Buhari Should Borrow A Leaf From Pakistan’s Anti-Corruption Fight – Maduka | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari Should Borrow A Leaf From Pakistan’s Anti-Corruption Fight – Maduka

Posted: Sep 29, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

A political activist and National President, New Tone in Leadership Foundation, Chris Maduka, in this interview speaks on some policies of the current administration even as he urges the government to exercise caution in its negotiation with the Boko Haram. He spoke with  Ejikeme Omenazu. Excerpts:

The 2015 general election has come and gone. As a political activist, do you feel disappointed by the outcome?

Election issues are not individual driven affairs. They are collective views of the people. The people have spoken. Majority rules. In this context, I am not disappointed, but rather impressed that our democracy is maturing. That said, I also wish that people, no matter on which side, should realisse that the election is over and that we have a new president in the person of President Muhammadu Buhari. Therefore, campaign should stop and the work of uniting and developing the nation should begin in earnest,

You were very visible during the election campaigns. But, since the end of the election, your organisation seems to be silent. Why? What has it been doing since then?

I will not say I have been silent. There are many ways to express oneself. But, I am cautiously optimistic. I am not a card-carrying member of any party. While I don’t want this nation to fail, I will not join in vilifying the past administration. We should not be unguardedly euphoric. In Nigeria, people celebrate new leaders in power only for them to be disappointed on the long run. People tend to celebrate new leaders before they prove themselves.  I will rather remain silent and watch events as they unfold, to see, as we wish the much-acclaimed change take effect.

What is your impression on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration so far?

Experience will tell us that when a new president or leader emerges, sometimes we see changes. But these changes are often short lived. People have applauded what they perceive as change. Sincerely, power supply seems to be relatively stable. But, we have to wait for the rainy season to cease. However, this improvement is not just the work of this administration. Somebody worked on the power lines, and the power plants before someone comes in to make people sit up. So, the credit goes to both of them. Most people have attributed this improvement on electricity supply to the fear of Buhari, but we need to realize that no nation develops and has sustainable development based on fear factor. Rather, it is based on inspired citizenry and decisive leadership based on justice, equity and fair play.

Would you say the President’s war against corruption is succeeding so far?

Well, it is too early to pass judgement on that. But, the frenzy in bringing corruption to the front burner is understandable. However, I will like to clarify on the issue of corruption, based on the advice and insight given by former Pakistani leader, Pervez Musharaf, when he visited Nigeria as a keynote speaker at the Anyiam Osigwe Lecture at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos in 2010 or thereabout. When the issue of corruption was put to him, he made it clear that corruption has different levels. He stated that when they came in as military officers in his country, they were poised to fight corruption like the present administration in Nigeria is doing. Just like this present era in Nigeria, the entire Pakistanis went into fear and anxiety. The entire nation, including the work force, was getting paralysed. The bank managers could not approve anything. The civil service could not function because of the fear of being caught in the web of corruption. So, Pakistan was heading to a standstill until they decided to approach corruption with pragmatism, which encouraged the review of salaries of workers, the police force, among others. But they focused on those types of corruption that threatened the national interest and security of Pakistan. So, I hope that some lessons could be learnt from Pakistan and the fight against corruption will not become counter-productive.

Do you agree with the plan of the government to negotiate with the Boko Haram for the release of the Chibok girls?

As one famous adage goes, “I don’t care is easily said when you are not really involved”. For anybody to make any pronouncement on this unfortunate issue, they must put themselves in the position of these girls and their parents. However, even as we empathise with the families and the girls, we must also approach whatever steps we decided to take with extreme caution because the generally agreed principle is that you do not negotiate with terrorists. This is because that may lead to even more groups coming up to unleash mayhem with the hope of being approached with carrots. So, the government must be extremely careful in who they want to negotiate with.

What do you think is the hope for South East in the new political dispensation?

I can tell you that I am not among those who describe Nigeria based on a tripod, which cannot stand on two legs. I do not think that “Hope for the South East” is the right expression. What are they hoping for? Even if you give one or two ministerial slots to South East, how will this translate to development in South East given the hindsight of what happened in the past. South East had had Senate President five times, Deputy Senate President and other top positions, including ministers. These did not pull the South East out of the decades of marginalization and reflect on the development of the area. A lot of people will say that what South East is passing through is their own doing. But getting back to the new administration, if I were to be an Adviser to the new President, I could have advised him to his presidency to unite and inspire this nation by rising above partisanship and regional hegemony to carry those that supported him and those who did not support him along in this new administration. This is because that is the only way his Change agenda and his aspiration will be realised.

You cannot have meaningful development, be it fight against corruption, be it any kind of development agenda, based on sectionalism. Some people have argued that when the ministerial list comes out, it will be that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government did not marginalise or exclude South East. But, going by the appointments made so far, the Buhari’s government has been formed and clearly without any South Easterner. In reality, this should be more troubling for the president than the South Easterners. He is the one that needs their support, dedication, sacrifice and cooperation to bring about the change,

So, my advice to South Easterners is to stop all these whining, crying and sorry feelings and pause and wait and see things unfold. If they could survive 70s and tried to survive this far with or without playing any significant role in the nation’s leadership, they will equally survive this time. Four years is a very short time and we will all get back on the drawing board. Old alliances will be broken and new ones will be formed. They should borrow a leaf from South West that has played the opposition politics for decades and is probably better off from it. Let South East play effective opposition and not destructive opposition and they may become better off from it and will be engaged more meaningfully than what we have seen since the dawn of this new democratic dispensation.