A former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar (retd.) has bemoaned Nigeria’s kind of politics, saying people do anything to be elected. He also accused the electorate of selling their liberty and getting easily excited by sweet talks and gifts from politicians.
Speaking in an interview, the former Head of State said ahead of the forthcoming 2023 general elections, he expected more maturity and understanding from the politicians than just seeking power, noting that a lot of politicians and leaders had not met the people’s expectations.
He stated, “Yes, there are some challenges in leadership but you know politics is a dirty game. And I think we are playing dirty politics in this country. My prayer is that our politicians and the electorate are aware that their actions or inaction could mar this country. We have a lot of problems; people do anything in order to be elected and unfortunately the electorate sell their liberty. They become enticed by mere talks and worldly gifts and so on.
“I hope we will now wake up and do the right thing, which we know is right, to elect people we trust that can really look after us and deliver governance as it should be.”
Asked if his comment was borne out of his disappointment with the current government, he said, “Of course, I have some misgivings in some things but by and large when you are in leadership they say the onlookers see the best of the game. We are outside; maybe the leaders see things different way,
“But quite honestly, regardless, we could have done better than what we are doing. It is our collective leadership and I think all leaders should try to see what roles they can play in providing this leadership and governance.
“Also, we the citizens, as much as possible should try to engage the people we elected to deliver. We should not become praise singers and become subservient to people because they are in authority. We should be bold enough to tell our leaders, look, here you have done the right thing and here we think you should improve. But unfortunately, all of us just sit down and start complaining through the social media and reckless statements. I pray our leaders also listen and see things the way they are in order to help them in governing us.
Asked why he had not ventured into politics like some other retired generals, he said he would soon be 80 and could no longer go into politics. “Very soon, I will be 80 years old. What will I be looking for except to wait for my time to go and meet my creator.”
When reminded he could have done so earlier if interested, he said, “To look for what again? Allah has already been kind to me. It is now time for me to pay back.”
He stated that some of those who ventured into politics after retirement had done well, saying he hoped the younger generation of servicemen and other security agencies who are retiring would also go into politics. “You can see (retired) policemen, army officers, air force, navy and so on are all involved in politics and the more the merrier,” he added.
Asked whether he had ever been tempted to join politics, Abubakar said, “No, I’ve never been. Politics has never been my turf. There are some qualities and characteristics that make a politician. Naturally, I’m a very reserved fellow, but others have the flair to play politics.”
Speaking on the role played by the Peace Committee in 2015 before former President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat after he lost his re-election bid to the incumbent, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Abubakar said Jonathan conceded defeat on his own volition despite the pressure from his party, the Peoples Democratic Party for him not to.
Abubakar, who chairs the Peace Committee, said, “Whoever is telling stories that the pressure from foreign countries and the Peace Committee made Jonathan to concede is not being fair to him. I think President Jonathan deserves commendation for what he has done to save this country from further political jamlog. On his own, he considered the situation and despite the pressure from his own party not to concede, he conceded defeat and called President Buhari to congratulate him.
“I think Jonathan’s role is being underestimated and credit is not given to him the way it should be. I confirm here that there is neither pressure from the Peace Committee nor from the international committee. It is out of his volition and love for the peace and progress of Nigeria that he conceded.”