Senator Isa Misau is a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who represented Bauchi Central Senatorial District in the 8th National Assembly. In this interview, he speaks on the zoning controversy ahead of the 2023 presidential election, solution to insecurity challenges and others national issues. Excerpts:
Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, there has been controversy over the issue of zoning between the North and South. Given the exchange of words between the Southern Governors Forum and their Northern counterparts, where do you think the presidency should go in 2023?
To me, I feel this controversy is not necessary. These are the kind of things that further divides the nation. At this stage, all those demanding that it must be zoned to the South or North is not necessary. Nigeria has political understanding between the North and the South which has been there for years. There is a need for us to follow that understanding even if the presidency is going to the South. If the presidency is coming to any other region apart from the South, we can sit down together and discuss about it. We can’t just be polarising and causing further tension in the nation on the argument that presidency must come to the North. What need in Nigeria is not about presidency coming from South or North. At this stage, we need competent individuals with proven track records to unite the nation and address challenges such as insurgency, banditry, kidnappings and so on. Today, there is so much disunity in the country. The South-East, they don’t trust the North and the North too don’t trust the South-East. The same thing applies to other tribes and ethnic groups. So, we need somebody that will be acceptable to all parts of the country. This is the kind of focus we should have, not arguments between which zone should produce the next president.
You mentioned the issue of insecurity, what solution can you proffer to this hydra-headed monster which includes insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and so on?
Anything that will solve the problem of Nigeria is acceptable to everyone because at right now, nobody is happy with what is going on in the country. Today, people cannot travel by road to so many places. Those going from Kaduna to Abuja don’t have a sense of security again. If it is not about banditry, it is about tribal and religious sentiments. We don’t have any other country apart from Nigeria, so I believe whatever it will take for this country to work, we should support. If implementing the report of the 2014 conference is the solution, why not?
As a former senator, what role do you think the National Assembly can play in addressing this insecurity challenges?
If you recall, when we were in the Senate, when the issue of insecurity was at the foundation stage, we made a lot of noise but there are certain people at that time who felt we were exaggerating the issue but now it has grown to this level. President Buhari is trying his best but only him cannot do it alone. All hands must be on deck to ensure we effectively tackle the insecurity challenges. I want to appeal to the government to bring traditional rulers on board. These traditional rulers have a role to play but they are being neglected. If you recall, years back, traditional rulers were the usually the first to know if a stranger comes to town but today, even a local government chairman will tell you that he is higher than a first class monarch or Emir. Things can’t work like that. We can’t just neglect our traditional rulers when it comes to governance and we think all will be fine. They have lots of intelligence at their disposal but if we don’t seek their help, they won’t come out. We should also solicit the help of retired Generals, policemen and other security outfits to help us in solving the challenges of insecurity. The fact they retired at the age of 60 doesn’t imply that they have nothing to offer to their community or society again. Experience matters a lot when dealing with issues of security.
One of the three cardinal programmes of the Muhammadu Buhari administration is the war against corruption? Do you think corruption under this administration has reduced compared to how it was under the Goodluck Jonathan administration?
There is corruption today, no doubt. But I cannot say it is worse now when compared to Goodluck Jonathan’s regime because I don’t have the statistics. However, I know that this government has not solved the problem of corruption. I saw the level of corruption during Jonathan’s regime and also there is corruption in Buhari’s government but we need statistics to be able to determine where it was higher between the two governments.
Do you think a political solution should be considered on the issue of leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Igboho?
I will not support the agitation for secession by Nnamdi Kanu or Sunday Igboho because we have a national assembly with legislators elected to represent Nigerians. If we want to separate or divide this country, there is a process for doing so. Kanu and Igboho should have gone through their respective legislators and allow them speak for them. They should have let their governors be the champions of this move. Also, there must be agreement by all Nigerians that we should go our separate ways. We can’t have a situation whereby some people are enjoying the unity of the country while some people are saying that they want to divide the country. Things doesn’t work like that. If you have people in government, talk to them about it. Tell them to champion your cause for secession or any other thing you want such as restructuring. But in a situation where you take up arms because you want secession and innocent people were being killed is unacceptable. That can’t lead us anywhere. That is the major reason why I can’t support the agitation by Nnamdi Kanu and Igboho. They should follow due process in making their demands without people losing lives. A lot of innocent people have lost their lives since the beginning of their agitation. They should go through their elected representatives instead of taking actions or making utterances that will incite people to killing themselves.
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani Kayode few days ago rejoined your party. What value do you think he will add to your party?
I was very disappointed with Fani-Kayode and I was even more disappointed with the way he was received back into APC. As politicians, I believe we should have principles. Look at the way he was supporting Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho, but all of a sudden, he just changed. People like him cannot stay in one political party, maybe because of resources I really don’t know. I can tell you that many people in APC are not happy with the way he joined APC and he was received by the party leadership. 50 percent of APC members are disappointed with the way he was accepted into the party. I can also tell you that more than 50 percent of Nigerians are disappointed in him. This is someone that was agitating for restructuring and other things, all of a sudden he will just make U-turn. It shows you why we have problems in Nigeria. A lot of people have no ideology at all.