Senator Shehu Sani representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, at the weekend visited Mambayya House in Kano, the Museum of his political godfather, Malam Aminu Kano. He subsequently spoke with newsmen on several topical issues, describing ailing President Muhammadu Buhari as “an honest man, surrounded by dishonest people.” He also held that Buhari’s kitchen cabinet is being manned by the “anti-Buhari people.” MADUABAUCHI NMERIBEH provides excerpts:
What message do you have for our leaders after touring the late Malam Aminu Kano museum in the ancient city of Kano?
Well, the first time I came here was with my father, when the late Malam Aminu Kano was alive. At time, my father was working with New Nigeria Newspapers and I am visiting this house because this visit is progressive and spiritual in nature to see the frozen history of one of Nigeria’s greatest revolutionaries, progressives and nationalists. Malam Aminu Kano represented politics of ideology and politics of principles and was one leader that lived an exemplary life, prudence and transparency; of honour and integrity and of sincerity. My visit here is to reappraise the state of the museum and also meet the Directors and officials of this museum and to see how I can personally contribute to the enhancement of the museum itself.
I am highly impressed by the level of care and attention given to most of these artifact, the historic artifact of history of the late Malam Aminu Kano left behind. With the prevailing scenario in the country, politics has lost its substance since the death of Malam Aminu Kano. And one of Nigeria’s basic and fundamental problem with our democratic setting is to do with the fact that our politics is not run on the wheel of principles and ideology.
Political parties in Nigeria are virtually lacking in ideology and that brought about the confusion in the democratic process and political engineering in the country. It is quite unfortunate that the present generation of Nigerian political elite are more interested in pursuing power and realizing personal political ambition, as well as engaging in primitive accumulation of wealth for themselves.
Nigerian political landscape is supposed to be divided between conservative, reactionary on one side and also progressive revolutionaries on the other side. But it has been blurred over the years, as you don’t know who is a progressive and who is a conservative. And one problem we are facing today is the fact politics are pursed to realize personal goal or to achieve a certain vendetta against other persons or as a platform or vehicle to amass wealth or to pursue narrow ethnic and religious or sectional agenda or to destroy, extinguish and emasculate the people, who do not share your own beliefs, ideologies or ethnic or religious identity or affiliation.
What have become the consequences?
The deviation of politics of principles and ideology created a new confused atmosphere whereby we are more or less pursuing goal of building a new nation, without actually knowing what that nation would be about. Aminu Kano’s life should be a noble example to most public office holders but unfortunately, it is not. Some of the very few people, who share the ideals and vision is people like Balarabe Musa and perhaps people like Buhari.
How will you describe Buhari’s government taking cognizance of the activities of some people within his cabinet?
Buhari is an island in his government and by the time he is back, he needs to disinfect and fumigate his government because in his anti-corruption crusade, he is the only person who believes in anti-corruption war. People within his corridor of power are simply Buhari in their faces, but anti-Buhari at heart. Now, tell me, how a President (Buhari) who publicly declared his own assets; and apart from him and his Vice-President, nobody, even within his own close kitchen cabinet or outside veranda cabinet could publicly declare their assets. This shows the disbelief in the style of his own life and his own manner of leadership.
And you can see the very Spartan and prudent life Malam Aminu Kano has left behind, and could have served as a beacon to which we will find a new and transparent Nigeria. You should also understand it very well that achieving an absolutely corrupt-free society is theoretical illusion, but it is also a developmental necessity. We cannot achieve one hundred percent corrupt-free society, but our struggle to achieve it will be a continuous process.
Nigerian politicians have since abandoned the prudent way of Malam Aminu Kano and the honesty of Sarduana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello. They have since abandoned the focus of these great leaders. What is matter to them is how they can build political empire and then also use it as a launching pad to build a business empire. They are not entrusted in freeing the masses from poverty.
They are simply interested in leveraging themselves to stupendous position of wealth. We live in a country whereby people in the position of power seem to create jobs for children of the poor; while there are reserved positions for children of the rich in Federal Civil service, this is what have become of this country today. If we are to build a new democratic, transparent and corrupt-free society, we must start by public office holders.
We must begin to lay clear examples because we cannot have governors, rich Senators, rich members of House of Representatives, rich Ministers who have simply become rich because they are in public office and for you to expect any fundamental change in the way and manner Nigeria is today, we must begin to act fast because Nigerians were corrupted by the leaders, not that Nigerians corrupted the leaders. Indeed, it is the leaders that corrupted our people.
How would you rate Nigeria’s economy?
In a very society where billions of dollars have been amassed for a period of over four decades, Nigerians are supposed not to be suffering from poverty. Nigeria’s wealth was shared among the political class, the private sector, the former military rulers and also foreign multi-nationals. And we must say it very clearly that despite the diversification agenda of this administration, Nigeria’s economy is still in the hands of foreign interest in concert with their local representatives. Our tele-communication sector is dominated by foreigners, our construction sector is dominated by foreigners, our banking sector is still aligned with foreign interest and our insurance and shipping sector is all aligned with foreign interest. So, Nigeria is still an imperialist outpost representing the interest of western capital and also pursuing interest that is antagonistic to that of the common people.
What do you think should be done to remedy the situation?
Nigerian progressives need to free themselves from the confusion that is in this era whereby the progressive forces have been silenced by the activities of the reactionary conservative forces. And the ultimate change in Nigeria is only, if possible, when you have a clear-cut ideology which you are going to pursue as a country.
President Muhammadu Buhari is the last man standing and a Nigerian specie who believes in integrity and honesty. But he is a man surrounded by hyenas and vultures and lice. Most of the vultures hovering over Nigeria, watching over our famished bones and famished faces and they are also hyenas because they are opportunistic in nature, taking advantage of their position of power to devour the poor and devour the national treasury. So, President Muhammadu Buhari is an honest man, but leading an army of dishonest people who are very close to him.
So, I call in that very word that we need to pray for Mr. President., we need to support Mr. President and those who are peddling lies about his health and the incapacity to rule are not distant enemies, but close ones who wants to be Vice President in Nigeria.
They are people who want to take over position of power; and Buhari will come back to Nigeria, and he will continue the mission which he has started - Buhari is a God’s gift to this country. He is a priceless gift to rescue Nigeria from the drift. He is the oxygen for a nation almost suffocating. Buhari should be seen as a liberator of this country.
He is also a builder. Malam Aminu Kano of blessed memory is a man whose ideology and ideals should shape the politics of principles and ideology.
I am one of those that were inspired by his kind of politics and his kind of history. We are revolutionary and we are the progressives. Our political thinking is on the left-hand side of the divide; and we are also in open confrontation with the reactionary forces who are determined to bring this country down and who have also been working against our progressive match to the future.