Eminent virologist and former oil minister, Professor Tam Da¬vid-West is a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of Gen Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He had served Buhari as minister in 1984, and he says with relish: “Buhari appointed me without having met me. The day I was sworn in as minister was the first time I met him.” He adds that Buhari gave him abso¬lute free hand to run the oil industry in the 20 months that the regime lasted.
In this interview in Port Harcourt, the Buguma, Rivers State-born essayist and social critic explains why he would rather vote for Buhari, instead of his Ijaw broth¬er, President Goodluck Jonathan:
You recently praised Governor Rotimi Amaechi, especially, his devel¬opmental strides. Which of his leader¬ship qualities impresses you most?
First, I’m naturally a supporter of the un¬derdogs, especially, people who have suffered injustice. I have suffered a lot of injustice in my life, both in the university and in politics. Whenever I see somebody suffering injustice and is an underdog, I support him. Now, Amae¬chi said that when he was in Ghana, fighting for his mandate in first term, he was impressed that I had been writing articles, fighting his cause without knowing him.
Why I support Amaechi is that all of us are brothers from Port Harcourt, we are called Port Harcourt boys. He is trying to recreate Port Harcourt to its former glory. You see, one of the things that has really impressed me about Amaechi is that he is clean. It is now left to him, his conscience and God. But Nigeria is a state that… If you have been stealing, trying to invest all that you have amassed, saying you are clean when you are not clean, immediately you go, the whole thing will come up.
And if he disappoints me that time, I will be so much against him, 10 times more than I have supported him. You can see visible progress, you can see commitment in Rivers State. I was Commissioner for Education here. His educa¬tion policy is similar to my own. Open schools, open schools, open schools, let development come. Again, there is no governor in Nigeria that went to Abuja, got allocation for the state and called the stakeholders in a conference and said, look, this is the amount of money I got on your behalf, this is how I’m going to spend it. It is only Amaechi. At the federal level, it was only Idiagbon. When I was oil minister, every month, Idiagbon would brief the country, dis¬closing how much we’ve got.
Another thing that impresses me about Amaechi is that he is not a babalawo man. Amaechi believes in God. Some of us, … we go to mosque on Friday, and church on Sunday and still rely on juju.
Amaechi, I’m satisfied, believes in God and is giving credit to God for everything that happens to him. He gives credit to God! So, I support him, and he knows. I told him before, I said, governor, I don’t need anything from you personally, I don’t need it, I don’t need any¬thing.
But a family that has only one star is a dead family. That star should create more families. I don’t need anything from you personally, but if I bring genuine need for you to help, please, check and please, help.
But the most important thing I need from you is good governance, so that you will not disap¬point those of us that support you.
People describe you as unrepentant critic. You are now ageing, when are you likely to back down?
I’m not backing down. That’s why I like an article in The Punch by Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora :“David West: The danger of criti¬cism,” I thought Mamora was going to at¬tack me. I’m not going to pipe down because it is an act of God, a sacred duty for God, and for my country. As far as Tam David-West is still breathing, I will continue to write. I wrote an article from hospital bed in Paris. I wrote an article, so, I’m not going to pipe down. The only thing that is going to stop me is if I’m no longer alive. I don’t know whether from the grave, I will not even write (prolonged laughter).
About President Goodluck Jona¬than, it seems you have relaxed your criticism of him lately.
I have not relaxed on him. I don’t know Jona¬than, I’ve not met him, and I don’t want to meet him.
Why don’t you want to meet him?
Doctorate degree does not make one a good leader or President. What is Ph.D? We are so interested in titles. ‘Oh, Ph.D! For the first time, Nigeria is having two graduates as President and Vice President’. I came out again and said, that does not mean anything. President Jimmy Carter of America had two Ph.Ds, Jimmy Car-ter had Ph.D in Nuclear Physics and Ph.D in Chemistry. Was he the best President? Leader¬ship is a different thing. I had told him before, it was in my article. If Jonathan is paying me N2 million a day, I will not work for him because Jonathan doesn’t impress me as someone who exercises the brains God has given him well. I’ll give you example, fuel subsidy, fuel subsidy. I said there is no fuel subsidy, they abused me. Finally, what do we find now? Trillions were paid, it is all fraud! And yet, look, the Finance Minister said they were going to spend billions again on fuel subsidy. I said, Jonathan, why can’t you build refineries, build four refineries before you leave, we will immortalize you for¬ever. As you build refineries, price of petroleum will come down and everybody will praise you. If General Buhari were elected in 2011, if they did not rig him out, one of the things he would have done in his one hundred days in office was to bring back fuel price to N40 per litre. If you like, you can close your petrol station and it will remain closed. But Jonathan would say, ‘fuel subsidy, no going back’, ‘N5,000 note, no go¬ing back’, Bamanga Tukur for PDP chairman¬ship or no other person.’ You don’t talk like that in a democracy, no going back, no going back, no going back, no going back and yet… Why I don’t like or support him is that, he is not a natural President, he is a parochial man. If not, why should Jonathan be comfortable with the bunch of sycophants that call themselves South- South Forum, South-South this, South-South that, who claim to support him? They even said South-South Forum supported him for fuel sub¬sidy removal. They don’t even know what it means. They don’t know the dynamics. Jon¬athan does not realise that he is not doing well, if he does not realise, how can he improve? I’m objective. I will never support him!
You seem to love Buhari so much, what are your reasons for that?
Oh yes? Because, you see, I worked with him. Why do I love Buhari? First, any leader that is not corrupt is my man. Buhari is immac¬ulately clean. The Forward to my two books on him was by General Abdulsalami Abubakar. Buhari is the only leader who has told his de¬tractors, tell the world about my corruption, but they couldn’t. Babangida locked up Buhari for 40 months, he was so wicked. Buhari’s mother died while he was in detention. He came out and said, okay, tell the world about my corruption. Obasanjo was digging into Buhari, he set up probe of PTF. They probed Buhari so much but refused to publish the report, but Buhari said, publish the report. I love Buhari, he is honest, straightforward, clean, and he loves Nigeria. I can fight for Buhari anytime, any day. In fact, if my father is contesting an election against Bu¬hari, I will vote against my father. Why? I will say my father, you are not meant for politics, I know you are as clean as Buhari, but you cannot do it (prolonged laughter).
You mean you will vote against your biological father in favour of Buhari?
Source: Sun


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.