Saturday, 14 April 2018

We’re prepared to stop Buhari’s 2nd term bid – Yerima, Arewa Youth Leader

President of the Arewa Youth
Consultative Forum (AYCF), Alhaji
Shettima Yerima, has said that President
Muhammdu Buhari, who has declared his
interest to run for a second term, will be
humiliated at the poll.
Speaking with VINCENT KALU, Alhaji
Yerima noted that some failed governors,
ministers and Buhari’s kitchen cabinet are
mounting pressure on him to go on in
order for them to be relevant and be in
control of the nation.
Buhari has declared to recontest in 2019,
what is your reaction to this?
We have expected this and we have
already prepared for him. We are ensuring
that every Nigerian youth obtains his or
her voter’s card. We will ensure that we
secure our votes and our votes count. We
didn’t expect him to say that he was not
going to contest. This is democracy and
no one can deny him the right to contest.
He had admitted that he ought to have
been doing something better than he is
doing, but age and ill health have actually
overtaken a lot of things in him. So, we
were thinking that, as a man with
integrity; a man who had said he would
only go for one term, should understand
that he would be under pressure put on
him by his cabinet members and
governors, who have failed and want to
use him to be relevant.
Because of the president’s age, and
health, these people want to control
Nigeria, and they have to pressure him in
order for them to remain in power. Since
he has made up his mind, there is no
problem, but we are going to ensure that
he fails when the time comes.
You are sounding as if you have an axe
to grind with him, is this because, as you
have said in the past that he has not
empowered the Northern youths?
It has nothing to do with appointments.
Anybody who knows me from onset will
testify that I have never looked for an
appointment, I’m not a government
contractor, but I stand on the path of
righteousness, and that I would be
remembered for even after death. If
something is right, it is right and if it is
wrong, it is wrong. I don’t have grudges
against the president. One, he is a father
to me, I have known him personally; I
have worked with him and we have a
relationship like father and son for a long
time from 2003, and there is no doubt
that he is like a father to me.
My position doesn’t have any personal
grudge against him, it is about Nigeria,
and I do not imagine that after all the
years we have spent in the trenches, and
putting my life in the fight against
injustice, and all of a sudden, we have
some characters, who have not paid any
dues or made any sacrifices trying to
undermine our democracy we have fought
for. I’m worried about that.
If for instance, President Buhari has a
cabinet made up of patriotic Nigerians,
who are ready to work, and he dictates
what goes on, we wouldn’t have
problems, but not when he is not in
charge of the government and some
people took advantage of his weaknesses
and start mismanaging Nigeria. This is
deceitful and it can’t be allowed to
continue. I have nothing personal against
the president. Anybody who knows my
record from Obasanjo’s regime, to
Yar’Adua and to Jonathan will attest that
I have been consistent. I criticise any
government that implements anti-people
policy in the best interest of the country.
Where the government does well, I
commend it.
We know he is under pressure by some
governors, ministers and kitchen cabinet,
we are also mindful that some of these
governors have failed woefully and don’t
have anything to show to their people,
especially, the governors of Kaduna, Kogi
and Zamfara, they are calamitous to our
society. They have nothing to offer. If
Buhari is not contesting, they are finished
because they have allegedly amassed
public funds. They cannot explain what
they did with the Paris refund loan. Many
of them are in a mess and to them, it is a
do or die, but for us, it is not so. The
tenet of democracy must come to play
and all of us must ensure that we insist,
advocate and sensitise Nigerian youths to
get their PVC.
The battle line will be between the old
generation, the failed governors and the
youths. I sympathise with him because
the pressure is so much on him, but I
would have wished that he shouldn’t
have succumbed to their blackmail and
pressure because he is a man we respect
and a man we are proud of as a father. I
wish him to retire with more honour than
the humiliation he is going to face. With
him, these governors, ministers and
kitchen cabinet are finished.
There are crises everywhere, and the
country has turned to a killing field, we
have not had it so bad, why is it so?
It is unfortunate. Every government
comes with its own challenges, and
everybody should be worried about the
situation we are in this country. Insecurity
has become an order of the day where life
is no more guaranteed. It is either you
have problem of herdsmen with the
farmers, kidnapping, robbery, etc, or you
have Boko Haram that is at its advanced
level, as it is not only in Borno State, but
also almost everywhere. It is worrisome.
One of the challenges has to do with the
lack of coordination among the security
agencies. We have never had a situation
where the security agencies are not in
harmony. There is problem between the
DSS and the EFCC; there is also a
problem between the army and police;
DSS and NIA, etc. if these security
agencies are not working as a team, there
wouldn’t be anything meaningful in
carrying out their responsibilities. The
earlier they realised this the better for the
country because it is not about them, but
about Nigeria, which comes first.
How can Nigeria come out of these
Like I said, if the security agencies should
reorganise themselves properly; put their
houses in order and agree to collectively
work together, and with the cooperation
of the citizens, then this insecurity will
Is there any political undertone to the
killings going on, especially in Southern
Kaduna, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau
and Taraba?
Like I said earlier, every government
comes with its own challenges. Sad
enough that in the game of politics, it is
so unfortunate that some people can take
away the lives of innocent people in the
name of playing politics. Just like Boko
Haram that has been politicised, and
serving the interest of some people, this
one cannot be ruled out. It is not good
for us as a country to take the life of
anybody just to prove a political point, or
distract somebody at the seat of power.
This is not the best time for the country.
The challenges are getting overwhelming.

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