asking questions? The president, before the election, said he was not signing the electoral act until when the next government comes then they would sign. Now the next government is here, which is himself. What is he waiting for? You should raise the question and the debate. He has already promised, where is the integrity now? Now the Supreme Court has said, whether rightly or wrongly, that he is the president.
Based on what happened in the Kogi and Bayelsa elections that were off-season, is there any hope for a better electoral process?
May God save us! There is no hope. I will put down my life that the Kogi and Bayelsa elections, even though no election took place, the elections were conducted by thugs and security people and was announced by INEC. It would be affirmed by the judiciary. That is why Nigerians need to stand up for their right because if we don’t have power to change the government, then we will never have development.
The senate has promised to pass the electoral act and Buhari has said he would not allow rigging in 2023. Does this mean he will soon sign it?
Whatever the man says he does the opposite. For me, the way I read it is that he will use the security forces to ensure the man of his choice would be the president of Nigeria, whether we like it or not. Is it the first time he will tell us he is going to use security forces to ensure there is free and fair election? Nigerians should just stand up for their right.
Is President Buhari really in charge?
Please, forget about any cabal. Where does the buck stop? Is not on the president’s table? I don’t believe in anything cabal, because they are nothing if the president says he doesn’t want to see any of them in the next five minutes; they will all disappear. So, I don’t want to start accusing innocent people. For me, they are innocent because whatever they do is with the endorsement of the president. If he does not agree nothing will happen as they can’t do anything.
The president is about to borrow $30b but some Nigerians are kicking against it because it might not be used for what they said they are borrowing it for. What’s your take on it?
Let me ask you, we have borrowed N16tr in the last four years by this government, more money borrowed in the last four years than monies borrowed from Lugard time to Jonathan. Can you show me in your village or constituency or local government or state any project worth N100m that was done to the benefit of the people? Yet we borrowed N16tr and now these guys have the guts to call other people thieves. Do you need a better thief than them? Let me say that they have no capacity to even manage any project in the next four years worth $1b let alone $30b. So, the money is just going to be shared and they will leave our children and grandchildren with the debt on their head.
The 2020 budget is in deficit of over N2b. Can it salvage the situation?
Didn’t this government say they were incapacitated from executing the budgets because they were not being passed in time? Now the budget has been signed on time. How many days have passed? Nearly one month. Is there anything happening to show you that there is a budget on ground and that they are hitting the ground running? Forget about this government doing anything positive.
Are you then saying there is no hope?
Do you have a hope? We are supposed to put the government there; at least, that is what the constitution says. Whether rightly or wrongly, we are supposed to have voted for this government. What does the recent Finance Act, which has been passed, portend for Nigerians in the new year?
More hardship for Nigerians
Are you saying there is no positive thing in the Act?
They are just robbing Peter to pay Paul. They are robbing the common man to give more money to the rich; that is, just to share our commonwealth. What I am trying to say is that there is no economic activity in the entire country. So, if they intend to steal by raising VAT from 5% to 7.5%, they are even wrong because, in the first place, there is no economic activity at all happening. Do you know that those who want to export refined commodities from Nigeria cannot do it because they have to pay a bribe of N200,000 per 40ft container before it gets into the ship, and now it takes more than two or three months and all the containers would be lying on Lagos streets? Go and investigate.
So what is the opposition doing?
What would the opposition do when the whole country is made up of cowards? What am I doing now? Am I not putting them on their toes and doing my own bit? Let everybody do his or her own bit; it will amount to something. Nigerians have to be proactive; it is their country. They have to chart a way forward through which they should be governed. We cannot just sit down and say we are afraid and gullible and people should do as they want; we shouldn’t allow them.
Do you see the release of Sowore and Dasuki as a positive thing, that the government can also listen to the people?
They did not listen; they were only forced to do it. That is the only language they understand.
You spoke about the problem of the judiciary being in cahoots with the powers that-be to shortchange Nigerians. What is the way out?
Look, I am disheartened and, in fact, I am most frightened that the judiciary is no longer the last hope for the common man but the last hope of the strong man because it is the common man that goes to court to seek redress. What the judiciary is doing is not to look for the facts of an issue but they are looking for technicalities within which they will knock down the hope of the common man, who has gone there to seek redress. Therefore, I am calling on retired Supreme Court Justices currently living in Nigeria to take up this challenge before these people destroy the judiciary. I call on the NBA; for example, in the electoral matters they saw how hard they worked, how proof was thrown overboard for a pot of porridge. They must speak up. The NBA must speak up; the retired justices must speak up or else this judiciary has been cowed. It only pass judgment on what the executive wants and once there is any form of unity between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary then the ordinary man is doomed. He will see no justice.
But, the Senate President said whatever President Buhari brings they will pass. What does this mean for Nigeria’s democracy?
You have confirmed what I have said.
Recently, the chief whip was sent to prison in spite of his loyalty. Is that not to show they can do something?
I just want to tell you that that is only a pointer for those who think they should follow these people foolishly and make themselves relevant. What has happened to (Orji Uzor) Kalu can happen to anybody that thinks that he can ingratiate himself with these people. They don’t reward loyalty; they don’t reward hard work; they don’t reward your own contributions to their wellbeing.
Recently, President Buhari signed an MoU with Russia on the Ajaokuta Steel Company. Is that not a positive move?
You can sign paper now. I am already talking to you, The Guardian. I am like signing a paper. Just going to sign a paper; how many MoUs were signed by this government? Let them work for us to see. I don’t believe in anything they do. Didn’t they sign contract to construct Abuja-Kano Road four years now and they have not done five kilometres? Didn’t they sign contract to construct Abuja-Minna Road? Is there anything happening? Didn’t they tell you before the election that they had dredged the river Niger up to Baro? Did they even remove one bucket of sand from the river? Didn’t they tell you that they had already completed Mambilla electricity project, that their only problem was how to evacuate light to the national grid?
I assure you, none of them has visited that site let alone pay compensation to determine how much land is there to be annexed. So, I don’t know why you are also gullible.
The blame game seems to be working now that the APC is into its second lap. What comparison can be made between the PDP and the APC?
It is left for you now to believe them. I have never believed them. You know how much I challenged them during the election. How long can they blame the PDP? You said the man was bad; Nigerians said, ‘it is okay, he is bad; we will bring you to do the job.’ Now five years after, you are still blaming the man and you are borrowing money that can never be paid in 100 years. So, it’s because they find that Nigerians have no brains. If any member of this government blames PDP near me I will just smash him into pieces.
But the PDP seems unable to put its house in order. How can they salvage the country without a strong opposition?
So, you are saying that APC is one, ba? That is what you are suggesting. If you don’t know let me tell you that the APC is divided into three groups. One of the groups in the Villa is also divided into three. So, in effect APC is divided into five. After all, this is politics; we don’t all have to agree as if we are in the Church or in the Mosque, just to listen to preachers. This is politics and it is a competition of ideas.
Recently, there was the NDDC saga, where President Buhari’s nominees were confirmed by the senate after screening and an Interim Management Board confirmed by the Senate has been disbanded. What is your take?
Are you not happy that people that regard themselves as those that know all are in this confusion? I am enjoying the drama. Nigerians should enjoy the movie. That shows you that they are incapable of taking decisions and position on any issue; so, they are incompetent and confused. I am happy.
The Senate Committee on Public Account said many of the accounts of some government’s agencies were not audited for over 20 years yet they kept drawing from yearly budgets. What is your reaction?
That is like directly accusing the president who said he is fighting corruption. If the MDAs are not audited for the last 100 years and he came on the basis of fighting corruption and for four years he has not audited all these, who is to blame?
President Buhari also lamented recently that over N1tr had been spent on National Assembly members for their constituency projects in 10 years without anything to show. Yet the lawmakers said the execution is not in their hands but with the executive. Was Buhari indicting himself?
The issue is very simple; he said N1tr. How about the N16tr he borrowed, apart from the internally generated revenue from other sources that he managed in four years? Can he show us what he did with the money? Do you call me an akara-frying woman to accept anything? The legislature may be they are over 5000 of them from the outset till now, but he alone borrowed N16tr apart from internally generated revenue and other sources including tax. Where is the money? Can’t you ask? Why will the pot be calling the kettle black? Is it not better for 5000 people to ‘eat’ N1tr than for one man to ‘eat’ N16tr unaccounted for? Don’t you know they borrowed N16tr in the last four years? Go and find out, and if I am lying, don’t hesitate to tell the world that I am lying.
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