Hussain Abba is the President, Buhari/Osinbajo Youth Advocacy Group (BOYAG). In this interview with AGBO-PAUL AUGUSTINE, he bares his mind on Nigeria’s 56 independence anniversary and the need for unity in the nation.
At 56, do we have anything to celebrate as nation?
We have been celebrating independence since 1960 because of the fact that we have been freed from the chains of the colonialists. But I can tell you that not a few of our country men and women have been wondering if life could have been better under the British today.
The people that struggle for independence paid a price but the people that took over from the founding fathers paid no price and because of that they saw everything on the platter of gold.
With that mentality, they decided to create another colonial system within the country whereby those who had access to power keep looting public funds, supressing and oppressing their fellow countrymen.
As far as I am concern we only moved from the British colonialist to Nigerians elite colonialists. They kept dividing the resources of the country among themselves and keep ruling the people with iron hands.
Indeed, Nigeria is growing in age but in reality I doubt if we have much to show for our 56 years of independence, considering the level of poverty and lack of infrastructure. At 56 we should be more integrated, our economy should be very strong, we should be more Nigerians than we are today.
What is your take on the state of the economy?
We are in a recession and we didn’t just get there today, it has been an act of cumulative looting of the economy. I always say that President Muhammadu Buhari will not fail Nigerians because he still remains the last hope for Nigeria.
I want to remind Nigerians that if there is no pain there would be no gain. We have gotten to a point where everybody will see national assets as something that belongs to all Nigerians. I think we at the point where every Nigerians will wake up and say let us do the right thing.
But a lot people still hold the view that President Buhari was too slow to form his economic team and it contributed to the present state of affairs, do you subscribe to that?
To a large extend, I believe that Nigerians desperately want a change in their lives and all they wanted was Buhari to make a difference. Buhari is suffering from an overwhelming trust to appoint people that will govern Nigeria well.
Most people see appointments into public offices as an opportunity to make money and these are the things I think Mr President is also looking at. The President is a difficult position now because whether he likes it or not he has to appoint Nigerians into positions.
Going by the plethora of suggestions on the way out of the current recession, do you subscribe to selling national assets?
It is good we go back and look at how we got to where we are today. Many countries have gone through economic hardship and what they did was to look inward. Think, eat, drink what they have and do what is available and leave what is not available. China did the same, Japan did it and even America we copy in several ways did the same. There are times that you just have to look inward and forget about what is outside your shores.
If Nigeria for the first time entered into recession because of what our past leaders have done and we think that the only way to get us out is to sell our national assets, then it is as good as saying that there is no Nigeria.
Our national assets are the things that still binds us as a nation. The ones sold in the past have not been utilised and brought back to life by the new owners and reduce unemployment rate in the country.
The people who looted our nation’s resources are Nigerians who got everything in life for free and are still enjoying the government. I call on these Nigerians to leave something for the future generations. These same set of people have amassed so much foreign currencies and can afford to buy Nigeria’s national assets.