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Homeless and happy

Posted by By PAUL ORUDE, Bauchi on 2008/10/10 | Views: 1500 |

Homeless and happy

Minister of Internal Affairs in the Second Republic, Dr. Ibrahim Tahir, is homeless and he's losing no sleep over it.

* Ex-Minister, Tahir, says it's no big deal having no home and squatting with friends

Minister of Internal Affairs in the Second Republic, Dr. Ibrahim Tahir, is homeless and he's losing no sleep over it.

In an interview with Daily Sun, Tahir says being homeless and squatting with a relation is no big deal, even for a man of his calibre.

The radical sociologist lost his only house in a recent fire incident and has since been squatting with a relation in Bakaro, a busy area in the heart of Bauchi metropolis.

He told Daily Sun: “Yes, fire burnt my house. The fire that burnt down my house came shortly before I was struck down by an illness and I am partially being handicapped by lack of physical movement until the last six weeks or so when I have been travelling up and down. Eventually, of course, I shall turn my attention to the house. But for now, I am viable without really establishing myself in my original home.”

On how he feels being homeless, he replies: “I feel fit. I feel fine and I feel quite happy. I know that people don't take houses to the grave. Even though I am not by any means saying that I am near the grave, I am saying that, what does that matter. The Pharaoh who took mountains of gold to the other world ended up yielding it to British explorers, Italian explorers, American explorers and so on. Those ones promptly stole the gold, mountains of it, and the gold standard became the foundation of the measurement of currency.

“I am not in a hurry to become the owner of a big castle which nobody will be able to maintain when I die, and which will become a hotel. Many people are building homes in Nigeria today which will become hotels. All the big homes in London, Kensington, everywhere, were homes of grand people who lived in grand style. Today they are club houses. I pity an ex-governor who has an enormous palace in Bauchi and even bigger ones in Kano. He has a huge one in Kaduna, two massive ones in Lagos and two or three or four in Abuja. You wonder who will pay the electricity bills and the water rates in the next ten years when Nigeria's energy bill is going to be very high.”

Commenting on the less than cordial relationship between former governor Adamu Mu'azu and the incumbent, Isa Yuguda, Tahir says he has no advice for either party.
“I neither know the basis for the foundation of their original friendship nor do I know the foundation of their present hostility. In my own mindset, I know people can quarrel up to a certain extent. When that quarrel reaches a certain level, it is futile to resolve it. If you allow time which cures all maladies to come, by and by the futility of such argument will become obvious. Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto was the target of massive anti-Tahir propaganda when I was in England.

But I believe that up till the time that Ahmadu Bello died he never held anything against me personally. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was the target of the most salacious, salvage review of the book, The Peoples Republic which I wrote. I believe that the guard of the old Action Group, UPN, wanted me crucified and wanted me put in the position of late Adegoke Adelabu, or Israel Njamanje. Awolowo turned round to them and said, 'look gentlemen, this issue that Tahir wrote about was an ideological issue. Nigeria can do with many opinions.

It is true that his style was a bit exuberant. Now, he is a young man, and I am over 60, nearly 70 and he is a young man of 32, so why do you quarrel with that?' What I learned from this is that I should never make the disagreement between me and somebody on ideological ground the foundation for some kind of hate or hostility. The late Bala Usman and I stood on opposite camp of the campus. I was on the right, or in my view, at the centre, and he was on the extreme left. I know the students who followed him and it was a celebrated time in ABU during the campus debate. But Bala and I had the most affectionate of relations with each other. I respected him and he respected me. He cared about what happened to me and I cared about what happened to Bala. Today Nigeria is poorer without the intellectual Bala. There were rumours that he was killed and I pray for God's curse on those who killed him.”

The former minister also cautioned Africans against accepting whatever report is written about the continent, especially by the Western powers. According to him, the United Nations as well as Europe and America have always published inaccurate reports about the African continent.
“Sometimes UN agencies are not as innocent as they seem,” he says. “The racist monkey was blamed for AIDS when we know that AIDS was a laboratory product and the first outbreak of AIDS known to the world was in the red light districts of California.

There, ex convicts were experimented with for cold war purposes and perhaps for population control purposes. Unfortunately changes in the US policies and American social attitudes did not remove those condemned criminals from the society. The parole system and so on extended their lives and they were released to the society. That marked the beginning and the spread of AIDS. But now everybody is saying it is an African disease. Bullshit.”
He maintains that in next month's election in the United States, the Democratic candidate, Senator Barrack Obama will defeat his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain in a landslide victory. He warns, however, that Obama's victory will not hold any prospect for Africa.

He says: “As far as I am concerned, I am not sure that he will be a good candidate for Africa. It is just going to be America and no more. I am not unaware of the fact that if people are asked who they will like to holiday with, Obama or McCain, a lot of people say Obama and so on. But whatever it is, I will like to believe that Obama will probably win by a landslide. But being a cautious and careful kind of man, one with a great deal of respect for established institutions, I wonder if the chances are not just about 50-50.

I see the conflict over Georgia and Vladimir Putin's behaviour as perhaps an accidental contribution to the reduction of Obama's popularity. But I think it is possible that America will leave up to its image as a country that is so mature and has completely freed itself from the shackles of racial bigotry, and so on will end up producing an Obama presidency. That should not surprise me. It should in fact encourage me and make me happy. But Africans who expect Barrack Obama to be anything other than an America president will have a shock because the man is an American through and through.”

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