2011: Neither Atiku, nor Jonathan

One time Minister of Finance under the late General Sani Abacha, Alhaji Abu Gidado, has declared that neither President Goodluck Jonathan, nor ex-vice president Atiku Abubakar, is fit to be president in 2011. He advised Nigerians to think very well, before deciding who to choose between the duo. According to him, General Ibrahim Babangida (retd), and not Atiku should have been North’s consensus aspirant in the PDP. Gidado spoke to Daily Sun in Katsina, Katsina State. Excerpts:

Atiku Abubakar’s choice
Politics is full of complexities and many difficulties. Naturally, it is expected that Babangida should take the lead, should be accepted but the committee of Adamu Ciroma acted differently. An average layman of this country would have expected that they should come up with Babangida because of the situation prevailing in the country. We need somebody who has the experience and the contacts to solve the country’s problems, which the politicians have not solved for the past13-14 years, despite the enormous wealth at their disposal.

I was seriously involved in the finances of this country. I was a Commissioner of Finance of former Kaduna State. We were receiving monthly only N200 million and I had the fortune of handling the Federation Account for almost four years. We were sharing only N9b, N10b, and so on. At a time commissioners of finance insisted that they would not leave the venue of the revenue allocation until we were able to produce N15.5 billion. It took us a lot of time to get that. When we did, all the commissioners were saying bravo; well done.

Do you know what they are sharing now? At one time N770 billion, yet no good road, nothing. So we are hoping an experienced hand, should come and take the responsibility of moving this country forward and improve it. Babangida has consistently said that he was going to improve on his earlier performances. We need someone who is experienced to come and handle the major problem of this country. That is why I feel a little bit unsettled and a little bit taken aback over Atiku’s selection.

Did you smell any rat?
I knew Adamu Ciroma for quite sometime, I knew him during Sardauna’s era, the then premier of the Northern Region. Ciroma was bold! I cannot imagine that anybody can influence him over that sort of decision. He is quite an elderly statesman. We had expected him to really look at the problem of this country and come up with someone who would be able to solve the problem of this country. It is really baffling. Nigeria is not a small country. It is not a simple monolithic country. You need someone who could handle the country. Atiku is okay but look at his problem. He has problem.

Something might be amiss. I don’t know. I am not in a position to know what happened. But of course something is wrong with the selection. We need somebody who can handle this country very well. Look the amount of money we had during this political era. If you put all other governments in this country together, they have not had the fortune of accessing or having half of that money. Yet, there is nothing to show for it.
Even in Abuja people are running around, looking for water to drink. No good roads. Other countries, they physically change the structures of their countries and immediately change the attitude, the concept, the perception of the people.

That the Ciroma Committee represents only some sections of the North’s PDP?
l know very few of the members of the committee. l know Adamu Ciroma, I know Bello Kirfi, Wazirin Bauchi. These are fine fellows, but these two should be able to pilot them to decide in the interest of the country. Forget about what ever happened before, they should put Nigeria first and see which competent hand can handle the situation and then select. In any case, Adamu stood for zoning, similarly Bello Kirfi they are all for zoning, that is why they decided for one northerner to run with Jonathan.

Were you consulted by the Ciroma Committee or are you aware of anyone consulted in Katsina State?
No. Frankly nobody did. It is my nature sometime I just like to keep to myself. Excerpt on something I believe and my views are sought, then I will be able to say it without fear or favour.

Do you know whether they came to Katsina?
I don’t know, I did not see them, I have not heard they came. I have not heard they consulted anybody in Katsina to be able to come up with a view.
After the announcement of Atiku, have you been in touch with IBB?
Naturally, I should because something catastrophic has happened. I would like to express my views towards him and probably he would like to say this is what has happened.

If it is discovered that something was amiss with the selection of Atiku, what would be the way out?
Probably then, the views and opinions of Nigerians would be known and then would be counted and whatever decision that needed to be taken, will be taken. Then something probably more acceptable, more palatable, for the country will be done if any foul is discovered. Certainly people who are responsible should react.

Jonathan is cautioning against regional decide, what is your view o that?
(Cuts in) But he is doing it. He is doing it, go and see his appointments, you will know. Jonathan cannot manage this country. He cannot manage us for the betterment of this country. He is yet to acquire the experience to manage Nigeria. Look, this not politics, what has transpired during the last independence anniversary, was a problem which he himself created. Nigerians should think, before they choose.

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