Balarabe Musa, former governor of Kaduna State in the Second Republic, has declared that nobody can become the President of Nigeria without first being a thief or supported by thieves.
He believes that for someone to legitimately raise the kind of money required for presidential campaign in the country they must be involved with corruption.
He blamed the defunct socio-economic state of the country on the political structure, where, according to him, 99 per cent of the people on top were thieves.
Musa was captured as saying this in a video clip circulating on the Facebook.
He was captured as playing host to the publisher of an online news medium, Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, a presidential hopeful.
Sowore, in the clip, said he visited the Kaduna politician to seek his counsel on how to go about his presidential ambition in 2019.
He asked the 81-year-old politician for his view on why the older generation of leaders had failed the country.
Responding, Musa said the problem of underdevelopment in the country was blamable on the wrong socio-political system.
“What is the quality of Nigeria’s leadership? The quality of the Nigerian leadership is a thief (sic). Since the end of the Second Republic, how has it been possible in Nigeria to have a political leadership which is not made up of thieves? Of course, there are exceptions… I’m not saying that 100 per cent of the leadership in Nigeria is made up thieves, no, there are exceptions, but I doubt if there are up to one per cent who are clean…99 per cent are thieves.
“For example, how can you win on the basis of the Nigerian laws and the Nigerian culture; how can you be a Nigerian President without being a thief first? Because it is through stealing that you can make it. Both the political parties and election in Nigeria are based on money power and this money power is equal to corruption. So, this is what you have.
“We have a socio-economic and political system controlling all developments in the country and the political leadership produced by that system both of which are made up of people who regard self-interest first, public interest second, as opposed to public interest first and self-interest second. Now, how can you have order; how can you have development in a situation like this?
“I gave you the example of the President; nobody can be a President of Nigeria unless he is a thief or supported by thieves. I mean, the fact is clear. You know, the reasonable estimate of the cost of campaigning for presidency in Nigeria is billions. How can you acquire these billions?”
According to Musa, the situation was not so before the Second Republic, recalling that “(Shehu) Shagari became the President of Nigeria without being a thief.”