The political calculations for the 2015 presidential election took an interesting dimension at the weekend when Abduljhalil Tafawa Balewa, son of the late Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, said he is bent on taking a shot at the leadership position which his late father, was forced to vacate 48 years ago in a military coup.
This came as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, at the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) rally in Port Harcourt, said that President Goodluck Jonathan would soon express his desire to contest next year’s election to seek a second term in office.
Though very young at the time, Abduljhalil, the late Balewa’s son, who was taken away to grow up in Switzerland since the age of two, thinks Nigeria has really not known peace since that democratic regime was interrupted.
Now a doctorate degree holder in nuclear chemistry, Jhalil thinks it’s time to look forward and work at “healing Nigeria.” He is interestingly from both northern and southern parts of the country, having been born of a Yoruba mother. To him, this is a unique selling point, as he believes he will be a perfect bridge across the divides.
“It is time to move forward but no matter what you do, you cannot run away from your past experiences. What we were trying to do and what we are trying to do now is a result of what the military inflicted on our national psyche. I don’t blame them. Things happen but you cannot treat a particular ailment without being able to diagnose it. You need to know the history or the etymology of the ailment, how you got to where you are before you can get a prescription for treatment.
“That coup was like cut of a hot knife through the butter of being of our country. We have never had peace in a true sense. I think the lesson is that good guys don’t finish last,” he said.
As a Nigerian from the Northeastern part of the nation where the Boko Haram insurgents hold sway, Balewa is optimistic about his ability and resolve to be able to help Nigeria solve the issues.
Other issues that he hopes to tackle include corruption, environmental degradation by international oil companies and infrastructure deficiency in the country.
“There is nobody with a full stomach that will want to fight. But you have to look at the reason for the insurgency itself”, he said explaining that for a long time, youths of the area were used by politically self-centred and self-serving persons and later dumped without means of livelihood.
According to him, employment creation will solve the restiveness in the region. He noted, therefore, that he was ready to bring industries into the area to create employments for the people as some foreign investors are already consulting with him on how to invest to create jobs in the area.
He did not fail to point out likely collusion between some military officers and insurgents, which may have been fueling the fire of the Boko Haram militancy.
“We are proud. We should be proud of the military’s successes in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Sudan, Central African Republic and Dafur. This same military now cannot tackle insurgents in their own soil? That’s not true. There’s something wrong somewhere or there may be collusion within.
“ I think we need to ask questions”, he said.
As a way of moving the country forward, young Balewa says that law enforcement agents should be well remunerated and trained to tackle the challenges of corruption and insurgency. For him also, getting employed should not be by connections in high places.
Meanwhile, Senator Anyim, the SGF, has said that President Jonathan would soon tell Nigerians about his desire to seek a second term in 2015. He stated this yesterday during the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria rally in support of the President’s second term bid in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“The South South has broken the record of the other five regions that have so far asked President Jonathan to run for a second term of four years.
Your region has collected 4,150,000 signatures. The signatures can be verified. You can see the names of those who signed; their telephone numbers and local governments. This process is real. You know what, before I make any further comment, I want to dance to the President Goodluck Jonathan music: Goodluck for me; Goodluck for everybody.
He continued: “These figures are fantastic: Rivers State, 1,100,000; Akwa Ibom, 800,000; Bayelsa State, 500,000; Cross Rivers State, 520,000; Edo State, 420,000 and Delta State, 750,000.”