Mr. Sanusi Muhammad is an Abuja-based journalist, commentator and political activist. He recently spoke to some journalists on issues of national importance. ABDULLAHI M. GULLOMA was there. Excerpt:
On security situation
A lot of suggestions and solutions were proffered on the lingering security challenges bedeviling the peace of the components of the federation. The government is trying its best to confront the challenges but a lot needs to be done. The entire security structure needs an overhaul if we are to succeed in defeating the challenges. Corruption has eaten deep into the security structure. Budgeted funds for security operations are stolen or diverted to issues of less importance. Fighting insurgents, bandits and other rogue elements are left at the mercy of poorly paid security personnel without incentives and the required fighting tools. How can we defeat a more equipped and determined insurgents with obsolete fighting equipments, poor welfare and lack of encouragement?
Between the time, government declared war against Boko Haram in 2012 to 2015, the situation was worrisome because the insurgents had taken over several local governments in the prone areas. There were series of coordinated attacks in several other areas in the country. But between 2015 to date, the insurgency has been degraded. What sprouted out was banditry, cattle rustling, farmer/herders crisis, kidnapping for ransom apart from increase in armed robbery and other criminal acts. So, one wonders if we really have a robust intelligence gathering mechanism in the country. It is only in Nigeria that the civil society and other security experts are not properly engaged by security organisations for obvious reasons. In other climes, the reverse is the case.
Assessment of President Buhari administration
To be fair to Mr. President, I can score him 60 percent in infrastructural development, agricultural, education and socio-economic empowerment. He has not performed creditably in critical issues of security, war against corruption, health, tourism etc. But he is still on the saddle of power and things may change.
Fight against corruption
War against corruption cannot succeed without a special anti-corruption court established for that purpose. The anti-corruption agencies need total independence to operate. But, where the Federal Ministry of Justice dictates to the agencies, no tangible result can be achieved. Let the agencies be given enough funding and operational independence to make the difference. We all know the position of the President on corruption but his aides are operating on different pedestal. The President is not in touch with the reality on ground. If he truly wants to end corrupt practices as he preaches, there are so many mechanisms to be applied. It is not a matter of addressing corruption cases in conventional courts but a matter of establishing special courts with specially fortified detention facilities under the presidency for effective monitoring and operation with special anti-corruption Corp Marshals in place of the police. DSS personnel can be deployed to the special courts for certain purpose.
Assessment of the 9th National Assembly
The problem bedevilling robust legislation by the national lawmakers is the composition factor. There are those qualified by all standards to be Senators and House of Representatives members and, there those not qualified to occupy any leadership position is a conventional setting but found themselves where they are. The national assembly has more of government contractors and sycophants than the real lawmakers. For the system to have a robust National Assembly, there must be amendments to the Electoral Laws. The Constitutions of the various political parties must undergo series of amendments and deletions. We must set educational standards, experience in public administration, exposure etc. to aspirants. But to say the least, the 8th National Assembly was more vibrant and robust. Their leaderships were superb and determined democrats that checkmated the excesses of the executive to a certain degree.
Comments on Bauchi national legislators
There have been very sound and vibrant national lawmakers from Bauchi state that contributed immensely to national development. Let me just comment on the stewardship of such vibrant national legislators that I know from Bauchi state. In the 8th National Assembly, there was Muhammed Garba Gololo from Gamawa federal constituency in Bauchi state. Within his four-year tenure in the National Assembly (2015-2019), he kick-started a transformation project of the entire constituency. His constituency was the best developed through his efforts. He had a constant touch with his constituency and provided the basic necessities required to improve the living conditions of the people across party divide. He was a rallying point, so to say. Apart from the provision of the usual periodic palliatives, he went the extra-mile to address critical sectors within the constituency. He provided motorised boreholes together with reticulations, constructed and renovated several roads, built and equipped several primary health centres, provided scholarship to the needy and financial capital to several traders, artisans and women especially widows. He did so many things to benefit his constituency within his short stay in the legislature that created love between him and his people.
What party is he?
I think he is in the APC and one of the party’s strongest pillars and asset that never disappointed when he was tried with an elective position. To my surprise, after his exit from the National Assembly in 2019 through circumstances I hate to discuss on the pages of newspaper, unlike a Nigerian politician, he still continues to meet the needs of his people irrespective of his replacement without strings.
Why can’t he switch to PDP?
I doubt much if he can be convinced to join the PDP because of his principles and political ideology. He is a core Buharist and believes in the governing style of the President. But honestly, Governor Bala Muhammed needs his type to partner and develop Bauchi state. What Governor Bala lacks presently is the support of the state’s national lawmakers and political office holders at the national level.