By John Akubo, Abuja

Senator Alex Usman Kadiri, an APC stalwart, who represented Kogi East from 1999 to 2003 in the National Assembly, told JOHN AKUBO in Abuja that for refusing his assent on the 2021 Electoral Act the lawmakers should veto President Buhari.

The National Assembly passed the electoral amendment bill 2021, which gives INEC leverage to transmit election results electronically at its discretion. The other is the Direct Primary to decide how parties decide persons to field for elections. As a former lawmaker, what’s your position on the controversial stalemate?
The President is so weak that it is the governors that dictate to him, that is what he accepts. My stake on that is very simple. I am in support of the National Assembly vetoing the President’s refusal to assent to this bill. Buhari cannot be bigger than Nigeria. This is a man who came in through direct primary himself. Don’t forget the primary he won in Lagos, they voted throughout the night and Tinubu made sure that he won. Why is he now opposed to direct primary because the Governors don’t want it? The Governors want a situation where delegates would be brought to their capitals so that they will just bribe them overnight. That is all. It is very sad that my President is not allowing the growth of democracy in Nigeria. I am an APC member, if they like they can expel me. But it’s tragic. INEC that will supervise said they can do it. INEC said they can transmit election results electronically, so what is Buhari’s own? That the N580b INEC is requesting is too much? What of the cost of the flights he makes to London for medical checkups every now and then. Is the money they are asking for up to that? Is he more important than the country? Carrying our money to London, all the entourage and the monies paid to the doctors in the UK, all that put together is more than what INEC said they need for this exercise. 

On the insecurity, it is like the killings have become a normal affair, the government seems not perturbed any longer. How can government deal decisively with insecurity?
Well they started by telling you and I that they were bringing Tucano jets from the U.S. These Tucano jets cannot kill bandits. There is a war of the mind going on in Nigeria. The people who are giving refuge to these bandits are Nigerians. Why are they doing it? The Government has not been able to address that. Tucano jets cannot wipe out banditry. The people flying those jets are Nigerian pilots, how sincere are they? What is the capability of the armed forces to confront the bandits? I heard barracks are being overrun in Borno and Yobe, killing soldiers and seizing their armory and vehicle? What is this? We don’t have a government in place, we have to be very frank. We have failed. 

What is the way forward?
The way forward is that we must look for visionary leaders not the rubbish going on. We need somebody who is fit, we need a Paul Kagame. Let me tell you, I read books, Paul Kagame is successful in Rwanda because he came out of a situation – their war. We need somebody who has come out of a situation to lead us. Nyeson Wike wants to lead, he is now an agitated person, you can see it in him, he is agitated but I don’t think that if his party puts him up that he will win. Zulum from Borno is the only agitated politician in this country right now. He is in the midst of a war and he is showing bravery aside the bravery he is also showing performance. Aside that he is also a modest person. He didn’t even have a personal house, he was staying in the father’s house as a commissioner in Shetima’s Government. Every now and then you see them trying to kill him, I believe those trying to kill Zulum are not only bandits, his fellow Nigerian politicians want to get rid of him because he is a threat to their existence, some of them and their ambitions. Quote me, I am convinced, that is the only person, like I said you can add Wike, these are agitated people. Something should agitate you, not that you just go and steal money somewhere distribute it or start bagging rice for distribution already.

Some are worried that your party, APC is going close to implosion if you look at what is happening between Ganduje, Shekarau and Barau and all over the states. Why?
Let me tell you, we don’t have leadership in the party right now. The current acting National Secretary John James Akpanudoedehe I go to him, both in the house and in the office and I tell him my mind. Right now the APC is dying and it is almost dead. Take me for example, the role I played to bring APC into existence in Kogi State. We had a PDP Governor from my village, if you go to my village, my house is at the beginning, he is at the end. We come from the same village not just ward. I chased him out of office. What appreciation have I got from the party? Which Igala man is going to work for the APC to win any election in Kogi unless you bring guns again because that is how they do it?

Recently the National Assembly Condemned UK for slamming the Omicron ban on Nigeria. Not long after the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Canada followed suit. It appears the country is losing on many fronts, including diplomacy. How did Nigeria become so vulnerable?
Every country on earth has a right to put obstacles on the way of other citizens entering their country provided they believe that such entry is inimical to their own citizens’ wellbeing. Britain, Canada, France UAE, Saudi Arabia, where we go to burn money every year have now said they are not allowing Nigerians in, fair enough. Let us stay here and die here.

For example if I were a minister of health under this Buhari regime and the man keeps going to London to treat headache every two weeks why will I continue as minister without resigning? By the time two or three ministers of health resign, he will sit up. The money he goes to London to burn could have established a similar hospital, at least two or three or four similar hospitals in Nigeria so that our doctors would not go to Saudi Arabia. Don’t be surprised that the doctors he sees in the UK could be Nigerians. Why is the man so unfair to this country? Is that the man I struggled for, entered the rain insulted people for, made sure that my brother Captain Idris Wada who was Governor was chased out of office so that my party can win? What is this rubbish? So I don’t blame UK, I don’t blame Saudi Arabia, I don’t blame Canada, I don’t blame anybody for banning Nigerians from entering their country if they believe that this new variant; Omicron will be dangerous to their own citizens. They are doing it for their citizens.

I heard the day before yesterday that Nigeria was going to stop the British Airways from coming into Nigeria. These are cheap means of reasoning, if you stop British airways from coming to Nigeria because they make a lot of money from Nigeria, does that have any dent on the economy of the UK? It doesn’t, let us look at how to control this variant of COVID-19 ourselves. Less than 15% of Nigerians have taken their first vaccination, I have taken the two jabs. The people who are afraid of their COVID-19 and the new variant some of them have 75% of their population that have taken two doses already and for us not up to 20% have taken and we are quarrelling with them, we are not serious. So I believe that any country in the world has the right to protect it’s citizens and they don’t have to seek clearance from us.

Analysts say, the senators are taking the issue seriously not because of the interest of Nigerians, but because some of them have purchased tickets for the Christmas holiday over there?
Well the issue is even bigger than that. It is sad that Nigerians are buying tickets to go to Dubai, U.S. and so on for Christmas. It is very sad because those countries currently have temperate weather, if you go to London today you cannot just wear ordinary jacket and go out. You need an overcoat, why will a man who is wearing T-shirt here want to go there and wear overcoat, give me one reason, no reason. The shopping they do in London or Dubai, most shops also have branches in Nigeria. It is this inferiority complex that’s killing our people.

It would be a sad day if it is true that members of the National Assembly in particular or these our roving governors also bought tickets to travel and therefore this restrictions are affecting them. Personally, I say so be it, I pray that these countries should bring regulations that should stop them from ever travelling out of Nigeria. Then they will sit up and do things right. We don’t have a leader in this country right now. The leadership of the APC is very poor, it is my party, if they like they can expel me tomorrow. The leadership of the APC is very poor. It is a disgrace to humanity.

Culled from the Guardian

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