The alleged lopsidedness in Buhari's anti-corruption war is blackmail -80-yr-old Kwara Reformed Movement leader Amuda Aluko
Octogenarian medical doctor and Tafida of Ilorin, Dr Amuda Aluko, believes the nation's current economic predicament is a result of greed and selfishness on the part of the country’s leaders. The proprietor of Geri-Alimi Hospital, the first private hospital in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, speaks on the formation of Kwara Reformed Movement (KRM), which he leads; his membership of the governing boards of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and University of Nigeria (UNN) as well as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and his take on the anti-corruption war, the PDP crisis and the goings on in the judiciary, among other national issues.
How old are you now?
I actually don't know my real age. But I should be about 80 years old. In real sense, age is no longer on my side. But I thank God I am enjoying good health.
How long have you practised as a medical doctor?
I have plied the trade for about 50 years. I was in government service for many years. In fact, I worked in so many government hospitals in northern Nigeria. I have been lucky and privileged to serve the Federal Government in various capacities too. I have served as a member of the national board of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), member of the Governing Council of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) for seven years, member of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) for four years, chairman scholarship board and so on.
I attended the then middle school, now Government Secondary School (GSS) Ilorin and Barewa College Zaria, Kano Medical School, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a fellow of the National Post-Graduate Medical College of Nigeria. I established Geri-Alimi Hospital which has been serving my community. The hospital is recognised by the national post-graduate college of Nigeria and I am appointed a trainer in family medicine.
Do you have any regrets in life?
I am grateful to Almighty God for He has always been by my side. I have no cause for regret in my life so far. In fact, Geri-Alimi Hospital was to be established in Kano because I took the loan from the then Bank of the North. I thank God I have paid it off. I was persuaded not to go to Kano. Certainly I have no regrets coming home because there was nothing I needed that I was not given, and it pleased the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu-Gambari, to give me the Tafida of Ilorin. It also pleased former President Goodluck Jonathan to give me a national honour as a member of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).
What gave rise to the formation of the Kwara Reformed Movement?
There used to be one at the national level called the National Reformed Movement. Even about two years before the 2015 presidential election, National Reformed Movement members made up their minds after so many considerations to support the candidature of now President Muhammadu Buhari. Members of the national reformed movement are not picked on state basis. In fact, there were states that did not have nominees for the movement. But I was privileged to be picked and we were asked to go out and spread the gospel, which we did. Thank God, President Muhammadu Buhari is in the saddle. It just occurred to me to talk to like-minds that the movement is geared towards development, enlightenment, improving the lot of the common man and creating awareness so that we can have good governance.
Unfortunately, some of the crops of our leaders today appear to be criticising the Federal Government for no just cause, because majority of them, particularly those in the Senate, are former governors. And most of these states could not afford to pay workers’ salaries. I read in the papers that during the last administration, there was excess crude oil money and the state governments had to drag the Federal Government to court and the money was shared. They refused to save for the rainy day. Nigeria was virtually at a crossroads even before Buhari took over. It is just like an old wine in a new bottle.
Kwara Reformed Movement is out to create awareness, and we are out to ensure sincerity and good governance. We are trying to be the mouthpiece of the common man. We are not out to criticise but to remind our leaders that they are there to represent out interests. Today, majority of our leaders, apart from being greedy, are selfish. I am appealing to them to remember that one day, they will be answerable to the Almighty God. It is never too late to make a change.
I am also appealing to all Nigerians to cooperate with the present administration so that recession can become a thing of the past. I also want to remind the present administration that a hungry man is an angry man. Efforts should be geared towards getting us out of this recession as quickly as possible. I am positive that if we all cooperate with the administration, for sure, we shall get out of the current bondage. I believe God will help Nigeria out.
On the alleged lopsidedness of Buhari's anti-corruption war, I have asked myself that question before. If they are sure that X and Y are corrupt, they should make it known. It is no use grumbling privately. If you have a mission and you are determined with the help of God that you want to accomplish the mission, God is always on your side. I look at the alleged lopsidedness of the anti-corruption crusade of Buhari by his critics as mere blackmail. That is a careless talk.
I think I read in one of the dailies that in fighting corruption and the insurgents in the North-East, Buhari has done well, but he has no answer to the economy. My reaction is that he is a human being, so he is not expected to know everything. Honestly, when you are a good leader, you look for those that will help your government. Unfortunately, they are making things difficult for him at the National Assembly. When they send names for confirmation, the legislators will reject the names on alleged inadequate consultations. Must the president consult anybody? Constitutionally, he has the right to appoint anybody anywhere to assist his administration. If there is good governance, everybody will benefit. If it is the other way round, we are in trouble.
What is your take on the alleged corruption in the judiciary?
The day I read in the papers that the houses of some judges were raided and they discovered huge sums of money, I felt terribly unhappy. Because judges, from what I was told, their salaries are for life with other appurtenances of office. Then what do they need money for again? It shows that they are ungodly. Many people cannot even afford two square meals in a day, yet they are keeping such huge amounts of money in their houses and bank accounts.
Well, we are still learning. I hope those who are there now and those who will step into their shoes as judges will learn to uphold integrity. If your name is sellable, there is nothing you cannot get in this country.
What are your observations on the Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed-led administration in Kwara State?
All I can say now is that it is important that the needs of the people are accorded utmost priority always. You may build an Aviation College, a flyover bridge, a special stadium and an underpass. Of course, I am not saying we don’t need them. But are they on our priority list? We don’t have adequate pipe borne water. Majority of Kwarans rely on wells and boreholes. The basic necessities of life should be considered first.
The proposed underpass at the Geri-Alimi Roundabout in Ilorin is not necessary. Instead, government should construct feeder roads. The underpass will only aggravate traffic congestion in the area. Look at the amount of traffic in Abuja; it is because of so many roads. Look at the flyover at the Post Office area of the town; it has not reduced traffic jam in that axis at all. As far as I am concerned, honestly, I would prefer them mending all the potholes.
What do you think is responsible for the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at national and state levels?
In politics, there is no permanent enemy and there is no permanent friend but permanent interest. Majority these days are in politics to amass wealth. They are not interested in serving like our former leaders. Because if they are interested in serving, there won’t be crisis. Whether it is Amodu Sheriff or Ahmed Makarfi, does it really matter? But if they want to use that position to amass wealth for themselves and a limited number of their followers, then there will be crisis.
The PDP used to be the largest political party in Africa, and they had a lot of money. The bottom line is that people are not ready to respect the provisions of the constitution of the party.