July 31, (THEWILL) – Dr Yunusa Tanko is the Spokesperson of National Consultative Front, a Third Force Movement. In this interview with AYO ESAN, he speaks on the worsening insecurity in the country, among other issues of national importance. Excerpts:
You are the spokesperson of the Nigerian Consultative Front, a Third Force Movement. What is this all about?
The National Consultative Front is an assemblage of technocrats, civil society groups, and leaders of thoughts, young boys and girls who are determined to make a change in the country. We came together under a platform to chart a course of adopting a political party that will lead to the aspiration of leading a third force movement which is devoid of the APC or the PDP. The idea of course is to bring credible Nigerians under a big tent to contest election in 2023. The ideological base is a pro-masses political movement under the leadership of Professor Pat Utomi.
Which party have you now adopted as the third force?
What we mean by a third force is a major political party that is different from the PDP or APC. It means that there has to be a political party. So what we need to do is to either form a new political party or adopt a political party. The process of registering a new party is of course tedious and so we adopted the Labour Party. Now the Labour Party represents the interest of the third force. The Labour Party is the political vehicle that we are using as an opportunity to transform this country to a new horizon.
So how far can you go with this choice in the 2023 general election?
Well we will go very far because as you can see a lot of Nigerians gravitated towards the Labour Party. In fact we adopted the Labour Party before Peter Obi joined the party. What we have done was to adopt the Labour Party as our platform and as our collective vehicle to achieve our collective interest. And when we did that, we announced the adoption and a lot of people joined the party including Comrade Peter Obi. But that is not to say there are no other consultations going on long before now with the Labour Party.
You will also notice that we have the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on board in this particular movement. And the house is in continuity with other political parties to give us a big tent to fight or contest for the position of President, Governors, senatorial, Federal House of Representatives and state House of Assemblies. So it is a big and huge movement that we are putting in place.
Which other political parties are in this coalition?
There are several political parties that we have talked to, those who are registered and those who are unregistered. Like the National Conscience Party, NCP and the Progressive Peoples Alliance , PPA and other political parties with whom we are working to have a big tent.
There have been terrorist attacks on the Kuje Correctional Centre and other targets in the Federal Capital Territory recently. What is your take on this development?
The truth about this is that there is evidence to show that there is a conspiracy against the state. This conspiracy is both external and internal. It is when you have a politically motivated leadership that you can be able to change the tide. I mean how can you explain that hundreds of motorcycles rode into Abuja and bombed the prison yard in Kuje and released the prisoners? That is to tell you the level of inefficiency of governance in Nigeria as it is today.
We cannot wait to have a new government that will technically resolve the security challenges in our country. This issue must start from the local government areas to the state level, before it will come to the federal level. All aggrieved individuals who have taken arms against the state must be consulted, so that we may know the root cause of the problem. We also need to train our policemen and armed men. We need to train at least 10, 000 of them, so that we will have enough well-trained policemen to man the affairs of our internal security. We should also ensure that our borders are not too porous. We should equip our military in such a way that they will have good intelligence gathering.
It will also be important to look at the recruitment process of our security agencies including the reward programme. If the reward programme is weak, it won’t give room for encouragement and so we must look into this. We must look into the economic importance attached to every livelihood so that our young boys and young girls will not be used as ready tools against the state. These are practical measures that can help to change the narratives as it were.
Some senators and members of the House of Representatives are calling for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari. What is your reaction to this?
At the moment, it is not only the senate and the House of Representatives members that are tired but all Nigerians are tired and aggrieved. They feel if the president is incapacitated, he should resign. This is because I listened to the spokesperson of the president saying that the president has done his best and that the media should carry on the rest. That kind of statement is loaded and it deserves some explanation. We want to know if in fact the president is still in control of the apparatus of security in Nigeria. If not, I think it will be honourable for the president to bow out if he feels incapacitated.
So the National Assembly, I think they came in too late. This thing has been going on and there has been no solution. May be this attempt to impeach the president by the National Assembly will make Mr. President takes more decisive actions on the matter.
How would you advise President Muhammadu Buhari on insecurity in the country?
Mr President should look inward, but, at the same time, he should reach out to his partners outside the country to ensure permanent solutions to the problems. The problems are very identifiable, that is like I mentioned earlier, the economic situation in the country. He should look at this and find a solution to it immediately. If there are issues that he cannot handle, he can seek help. There are Nigerians that are knowledgeable in the area of security. He should also reach out to past Presidents, let them sit down and identify all the problems and cooperate with the president on how to solve the problem.
It is an urgent matter and the President should look inwards and reach out to past presidents, ask for their contributions to the solution to the problem of insecurity, so that they can join hands to solve the problem of insecurity in the country.
What is your advice to INEC as we move closer to the 2023 general election?
My advice is on the issuance of Permanent Voter Cards, (PVC). It is true that a lot of Nigerians intend to vote and they want to register. It is important that INEC publish the names of all the owners of PVCs that are still lying fallow in their offices. It is also important that INEC should provide opportunities for all Nigerians to register for the voter cards. If possible, INEC should give Nigerians one more month to register and get the PVC.
However, we must give kudos to INEC for doing the best it can do at this moment and the success recorded in the Osun and Ekiti governorship election.
What will you tell the electorate as they also prepare for the forthcoming election?
The electorate should look for credible Nigerians to lead us. They can see where we are at the moment. They can be part of determining the future by electing credible Nigerians who can serve them and help transform this country to a very great nation.