Dr. Ibrahim Bello Dauda is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and National Coordinator of the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO). Dauda recently spoke with some selected Journalists in Abuja and bared his mind on national issues, the re-launch of BSO, President Buhari’s achievements and why the President needs a second term. TOM OKPE was there.
Why are you re-launching the BSO now that election is close?
Well, we opened the office to re-launch the Buhari Support Organization and we made it clear on the day of launching that BSO is not only about political campaigns.
BSO is transforming into leadership training and mentor-ship institution, where young Nigerians will be groomed and mentored to become future leaders.
They would be taught on what it takes to be a personality of integrity. That, it is not money that buys integrity, it is your principles, your philosophy, your ideologies and commitment to public service and your ability to do justice that makes you the personality of integrity.
So, we want to transform BSO into that institution, because it was the original philosophy into which BSO was created in 2014/2015. But then, the campaign was the primary issue and that was why we concentrated on the campaign. So, this office was opened to anchor those programmes from now on.
Talking about BSO being a leadership training institution, would it be used to campaign for the 2019 general elections?
Yes, BSO leadership training is one out of many other functions; like l said; our responsibility first is to coordinate all other support groups.
Any structure or group in Nigeria that is supporting the course of Buhari, either as a person or government has to be registered with BSO and that is why today we have almost 600 groups registered with BSO.
So, our responsibility is to register them, manage them and coordinate their operations to make sure they are in tandem with the philosophies and ideologies of the person of Buhrai.
Secondly, we have a duty to campaign and promote his ideologies, principles and vision. So, we are going to campaign for him and promote the activities of the government and educate Nigerians on what the government has done so far as against the negativities that are being pushed out.
The salient achievements are not being brought to the fore. So, it is our responsibility to push those achievements out so that Nigerians will understand that despite the negative propagation,
the government has achieved a very good number of positive things that are going to be changed for the best. So, all those are the things we are going to embark on. That is why we opened the office.
Talking about registration of groups that believes in Buhari and his philosophy, there is a new group (Buharists) championed by the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai; would it also be registered by BSO?
The mandate we had from the President in 2014 while launching the BSO is that any group supporting his course should work under BSO guidance, which is what made him the single signatory to our account. There is no group today that has that privilege.
Now, will BSO ask the President to seek re-election in 2019?
Yes, we will for many reasons. Let me give you a few. Would Nigeria be where she is today had Buhari not being in power? It is God that gave him leadership but it is because of his integrity and doggedness.
It is on record today that there are few leaders in the world that have managed to push back insurgency of the magnitude of Boko Haram within the space of 6-7 months.
We have seen what Alshabab has done; we have seen the ISIS in Iraq and Syria and a lot of other rebellion in the world. There is none that has been pushed back within that record time.
So, President Buhari should be given a Nobel Laureate Prize in terrorism warfare because there is no leader in the world that has succeeded in pushing a very high skilled terrorist’s organisation like Boko Haram from reclaiming almost one quarter of the country back to ground zero within a space of 7 months.
It is a feat unbelievable in history. So, that is one achievement. We are all shouting today, throwing all those negativity on social media because there is peace.
In 2014 and 2015, everybody in Abuja was running around because nobody knew when the next bomb would explode. People were living in fear and Abuja roads were barricaded, you can hardly pass on a lane as the other lane was condemned with barricade, but today all those roads have been opened.
When was the last time you had about bomb explosion here? So, if there is nothing else that this government has achieved, it has achieved security.
Then in the anti corruption war, irrespective of what any other person would say, there is no government that has tackled corruption the way this government has tackled corruption.
Thirdly, if you look at the Agricultural Sector, no administration has achieved what this administration has achieved today in terms of self sufficiency in food production with the anchor program of the CBN on the rice growers and we are hoping that by next year we will stop importation of rice completely.
No administration had achieved that in the past. So we can mention many of these achievements.
These are the reasons we feel he should be allowed to come back and complete the strengthening of the economy, building the agricultural sector, strengthening our security system and taking back corruption and Nigeria would move forward.
On issues of corruption and fight against insurgency, some persons believe that the President has not done much as you have otherwise said, but rather believe that the integrity of the President has gone down because of the way he is fighting corruption. How would BSO react to these allegations?
Well, a lot of people would have their opinions. I am looking at the broader picture while some persons are looking at government from a narrow perspective.
You see when you talk of integrity and the percentage value to which it has either appreciated or depreciated, l think what we should appreciate is the fact that the fight against terror has succeeded over 80%. Everybody will agree to that.
Where we are today is better than where we were in 2015. There is nowhere in the world you will eliminate terror just like you close a company and liquidate everything and you disappear.
There would be pockets of resistance which would take a while to be flushed out because these people will remove their uniform and move into the civilian population and it is not written on anybody’s forehead that he or she is a terrorists.
So, it would take some time using high level intelligence networking and they are doing a lot. If you go out every day you will discover that they have either busted or arrested terrorists trying to bomb a place before they do it; the military will foil an attack here and there.
The principal thing is that they have been pushed back to their primary areas, that is to ground zero. That is where they are now. You can go to Maiduguri now, do your business and go back.
Commercial flights land and take off from Maiduguri today; was that possible in 2014 and 2015. It was not possible. I think these critics are just not being realistic.
When you talk of fighting corruption, agreed that things are not perfect and we shouldn’t expect them to be because this corruption would fight back.
You are fighting people who have immeasurable amount of money and power and they are organised. Why do you call it an organised crime, it means it is not easy to burst. That is why you call it organised crime.
It means that there are a group of people who have carefully organised themselves and are committing a crime in whatever nature in a way that it is not easy for the law to catch up with them.
Some of these investigations would take years, some of these prosecutions would take years and don’t forget there is a constitution. Buhari cannot be a dictator as people are thinking or want him to be. It doesn’t work like that in a democracy.
There is the intelligence agency that would bring the information, the arrest body that would arrest, the prosecution body that would prosecute and the judiciary that would judge.
So, there are about 4 or 5 units in this process and each of these units is an independent unit and each of them has sets of rules and regulations given to them by the constitution of the land.
You don’t expect Buhari today to go and tell the judge to sentence this person in court. No. The judiciary is independent and the Senate and House of Representatives are monitoring what they are doing.
Also, you don’t expect Buhari to say go and arrest Mr. A or Mr. B, l suspect he is corrupt. EFCC relies on petition and if nobody petitions against you, it means you cannot be investigated.
They can’t just bounce on you and begin to investigate you, they need people to come forward with information and evidence for them to use because that is what the act says.
Nigerians should go back to the National Assembly and ask them to give EFCC power to investigate anybody without petition and let us see if people will sleep in their houses.
But for now, they can’t investigate people without petition, they would wait for people to come forward and report before they act.
So, people are not looking at the realities of the provisions of the law that have impeded certain things, that have tied the hands of the President.
Don’t forget that the President had cried severally that the Procurement Act is frustrating his efforts to develop infrastructure, the Senate refused to budge. How many Nigerians have come out to accuse the NASS of that and it is true.
By the Procurement Act, it takes about 6-7 months to pre-qualify a company to start a job and by then 70% of time have been lost in the budget year and that is why we keep on having variations of contracts every year.
Why can’t they review the law to give free access to the President to work? So, we can’t have roads as we want to because the Procurement Act says you must do this, you must do that and the President cannot be a dictator.
So, there are limitations in the law, which the President cannot abuse. Like l said, there are fallouts and fall backs here and there but overall, if you are to score him, l think it is over 70%.
Now on the APC Presidential ticket for 2019 general elections, which way would BSO want the President to acquire the ticket of the party; automatic ticket, or by convention?
Well, you see President Muhammadu Buhari believes in the rule of law, fairness and equity. He would not want to emerge in a situation where it will look as if he manipulated or muscled the party using his position as the Executive President of Nigeria.
He would want the norms of democracy to play. But it is left for the party at the same time to know where we are coming from; where we are today; where we are going to and how we got to where we are today and allow sense of reasoning and wisdom to prevail.
If we go to primaries which is the logical thing and according to the terms of the party’s constitution, l believe we will still win the primaries,
but it is politics; we have to lobby, we have to campaign, we have to convert people to be on our side, but at the end of the day, l believe he will still emerge as the candidate.
The CG of Customs, Col. Hamid Ali, who was the Coordinator of BSO in 2015 at the opening of the office, said 50% of those holding offices in this government are PDP. How did you get to this statistics?
It is not a factual statistics. It is more of an estimate based on the things we see on ground. If you look at the Parastatals, they are about 460 or so, and a lot of the Chief Executives either in acting capacity or substantive appointments are from the former government, which is by implication what the CG said.
So, a large number of those Agencies are still being controlled either in acting capacity or substantive capacity by PDP members and even where they were appointed, there are some of them who were PDP members who were brought and were still given some of the agencies to hold.
So, it is like APC recruiting PDP people into filling government spaces. And you know in democracy, every government in the world today and in the past moves with its own structure.
Nigeria is not a Parliamentary state where you have unitary government. Nigeria is a democratic state patterned in the US system of governance, where if a government comes in there is a total overhaul in positions of Board of Parastatals. Old hands give way to members of the new party.
Party business is a group business; it is a brotherhood, it’s about people and if you don’t compensate people, you will end up without people behind you.
If Buhari was to run as an independent candidate today then he would have the freedom to do what he wishes in terms of appointments, but as he is where he is today based on the party structure that manages people,
there is that responsibility and obligation to the party and above all, he needs his loyalists – people who believe in his philosophy and who believe in his vision.
If you appoint people into government who do not believe in your government, vision and philosophies, the tendencies are that they would either work against you or frustrate your vision,
because it is only people who believe in your vision that can actually work to get those visions fulfilled. So, there must be a connection between appointments, trust and loyalty to the principal.
Many party chieftains believe that the President has not had a good working relationship with the APC to the extent that the party does not make input into the government appointments, who do you blame for this in APC?
You see, this is the first time an opposition party is coming into government. PDP was there since 1999 and they succeeded themselves so many times.
Now, ANPP, ACN or CPC had never been in power at the centre before, so you will discover that there is a lot of learning process and part of that learning process is the gaps you see in relationship.
When we came in, we came under the platform of ACN, CPC, ANPP and others; those factors played a little while after 2015 even though we are APC but internally there were elements of going back to where l am coming from within us.
The CPC, ACN and the ANPP cliques that affected the internal structure, who have gotten them appointed got themselves inclined more to their traditional party before they were merged as APC to the detriment of other groups.
If any person was appointed he got inclined to his first party colleagues. So it took time for everybody in real terms to look at all of us as APC and divorce our initial party affection. So, within that confusion, it affected the party.
Secondly, this issue of PDP people in APC government also affected the system. But like l said, when we came in, the priority of the President was security, because that was the issue that was in dire need of attention.
Nobody in Nigeria cared for anything excerpt first to be secured. Bombs were going off everywhere and killings were going on rampantly. Nobody was safe and you didn’t know what would happen tomorrow.
So, he devoted the first year of his government to manage security, which he did very well. Like l said it was not a perfect situation, that first year was a learning process and consolidation.
The President has his own faults; l cannot say he does not have a fault. The party has its own fault. So, it is a fifty-fifty blame scenario.
Because when it comes to the Board appointment you heard the President saying that he gave instructions since 2015 for the party to compile names and bring forward because he wanted fairness and recognised the party’s relationship.
He asked them to go and do that and bring to him, they couldn’t do it in two years. Was that the fault of the President? List after list, they kept on contradicting them.
This person will say this is not an APC man and that had nothing to do with the President. If the President wanted to shut out the party, he would have just sat in the Villa and get 3 or 4 persons to do it for him but he said no;
that the party should come in and bring the people who have worked to bring the party into power and the party couldn’t do it. How was that the fault of the President? But as a leader he has to accept the blame.
The party would not come out to tell you that we also had our problem because we refused to agree on who should be on the list and who shouldn’t be.
But l am happy that with the last APC NEC these things have been brought to an end and we are going to move forward.
What is the relationship between BSO and APC?
The relationship is straightforward. BSO is for Buhari, APC is for everybody who is an APC member. APC is for Buhari, APC is for Atiku, APC is for Kwakwanso and any other person who is an APC man.
BSO cannot work for Kwankwaso, BSO cannot work for Atiku or any other person. They all have their groups. Atiku Foundation cannot come and work for Buhari.
So, BSO is a personal organisation that is set to work, based on the ideologies, visions and principles of President Muhammadu Buhari. Of course we are APC members and we are part of APC.
The only difference is that, our bidding in APC is restricted to President Buhari and his visions, but we marry that with the Manifesto and constitution of APC.
Who is the Coordinator of BSO today?
Dr. Ibrahim Bello Dauda is the National Coordinator of BSO and Col. Hamid Ali is the Chairman of the BSO management Board.
Who funds BSO or how is it being funded?
It is not funded by government. It is funded by individuals who believe in our course. Personal donations from people who believe in what we are doing. Our funding model has not changed from what people knew in 2015.
If there is nothing else that this government has achieved, it has achieved security. Then in the anti corruption war, irrespective of what any other person would say, there is no government that has tackled corruption the way this government has tackled corruption. Thirdly, if you look at the Agricultural Sector, no administration has achieved what this administration has achieved today in terms of self sufficiency in food production with the anchor program of the CBN on the rice growers and we are hoping that by next year we will stop importation of rice completely
It is left for the party at the same time to know where we are coming from; where we are today; where we are going to and how we got to where we are today and allow sense of reasoning and wisdom to prevail. If we go to primaries which is the logical thing and according to the terms of the party’s constitution, l believe we will still win the primaries, but it is politics; we have to lobby, we have to campaign, we have to convert people to be on our side, but at the end of the day, l believe he will still emerge as the candidate.
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