Addressing a gathering of members of the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) during the inauguration of the organisation’s office in Abuja, the Customs boss, a confidant of President Buhari, expressed indignation over recent unsavoury developments within the administration.
He, however, attributed the development to former members of the erstwhile ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who he claimed had hijacked the government and made a mess of the vision of President Buhari.
Five opposition political parties coalesced to form the All Progressives Congress (APC) and worked to defeat the PDP in the 2015 elections. The list included the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Others were the New Peoples Democratic Party (New PDP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
A fuming Colonel Ali declared that everything must be done to weed out the defected members of the PDP who he put at 50 per cent in the Buhari administration.
He noted that the cleansing was imperative to ensure that the government had concrete achievements to show to Nigerians and teeming members of the BSO at the end of its first term.
Ali said: “This is a gathering to rekindle what we started in 2015 and what we used as a vehicle to fight in the trenches, out of the trenches, along the routes and in so many difficult terrains to see to the success of our vision and mission…
“Our vision then was to install a government that will bring about change in this country. Our motto and expression then was that we want change. I want to commend Nigerians for sharing that same vision with us. They decided to vote the government out and voted us in because of that vision of change. We are riding on that mantle of change today. It is good to take us back on the memory lane. Some of us started this journey in 2011. There are those who started as far back as 2003 and are still in the tranches. I am sure that the 2007 veterans are still here, while some of us joined the train in 2011, while many others joined in 2015.
“Why did we then sacrifice everything that we need and want? A lot of us have lost their jobs, others have lost their businesses. A lot of us sitting here today have nothing to do because they committed their time and resource working for the success of a change for a better Nigeria.
“We did this not because of ourselves or any individual but because of our love for this great nation. Many of you can remember that we went through this because we are committed to a cause and that whatever we eventually install will be something that we are committed to.
“But let me say here without fear of being contradicted that I think half way through the journey, we are losing our core values. We are losing our vision and mission and I think that the idea of our being here today is to look critically at what we need to do to get back on track. There is no doubt that we have derailed because we are not doing what we say we want to do. Why is it so? We need to find an answer to that. If we do find an answer, then what should we do to get us all back on track?
“We owe this great nation and the 180 million Nigerians the duty to give good governance. Good governance is what they voted for and good governance is what they expect to get and they serve that. We therefore, as BSO, have a great task ahead of us. My dear comrades, the battle and the job start now. We have won one battle by taking over power. But what we make of this power is very essential to us and to humanity.
“Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to tell my colleagues here that we have to change the narratives. When we were out there working and jumping on the street and reaching every corner, we were shouting change, change for a better Nigeria. Now, the key word is good governance for Nigerians. We must agree that we cannot finish our four years without delivering and leaving something to be remembered for in this country for a long time to come.
“We have no problem with our President because he is on course. But I must confess here that we have been infused by people who were not part of this journey and these people are the ones that call the shots today.
“That is why we are derailing. If we had the right people who had the vision and have been there in and out, I believe that we will not be going the way we are going today.
“It is my belief that those of us who have been in the trenches all these years to get good governance will surely be sleeping with belly ache every day, especially in the recent past. Every day, when you wake up, there is a story that makes you shiver. We cannot, as a people who have fought and committed everything we had to bring this government to being, sit back and allow things to happen the way they are happening. At the end of the day, the fingers will point at us because we were the ones who went to people and spoke to them to give us their votes. These people that are calling the shots today were not there and when the chips are down, they will disappear and melt within the system.
“We are the ones that will be asked to account for what happened. Are we willing to face Nigerians and tell them that we have failed? I think this is the time for us to come together, create a system that is robust enough to fight back and take back government in our hands and ensure that we deliver.
“I will, therefore, ask my colleagues of the BSO to go back to the study room. This is a commission but it is also the beginning of the fight for good governance. We must get back to the trenches, draw our own battle plan and battle line. I enjoined you that the same commitment we had in 2015, I implore you to bear with us and commit yourself to a better future for Nigeria.
“We will be calling on you from now on and we will be working day and night. We must do so because we want to save our name at the end of the day and the name of the President for what he is doing. Our President is on course and all we need is to ensure that we support him. What do we do? For those of us who believe in God, we must know that God is the first port of call. We believe that if you want to change the system, it will happen.
“Today, with all sense of responsibility, I want to say that we have 50 per cent of PDP in our government. How can we move forward with this load? How can we achieve our target with this load? It is a spoilt system and so when you come in, you shake off everybody and bring in your own. That is what democracy is all about. Today, we have members of PDP calling the shots. That is what we will begin to fight for; we will fight for our right position, our vision and our mission for this government. I am sorry to deviate into politics, but it is very essential because we are a political organisation. It is time for us to wake up from slumber and chart a course for this great nation and I believe that we can do it. May God help you and see us through.”
Speaking in similar vein, the Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, thanked the Customs boss for his critique of the present administration which he further noted has since alienated members of the BSO which, he claimed, worked relentlessly to ensure victory for President Buhari in the 2015 election.
He further declared that all hands must be on deck to ensure that the aggrieved members were placated and adequately rewarded ahead of the forthcoming general election.