A retired Major General, Ishola Williams, has urged Nigerians to look beyond President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for the development of the country.
In an interview published by Sunday Sun, Williams urged Nigerians to think critically about a Third Force that can usher in new ideas into governance in the country.
I wish it were possible for Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 25 to think seriously about the future of Nigeria, especially now that we have another opportunity to change not only the leadership, but also the style of leadership and the context within which the leadership must operate. Three and a half years ago, the All Progressive Congress (APC) promised to bring a change and they published an ambitious manifesto, which spoke about restructuring, improved security system, anti-corruption and economy.
But when I look at those three areas, my assessment of the government is zero. They promised us to restructure Nigeria, but the president has ruled out restructuring. Initially, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and the el-Rufai-led panel set up by the APC gave us the impression that they were for restructuring.
The panel came up with a report supporting restructuring. But the APC threw the paper into the dustbin and the vice president went to the United States, saying we don’t need restructuring. But recently again, he changed his tune, supporting state police and devolution of powers to the states. So, we don’t know where he stands though we know the president’s position. APC as a party has kept quiet. We don’t know where the so-called national leader too stands. They keep quiet when it comes to restructuring. As far as APC is concerned, they cannot take us to the Promised Land. On the issue of security, everyday you read in newspapers, Al-Jazeera and co about what is happening in the Northeast. It is sad news every day. I don’t think they can deal with security issue in the next six months. They’ve completely run out of ideas from what I have seen. They further created a bad precedence when the Service Chiefs went to the launching of campaign of a political party only for them to run out of the event later. What were they doing there in the first place? Didn’t they read the letter of invitation about what was going to happen there? In other climes, they will be forced to resign. Because of the great role of the armed forces in the security of the country, they should not be seen anywhere near such an event. On the other hand, we have the PDP presenting a man who has spent eight years in government as vice president. His boss had accused him of corruption. But here is the APC government saying they are not going to take any former president or vice president to court for corruption. I will say because of Peter Obi as vice presidential candidate, people should look at PDP. It is not that Obi is clean, but he spent two terms in Anambra and he was able to show that he can govern. He set a foundation, which Obiano is following. But really, I would have preferred a Third Force. In fact, I would have preferred Obi being a presidential candidate of a Third Force instead of him being the vice president of PDP. I don’t think Atiku will have the courage to make a change that is necessary, especially on this issue of restructuring. If we restructure, it will reduce corruption at the federal level. Whether people like it or not, that restructuring most take place. We cannot continue like this. Now, the government is accusing Atiku of corruption. How can you turn around and accuse him of corruption? I kept telling people, you cannot be a millionaire by being a Sunday school teacher. Every businessman in one way or another is a small crook. Accusing Atiku of corruption is bullshit because there is no past president, either military or civilian, that can swear that his hands are clean. I wish all other jokers can come together and say let us give a woman a chance. For example, they can choose Dr. Oby Ezekwesili because she is the most prominent among the women who want to contest. That will give us three clear choices: two old men and one middle-aged woman, who has governmental experience as a former minister of education and at one time in charge of procurement. I think all other mushroom parties should come together and create a Third Force, which Obasanjo and co were trying to create before. In short, Nigeria needs a Third Force.
And it is not too late to create that Third Force. But to do that, we need someone who understands how government runs and who does not have any scandal in the past. And there are a few of them like Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, who was a former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria. So, why can’t they just get together and create a Third Force. If they can do that, they have a good chance of winning. That is a strategic approach, if we want a new leadership.