Neither the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) nor the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is capable of returning Nigeria to the path of progress, an elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassi, has said.
Speaking against the background of problems plaguing the country, he said the country has become a cesspool of corruption occasioned by politicians in collaboration with bad elements in the civil service.
The Second Republic adviser to the late President Shehu Shagari noted that the experience Nigerians had been going through in the last few years had shown that both APC and PDP lacked the capacity to deliver the goods because they are peopled by the same set of people and making a mockery of the battle against corruption, insecurity and unemployment in the country.
He recalled in a telephone interview with Nigerian Tribune that President Muhammadu Buhari rode to power in 2015 on the tripod of fighting corruption, securing the country and creating employment with those issues still staring Nigerians in the face.
According to him, the level of corruption has worsened in the country, especially among high profile politicians who could not account for their stupendous wealth.
“When Buhari became president, everybody thought he would do something about corruption; everybody believed that he would have an answer to the issue of corruption. He came to office on the mantra of security, corruption and unemployment. Out of the three issues, where did Buhari succeed? Don’t give me an answer; leave it to your conscience. Of course, and my own God knows what is on my mind on the three-corruption, insecurity and unemployment.
“When Buhari started, people were afraid to take bribes and steal money. Now, they do it left, right and centre. I will not mention names but I know people who are in government who are now superbly rich. They cannot account for the amount of money they have today all over: be it ministers, permanent secretaries, local council chairmen, and so on.
“People go into politics not because of any ideology, not because the parties have any programme to address the need and welfare of the people and society. No, everybody goes there to get what he can get; take money out of the country by whatever means; it is all about get rich quick. A messenger hides files to armtwist and shortchange the system,” Yakassai said.
He said the movement of politicians from one party to the other amply demonstrated the kind of characters current occupying the nation’s political space and the resultant negative consequences.
Asked if there was no hope for any positive change in Nigeria under the existing system; the Kano State-born said: “Walahi, except if there is a drastic change. But I do not know it. I do not know the kind of change myself because, when Buhari came into office, the issue then was that PDP people were the ones that were being accused of stealing.
“By my estimation, between 80 and 90 per cent of APC leaders now are former PDP leaders. Where was the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai? Where did the Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, come from? He was elected senator under the platform of the PDP after being governor of Akwa Ibom State for two terms of four years each.
“Go round and check the list of the APC members that came from the PDP. So, what happened that changed them from what they were when they were in PDP. What miracle happened that they changed their mantra from what they were doing in the PDP to what they are doing now? Where were the governors of Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina and Kano before?
“In the United States of America, who are the democrats? You know them by their looks. Who are the Republicans? You know them by their looks. In Britain, you look for the Conservatives; you know them by their looks. Who are the Labour members? You know them by their looks. It is not so in Nigeria. Most of them crossed over from the PDP to the APC with the exception of Buhari and Bola Tinubu.”