A former Minister of Education, Alhaji Dauda Birmah, was at a time a presidential aspirant under the defunct ANPP. Birmah who later joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) regrets that the party should be held responsible for its misfortunes having shot itself on the foot.
In this interview, Birmah also justifies President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent appointments alleging that the north had suffered marginalisation in federal appointments under previous administrations.
What is your assessment of the Buhari administration after the first 100 days in office?
Well, my assessment is that Buhari has come in and he has seen the rot that preceded his coming and he is trying to see how to handle this rot, rot that has happened over a period of 15 years is not something you cure in 100 days or even in a thousand days.
Buhari has come on a change agenda and he is not expected to behave in a manner in which you will see things as business as usual.
He has to change things and he has to fulfill his promise of change to people and he is trying to understand the place and put fundamental changes in place because if you put a very heavy structure on a faulty infrastructure, the building will collapse.
So, I commend Buhari for what he is doing and I believe he is doing well and he is going to succeed.'
But many Nigerians especially those from the South-west, south-South and South-East are complaining that the President’s appointments are lopsided. What is your take so far on the President’s appointments?
Well, during the 15 years preceding him, the north had been wailing and crying because the area was totally marginalized. Buhari is trying to rectify that marginalization of the north but I am not surprised that some people are complaining.
But 100 days are not enough time to judge and I believe when we go forward and the total picture is zeroed down, I think corrections are going to be effected and people will be satisfied that everybody has been taken into consideration.
Do you think that the government is doing enough in the fight against insurgency?
Since Buhari came there have been attempts to tackle insurgency because direct confrontation between the armed forces and the Boko Haram have failed. I believe that the previous government did not adequately tackle insurgency. Now the atmosphere is settling down and I believe we shall see the end of insurgency very soon.
The PDP appears to be facing leadership crisis. What do you think should be done to make it a winning party again?
I don’t want to delve into that because I have no stake in in the PDP. The last time I joined that party and when it came to election time I was not even drafted in to be a member of the campaign committee of my village, my ward, local government, state or at the national level.
I was totally ignored and not involved and therefore I do not believe I have any stake in PDP towards its revival. The PDP has shot itself in the foot and it has to bear the consequences and whatever happens to the party I am totally indifferent.
Recentely, Prof. Ben Nwabueze said that it is illegal for any president or governor to run a government without a cabinet. What do you think?
Well, Buhari has promised that by September his cabinet will be in place and we are in September. I believe he wanted to see the situation as it is before appointing ministers because he does not want to compound the problem by appointing the wrong people and to work with people who he does not understand. So, I believe he is in the right direction and I believe that September is going to be fine.
Do you think it is necessary to probe the previous government?
It is absolutely necessary to probe the previous government although I do not believe that probing and things like should be the essence of government. But right now, government is moving and there is greater sanity in governance. Do you believe now that we can have the type of electricity we have now if the government has not been doing anything?