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Second republic governor of old Kaduna State , Alhaji Balarabe Abdulkadir Musa in this interview with Abeokuta-based ROCK CITY FM speaks on politics in Nigeria then and now, the various tendencies, leaders, the upheavals that led to his impeachment, corruption, the military regimes and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, among other national issues. Excerpts:

Second republic governor of old Kaduna State , Alhaji Balarabe Abdulkadir Musa in this interview with Abeokuta-based ROCK CITY FM speaks on politics in Nigeria then and now, the various tendencies, leaders, the upheavals that led to his impeachment, corruption, the military regimes and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, among other national issues. Excerpts:

The period you were a governor, we know you had problems with the majority party in the House of Assembly, the NPN, which subsequently led to your impeachment. Do you feel bitter about the events of that time?
No, I didn't feel bitter but I was disappointed that those who were responsible for that, they did not care about the consequences of their action. We were just starting a democratic process but that action affected that programme adversely because as a result of that impeachment, to impeach became a regular event in Nigeria and affected our democratic development. To that extent, I regretted it but I didn't regret the provision of the constitution which provided for impeachment of the Governor or President for gross misconduct and other things, I didn't regret it because I knew that it was necessary to cut undemocratic and dictatorial tendencies.
Sir, can I interpret this to mean that you were wrong and the House was right to impeach you?
No, the impeachment was purely a political manoeuvre. In Kaduna state, the old Kaduna state, there was historical battle between two political movements, the political movement that represented the previous feudal colonial system and the political movement that represented emerging stakeholders for liberation and progress. The movement that represented feudalism and the new dictatorship was represented by the NPN and the movement that represented the Liberation of the people from feudalism in particular, was represented by my party  The People's Redemption Party (PRP). The struggle between the two forces dated from 1950 when their predecessor's political parties was established, that was the NPC, representing the feudal and capitalist system and the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) which represented the liberation of the common man. Under these circumstances, you expect a revolutionary struggle between the two forces which are dimensionally opposite to one another. This is what happened, how to prevent it from happening was democratic and patriotic leadership in the country which didn't exist at that time. So, the fight to the finish was inevitable because there was nothing to stop it, and that is what happened. The NPN then tried by all means to rig the election with the support of the reactionary political group in the country, they realized that we had the support of the masses in the state and it was likely the PRP will win the 1979 election, and they didn't want that to happen because of the consequences of what might befall them because of what we stood for. They did everything possible to rig the election, and they did rig the election. They couldn't rig the election of the governorship, and as a result, I the governorship candidate of the PRP emerged and they couldn't accept this, so they had to do everything, and what favoured them was the fact that the election of the governor took place first before the election of the state House of Assembly. So, they thought that was a good opportunity for them to rig in the state election by all means and get the two-third majority to enable them to impeach the governor under the 1979 constitution and that was exactly what they did, with great consequences, negative consequences for the state.
The second republic (1979- 1983), your party, the PRP tagged itself as Progressive, and we had the NPN working together with the NPP then, but the other so called Progressives  GNPP, PRP, UPN….( Cuts in).
They were not “so called” Progressives, they were real progressives as compared with the conservativeness of the NPN at that time, that's the real, honest judgment.
Fine, that is my question, if you are progressive which means you had the same ideas, what made it difficult or impossible for these progressives to work together because I know there were talks…………(cuts in).
Well, there was a problem of different ideological positions. The progressive parties at that time were four, conservative party was one. Conservative was the NPN, the progressive parties were the NPP, UPN, PRP and GMPP. All these four differed ideologically, they had a meeting point and a common name progressive but after that, they were different. For instance, you can group the NPP, GNPP and even the UPN as progressive capitalist party while the PRP alone stood as progressive socialist party. Now, that brought about ideological differences. The ideological differences were not antagonistic but they rarely existed there, in fact they would have been united and come under one party, in other words, they would have merged. Like what happened in the 2015 election, when ACN, CPC and ANPP merged into one political party and formed APC, that was not possible for us during the second republic. In spite of the higher level of political consciousness, we couldn't submerge this ideological differences, my party in particular could not abandon its socialist ideology which is rooted in its beginning since 1950 when the party was formed.
Why was the merger not possible? Is it the individuals, characters that were leading the team or the followers or is it just the political atmosphere in the country then that made it difficult?
It is just what each party stood for, the UPN, NPP and GNPP as I said, were clearly a Progressive capitalist party. There is a vast difference between the capitalist ideology and the socialist ideology, we realised this and knew we could not merge and become one party as APC became, but we realised that even though we couldn't do it for our collective interest and in the interest of the nation, we could go into a democratic electoral alliance, that is what we did. We achieved some level of electoral alliance, even though it didn't succeed in winning the presidency in 1979.
You talk about the political consciousness at that time, let's look at then and now, in particular, the conduct of the elections and allegations of rigging, which one is better?
Well, the situation up to 1979 was vastly different from the situation after. During the period 1950-1979, political parties were formed on the basis of clear ideology and we had a system, a social-political and economic system which was based on the leading role of the state in the economy and the predominance of public interest first and enlightened self interest second which produced a clear political party with clear ideological identification and leadership, which was responsible and patriotic. For example, throughout the period 1950-1979 as I said, the first concern of all politicians without exception was public interest first then enlightened self interest second. It produced political leaders who were responsible, patriotic; but from 1979, the beginning of the second republic till date, the system has changed from one based on public interest first and enlightened selfinterest second, to self-interest first and public interest second, and as a result, we have now a system of a leading role played by the private sector in the economy and it has produced a system and political leadership based on self-interest, which is now directly responsible for the negative factors, such as the level of corruption, stealing and criminal waste of resources, unemployment, poverty and hunger, insecurity, colonialism etc, that is the situation today. I will give you another example to show that we have moved backwards from pre 1979 election, because for the whole period of 1950 to 1979, nobody could steal a kobo of public fund without due investigation and punishment accordingly, after being found guilty, but from first October 1959 to date you have seen what happens, virtually every Nigerian leader is a thief, and the condition has made it so. Now, if you are the favourite of the president, governor or the local government chairman, or anyone they have appointed according to the constitution, you could steal any percentage of the annual budget and get away with it, provided of course, in the Nigerian fashion if you don't cart it alone, so you can see the system and the leadership between 1959 and 1979 produced responsible, patriotic leaders who cared for the people and for the country.
The military that cut short the second republic, what they told Nigerians was that they are intervening because of high level of corruption within the polity and after that set up tribunals, public leaders were jailed for corruption. If we are saying it's not that bad then, some people say the foundation of what we are seeing today was laid by those who were our political leaders at that time, which you were one of them.
Yes, because the system, as I said from 1950 to 1979, was based on public interest first, enlightened self- interest second and with the leading role of the state in the economy to ensure peace, equality, justice, dignity were patriotic and not thieves……………(cuts in).
Then why were they jailed by the military then?
You are now talking about what happened in 1979 in particular, things weren't that bad, it deteriorated gradually with the coming of the new change, the civilians. In 1979 things became different from what they were before. Before, it was public interest first, enlightened self interest second and leading role of the state in the economy, so there was relative stability, but immediately after the take-over by civilians from 1979, Ist October, the system was changed to one based
on the leading role of the private sector in the economy to ensure competition and profitthe leading role of the private sector in the ability and the result of it is what we have now, that is what we have been having from Ist October, 1979 to date. For example, we are so bugged down by this level of corruption and it has persisted throughout so much that even the Anti-corruption campaign we are talking about today cannot continue and succeed peacefully without some revolution, because while you are fighting the corrupt system, the corrupt leadership, you should know that this corruption would also fight back.
What do you mean by revolution?
Well, such a revolution where the reality of political power can change from one ruling class to the majority of the people, as it happens in other countries.
We have been talking of corruption in our system for decades now, what exactly would be the recipe to stop corruption?
Corruption has been brought about by the system and leadership produced by the system, and before you can fight and eliminate corruption you have to reverse the situation, you have to realise that to ensure even enlightened self interest, you have to establish basis for public interest because, public interest provides the basis for equality and justice, and equal opportunity to pursue so you have to change the system.
Let me get this clearly, at a point in Nigeria's political line, our former head of state, Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida, said he banned what he called old breed politicians from participating because he identified them as part of the political problem. Is that the kind of revolution we expect or that is needed to move this country forward?
No it was unjust and dishonest, for example, in pursuit of that policy of Babangida, he kept me in prison for 5 months simply because I participated in the formation of a political party which he himself enabled me to do, and as a result of the federal government decision on the investigation of politicians. The investigation commission declared that I was free of all corruption and it recommended that I should be excluded from any ban on participation in politics, but when I participated in the formation of political party, I think that was 1989, the same Babangida after he signed a gazette excluding me from any future ban on participation in party and politics, after having signed the gazette, he specifically ordered my arrest and detention for 5 months because I participated in the formation of political party.
Now, you had to fall out from the public service as a result of disagreement. As a governor you also had disagreement with your legislators. Today some people will describe you as radical, some would say you are an extremist, conservative and some would say you do not just want to agree with people in power, when u hear this kind of comment, how do you feel?
Well, I think it is fair comment when you take into account my position, that I fight injustice, I fight backwardness, I fight dictatorship, I fight oppression and exploitation. Anyone who fights this social evil, would be an extremist, would be someone who can't agree with the authorities and so on, and this is a historical development. There have been penalty for these throughout history, the role I'm playing in politics is nothing unique. Others before me played the same role, for instance, if Awolowo, Azikwe, Aminu Kano, even the Sadauna were to be alive today, they will be political outcast by the leadership of Nigeria today because their level of morality, their level of discipline, will not allow them to compromise with the leaders of today who are generally thieves. They will be looked at, the way I'm being looked at now.
With your status and level today in the country, some people will expect that as an elder- state man and an experienced politician you have contacts or means of getting in touch with many of the leaders, do you explore this and try to offer them advice, discuss with them privately?
O yes! Particularly from 2003 to date, but they won't listen.
Who and who among them did not listen?
For example, the most dramatic thing is our support for Buhari throughout 2003  2011 and our inability to continue the support from 2015 till date. So, we have tried. Before that, we also tried something, though, there was no disappointment, for instance, we tried to support Abiola and we supported him and the SDP. After the end of the election and annulment of the election, we supported the annulment of Abiola's election and throughout the time, we had no regret. After his death, certainly, we did not have the regret we had from 2003  2011.
What will you say is the cause of the inability to continue with the support for Buhari?
Well, unfortunately, we found out that the APC instead of democratic electoral alliance which the PRP is committed to, want a merger and we are not prepared for a merger. You see, PRP has a distinct history from the time it was established up to today. The PRP policy is that it must maintain its ideological identity as a socialist party and it will not compromise that. I will give you another example, in 1983 when UPN was trying to unite progressive parties of GNPP, UPN, NPP and PRP, a Stage was reached when we met in Lagos, when all the political parties agreed to nominate one presidential candidate and we thought, for that to succeed we should support one of the parties, either NPP represented by Zik or UPN represented by Awolowo. It didn't work because the younger element in the parties didn't want either Awolowo or Zik, they wanted one of them and one of those responsible, I will mention him, because I regard him as somebody that I have no regret for isolating him and that is Ebenezer Babatope. I isolated him because of the negative role he played from that time to date. He was one of those who didn't want even Awolowo to be nominated as the presidential candidate; he would rather have someone else because he couldn't cope with the discipline of Awolowo. Babatope of all people (am diverting a little), let me tell you the attempt we made, when we couldn't agree with either Zik or Awolowo as presidential candidate, some of us in the PRP and some of our friends in UPN led by Jakande came out with the idea that Awolowo should be our presidential candidate and I should be his running mate, but that time, they were thinking of somebody of which I can't remember his name, but they brought that idea, they wanted me to be Awolowo's presidential mate for the 1983 election. I went to Jakande and he confirmed that UPN leaders were discussing this and he discussed it with me and I agreed with Jakande that I should go to Awolowo, and I confirmed it from Awolowo that they intended to have me as a presidential running mate. When I went to Awolowo, my leader, the leader of our faction the PRP faction, labour leader number one (Michael Imoudu), So, when I went with Awolowo together with him, Awolowo confirmed it but it was not possible for me to be his presidential running mate because the UPN, demanded that I should decamp from the PRP to UPN, but I said no, I will not decamp to the UPN, but if the arrangement can be found where we can use the institution to have an alliance between the UPN and the PRP, under which I can still remain PRP and contest as running mate of Awolowo, I would do so. But in the end I think it was found that it was not possible to be the running mate in UPN, that I had to leave the PRP to the UPN. So, just as I am emphasising to you our commitment, our struggle as a socialist party, our desire to maintain a separate Identity and the same problem arose for the 2015 election, we could not merge with the APC even though the APC was led by our friends because, Tinubu and Buhari were our friends, but as leaders of APC group, they demanded that we should merge, there was no formal discussion but I personally discussed with Tinubu but i never discussed this with Buhari. It was not possible to abandon our socialist identity as PRP socialist party and merge with APC which we regard as a new colonialist political party. We are not prepared to sacrifice our identity as a socialist party.
What actually led to the disagreement between you and the late Abubakar Rimi?
Well, both of us rebeled against our party, the People's Redemption Party, because the party under the late Aminu Kano was tending towards the NPN, in 1983. The PRP had a meeting in Maiduguri at which the PRP under the leadership of late Mallam Aminu Kano agreed to dissolve itself and merged with the NPN. Now because the decision was taken by the party and Mallam Aminu Kano was not comfortable with it, it was one of those decisions by the majority which was not in the interest of the party, Mallam Aminu Kano refused to implement the decision without further consultation, without effective convention. Eze Okonkwo who was the national secretary of the party was annoyed and he left the PRP and joined the NPN and stated publicly that he was doing so because the PRP at Maiduguri decided to dissolve itself to join the NPN, (I'm diverting), but I am trying to tell you why I fought Rimi. So we continued as PRP under the leadership of Michael Imoudu, in other words the PRP was sectionalized into two factions, one under the leadership of late Mallam Aminu Kano and the other led by his deputy, Chief Michael Imoudu. Now we continued like this, the two governors, Abubakar Rimi and myself were leading the Imoudu faction, then after a stage, matters deteriorated, the Rimi group within the Imoudu faction was wanting the Imoudu faction to dissolve itself and join the NPP. The other faction led by myself was desirous of dissolving and joining the UPN, but myself and others said we cannot do that, we cannot abandon our separate identity as a socialist party. So the Imoudu faction led by me, reconciled with the Aminu faction of the PRP and returned to the original PRP. We started the discussion at the invitation of Mallam. Mallam started the idea of the PRP faction led by me going back and calling for reconciliation. Now we started a number of meetings, in one course of that discussion even Imoudu agreed with me that it was bad that the PRP was factionalized, but it was even worse that some of us, were wanting to dissolve the PRP completely. Imoudu agreed to abandon his own side of people wanting to dissolve with UPN, he said it's a better arrangement for us who remained with the Imoudu faction to reconcile with Aminu faction and return to the PRP. So we visited Kano on two occasions for discussion on the unification of the PRP under the leadership of Imoudu, but while we were doing that, Aminu Kano suddenly died, and when he died, Imoudu and myself decided that the greatest tribute we could pay to Malllam was to continue with the unification plan, which we continued with, and the PRP was reunited. We agreed as part of the reconciliation that someone else will be the national chairman of PRP and we chose someone who was not an original member of the PRP. He is from Damaturu, We agreed that he should be the new chairman succeeding Mallam Aminu Kano, Rimi should continue as deputy national chairman and I became the vice chairman of the party. There was problem about nominating the governorship candidate of the PRP in Kaduna state, because Kaduna and kano became key to the solution of the problem of the PRP, simply because the states were more organised than other states. So it was agreed that the PRP was reunited under the leadership of Yusufu, later, Yusufu abandoned us and went to NPN. Imoudu died and I continued the leadership of the PRP till today.
What is your opinion about the position of Afenifere as regards the Fulani cattle rearers?
Well, unfortunately, Afenifere right from the beginning, even though I have many friends in Afenifere, but we differ on national issues. I have regarded Afenifere, ACF, Ohaneze and surrogate like APC as a socialist secessionist group in Nigeria, even though they talk about federalism. When you take their antics into account, they are essentially secessionist, they will take any opportunity to secede from Nigeria. Of course, Nigerians are becoming so united, that we will not give them that privilege, but they are secessionist. In the case of Afenifere and Ohaneze, they are vulgar about it, even though they don't say they are secessionist, but their vulgarity is such that can be seen clearly, but in the case of ACF, they are more tactful, they don't appear as secessionist but they are essentially secessionist, if they cannot cope particularly, if they don't see themselves as leading Nigeria they will not be indifferent to secession, they would like to secede, just like the Afenifere would want the south-west to secede, Ohanaze would want the south-east to succeed. Yes!
Culled from SundaySun

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