National President, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Abdullahi Bodejo, has dismissed the possibility of the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. In this interview with WILLY EYA, he spoke on a number of issues and stated that power will still remain in the North after Buhari.
After the 2019 general elections, the killings have started again in several parts of the North, what is the problem?
I thank God that nobody is associating the current killings with herdsmen in the country unlike in the past. The killings in Zamfara State, I recall that in 2014, I was part of one committee the Inspector General of Police then, M.D Abubakar set up; we visited Nasarawa, Taraba, Plateau, Kaduna and Zamfara states. We ended the journey in Zamfara State. When we got to Nasarawa State, it was the serious crisis between the Fulani and the Ombatse cult. In Benue, we met the crisis between the Fulani and the Tiv people but in Taraba, even though we did not meet the crisis between the Fulani and the people, we met one between the Tiv and Jukun people. In Plateau, it was when former Governor Jonah Jang was there and he did not like the committee and he did not accord us the desired recognition. But we knew that there was a serious crisis between the Fulani and the Beroms in Plateau. Despite that, nobody cooperated with us in Plateau to end the crisis. We went to Kaduna and signed an agreement with the group from Southern Kaduna but funny enough, when we went to Zamfara, we did not meet the farmers/herders clashes. The people killing themselves there are the same. It is a serious problem between the vigilance groups. Some will go and form a vigilance group and they will not be under any authority like the DPO or Commissioner of Police. They will just be operating on their own. And they will just be killing people. In Zamfara, when they started the killings, they could just go and kidnap a Fulani man and tell him that they were suspecting his son to be a criminal and they would bring him to the market square and burn him to ashes. The bandits there are not Fulani and the authorities should go and fish them out.
The whole thing I know about Zamfara is that the Vigilance groups are one of the causes of the crises there. Politicians in Zamfara are just backing them. What I understand in Zamfara is that the whole thing is politics among the desperate politicians there. They are blood suckers in Zamfara. Thank God the Minister of Defence is from there. A lot of top men are from there. Let them set up a committee and find a way to end the killings there.
What is your reaction to the claim by some people that Buhari having won his election is indifferent to all these killings?
People can say all sorts of things. If Buhari is not concerned about the situation, why did he direct the Army to go there to stop the killings? Even we, sometimes, we are not happy the way the president is giving directive to go there and operate. He should make sure that the real criminals there are fished out and dealt with. The truth is that some people who lost the last election are saying all kinds of things and they will never say Buhari is doing well. But I know that Buhari is trying to do the right things; remember that Buhari will not go and carry out his orders himself in the bush where all these things are happening.
Do you agree with those who insist that all these killings are because of the high level of poverty in your region and that Buhari is not doing enough to reduce the scourge?
Is Buhari the governor of Kebbi, Kaduna, Borno and other parts of the North? The governors get allocations and they should all use that to tackle the problems of their state. It is only the Federal Government that people can make a noise about. The president is in charge of the Federal Government; let the governors also take charge of their states.
Some prominent voices in the North are already projecting that after President Buhari that power will not come down to the Southern region; do you support the North retaining power in 2023?
Yes, power is going to remain in the North. Tell me one person in the South that is nationally accepted that can rule Nigeria like Buhari? The people who made Nigeria what it is today are from the North. People like Awolowo and Zik tried but where are such people in the South now? That time, they were patriotic and they did not allow themselves to be deceived with the issues of religion and ethnicity. They were patriotic and they believed in Nigeria. But most of the people now from the South who say they want to be president of Nigeria are not patriotic. They are selfish. Most politicians from the North are concerned about the unity of Nigeria and how to keep the country together, and not what they will gain from the position. God forbid that some kind of people would start ruling the country; I see some people that if you give them power, they can just concentrate everything in one area.
You are by implication saying that if a Southerner takes over from Buhari that he may just concentrate appointments and infrastructural developments in the South but that is the same thing the president is being accused of with regards to privileges to the North
Let me tell you the truth; in Nigeria, nobody can operate like Buhari. Even if another president comes from the North, he will not be able to lead like Buhari. He gives the people a sense of belonging and not considering anybody as more important than the other. He does not consider people based on tribe, royalty, status and so on; everything he does is based on merit. Nobody can copy or replicate what Buhari is doing.
From the way you are sounding, is it that you do not believe in the rotation of power between the North and South?
Do you know that if you go to some parts of the South, if they see an Hausa man, they would say he is a Boko Haram member or derogatorily, they will say ‘Onye Hausa’. That kind of hatred has been there among some Southerners. It will be difficult for the Igbo to rule this country because they have something in their mind that is not good. The country is more than a tribe coming to hate some ethnic region, religion and so on. They should know that Nigeria is one.
The South West has been supporting Buhari, and power brokers from the region were instrumental to the formation of the APC and the President’s victory in 2015. Why are you not in support of power going to the South West?
You are talking about 2015; it has passed and is now history. Remember that former President Olusegun Obasanjo ruled the country for eight years. In 2019, the South West gave Buhari 50 per cent of their votes and you say they should be supported to be president. They played real politics in 2019. I am not a politician but they played the real game of politics in 2019. They divided their votes 50/50 for the two major parties. Nobody should say the South West made Buhari to win. No; Buhari won the election clearly and he was voted by all Nigerians who love him. Nobody should come out to say, he is the person that made Buhari to win. Even spirits voted for Buhari in the election.
Do you know that without the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Tinubu, Buhari would not have made it in 2015?
I have told you that 2015 is now history. Even me talking to you now, do you know the role I played in 2015? People played all manner of politics in 2015 and Tinubu was not the only person. What I know is that Tinubu cannot be the president of Nigeria. That is the truth. He is very old and maybe older than President Buhari. Some people see Tinubu like one big masquerade but he is not. Some think that he is the Yoruba leader but he is not. He is also like Obasanjo; some people see the former president as a small god but he is not. In my last interview before the election, I said it that Obasanjo has only one vote like any other person. What happened? Did it not turn out like that? Everybody’s eyes are already open now. If Tinubu is recognized by the Yoruba people as their leader, why did Buhari score 50 per cent there? Why did he not ask them to give him like even 60 per cent at least? Tinubu has failed and that is the truth. Or are you telling me that Tinubu did anti-party activities by telling the South West to share the votes 50/50 to APC and PDP?
How do you see the issue of inconclusive elections in the North like what happened in Kano, Bauchi and others?
You know that a state like Kano is very strategic to this country. Literally speaking, Kano is like a small Nigeria. No ruling party would like to lose Kano because of its importance in the country. If a ruling party loses Kano, it is like losing the whole country. So, I am not surprised that the APC finally won Kano State because you know that Ganduje is the incumbent and President Buhari who is also very popular in Kano is of the APC. What I know is that a lot of politics was played by the power brokers to make the election turn out the way it did. When I say politics, a lot of things are involved.
Then in Bauchi State also, I knew what happened because I am close to the PDP governorship candidate, Bala Mohammed who won the election. I am not surprised that Bala Mohammed won because he is very popular and the people of Bauchi love him. The former FCT minister is a man of the people. All the Fulani in Nigeria are in support of him because he is very good to them. His mother is a typical Fulani person. All my people are in Bauchi and we did a lot of things to make him win the election. I want to tell you that why Bala Mohammed had problem in Bauchi was because some people wanted to rig the incumbent governor in again. If you do a free and fair election between Bala Mohammed and Abdukadir Mohammed, there is no doubt that the former FCT minister will win landslide.
You talked about power remaining in the North; are you saying that any candidate from your region can make it without the South?
People in the South do not have time. Do you think an Igbo man will leave his shop to stay in the queue for six hours just to vote for somebody? Maybe, they can change before 2023. In the North here, people are ready to stand in line from morning till night just to vote for a candidate. The Igbo people are not serious in politics but in business, they are very serious.
Has your organization congratulated your friend, Samuel Ortom, the governor of Benue State for his re-election?
I will write a letter and congratulate Ortom for winning another term. He is a real politician and I know that this time around, he will drop the anti-grazing law. He will be very friendly to the Fulani now. The only thing I don’t like about Ortom is that he uses the anti-grazing law to play politics with people.