I Was Part Of The Cabal In Buhari’s Government -Babachir Lawal

Babachir Lawal , former Secretary to the Government of the Federation ( SGF), for the first time after he was sacked from office over alleged diversion of IDP funds opened up on issues, saying the ugly episode was orchestrated by those who wanted him out of office. TONY EZIMAKOR brings the excerpts:

Nigerians are still in doubt whether President Buhari has done well to deserve a second term. What is your take on this?

I know very well that President Buhari has done very well to be re-elected over and over again. I wonder whether those still in doubt have not seen infrastructure, construction and other things he has been doing. I challenge those in doubt to come to Adamawa to see things themselves.

Before Buhari emerged president, six or seven local government Areas of the state
was under the occupation of Boko Haram. I could not go to my village, I could not go to my farm, I could not to my local government, but the situation has changed now. I can even drive to my house at 2am, sleep and wake up.

I can visit the remotest corners of the village with my family. I go to my farm in the forest and come back safely. If you have never faced an unsecured situation, you may not appreciate what it means to be secure, and free.

Secondly, all the trunk A roads in Adamawa state are now under construction or contracts awarded. Such roads like Yola to Gombe, Numan to Taraba, Yola to Mubi, Mararaba to Bama and many others are under construction. They have completed the 330KVA line to Jalingo. Adamawa has been on 33KVA before now that even simple grinding machine cannot operate in Adamawa state then.

Boko Haram burnt all the schools and all the police stations but they have been rebuilt and renovated today. The police barracks have been rebuilt and the policemen returned to their duty posts. What else would anybody for instance, in Adamawa want from Buhari. Do you want to cook him?

How has life been after you were sacked as the SGF?

Let me shock you. Before I came into government, I have been in business. I was a very successful businessman. I am a world-renowned IT Consultant and I have a very large farm, spanning over 1000 hectares, which I abandoned to join the government. I was earning N930,000 monthly as the SGF.

Now that I have returned to my farm and reactivated it after my sack, I now have 4000 hectares under cultivation. Last year, I earned close to half a billion Naira from my farm proceeds. I have a cattle ranch, that I am developing gradually and I am back to IT Consultancy. Life is good. Everybody who sees me compliments me by announcing that I am looking good and healthy now.

You didn’t get much support when you had the travail, were you surprised that only a few Nigerians stood by you when the going was rough?

I did not expect Nigerians to stand by me. People always forget that I am a pastor and the Bible says that God works for all things for the benefit of those who trust in him.

There are certain things that happened to me which I would not have known if I had not passed through this experience. For instance there are people I have helped that are determined to see that I did not see the light of the day. All along, they were carrying my children to school but were scheming that I die. I didn’t know that the people I was paying their children’s school fees were actually people that are envious of me.

I would not have known that if the sack did not come. I would not have known that as a human being, you have no control over your destiny. God does it and the way my Bible teaches me, everything that happens to a man is for his own good. My sack I would say is rather a blessing in disguise.

Do you see Atiku Abubakar from your state, posing any threat to the re-election of President Buhari?

I like Atiku very well and we even have semblance -black, tall, but I can say with certainty that he cannot win election even in Adamawa state. He belongs to the set of politicians that cannot just win election for one reason or the other because their methodology is not just good. Somehow people are not comfortable with him.
Again, he also changes party like football.

You kick football, run after it and kick it again when you get close to it. He changes party too much, forgetting that each time a politician changes party, he drops some followers.

What is the truth; that you nominated the current SGF, Boss Mustapha?

How can I nominate him when I am not the president of Nigeria. Even when I was the SGF, the president confirms all the appointments. At best, I can recommend and if he likes, he rejects or accepts. On what basis will I recommend the current SGF? He is however my brother and I cannot deny him.

It is wrong to accuse me of being behind what you described as Buhari’s sectional appointments. How many people came from my village? I am not an Hausa man but a Kilba man. We are a population of only about 300,000. I am a Christian and it is not right to accuse me of sectionalism. I can only be accused of being sectional if the appointments made are people from my side.

Talking about sectionalism in the appointments, where were they when these people are working very hard. People opposed my appointment, forgetting that the time I was sleeping in the bush and working very hard.

Was there cabal when you were in government and were you one of them?

The word cabal is not a bad word. It simply means an inner caucus and everybody has people around very close to them. If I, as the SGF appointed by the president, cannot influence his decision, what the heck will I be doing there?

The whole essence of occupying that position is to influence the boss with certain decisions. If because you are close to your boss and made recommendations, means you are a cabal, so be it. Would you have preferred I am the SGF without having any influence in government?

Do you regret the action that culminated in your sack?

Let me tell you, nothing happened to me. Right from the beginning of the saga, I knew that the whole thing was fabricated and that was why I did not give any damn from the beginning. I did not give a damn.

The reason some people don’t like me is because I am so confident of myself. Did you hear me defend myself that time, I didn’t do it and I will not do it because I know that they are fabricated. They wanted the SGF position, let them take it. I am still doing fine and by the way, do I look like somebody not doing fine?

Have you forgiven those behind your sack?

Yes of course, if you want to make heaven as a Christian, don’t bear or hold any grudge against anyone. Forgiveness is my number one principle because I want to make heaven.

Why are you not contesting for any elective position?

First, I was the SGF and that position is over and above governor because it is a federal appointment. I was virtually running the federal government. You recall that even the former senate President, number three man of the federation, still accepted the SGF position.

So, having attained that position, I have gone above going down again to contest for lower positions. Secondly, I am 63 years old now and I have a 33 year old son, I don’t see myself competing with him, vying to become the state governor. I will rather encourage my son to contest instead of contesting against him’.

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