N’deltan militants only balancing the drum of war – Adesiyan
By March, it will be a year that you assumed office. Can you share some of your achievements so far?
To God be the glory, before I came in as the Minister of Police Affairs, there has been something the Goodluck Jonathan under the Transformation Agenda called the police reform, which came in to being because of the rot in the Nigeria Police Force and a commission was brought up by the council of state, to look into how the police could be reformed. Since after the truncation of democracy in 1966, it has not been good for the police but because of their rudimentary nature, they don’t complain. A commission of enquiry was asked to advise the government on what to do and they came up with a programme, which embedded into police reform. Today, under that police reform, there have been improvements and one of the things they did was that they had to establish a police university in Kano, where new policemen and women could be trained under the degree programme and that has tremendously helped the system. As at today, the second set of students from that school have been matriculated. Though, this is going to take a long time to manifest, it may take five to six years to manifest when this university is turning out graduates in all the faculties and departments you can think of; it is like a regular university, so that the idea of policemen speaking such English like “wetin you carry?” “Anything for your boys?” or “wetin we go chop?” will become a thing of the past. So I have to inherit that police reform, beautiful as it is, I have to inherit and I have to re-implement to the latter all the programmes that were envisage in that police reform. So that is in line with all the achievements that I could say. Also, our policemen are taking part in all the trainings that are taking place all over the world. Recently, the British Metropolitan Police, especially, Nigerians that are members of the British Metropolitan Police, came to Nigeria last month to train some of our policemen in modern policing. As of today, the air wing of the Nigeria Police is now very functional with surveillance helicopters. Also, people’s perceptions about the police are changing day in day out. Our policemen that are engaged in peace-keeping operations, they are adjudged as one of the best in the world because they have been exposed to a lot of training and re-training. And when you look at our Barracks, a lot of them are ageing, so we have started constructing houses for police under the police micro-finance. This is to afford every policeman to own a house and where it is necessary that we renovate the Barracks, we are now going into Public-Private-Partnership, where the developer take up such Barracks and build into befitting edifice.
There have some worrisome developments in the sense that most of the places the president went to campaign in the North, some angry youths were seen either stoning his convoy or booing him. And people have said that this development could have a reprisal effect in the East and South. What are you doing as a Minister to bring decorum to this ?
It is one of those things I have been analyzing. It is decadence in those parts of the country. Those youths you referred to as angry youths, they are not angry; some people asked them to go and do it. But because they lack education and knowledge, they started doing as their commanders asked them to do. They are not angry; they don’t know Jonathan and Jonathan government is like when God pours down the rain, it falls on everyone whether good or bad. They are not angry and they don’t know Jonathan. It is these people in APC that are ganging up with the sole aim of taking power and they have to show that they are in control. Those are some of the things you will be seeing if they eventually get there but I know that God will not allow bad things to happen to this country. But thinking of reprisal attacks from the South-South, South East or the South West, it cannot happen because the people there are educated. Those in the South know that the only instrument they have to use is their PVCs; when they don’t vote for them, what will happen? The last election, which was adjudged to be one of the freest elections in the history of this country, about 800 people lost their lives because Buhari did not win that election. The most unfortunate, painful and sad aspect of it was that some youth corpers from the south west, south east and south-south, who were doing their normal service to their father land, were also killed alongside. I have read it where he said that if he doesn’t win this 2015 election, blood will flow. By the special grace of God, no blood will flow. President Goodluck Jonathan has said that winning an election does not worth the blood of an innocent citizen of this country. They should also take a cue from that. They are doing a lot of propaganda; they went to the United Kingdom; they went to the United States to say this is the thing… they are just using propaganda. In the south west, I know that no sensible person will want to vote for Buhari, not with what he did to our leaders in this part of the country. Here in the South West that is going to determine this coming election, because we are going to play a pivotal role in who governs us in 2015. We have seen their antecedents in the past and we have heard the utterances coming from them, so there is no way they are going to win. Buhari has been to some parts of the South South, South East and South West, he was not attacked but the president went to the North and they asked some youths to be throwing stones at him, is that normal? If it were to be Buhari that was in power with his military gadgets, you know what would have happened to those youths. But thank God, none of those youths was attacked talk less of wounded. I give kudos to the security agencies that are with the president on his campaign train; they didn’t allow that thing to get into their heads and start shooting at those youths. What has the president done to offend those youths? Nothing, it was Buhari and his people that said ‘he is coming tomorrow, attack him. And when you see him, start saying sai Buhari’. They look at Jonathan and because he is a Christian, he should not be voted for. And that is where this Almajiri and nomadic education will help us in the future, they may not see the effect now but I assure you in few years to come, no Northern youth will do that to any president of this country.
You have just accused the APC of masterminding this attacks on President Jonathan, but few days after this issue occurred in Bauchi State, the governor of the state came out to say that these youths were sponsored by some PDP elders in the state.
They were sponsored in Bauchi by the PDP; they were sponsored in Gombe by the PDP; they were sponsored in Katsina by the PDP and they were sponsored in Kano by the PDP. Let me tell you something, the governor you are talking about is a member of the ruling party. They have their internal or local problem within the party. The Governor, their chairman in the state and the Minister representing them in Abuja, so they are trying to put up a show to tell the president that look, all is not well. I know that no sensible PDP person will organise youths against their own president, especially when they are clamouring and praying that their president should win the election. That governor just took advantage of that situation and maligned some characters. I know they have their local problem and it is going to be settled. But if he says that, is it Shema in Katsina that organised some youths against the president? What Yuguda said is not true and you know if there is no crack in the wall, the lizard won’t penetrate and we are calling on bricklayer so as to mend the fence.
The likes of Asari-Dokubo and Tompolo have been making statements considered to inciting and inflammatory and capable of causing crisis, though the PDP has come out to condemn such comments. What is the police doing to arrest this situation?
You know when you throw a stone into water, there is a splash. Yes the PDP has condemned and even Col. Danjuma has condemned it, he is part of this government and he even asked the security agencies to go after them; because we will not be like them. Those people came out to say what they said because there have been drum of war from the North even from the candidate who has said that ‘if I don’t win this election, there will be war; blood will flow and things like that. And he is creating fears in the minds of the people. I think, perhaps, that was why those ex-militants came out to say ‘if that is what you are planning, we too that God has endowed with a son who is the president, if we don’t win too, there will be chaos. They are just trying to balance the drum of war coming from the North. But we don’t believe in all that. There will be war; there will be this; there will be that, all are empty threats. These threats from Buhari and his cohorts have become so pronounced to the extent that the governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, had to ask their leaders to call the APC to order. The law is there and nobody is above the law, if we use the instrument of law to go after these people who are making these provocative statements, it will be turned to another thing. For the first time in the history of this country, a man from a background, after the series of military interregnum in our polity, is now at the helms of affair; he wants things to be done the way they should be done not the way he wanted it to be done. In the last few years of Jonathan’s administration, those are the years that know no political assassination; there have been political intimidation and these are the years people are not wrongly arrested, detained and prosecuted as it used to be in the past. These are years the president doesn’t use the instrument of the government to gag the opposition; like asking the EFFC or ICPC to go after some selected people. And that is why some people are saying this government is weak, because he doesn’t want to abuse power. We all knew what happened in the first eight years of this democratic dispensation in which some businessmen were running away from this country. Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo said in thesis and antithesis that there will come a time when the bad people will gather in one place and the good people will also gather in one place and each of them will be doing their things the way it is. Today, I am happy that PDP as a party is dominated by reasonable people and not gangsters, not by those who are using the opportunity of PDP being a national party to grab power and use it the way they like. And because they cannot run back as governors and senators and even the president; that is why they are ganging up to say ‘okay we want to start afresh and look for change’. What type of change are they clamouring for? And who are those to bring that change? You have been in this party for almost 16 years and because there is no latitude for you to perpetrate yourself in power… remember when former President Olusegun Obasanjo wanted his third term, it was the same set of people in the PDP then that said no, it cannot happen. And that is why he (Obasanjo) has said he cannot leave the PDP but he is not working for the PDP. Who is fooling who?
Talking about former President Obasanjo, you just made mention of the fact that he has said he won’t support the PDP in the coming election and considering his weight in your party, don’t you think his position can affect the chances of President Jonathan in the coming election?
How can his position affect the chances of President Jonathan? You are a Yoruba man and you know the position of Obasanjo in Yoruba land. Even when his friends from the North came to force him on Nigeria, the Yorubas said they are not going to vote for him. Up till I am talking to you now, Obasanjo has never won any election in his polling unit; I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow but up till now, he has never won an election in his polling unit. Amosun was formerly in the PDP and when he left to contest in the APC, he beat Obasanjo in his polling unit; both of them are from Owu. Some people always stretch their lucks; if you are lucky, it is not your own making but God and so you don’t play God. Jonathan and Obasanjo parted ways because he wanted Jonathan to come and be signing cheques in Ota. So all those who believe in Obasanjo who came from the same military background with him that were in the PDP before have been sent to the APC, so what influence is he going exert on us? He said he is not going to leave the PDP and we kept quiet because he is so powerful that we cannot expel him. All what he has been doing are anti-party activities. But we cannot expel him and he is a god within himself. I don’t think Obasanjo is going to have any effect on the voting pattern.
But why is Obasanjo so powerful that the PDP cannot expel him. You’ve alleged that he has been involved in anti-party activities and such a person ought to have been expelled?
He has said he cannot leave the PDP and that is the same reason the PDP cannot expel him, it is as simple as that.
You are from Osun State and right now, the state seems to be struggling with workers’ salaries and the governor has said that the inability of the state to pay workers and other bills is because the Federal Government is owing them some money. What are you doing to ensure that they get these monies being allegedly owed by the Federal Government?
That the governor of Osun State refused to pay workers’ salaries is an act of wickedness and insincerity. Before the election in the state, during one of our campaigns then, we appealed to him to pay workers’ salaries. The workers of Osun State from October till now have not been paid salaries. Then, few days to the August election, he borrowed some money from Ecobank to pay the backlog of salaries. We told them that day that it was a Greek gift. When the federal government came to say that they are not owing the state anything. The vice president came to Osun State is getting its allocation in full and as at and when due and that the federal government is not owing the state any kobo, his spokesperson came out the following day to accuse the vice president of peddling lies and that the federal government has reduced their allocation from the N4 billion it used to be to N1.1 billion every month. When I heard this, I laughed, thank God for Freedom of
Information act that was suppressed by Buhari in those days, all these things have now become documents for the public. I went to the Ministry of Finance and office of the Accountant General of the Federation because I wanted to know the truth about all these things and because I am from Osun State, I have a duty to explain these things to the people of the state. I asked them why they were withholding the money of Osun State and they came out with their statutory allocations since 2011 to December 2014 and they gave it to me. As at December 2014, the government of Osun State has collected N3.7 billion asides other sharing like Excess Crude; SURE-P; intervention from TETFUND and all the rest. So I published this in the newspaper and since that day the advertorial came out, they have not had an answer to it. They got their priority wrong, instead of developing Osun State with what they have; they started doing federal government roads that they can use to borrow money. Now those federal government roads have been opened up for use but nothing is happening there and they are full of dust. By the time the PDP takes over government of that state, we will appeal to the authority to complete those roads. In the last four years, they have collected over N400 billion, so I don’t know why they are borrowing.