Buhari's effort isn't good for Nigeria -- Prof Hagher - SyCtRenDs



Saturday, November 3, 2018

Buhari's effort isn't good for Nigeria -- Prof Hagher

Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)

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.

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

Professor Iyorwuese 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.

DT: What are your plans after losing the presidential ticket of your party?

Hagher: 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.

DT: How do you see the emergence of former Governor Donald Duke on your platform, the PDP’s Atiku Abubakar and APC incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari as candidates for the 2019 election?

Hagher: 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.

DT: Do you think any of the candidates who eventually wins the next election would be able to tackle insecurity bedeviling most parts of the country?

Hagher: 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.

DT: What is your preferred solution to permanently end the farmers-herders conflict in the Middle-Belt?

Hagher: 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.

DT: So far, how would you rate President Buhari’s administration?

Hagher: 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 power-monger.

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