ormer military Head of State and national leader of the opposition All progressives Congress (APC), Gen, Muhammadu Buhari, has said that the issue of security of lives and properties would take preeminence in his programmes should he emerge the president of the country in 2015.
Buhari, in an interview he granted to a leading Hausa newspapers, Rariya, but translated by the Premium Times, also gave an insight on how the candidates of the APC for the 2015 general elections would emerge.
Responding to question on how he intended to tackle the myriads of challenges facing the country and restore confidence in governance if he eventually gets elected as President in 2015, Buhari said “First I have to secure the country, because unless you secure the country, nothing can be done properly. So, first it is security and then how to manage the country, that is by resuscitating the economy, the infrastructure, getting the factories reopened, getting employment and goods and services.
“It is much easier to damage than to rebuild, but everybody agrees that Nigeria is an incredibly resourceful country, both materially and human wise. So it is a question of the elite getting their acts together and making sure the country is organized in such a way that it can be secured and managed well. It is not easy because a number of the institutions have been compromised. What do you do with the Nigerian Police in terms of their efficiency? The military itself? The judiciary?
“The recent happening in our country, especially the abduction of more than 200 girls from their school is unbelievable. For those of us who experienced the civil war, we can’t reconcile how a group like Boko Haram would come and collect from one school more than 200 children and after three months, the Federal Government cannot do anything. So for those of us coming from the 1960s to now, it is unthinkable for any group to emerge in Nigeria to hold everyone to ransom. I mean the so-called Boko Haram.
“I said this about six months ago. I said no religion advocates hurting the innocent. So the religious toga that Boko Haram is wearing can be exposed. You can’t wrap yourself with explosives and go and kill people in markets, churches, mosques, and motor parks, and also go and slaughter children in their sleep. It’s simply terrorism. This is my clear understanding of it and it is the duty of the Federal Government to stop it. Unfortunately, so far, the Federal Government has failed,” he said.
On how APC candidates, including its Presidential flagbearer will emerge, the foremost opposition leaders said “I convinced our colleagues that the first thing to do is to have the party on the ground; the party needs to be on the ground. Let us go and start from the grassroots. That’s where we are now.
“We are trying to kill the delegates system, we are going to do direct primaries. We will start from the ward and come up. The convention will just be to ratify it. So even for those who have so much money, there will be no delegates to buy, the people will have their way. And that is how our candidates, including that for the presidency, will emerge,” Buhari explained.
Commenting on the notion that the problem facing Nigerian and some other African countries was lack of strong institutions, Buhari said there is also the need for a strong leader to build strong institutions.
Asked why he had refused to give up on Nigeria having contested the Presidency thrice, Buhari said “I answered that question about 30 years ago that I remain committed to this country because I have nowhere else to go. I have been a governor in six states, I have been petroleum minister, head of state for 20 months, chairman of PTF for five years — at a stage we had N53 billion naira in the banking system and all parts of Nigeria saw what we did. After serving this country at those levels, where do I go? The only time I operated an account was when I was in training in the UK, India and the United States and when I came back I closed all the accounts. I don’t have a property even in Niger, so where do I go?”
Assessing the challenges facing the country, the former Head of State called on the elites to be conscientious and make whoever is in power to be accountable.
He also stressed the need to pay more attention to education because, according to him, it holds the key to almost all the challenges facing the nation.