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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

‘Buhari deserves APC’s presidential ticket’ in 2015

       by Muideen Olaniyi  

Mr Bala Mohammed Yahaya is the coordinator of Buhari for President Youth Frontier, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview, the chieftain of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the Niger State-born politician speaks on what makes retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari the leading APC presidential aspirant who can win election in 2015. Excerpts:
You have been mobilising your party’s youth towards the emergence of retired Maj.Gen. Buhari as APC’s presidential flag bearer. Why are you so passionate about the General’s undeclared ambition?
General Muhammadu Buhari is a household name across Nigeria’s landscape. He is a quintessential political figure that enjoys the sincere goodwill of our national elites as well as genuine popularity among the Nigerian masses, since the advent of our current democratic dispensation.
I have read some self-contradictory and obviously orchestrated reports about the chances of some contenders for our party’s presidential flag-bearer for 2015 elections. There is no doubt that Nigerians are polarised along ethno-religious line and politicians are unfortunately exploiting the division to gain undeserved sympathy. But in politics, the most important thing as far as power is concerned, especially at this period of dangerous politicking, is the electoral value possessed by a party’s flag bearer. The candidate for a national post should have a wide range of followership within and outside his region.
It is in line with the above postulation that I say without any prevarication that General Buhari is the best candidate going by his impeccable records and pedigree.
What values do you think Buhari possess which others do not have?
As an enthusiastic reader of the political barometers of Nigeria, I am convinced and persuaded that General Buhari towers above other candidates, considering his doggedness and preternatural popularity.
We all recall with absolute clarity how he formed and nurtured the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) within six months to the general elections and yet produced key office holders at different levels of government. An analysis of the man Buhari will reveal vividly the picture of an incorruptible, transparent and a no-nonsense politician of the ilk of world’s best past and present leaders.
He has reiterated times without number that corruption has eaten so deep into the fabric of this country and that only a strong-willed and disciplined person can rid it of this cankerworm. This he made so clear shortly after he was endorsed as the presidential flag bearer of the then All People’s Party (APP) in 2003.
He said: “When economic mismanagement and official thievery of the national resources on an unprecedented scale leads to hunger, poverty and desperation, the entire society becomes a tinder box and it needs just a little elite tinkering to ignite. There is a grinding poverty of vision, of initiative and of ideas across the entire leadership spectrum particularly in the nation’s executive branch. Once again, leadership in Nigeria has become a total stranger to transparency and accountability and betrayal of trust is the order of the day. In other words, corruption which, way back on May 30th 1999, President Obasanjo promised to eliminate is nowadays enjoying unprecedented prosperity”.
It is true that the APC is strategically positioned to win the presidential seat next year. But none of the party’s presidential hopeful, with due regards, can be compared to General Buhari.
What is the basis of your optimism that your mentor and the APC will win the 2015 elections?
No, we are not just optimistic. But we are really confident that Nigerians will vote wisely for Buhari and their votes will count this time around. Coming back to your question, let’s look at the possible policy areas where General Buhari will succeed vis-à-vis other contestants who have not really mastered the complexity of the Nigerian state and what the people are yearning for.
Firstly, education is an important sector that has suffered neglect over the years. This accounts for the poor quality of our graduates. This decline in the educational standard cuts across all levels; primary, secondary and tertiary. With General Buhari at the helms of affairs, this sector will surely be revamped and education will be made affordable for the common man who cannot bear the outrageous fees being charged at the moment.
The spasmodic face-off between the federal government and tertiary institutions, teachers will become a thing of the past under a Buhari’s presidency. The atmosphere of teaching and learning which is nothing to write home about shall be improved considerably.
Secondly, health care delivery is another area that the General will give utmost attention to. Most of our hospitals are in a state of dilapidation with near or total dearth of facilities. In fact, they have become mere consulting clinics. No serious minded nation treats the issue of health with levity, while health is regarded in other climes as a matter of life and death.
Thirdly, the roads network system in Nigeria is something that has drawn condemnation from various quarters, as they have become death traps, consuming precious lives on a daily basis. The number of lives lost on our highways can only be quantified by the Federal Road Safety Commission. This unfortunate development is embarrassing to this nation.
Some of these roads have suffered neglect over time. The previous government has turned a blind eye to this important area.
But above all, the critical things in Nigeria today are issues of security and corruption. And these precisely are areas where General Buhari has drawn much of national and international reputation. You will remember him as a foremost military strategist and civil war veteran as well as a personification of probity in public service in his various capacities as military commander, military governor, federal minister and head of state.
What are the chances of his scaling the hurdles of your party’s primaries, as a precondition for the presidential contest?
General Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the cause of Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. For a man to form and nurture a political party six months to 2011 general elections and  posed a great political threat to the ruling party, such a man is, without an atom of doubt, a political Goliath whose party is capable of consuming or wrestling power from the incumbent government. No wonder, the declaration of his name sends jitters down the spines of the power wielders, political buccaneers and gladiators alike in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In synopsis, the road to 2015 presidency can only be successfully navigated by an experienced and fearless locofoco of General Buhari’s mode. I therefore, urge all and sundry, irrespective of party affiliations, to throw their weight behind this patriot, as the nation needs a man of iron determination to steer the ship of the state at this trying moment when insurgency has taken over the nation due to lack of political will and pervasive corruption on the part of the leadership of our dear country. 

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