47 ‘Nigerians should unite and avoid hate speech’
Ibraheem Hamza Muhammad & Latifat Opoola
Daily Trust: Are you satisfied with Nigeria’s international image at the moment, and if not, how does the National Orientation Agency plan to
Basically, there are so many things involved in revamping image, but, how did we get to where we are now? Gone are the days when the name of Nigeria transcended the level of being recognized as only a footballing nation, the largest black country on earth, full of potentials, an oil producing country, a strong OPEC member, a country that is blessed across the divide, material and human resources and all the resources that will make the country great are available in abundance. Secondly, the country has made immense name in the maintenance of international peace and security. Consider our very commendable roles in the restoration of peace globally. Nigeria’s voice was quite a respected voice on the front of the UN and of course AU, when Nigeria spoke, the continent used to line up behind it. How we got to where we are? We allowed the values that should have made us greater than what we are today to degenerate, a leadership that over the years did not actually develop a common vision of nurturing the country into a big hub or a value system that was deviated from being an integrated value system to a divisive value system where citizens started moving into their respective cocoons, identifying themselves with other communities or with ethnicity or with tribe instead of seeing themselves as Nigerians. This is happening because we have not been able to entrench what we call the forces of good governance that benefited the country, the citizens, the community and our neighbors within the ECOWAS sub-region. How can we change this image beyond NOA? First and foremost, the image of a country is
DAILY TRUST: Why has the leadership crises in Kano and Kaduna states lingered after attempts to resolve them, and why do you think Governor Nasiru El-Rufai is against you? There is nothing personal in the whole thing. What happened has happened. It is something that you come across when you have a responsibility. When you are a leader you have to be very accommodating. You have to be pragmatic in your approach and outlook and what you do. I don’t like discussing people in any situation.
Daily Trust: Don’t you think it may not be in the interest of the All Progressives Congress (APC)?
After the elections, the government at the state and federal levels were trying to settle down. There were campaigns and promises, and people worked for the interest of the party. A situation where you have many people aspiring to so many positions, only one person will emerge. When the election is over, it is the responsibility of the governor to manage the whole situation through the formation of the government. People would have preferences which they may not have gotten, and so forth. There would be crisis as a result of that, and it is expected. Some people nothing other than what its citizens project for themselves. The image of a country is what the citizens project. When we go to other countries, we respect their laws, regulations that govern behaviors, we overtime queue into that, but back at home, you see a citizen engaging a police officer in fisticuffs, not even a single respect for the symbol of authority, the uniform. There is no country where high government officials have no respect for rules, they beat traffic lights, they don’t care, they drive against traffic or what some call against one-way lane, this is one country where there is excessive abuse of protocol. The cumulative sum of such a citizen depicts a negative picture.
Daily Trust: Does the NOA plan to enlighten Nigerians on the dangers of hate speech?
Thank you very much. The issue has generated a lot of concern among Nigerians. We have a citizenry that complains so much, we have a citizenry that wants to see government performing with accountable leadership and by nature, we are used to may not be happy, and being the leader everything would be lumped upon you, and you should be ready to understand the situation and deal with it accordingly.
Daily Trust: In Kano, this situation has still not been dealt with, what is the situation right now?
What happened in Kano was that the executive committee of our party for whatever reason decided to remove the chairman. Due process of the constitution was followed, but the chairman was not satisfied. The constitution of our party stipulates that he should come to us, and he complained to us and the zonal office. According to our constitution, we are expected to send a fact-finding committee to, among other things, find out whether due process was followed. We set up the committee under Senator Muhammadu Magoro. They went to Kano, met all those concerned in the matter, and reported that the Kano State exco committee followed all due processes required by the constitution in removing him. This report was discussed when the national executive committee met in Dutse, Jigawa State in December last year and approved the Magoro report.
Daily Trust: Can the same be said of Kaduna State where there are complaints by party stakeholders of being sidelined in the running of the state and the good life. Even at this challenging time, it is still a good time. We want a citizenry that feels free, unrestrained but unfortunately, a citizenry that does not know that there must be Nigeria before they have peace, data and other things to use for the better and not for hate speeches, when citizens don’t see altercation between Gov. El-Rufai and Senator Shehu Sani?
Kaduna’s is a different problem entirely. There were lots of disagreements among key party members even before the election. This has continued till now. What is worsening our situation in Kaduna is the vacuum created in the leadership of the party in the process of 2015 elections where the chairman became the deputy governor and other party officials themselves as belonging to a larger family, but to cocoons, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, Christians, Muslims, animists, then definitely you are reducing the strength, the potentials for greatness. You need to have a country and be assured of sleeping with your two eyes closed, where your children can go to school and be sure that they will come back free. Recently, in Abuja, it was not easy for people to associate with places of worship. Before you could go to church or mosque, it was as if you were going to a battle front. So when you hear or read hate speeches on the social media referring to one another not as Nigerians, every tribe or nationality is associated with it, crime and criminality against Fulani herdsmen and farmers, Fulani against others, or you hear of communal clash has broken out and 200 Christians or Muslims are killed. No one is referring to them as Nigerians. The diversity is supposed to be a source of strength, but unfortunately, the social media has actually held the country captive. There are other countries that don’t allow this, they have censorship and don’t allow this garbage to come their way.
Daily Trust: How do you react to the conviction of the Managing Director of Ontario oil Mrs Ada Ugo-Ngali over a 1.9 billion subsidy claim?
Like I said, what is wrong is wrong, what is right is right. People should be accountable for their actions. If there are issues of infractions, our institutions must be seen to be dispensing justice justly, no matter how highly placed you are.
Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir is the Vice Chairman North West Zone of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview, he speaks on the lingering crises within the party in Kaduna and Kano states, and proffers solutions.
were appointed into key executive positions which disqualified them from being exco members. Because of these vacancies, there was disharmony among key members. We appointed a committee to mediate and resolve these issues which we see as very simple, simple in the sense that we are members of the same family. We just need to sit down and whatever anybody feels about government or any member, let it be said and resolved.
DT: How is the zonal office addressing the specific allegation of marginalisation in running the affairs of the state?
Abdulkadir: The party produced the governor and lost a Senate seat. It is the only place we lost a Senate seat in the zone. We can say we have a comfortable majority in Kaduna, what is left is for this complains by our party members to be addressed. Their complaints centred on the governor not carrying them along. To me, it is a very simple issue. The governor should create a forum to be discussing with other key party members, especially those who lost the primaries to him, those who worked for and contributed in one way or the other to the victory of the party, elected APC members of the National Assembly from the state. There should be a kind of consultative forum where the governor would meet with the party members. That is the main issue. It would be very helpful to him; it will assist him in running the state.
I have been appealing to our members who are aggrieved to be patient; to consider the party’s interest foremost. I have been appealing to the governor to be magnanimous in taking these people along. I have met him on several occasions and even encouraged him to call a meeting of stakeholders and party leaders in the state.
Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, Vice Chairman, North-West APC
Dr Garba Abari, DG, NOA