A Second Republic governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, has said that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is getting it right in the fight against corruption, but not on other aspects of the economy.
Musa said while the administration of Buhari had shown promising beginnings in its anti-corruption campaign, it was only showing glimpses of change in other aspects of the national life such as electricity, supply of petroleum products and national security.
In a telephone interview with our correspondent on Friday, Musa said there was no certainty that these glimpses of change would be sustained by the government.
He said, “The new government is doing the right thing in the area of anti-corruption, but only in that area. In any other area, even if there is any improvement, it is just a glimpse; there is no certainty that it would be sustained. It is not a question of doing more; they are not doing anything reliable.
“I think in the area of fighting corruption and the stealing of resources, we have seen promising beginnings. In particular, the establishment of an anti-corruption committee made up of, on the face of it, very responsible people to advise the President on this anti-corruption campaign. This is admirable and commendable, and it would lead to success. In addition, there is the strengthening of this also by the promise of the President that an anti-corruption court would be established to deal with all cases of corruption. These are commendable, and it is a good direction towards restoring sanity in this country. If it is followed as promised, I think something would be achieved.
“But in all other cases, it is just marginal. For instance, power. In the past one week, power has been steady in the area I live. Two weeks ago, there were power cuts, at least, 10 times a day. So, yes, we are seeing glimpses of improvement, but even during (the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan, we had this glimpse. There is also improvement in the supply of petroleum products, but we hope these improvements can be sustained. But in the case of the anti-corruption campaign, I think it is more than glimpse, but it is reality that something would be done.”
In the same vein, he said that privatisation was hurting the country’s economy more than it was benefitting it.
Musa said, “Privatisation is not good for the economy. Not only privatisation, but a system and leadership based on self-interest first, then public interest second; a system based on the leading role of the private sector in the economy. These are not good for the country. We should go back to the system based on public interest first, then enlightened self-interest second. When I say enlightened self-interest, I mean self-interest that takes into account collective interest, on the understanding that it is the collective interest that can guarantee even individual interests, however narrow it is. If there is no collective interest, then there will not be able to guarantee security and other things.
He also decried the situation where some state governments owed their workers months of salaries and wages.
He said, “It is just to show the level of corruption, stealing and rot in this country. For example, many state governments had, for months, been unable to pay the salaries and wages of workers. I blame this on corruption. This corruption arises from the leading role of the private sector in the economy, which is based on selfish interests first. We never had a situation where a government at any level was unable to pay wages of their workers during colonial times and in the First Republic. The first time in the history of Nigeria we heard that a state government was unable to pay salaries of its workers was during the Second Republic, and the first state was Benue state. And we were shocked then. That was the beginning of all this nonsense we are experiencing today.
“So, it is not a question of private or public sector; the issue is a question of the leading role, on which the system and leadership are based. During colonial times and the First Republic, government, not private sector, played a leading role, and the system and leadership were based on public interest first, enlightened self-interest second, unlike today. That was why we didn’t have this level of stealing and corruption in both the public and the private sectors, and the growth of the economy was steady. The purpose of government is the welfare and security of the people. They (government) should go back to the system whereby the state (the government) plays the leading role in the economy to ensure peace, equality, dignity of the human person and progressive even development of the country.