Posted by News Express | 12 February 2023 | 4,584 times
Buba Galadima, an engineer, is an ally of the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. He is also a chieftain of the party. In this interview on Trust TV’s Daily Politics, he spoke on how some politicians hid old naira notes at home and are now stranded. He also dismissed the claim that the candidate of the All Progressives Progress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was instrumental to the emergence of the then candidate of the party, Muhammadu Buhari to win the presidency by bringing votes from the South West, saying if the recently introduced Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is allowed to work properly, Kwankwaso will win just the way the then Card Reader did the magic for Buhari in 2015.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari met with the chairman of the Governors Forum, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, and chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, as well as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele. Do you think this meeting and others would come out with a child with two eyes?
We in the NNPP have taken a very strong position on the issue of this redesigned currency and exchange. First of all, our decision was guided by the CBN Act, which states that in an event where we want to redesign or re-colour any of our currency, it should be done within a period of not less than six months. Now, we are torn between two lines: the government said they were doing this because a lot of people had amassed wealth, I mean hoarded currency in their private houses. I agree.
This is because I know from intelligence that there is a governor in the North-western part of this country that has about N22billion of the old currency.
Are you sure of what you are saying?
Yes, N22billion of the old currency stacked in his house as I speak to you. He knows himself. And the security agencies know.
Why are they not talking?
It is because maybe they belong to the same club or they are protecting him.
Or maybe they set a trap for him?
Well, the trap is for him to go out to change the money. How can one man have N22bn in cash he accumulated through corruption? My worry is the ordinary man in Yobe, Tulotulo, who has got only N1,000 as capital. I would rather allow the system to be cheated by one individual because that man’s money is legitimate money.
Our party’s support base are ordinary people, young men and women, the so-called talakawa and in Yobe. I want to say that there are places that are more than 200 kilometres from any bank, meaning that there are banks only in Gashua, Nguru, Potiskum and Damaturu in the whole of Yobe.
Go to Kanamma, up to the border with Damasak in Borno, that is about 100 kilometres to Gaidam. From Gaidam to Gashua is 105 kilometres and from Gaidam to Damaturu is 175kilometers; to Potiskum is about 200kilometers. So how does he bring that capital of N1,000 or N2,000 to exchange?
It won’t even transport him?
Yes. And that is his capital. In fact, somebody with N1,000 in such communities is a rich man.
Is it because of the level of poverty?
Of course, that is where you have to remove your thatched house every year because before 12 calendar months, the sand dunes have overtaken the roof. And human beings live there – no electricity, no water, nothing. They don’t even know that there is a government and you make that person lose his N1,000? If he curses you, God will accept his prayers. So it is him that is our problem, not the one with N22bn stacked in his house.
Is the governor with the N22bn looking for second term?
It doesn’t matter what term he is looking for, it is stolen money. Why can’t security agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), raid that place and take away the money since they know?
People are calling out the CBN governor, are you one of them?
No, I congratulate him.
But people are cursing him.
Well, because they don’t understand where the buck stops.
Is it at the table of the president?
Is it the first time the present president is doing this? Was Emefiele there in 1984 when he did it? This is his (Buhari’s) brainchild.
Nigerians are saying that changing the naira at this time was actually a dummy sold to the president. Even members of the APC are saying so; do you not agree with them?
Emefiele is a servant of the president, so he dares not redesign the currency without an explicit permission and expression. The president has said he approved it. It is his thinking, not a dummy. People are cowards and sycophants.
Are you saying this because of your long time relationship with the president, although you are no longer together?
It is Buhari’s handiwork, not Emefiele’s.
So the claim by APC governors that Emefiele is behind it is not true?
It is because they don’t want to attack the president; they are attacking the messenger.
But why are they doing that?
It is because Emefiele is gajeriyar danga (short fence), which is the easiest place to jump to the other side.
Our presidential candidate and leader (Kwankwaso) has said he is begging Mr President, for the sake of that man with N1,000 in a faraway Tulotulo. Let them extend the time. The president listened and extended the deadline by 10 days, but that was not enough.
Our candidate said there was no need for an ordinary man to lose his legitimate earnings; God will not forgive Nigeria if that happens. He said that when he wins the presidential election, let everybody go to the bank and get his money exchanged. And unless there is something unusual, there is manipulation and rigging, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso will win the election on February 25, 2023.
Will he print money and give to people?
We are modifying that position. Let Buhari instruct all local governments across the country to open their treasuries and take legitimate money from citizens and deposit in the bank, such that nobody should be made to lose.
I don’t know about remote villages, but as far as towns and many villages are concerned, old and new notes are not there and people are worried, what do you think?
We were told, and I tend to believe that there is scarcity of the new notes, so people spend days trying to change or withdraw. The money is not there, but the Central Bank claimed they had given enough money to banks. If they gave the banks enough money, where did it go? I have not seen a new naira note for the last 15 days.
The authorities ought to know. We were told that they are trying to stop people from vote-buying, but they are rather trying to stop the masses from going to villages. Is there anybody in Nigeria that doesn’t know that Fidelity Bank belongs to Peter Obi? Is there anybody who can raise his finger and tell me that bank owners are not either friends to Tinubu or Atiku?
They may be friends to your candidate too. Is that correct?
None of them is his friend.
But many are friends to Kwankwaso…
None; let the banker raise his finger. We almost got stranded in Kwara because we couldn’t buy fuel, and they were not taking transfer.
Are you saying the CBN policy is actually targeted at you?
Of course, that’s what we assume. Why is the money scarce? The CBN told us they gave out money, but we are not seeing it. Where’s the money?
What’s the problem now?
The people they claimed they wanted to stop from getting money for vote-buying are the ones collecting it because they have friends who are managing directors of banks.
Do you have facts?
I am not alleging. If they (politicians) are not collecting the money, it means that managing directors of banks are stealing it. So, the money is just circulating among them.
What about your candidate?
What about the 14 other candidates?
There is nothing like 14, there are only four candidates in this election.
Do you think the decision of the president would not stop vote-buying?
It cannot; they (politicians) have access to money. The only problem they have is that the one they stacked in the house cannot go into the system.
Is it difficult to go into the system?
It then means the president has achieved something, don’t you think so?
The one that amassed N22billion is a loss.
Is it not possible for him to share the money to avoid the loss?
How many people will you give N1million to take to the system? Don’t you think the world would know? He has security in the house, so they will report.
Do you think there could be others like that governor?
That is why the solution is that every local government should open their treasury and take money from citizens because in most cases, they will only travel 50 kilometres. They can use donkey, camel or horse to come and deposit the money and go back.
Do you think the timing for the naira swap is right?
Well, it may not be right but he has his reason. There is always a reason for anything that happens in this world.
Nigerians know about your relationship with the president before now. Is it because you are no longer together that you are saying these things?
I wasn’t there in 1984 when he did it. But Hassan Albadawi, who was Buhari’s commissioner for education when he was the governor of North Eastern State and later became the sole administrator at Gamboru Ngala on the border with Chad and Cameroon, appeared on television 9 o’clock news and begged the president to extend the time of naira swap because people in his constituency had no access to banks. Before the news ended, another message came, a special announcement, that he thereby dismissed the chairman of that local community.
With military dispatch?
Yes, it happened.
It is believed that President Buhari doesn’t listen to advice, do you think these meetings he has been having with some people would change anything?
Well, whether he listens or not, he is in charge; and history will judge him. When Buhari came out, nobody that had an experience of his regime in 1983 would have touched him with a long spoon. We know the kind of brain work we did in order for him to be accepted by the masses because of his high-handedness during his regime.
Are you surprised at some of these things that are happening?
I am not surprised because I knew he would do that.
Is it good for Nigeria’s nascent democracy?
We thought he had reformed, but when he started manifesting his old self, it didn’t surprise us; that’s why we left.
People are saying that what is happening is actually a recipe for chaos because we have less than three weeks to the elections and money and fuel are not there; is the president not worried?
No. He is falling into the trap of some powerful people who do not believe that elections should hold. They are already working on an interim government.
Do you also believe in that?
They want to portray him as a failure that could not even organise a successful transition, having failed in the administration of the country for eight years. They will cause problems for him, and it would be self-inflicted.
We are seeing pockets of protests, especially in the South, people attacking banks, some even made attempts to attack a CBN branch; are you worried?
There is no human being who ruled this country that Nigerians have been so submissive to like Buhari.
Whatever he does, good or bad, people grudgingly take it.
Going by what is happening now, are they still taking some of these things he is doing?
I said he shouldn’t carry his luck too far.
Are you trying to say that Nigerians have reached the wall and started turning back?
Just wait and see if he escapes this.
Do you mean to escape the trap set for him?
A lot of people don’t understand that Buhari is only one among equals. God made him our leader, he didn’t make himself, so he should listen to us. Only God has power; and he is stepping on the province of God.
What are the chances of your party, the NNPP?
We are the only ones with a chance.
But we have 18 presidential candidates?
Ordinary Nigerians are our supporters. If you think you don’t like Kwankwaso, be rest assured that your wife or children, without telling you, are his supporters because they are looking at their future. People in southern Nigeria are now trying to understand and know who Kwankwaso is.
Are you talking about his pedigree?
In terms of pedigree, none of them is near him in education. In fact, all the frontrunners have doubtful credentials.
All of them?
We challenge them to present their certificates.
We will fact-check this because we have a professor among the presidential candidates.
Go and fact-check. All of them that were in public service, nobody has got his record of performance; none of them is near his integrity.
But integrity is a relative term.
He has never been accused of doing anything contrary to public order act.
You have been glorifying him like a saint; are you sure of what you are saying?
These are verifiable records.
Does he have the spread to win?
Kwankwaso has a record of performance.
But his predecessor said he left debts in Kano, is it not true?
He didn’t leave debt in Kano.
You said the masses would vote for your candidate, has there been any time the masses produced a president in Nigeria?
The president told the world that he was going to do an impeccable election.
Do you trust him?
I don’t need to trust him.
The president, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate raised concerns about BVAS, why?
Because with the BVAS, it will not be business as usual, where they would write figures or use the police.
So you trust the BVAS?
If it is properly deployed, yes.
Would you win the election without the support of northern leaders?
We are more northern than them. Kwankwaso is from Kano, I am from Gashua. My village to the extreme northern part is less than 50 kilometres, so I am more northern than them. And I am older. I have been in this business more than them.
You are 75 or thereabouts.
It doesn’t matter what I am, but I am older than most of them.
Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently said he was in touch with your candidate, is that true?
Recently, he sent some prominent Islamic spoilers – three of them – to come to Kwankwaso’s house to kneel down and plead with him to step down for Atiku. But we sent them away.
Yes; who are they? It is only the man who fears God that has got this thing before you; it is not how much money he has.
Would you like to mention the names of the clerics?
I will not do that because we respect that regalia, but if they remove it, anything can happen.
Would you call them out?
We will put small boys to deal with them.
You said you were not with rich people or notable regional groups, and you feel the clerics have been compromised, who is with you?
Are these not the problems of the masses?
But will the masses give you the Villa?
Are you telling me that it is not one man, one vote?
You followed Buhari in 2003 but he didn’t win until he reached out to other regions; how is your party reaching out now?
We are doing what we are doing. We will go from village to village, hamlet to hamlet, ward to ward, local government to local government, state to state, even by road, to meet the people because we believe we were told that their votes would count.
No, I have my reason why I’m saying this because you were with Buhari in 2003; you were with him in 2007; you were with him in 2011 and you have done all the campaigns by road and Buhari could not get the presidency until he stretched his hands across the Niger to go into alliance with Tinubu and others in 2015…
Until they used the card reader…The card reader, the card reader, God gave him (Buhari) the presidency through the card reader.
Not his relationship with Tinubu?
No, how many votes did Tinubu bring? The whole of South West, the difference between APC and PDP…
Tinubu brought a lot of votes from the South West for Buhari.
The whole is 100,000 votes. We, without money, without the press, without anything were getting 12.5million vote for Buhari every election.
So the much-hyped relationships across Niger is not valid?
All of them, including the governors and Tinubu, added only 2.8 million votes.
But was that not what made him president? He couldn’t make it all those years.
If you subtract the ones we have been bringing without them, could he be a counsellor?
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