Barrister Mark Jacob, a former National legal adviser of the Peoples? Democratic Party (PDP) during the reign of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo?s sees no reason why PDP will not reclaim its mandate in 2019.
He told Reporters in Kaduna that President Muhammadu Buhari?s administration lacks focus to usher Nigeria into the League of Nations. He addresses these and other sundry national issues in this interview.
The People?s Democratic Party (PDP) had a convention to appraise itself especially in the last general elections in the country. Most of its prominent members did not attend the convention; doesn?t this show that the party is in disarray?
First of all, it was a one day conference; it was not a normal convention of the party. Secondly, the conference was supposed to be a programme just after the general elections that took place this year. It was something that would have taken place so many months ago. Several members of the party have been waiting for the meeting and before it was organized, it took some times and it took some members unawares. I am aware that several members of the party wanted to be there but because of the short notice and the timing, they couldn?t make it, but they sent their goodwill messages to the conference and their commitment to the PDP.
Will you say the party has future in the politics of this country looking at its abysmal performance in the last elections?
PDP is intact; they are facing serious challenge with regard to the present government in the country. The persons that are in the helms of affairs appear not have what it takes to run this country. The confusion within them, the absence of concrete plans, the absence of leadership, the absence of knowledge on what to do with issues that are begging for answers in the country, too much absence of capacity on their part that nobody really needs any miracle to beat them in the next general elections in 2019. PDP requires only strategies, be organized and then it will bounce back.
Does this mean President Muhammadu Buhari did not start his administration on a sound footing?
You are a witness to that; everybody knows that things are not working out right, the country is economically is going down, the issues that bedeviled this country some years ago have grown wider and the country appears to be going down in virtually every aspect, things are in shamble. And despite these things that are happening, the leaders are saying Nigerians should be patient. It is sad that this country will be run by people who are still asking for time to prepare to run the country after winning an election. If they were not prepared to govern the country, they shouldn?t have contested the election. You don?t take power and begin to experiment by doing ?trying and error? with the lives and wellbeing of Nigerians. It is very scary that despite these numerous problems, the only excuse is that we should be patient. It is very embarrassing that the country is being governed through ?trying and error?. It is terribly scary.
With the ministers in place, don?t you see governance coming back in its right footing?
Nigerians have not been waiting for ministers but they have been waiting for governance to take off. Nigeria as a country has been driven by a sheep that has no captain and that is exactly what Nigerians are waiting for. Let nobody make the mistake of thinking that it is just the appointment of ministers that is the solution to the problem. There must be a direction, when you talk of leadership. It shouldn?t be a difficult thing to know the policy and the basic principles of government. These things should be very clear without the ministers. The ministers come and fit into a focused programme; there should be a roadmap that anybody coming into government is supposed to follow. That is the problem; l have not seen the roadmap. I do not know what the policy trust of the present administration is. If we are waiting for the ministers to come and define the policy trust and the roadmap of the government, then, we are in trouble. Each one of them has his or her thinking and idea as well as approach to issues. If that is the thinking of the government, it means we are going to have another one year waiting for them to articulate and aggregate the ideas and convert them into a defined roadmap or programme of action for the country. For me, that is scary. We are not living in the Nigeria of the 1970s when you have to take your time and do things at a slow pace; we are in the digital era where time is moving and the whole world is now moving at that pace. Unless Nigeria is comfortable to be left behind, there is no reason why anybody should justify the long delay in explaining or revealing what the roadmap of the present administration is all about or unless we are just deceiving ourselves.
Isn?t the country on the right path in fighting insurgency, corruption and other social ills that have bedeviled the country?
I don?t know what you mean by fighting corruption because if it is just the invitation of people to go to EFCC, calling people names, making allegations of billions of naira missing here and there that are not factual, then, that is not fighting corruption. If you to fight corruption, you don?t need all the noise from one place or the other. If you know those that have taken our billions for God sake, l want to see them in court; l am a lawyer, l will be happy to be a prosecuting counsel in any of the cases. I want to see people that have claimed that they can run this country to put things on the run rather to have comic revelations or statements from people like Oshiomhole, who does not even have knowledge of finance giving figures. Every day, they wake up to say twenty billions of naira is stolen by one person and surprisingly, the Nigeria media just allows them to go away with such horrendous statements. Nobody insists on proofs, nobody insists on digging deep after the person of a standing governor makes such horrible statements about our country.
It is also very clear that the people in government today have refused to understand that you do not attract direct foreign investment by telling the world that you have the most corrupt country in the world. I have travelled outside the country and have participated in international discussed on corruption and also participated in discussions attracting investment by foreign companies or individuals in Nigeria and l can tell you, you will meet business persons that are corrupt in their own countries, you will meet people that are happy but you will never hear their leaders describing their country as the most corrupt. What you are actually saying in essence is that Nigeria is not viable country for investment; that is wrong. We can talk to ourselves and chastise ourselves before we can send signals to the world that we are fighting corruption in the country and those found to be involved in corruption can be dealt with as required by our law, which could be internal. Outside the country, you don?t lampoon and demonized your people and then you expect that people will come and invest in your country that is scandalized. It can never happen, especially with the capitalist world where people believe that if they invest any dollars, they will make a hundred dollars at the end of their business. If you go outside the country and begin to tell these people that your countrymen, system and everything that makes up the country is corrupt, then you are destroying yourself and you are telling them in clear terms that they should go away. To me, this is very clear that the persons in charge of the leadership of the country do not know what really they want to do with this country. They do not understand the difference between propaganda before election and after election. Nobody around the world would understand what you are saying to describe your country as housing very corrupt people. They don?t understand when you want to say you are talking about the past government that was corrupt but all the outside world understands is that you are talking about your country.
Isn?t the steps taken by the present administration to bring an end of Boko Haram and other social vices a commendable thing to all Nigerians?
The government of today has a responsibility to end insurgency or all other crimes. That is the primary responsibility of government and anybody doing that is just doing what he or she was elected to do. So there is nothing special about fighting insurgency; do they have a choice? They don?t have a choice but to fight corruption and other social vices that have bedeviled the country. Let?s talk Nigeria; this country is being destroyed by people from within. Insurgency is moving on, people are being bombed every day. Something is wrong somewhere in Nigeria, Nigerians were not aware in some years past that some Nigerians will commit suicide in order to pass a message across. The country cannot continue in this format where we will be having a reproduction of suicide bombers, that is the most dangerous form of terrorism