Yerima Shettima is the National youth president of apex Northern socio-cultural group: Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), and Chairman of Coalition of all Ethnic Nationality leaders in Nigeria.
In this interview with Iniobong Iwok, he spoke about why the North is in its present state, restructuring of the country, the Buhari administration among others. Excerpts:
How do you assess the Buhari administration?
Expectations were high among Nigerians but, Buhari alone can not move the country forward.
Yes he promised change, expectation was high, unfortunately, he can not move the country alone.
Some of the ministers are inexperienced or incompetent; they do not know what governance is all about. Some of them are behaving like comedians.
I’m not satisfied with this government and Nigerians are bitter about it, you can not remove all benefits and expect us to be happy.
You asked people to tighten up while you are eating fat. Things are hard, you can not be flying around the world and the common man is suffering, if there is sacrifice, it should start from the leaders.
You gave Buhari your total support are you disappointed?
A lot of people that supported him are disappointed. Even the campaign slogan, the change mantra is abandoned.
Most of the things the government said they would do they are not doing but behaving with impunity.
Would Arewa Support him or the APC if he decides to seek re-election in 2019?
Buhari is a Nigerian president, and not a northern president. If we run a regional system and he is a premier I would not attack him but advise him.
On support him, we would look for alternative in 2019, we have been disappointed so far in his government.
With the way things are going, they would say there is hope that we should be patient. But the way the things are, I would look for alternative.
Do you think the president has been fair to other regions in his appointment?
The president has not been fair to other regions. At the earlier time of his government, when he just started the appointment, but since the budget was passed you can see that things have balance up.
We must commend him, even the ambassadorial appointment, how many people came from the north? Even the board appointment, you would see that after the budget, the southwest compared to the north have more than 40 percent; it favours the southwest than the north east where I came from, which has less that 13 percent. Earlier it was so, not now; and I raised alarm then.
Are you satisfied with the performance of INEC?
INEC has been full of confusion. Look at the Kogi election, I have become more confuse. I wonder where they get some language like: inconclusive. Inconclusive everywhere, and that is when they want to manoeuvre things.
As we keep going round we would keep talking about INEC supposed to be an independent body.
It is obvious INEC is being influence by the central. We have a system where the central government has so much power and the executive override some of their decisions.
Are you satisfied with the fight against corruption, especially the trial of Dasuki?
The office of the National Security Adviser is not an office of the PDP. Some of us have reservations on the style of the current anti-graft war, and we said it earlier. The president has no business in some of the things he his doing. What he has to do is to allow the institutions to do their work.
What is happening in the case of Dasuki is that the president has already convicted him before the trial by saying in the media chat that: how can he release a man who stole over N400billion.
When the person has not been convicted in court, even when the court had given order for his release while standing trial. It is unfair and the leader who says no he must defy the court order to me is not fair, because: what is happening now could happen to anybody.
He should fight corruption but respect the rule of law, he must not make the anti corruption fight personal, so that when he is not around, the institutions would continue to fight. We support his anti corruption fight but it should not be personal or be a vendetta.