Alhaji Othman Bashir Tofa is a Kano based successful businessman and politician, in 1993, Bashir Tofa contested for the presidency on the ticket of defunct NRC but when the result of the polls was about to be announced, the then Military Cabal led by Former President Ibrahim Babangida cancel the entire process, since then, Tofa has returned to his native home of Kano and continue running chains of his businesses, unlike most of our elites, Tofa refused to join the ruling PDP during the current democratic program, he kept faith with ANPP even when ANPP presidential candidate then General Muhammadu Buhari formed the CPC, Tofa is an opinion leader and elder statesman in the North remains in ANPP now APC which has produced the current president.
Last week, Bashir Tofa granted an elaborate interview to Neptune Prime’s correspondent, Saleh Inuwa in Kano in which he talked about the current insecurity, challenges before INEC, resource control, why Nigerians may collapse if care is not taken, his insistence that he did not lose the June 12 election to Late MKO Abiola and his worry over the silence of senior Nigerians about the insecurity in the country.
EXCERPTS OF THE INTERVIEW
Neptune Prime: Before your recent statement, calling on senior Nigerians to come out and state their position on the insecurity ravaging the country, you have almost gone underground, what happened?
Tofa: I am surprised that you are the one asking this question because whenever there are major issues to talk about, you always come to my house or my office to hear my view, so I am not quiet at all but my concern is if I am to seek elective office today, it is going to be that of the president which I contested for in 1993 and the whole world knew that there was neither victor nor vanquished in that election, I never lost to MKO Abiola that is why whenever June 12 comes in our calendar, I don’t talk about it, when Buhari came, he almost declared Late MKO Abiola as the winner of that election by honouring him with GCFR, an honour that is normally conferred on Presidents.
NP: Your body language is telling me that you may not vie for an elective office in future?
Tofa: Do we have a future? When Nigeria is virtually grounding to a halt, and people like IBB, Abdulsalam Abubakar, General Aliyu Gusau, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Comrade Ebitu Ikiwe, Former President Obasanjo and other well-meaning Nigerians like Gowon are watching when they know very well that the country may collapse, I am worried that they are keeping quiet, about whether I will contest in future, since 1999, you watched how INEC conduct elections in this country, the exercise is always full of fraud, cheating, rigging and what have you. If you challenge your loss, it is still the fraudulent government in power that will tell the court, what to do, the judiciary is no longer the last hope of the common man because, most of our judges are corrupt and even INEC officials are nowadays massively corrupt, so at my age, and experience, I will not contest in future.
NP: But you have a dream to make Nigeria great again, how can you do that outside office?
Tofa: That is why I am always calling for National Conference to discuss our future, we need a national forum to talk about the future of this country especially how Boko Haram emerged, today people who stole billions are occupying sensitive positions in Government stealing more billions from the treasury, what happened to the outcome of the capital market probe, the subsidy problem, the Senate report on privatization, the reports are dying gradually, why? Today the level of corruption in Nigeria is more shocking to me than June 12 annulment, I went into June 12 and came out of it more popular, more experienced and richer if you want to know.
NP: What do you actually want Nigerians to discuss in a conference when we have senators and house of representatives?
Tofa: I don’t want to talk about our National Assembly and the Caliber of Politicians there, because, for a very long time, Nigeria was been ravaged by bandits, they did not compel the president to change his service chiefs, his ministers, National Security adviser or what have you, even the Executive these days are behaving as if they are deaf, so let’s go for a conference and talk about NNDC, Ompadec, Ministry for Niger Delta, derivation formula, these agencies are consuming massive resources, as a result, the North has become poor, we also should re-visit the present arrangement whereby the onshore/offshore law lifted the barrier between oil extracted onshore and offshore for the purposes of computing derivation revenue to be given the littoral states which are not acceptable to the North.
NP: Generally, can you summarize the performance of the Buhari Government?
Tofa: This government has failed, this government is weak, this government has no focus, the government is deaf and dumb, there is no single project by this government especially in the North, Nigeria is collapsing, poverty is killing our people, this is a government that can kill Nigerian Citizen because of a bag of rice imported through the border, all our textile companies are not working, we cannot go to the farm, we cannot travel in the night, yet the government is not ready to change or listen. Everyday, you hear of killing or kidnapping, some governors are even threatening the Federal Government by setting up their private security apparatus today, tribalism has increased in the country and foreign powers are working hard for Nigeria to be like Libya, Rwanda or Iraq. This is very very dangerous and we must pray hard for God to give us a purposeful president in 2023.