The Deputy Senate Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha, who is representing Taraba South Senatorial District in the National Assembly on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, speaks on herdsmen killings in his state among other issues with journalists, including JUSTIN TYOPUUSU
Are you satisfied with the Federal Government’s handling of cases of herdsmen killings and insurgency in Taraba and other states?
How will I be satisfied? I have told President (Muhammadu Buhari) one-on-one that I am not satisfied with the way his government is handling the war against insurgency because those who are terrorising our people these days are those being released under the guise of what we call amnesty. Whether it is a strategy to end the war through the back door, I don’t know. But these are the same people that are released into the society that keep killing our people. The Nigerian media call them herdsmen, but they are not herdsmen. They are truly insurgents who were released from prison and returned to society. These are major players in the theatre of war in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
But we have enough security agents drafted to these north-eastern states to repel the insurgents…
We have open borders. I don’t know what conspiracy is in place now that the borders are being opened desperately and people from Libya, Chad, and Niger Republic are now coming into Nigeria and moving freely. What is really going on? l don’t know where I am going to trace the problem to, but I have mentioned it personally to Mr. President that the Federal Government at the level of the executive must wake up and must suspend all ambitions concerning 2019. Everybody is just concentrating on elections when people are dying in large numbers. Who is going to elect you when people are dying? You will win election and rule over whom? People are dying in our country, nobody is saying anything and if you are not talking, it seems you are afraid of death. We will all die; whether we like it or not, one must die. So, what’s the big deal? Say it the way it is.
Could that be the reason why General Theophilus Danjuma asked people to defend themselves?
When General Danjuma said people should protect themselves, people threw stones at him, asking why he should talk like that. I don’t understand why people are like that. You mean you are in your house and somebody is coming to kill you; they said they are herdsmen, they are about 20 in number, they are following certain cows and you call them herdsmen. They meet you in the house and they are slaughtering you like chickens. Then, you will be looking at them like that because you are a law-abiding citizen, when you know that it is illegal to be law-abiding when there is lawlessness. If there is lawlessness, it is illegal to be law-abiding. Which law are you going to obey when there is no law in place? No, we must redefine our structure.
Have you justified the mandate given to you by the people of Taraba South Senatorial District to seek a third term to the Senate?
As a matter of fact, I have a kind of fulfilment to an extent following my strides. I can tell you about the things I have done for the people. And I will say them with a sense pride. I can say God has used me to touch lives in this part of the state so much so that there is no local government that my presence is not felt and there is no local government where I cannot show you a project I have executed? Secondly, every sector you can think of — health, works, education, agriculture, you name it — I can point them out one by one, either by infrastructure or even by human development. They are there.
Do you think that the Peoples Democratic Party can win the governorship and other elections in Taraba State in 2019?
It is an interesting question because you know when the pattern is set and when the time is changing, people are supposed to know. But unfortunately, I feel some of us do not understand that now. We are in the opposition as of today in Nigeria, and in fact, in the state. We form the government at the state level, but at the federal, we are in the opposition. We cannot afford to be behaving anyhow otherwise, we will run into trouble especially when somebody wants to see himself as the lord of the manor. So, I think I will advise the party leadership to understand that it needs people now. We need people more than ever before because when you are chasing people away by your actions, then, you are trying to destroy the party. I am saying this with every sense of modesty because I know what we went through before we were able to form government. God used a lot of us. That is why when we see people trying to pull down this government, we resist them.
Some people are pointing accusing fingers at the governor on the crisis rocking the PDP in Taraba State. Do you agree with them?
I think they are not being fair to the governor because the governor should have been surrounded by people who understand the values of power. Unfortunately, they are actually very valueless and they think it is business like before. They are destroying the government because they are not advising the leader (governor) on things that will bring the people to him and not to tell him. Instead, they are asking the governor to be careful about certain people they perceive as rivals. At the end of the day, all of them will crumble and it will not bring anything. Once you have a poor leadership that doesn’t understand the people at the party level – because the governor is supposed to be relying on the level of the party for leadership — at this stage, when you don’t hold the people very well, people will go away because politics is about interest. If you want to threaten somebody’s interest, he will go away because there are other platforms where you can go and realise your dream. So, people can develop a sense of diplomacy to be able to hold the party together but if you lack the requisite experience and the needed capacity to do it, then, you need help.
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