Alhaji Saleh Yahaya Taki has become renowned for supporting the agitation for a change of guard at the Presidency. In this interview with, Bashir Mohammed, the PDP chieftain and five time chairman, Kazaure local government council, Jigawa State, says it is high time President Muhammadu Buhari exited Aso Villa.
As Nigerians are getting prepared for the 2019 general elections, how do you see the possibility of Atiku winning the Presidential polls?
Every Nigerian is today groping in the dark not knowing where the country is heading to. As you know, during the PDP days, Nigerians were enjoying every form of subsidy with the common man finding it easy to earn a living comfortably. When the APC-led government came on board, it created the impression that it knew better than the PDP on ways to entrench the spirit of good governance and serving humanity with diligence.
Let me ask you, during the PDP days, how much was a litre of kerosene? It has now risen astronomical to a height where the down-trodden masses cannot afford. A litre of petrol which used to be sold at N93 was jerked up to N143 during the tenure of the present administration. A bag of rice which was sold at N8,000 has also risen to N18,000 , becoming difficult for a salary earner to afford. A bag of fertilizer, which used to sold at N2,500, has under the present administration risen to between N5,000-8,000. As a matter of fact, Nigerians are no longer enjoying any subsidy.
Therefore, my candid advice to the President is for him to simply get prepared for his exit from the Presidential Villa honourably. In my assessment, he lacks statecraft and the depth of knowledge needed to lead the country, because he is not a democrat. Recall that Buhari had been shedding tears on the rot permeating the country in the past and today has done nothing to clear the rot. As far as I am concerned, I never expected him to perform wonders in leading the country.
For every Nigerian to heave a sigh of relief, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is the only solution to the myriad of Nigeria’s problems. Buhari to me seems like a political analogue while Atiku is a digital politician operating in line with the modern political trend. Look at the dismal turn of events in Zamfara and Plateau States where innocent lives are being lost with levity. If he is really serious on security, he should have installed CCTV cameras to monitor the movement of terrorists that have been wreaking havoc in these areas and other places suffering similar insecurity challenge.
In all ramifications and standard, Atiku is a democrat to the core. He has what it takes to reposition the country on a promising pedestal. He is an International business magnate and is stupendously rich. He can pull a surprise in 2019 because hungary Nigerians are desperately yearning for change.
In the past three and a half years that Buhari has had been on the saddle of authority, the northern part of the country is still lagging behind other parts of the country in terms of development. He should get prepared for his final exit from the saddle of leadership. His party, the APC, is a conglomerate of pressure groups.
The common man is reeling in the throes of hunger, misery and abject poverty. Parents can no longer afford to enrol their wards in schools reason being not having the means to cater for them. Before Buhari came on board, millions of Nigeria saw him as one who is spectacularly honest, and he himself had on several occasions beaten his chest on such a claim. Today, it is hard for the ordinary common man to afford three square meals without tears.
If Buhari is at all fighting for the rights of the common man, his government ought to have been proactive and serious on the issue of meeting the demands of the working class on the N30,000 minimum wage. He shouldn’t have allowed workers to go on strike because of the precarious consequences to be suffered as a result of the strike.
Teachers should also not be allowed to tread such a path because of the importance of education of our children. Here again Buhari has failed to connect with the people and that is why I am supporting ASUU nation -wide strike. They have a case. It is wrong for him to provide the leeway for a cabal to hold this country to ransom.
In this country, wealth and all forms affluence are in the hands of the political class. The politicians are the one possessing the means to earn a living comfortably. Politicians are today owners of palatial mansions, flashy cars and private jets. Politics had been turned into a launching-pad of lucrative investments at the expense of the masses. The APC has completely destroyed the democratic system put in place by the PDP.
The APC has repeatedly blamed the PDP 16 years of misrule for many socio-economic problems facing Nigeria, what is your take on this?
We should all not deceive ourselves. I will fair, when it comes to passing judgement on anyone as humans we are bound to make mistakes. But we have learnt serious lessons and we are ready to fix things in the right direction. I have to admit that we were responsible for the mess. Even Atiku himself, had admitted sometimes back. Let me ask you, who is infallible? Only God doesn’t’ make mistakes but as humans we are all fallible.
Nonetheless, PDP is far ahead of any party in the country. During our time, we brought all forms of innovations into the country. We brought the cell-phone. People should begin to think out of the box and stop deceiving themselves. Remember, it was the PDP government that created the EFCC and the ICPC and all anti-graft agencies for sanity to prevail in the use of public funds. It is a credit to us and it ought not to be swept under the carpet.
It was during the PDP days that the Civil Defence Corps came into being. Nigeria’s huge debt burden during Obasanjo was partially written off. But today, we are neck deep in abysmal foreign debt.
Many new universities were established to improve enrolment. Today, university lecturers are on strike over poor funding and inadequate facilities, students are forced to spend five years for four-year course. That’s because the Buhari administration has failed to match its words with action on the issue of meeting agreements it had entered into with ASUU’s leaders.
Atiku can light his political candle in both ends. He was the very strong Vice President ever in African history. Leading a country like Nigeria to him is not an albatross. He is not corrupt and it would be foolhardy for one to give him such a toga. He was never a President, so how could he have been able to loot as some people erroneously claim? He has his business empire right from the late General Shehu Musa Yaradua’s days till date and be caught?
The just concluded bye-elections held in states like Katsina, Bauchi and Kwara, were seen a vindication of the APC’s claim that the PDP will never again return to power?
How many security agents were deployed to these states? I was told that security was beefed up just to provide an edge to the APC to sweep all the polls. It had happened in Osun and Ekiti States. The APC is in power, so it has the leverage to manipulate things to its parochial advantage. I am not in any way surprised by the outcome of the election.
Security agents ought not to be used to support government’s parochial aims. How many security agents are deployed to Zamfara State? The Buhari administration is only playing the ostrich. It is a shame for the government to use soldiers in maintaining law and order in the country, while their constitutional role is defend the territorial integrity of the country.
There will be massive turn-out of voters during the 2019 presidential election, and millions will vote for Atiku and abandon the APC to its fate. The majority of the electorate are famished and eager to get their problems solved.
The new minimum wage is generating serious political controversy especially as the governors have remained defiant?
Many governors in the north will be defeated at the polls for not having the will to meet the new minimum wage. They have the money to pay but they don’t because they simply interested more in swindling the people’s resources.
To be fair to the President, the governors are the ones sabotaging his leadership. He is not a politician to the core; they are only deceiving him and also deceiving himself. Look at the way and manner they are withholding funds from local government councils and that’s why the governors are vehemently opposed to local council autonomy.
Governors are utterly responsible to the current mess and they will pay the price for what they are doing to destroy democracy and give the President a bad name.