Hon. Ibrahim Kasai is a former Nigerian Ambassador to Ukraine and Board of Trustees (BoT) member, Buhari Campaign Organisation. He spoke to GYANG BERE in Jos on topical issues that concern 2019 general elections, saying only death will stop Buhari’s re-election.
We have few months to 2019 general elections, what are the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari?
To doubt the chances of President Buhari is not the way to put the question, perhaps I should have been asked how bright is the chance of Mr. President, then I will pick on that positive perspective.
President Buhari is well known by Nigerians and he has done so well, his support base is in the grassroots and he is known internationally as an anti-corruption crusader and I believe that he will bring Africa to the limelight.
Therefore, I will categorically say that his chances are bright to win the 2019 presidential election.
But the President and APC keep losing top members of the party to the opposition each passing day, don’t you see that as a hurdle for Buhari ahead of the 2019 election?
Well, it is true some people are defecting but what we are looking at is the implication of such defection and the number of electorate such people control.
Politics is a game of number and those people defecting, I am sure you are referring to the Senators and a few governors; some of them find themselves in a dilemma and that is why they are using the defection threat to frighten
Mr. President and the APC but quite frankly, in an election like this, the calculation of an individual is that if I am not going to win here, if I try elsewhere, I might make head-way.
Most of those defectors are not quite happy with the President’s anti-corruption posture and if they are not comfortable with it, they will look for alternatives and even where they went, they are facing problems there.
We are not happy that they are going but we are not afraid that these individuals have gone to another party.
Interestingly, as they go, more are also coming into APC, I am sure you are aware of the numbers of people coming into APC from the South-South, South-East and other places in the North.
Are you referring to those leaving the party such as Bukola Saraki, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Governor Samuel Ortom and other Senators as corrupt?
I wouldn’t say so easily because for you to declare somebody corrupt, he must be adjudged as such. That was why I said they are not comfortable with this administration and if Mr. President is fighting corruption and APC is fighting corruption that means this might not be their place.
Most Nigerians believe that the fight against corruption is lopsided and it is a deliberate attempt to witch-hunt the opposition PDP ahead of 2019, do you agree?
It is not so, it should be the other way round. If you say a person who has been apprehended or arrested is a member of the opposition party, then we should ask whether the person’s hands are clean.
Has the EFCC arrested anybody that is not being suspected? Or somebody who has not been in government? The principle of fighting crime is that the people who were in government before this administration are the first persons to be pursued because you can retrieve something from the person who stole soonest.
There were petitions against some governors who defected in 2015 to support
Mr. President but since then, they have not been tried and on this account, most Nigerians believe that Buhari’s government is more corrupt than Jonathan’s administration. Do you think otherwise?
Well, that insinuation is political because if EFCC is to release files of people that are billed for trials, you will notice that each case has its own peculiarities.
Also, Buhari is not sparing anybody because of party lineage; members of the APC are also being
tried, PDP people are being tried, be you in any party, if you are found wanting, you face the music and that is the standard.
For one to think that because somebody has defected to APC he will have his file removed from the EFCC and be forgiven, it doesn’t work that way; the President is fighting crime all across, he does not shield anybody.
Will you adjudge the fight against corruption as free and fair, and has he made any reasonable achievement in that direction?
I might not give you a straightjacket answer. In my opinion, there are frustrations in the struggle. First, there has been a problem between EFCC and other agencies, there has been a problem also with our courts.
I am a lawyer and I will tell you that so many things are happening; the delays are very unnecessary, the delay in handling anti-corruption cases is so much that it is becoming frustrating.
The EFCC will file a matter and the suspects will still be in government. We have about 21 former governors in the Senate and most of them have EFCC cases, they have money, they move freely because our law says you are innocent until proven guilty.
These people go about their businesses and interfere with investigations.
Sometimes, you will find that the President is fighting this anti-corruption alone despite the fact that he has his cabinet members and agencies, and that is why the fight against corruption has to be holistic.