INSIDEPOLITICS

Weekly Trust - - News - Hope Abah Makurdi Em­manuel, Iy­or­wuese DT: What are your plans af­ter los­ing the pres­i­den­tial ticket of your party? Hagher: DT: How do you see the emer­gence of former Gov­er­nor Don­ald Duke on your plat­form, the PDP’s Atiku Abubakar and APC in­cum­bent, Pres

Daily Trust: What’s your im­pres­sion of the just con­cluded SDP pri­maries in which you par­tic­i­pated?

Pro­fes­sor Hagher: All the party pri­maries were marred by cor­rup­tion. The Nige­rian po­lit­i­cal sys­tem needs to be sani­tised from cor­rupt politi­cians who buy party struc­tures and then in­flict se­vere dis­tor­tions in all pro­cesses. Des­per­ate and cor­rupt politi­cians plant the party ex­ec­u­tives we see in al­most all cases as rig­ging ma­chines. The party ex­ec­u­tives lack in­de­pen­dence and have no minds of their own. They cre­ate fac­tions and choose del­e­gates in the most opaque and oblique man­ner.

The pres­i­dency is rigidly tied to af­flu­ence and the abil­ity to ma­nip­u­late party struc­tures that had been rigged into place months be­fore the pri­maries. In the SDP, I had hoped to win but the odds stacked against me were quite high. I how­ever con­grat­u­late my­self for run­ning the best is­sue-based cam­paigns of all the po­lit­i­cal as­pi­rants in Nige­ria.

It is a ma­jor set­back for the peo­ple of Nige­ria that I lost the pri­maries. And it’s un­for­tu­nate that our democ­racy, es­pe­cially the of­fice of the pres­i­dent, is done through a con­clave of re­tired gen­er­als, busi­ness moguls and then a few politi­cians who are merely pup­pets. The gullible pub­lic is sold dum­mies most times. Un­til the Nige­rian peo­ple are able to fund their par­ties and can­di­dates, all we will get is more of the same. I will ac­tively cam­paign for my can­di­date so that Pres­i­dent Buhari will be de­feated to­tally be­cause 2019 is all and only about Buhari and his failed prom­ises. The elec­tion is a ref­er­en­dum on Buhari. I think he has done his best but this best is not good for Nige­ria. He should be al­lowed to re­tire to his ranch to live in op­u­lence for the rest of his life.

It is a great time for Don­ald Duke to join hands with Atiku to de­feat Pres­i­dent Buhari. This is what Nige­ria wants; this is what is needed to be done. How­ever I will put my bet on Duke all things be­ing equal. He is the un­der­dog in this race but his track records, in­tegrity and bril­liance makes him the kind of pres­i­dent Nige­ria needs to have now. And then he is younger and can do ex­ploits that the other two lack re­silience for.

Pro­fes­sor Iy­or­wuese Hagher, a pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rant on the plat­form of the So­cial Demo­cratic Party (SDP) in the re­cently con­cluded pri­maries elec­tion, said he never with­drew from the race or stepped down dur­ing the ex­er­cise. In this in­ter­view, he sheds light on what hap­pened, among other is­sues. Ex­cerpts

If Buhari wins, the geno­cide wins. If he wins, Boko Haram will cel­e­brate! All they need again is to de­scend on some hapless un­pro­tected school girls and bor­row a few of our vir­gin daugh­ters for rap­ing un­til a tidy sum is ne­go­ti­ated for them to buy more arms. The dumb pub­lic is nar­co­tised with the Buhari opium to feel the pulse of a highly or­gan­ised per­fidy.

If he wins, the herds­men will go wild with a re­newed man­date of four years of geno­cide with­out bor­ders. Atiku is also a Fu­lani man but not in the mold of Buhari. I was as­so­ci­ated with him dur­ing the Zaki Biam mas­sacre and his touch­ing words “two wrongs don’t make a right” to the Tiv peo­ple, helped as­suage ris­ing tem­pers in Tiv­land. His leg­endary gen­eros­ity helped the Tor Tiv to as­sist the in­ter­nally dis­placed peo­ple (IDPs) to go back to their an­ces­tral homes. But Atiku too seems to be now owned by the gen­er­als as the last Port Har­court con­ven­tion showed. I don’t trust him to not put an­other re­tired gen­eral as Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser.

The se­cu­rity chal­lenges we face to­day are asym­met­ric and can’t be over­come through bombs and guns. It will need a highly so­phis­ti­cated soft power ap­proach that is cul­ture driven and high-tech utilised. I hope the pres­i­dent who wins understands the sig­nif­i­cance of soft power and how to utilise it to se­cure our coun­try and give us peace.

Law and or­der, con­sul­ta­tion and so­cial jus­tice. In Benue State, an anti-open graz­ing law has been en­acted. This law should be rig­or­ously en­forced. We must go back to the tra­di­tional cul­tural prac­tices that em­braced friend­ship and cousin­ship be­tween Fu­lani herd­ing com­mu­ni­ties and other eth­nic group hosts. This ap­proach is pre­ferred to land grab­bing with AK 47.

Buhari has un­wit­tingly pit­ted the Fu­lani against the rest of us. Be­tween Buhari and Atiku, Atiku is a pre­ferred al­ter­na­tive Fu­lani. He is more cos­mopoli­tan, more nu­anced and more cul­tur­ally diver­si­fied, broad and open-minded. If Pres­i­dent Buhari were in my Leadership 400 Class for pres­i­dents, I would ask him to qui­etly with­draw his ad­mis­sion. I would rate Pres­i­dent Buhari on the scale of one to ten as 3/10. He is below av­er­age. His score would be 35%. He has made the right noises about fight­ing cor­rup­tion and failed in man­ag­ing the econ­omy, failed in man­ag­ing our diver­sity and very badly failed the num­ber one com­pul­sory sub­ject to guar­an­tee the se­cu­rity of lives and prop­erty. He made noise on in­fras­truc­ture devel­op­ment but failed to de­velop the cit­i­zens ed­u­ca­tion­ally.

DT: Back home, are you sat­is­fied with the per­for­mance of the Benue State gov­er­nor Samuel Or­tom?

Hagher: No, I am not. He has failed in giv­ing peo­ple ed­u­ca­tion, which they need. The fees charged by state ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions are too high. He has also failed to pay work­ers’ salaries, a cap­i­tal of­fence in a poor state which de­pends so much on salary wages. It is an of­fence for a Chris­tian not to pay the wages of the labourer who the bible says de­serves his wages. As we move to cam­paigns, I believe Or­tom will en­gage the Benue peo­ple and will con­vince them to vote for him again. As an in­di­vid­ual, he is a very nice per­son who re­spects his el­ders, more than any of the other gov­er­nors be­fore him. He is a man who is gen­uinely hum­ble and does not con­vey the brand of a haughty, greedy pow­er­mon­ger. At Daily Trust, the news is what is hap­pen­ing clos­est to you. Check out your Daily Trust ev­ery­day of the week for that ex­tra cov­er­age of your lo­cal­ity. You can send us your lo­cal news and pic­tures to:

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Pro­fes­sor Iy­or­wuese Hagher

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