Kwara peo­ple voted for an op­pres­sive govt – Ex-min­is­ter

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - From Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu, La­gos

The im­me­di­ate past Min­is­ter of Na­tional Plan­ning and Deputy Chair­man, Na­tional Plan­ning Com­mis­sion (NPC), Dr. Abubakar Olan­re­waju Su­laiman, in this in­ter­view, speaks on the pol­i­tics of Kwara State and the new Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment un­der Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari.

What have you been do­ing since you left of­fice? I have re­turned to the univer­sity where I was a lec­turer in the Depart­ment of Po­lit­i­cal Science and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, though I’m not ac­tively teach­ing for now. Se­condly, I have been en­gag­ing in pol­i­tick­ing and ac­tu­ally try­ing to watch what the new gov­ern­ment is do­ing, vis-a-viz is­sues they have been rais­ing about our gov­ern­ment. I have been re­spond­ing to is­sues which I want to be­lieve are con­struc­tive enough to deepen democ­racy, in­form or cor­rect an im­pres­sion by the new gov­ern­ment about our gov­ern­ment. So, these are my en­gage­ments so far.

You have been silent about Kwara. Many peo­ple are in­sin­u­at­ing that prob­a­bly you are try­ing to join the rul­ing party, the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC). How would you re­act to this?

We had elec­tions - the pres­i­den­tial and gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tions. The turnout of elec­tion in Kwara gave it to the APC. To me, per­haps, Kwarans have spo­ken. Whether it was fraud­u­lently got or it was got through due process, the out­come of the elec­tion shows the di­rec­tion Kwaran peo­ple want. I just be­lieve we should give the new gov­ern­ment a breath­ing space at the state level. We should watch what the gov­ern­ment is do­ing. If Kwarans de­cide that that is where they want to go, let’s see how it goes. Per­haps, it is go­ing to favour them, if it is their wish to vote for a party or a set of peo­ple who have been op­press­ing and ex­ploit­ing them, those who have been cor­ner­ing their re­sources. I don’t need to be shout­ing or talk­ing if a sys­tem is on. The peo­ple in the so­ci­ety are the vic­tims of that sys­tem. You are just try­ing to as­sist ei­ther in lib­er­at­ing the peo­ple or try­ing to get them out of the op­pressed sys­tem. But there is noth­ing to show that the peo­ple them­selves are ready for that lib­er­a­tion and free­dom in or­der to put an end to that op­pres­sive sys­tem. I think the best thing is to watch, fold your arms and watch how things are go­ing. If the peo­ple them­selves are pushed to the wall, they would re­act ad­e­quately.

It is been over 100 days since Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari took over. What is your im­pres­sion about the ad­min­is­tra­tion?

The last 100 days of the APC gov­ern­ment at the fed­eral level are 100 days of in­tense work but no re­sult. 100 days of pol­icy state­ment with no pol­icy di­rec­tion. It is 100 days of a gov­ern­ment with­out gov­er­nance. It is 100 days of con­tin­ued pro­pa­ganda, and cam­paign. It is 100 days of a rul­ing gov­ern­ment be­hav­ing like an op­po­si­tion gov­ern­ment. When I said it is 100 days of in­tense work but no re­sult, we had a gov­ern­ment that came to power, rode on the am­ber of fight­ing cor­rup­tion and in­sur­gency and within 100 days of that gov­ern­ment, the in­sur­gents in the North-East mas­sa­cred al­most a thou­sand Nige­ri­ans. Is that re­sult?We had a gov­ern­ment that came to power and promised em­ploy­ment and jobs. But within those 100 days, many com­pa­nies and in­vestors in Nige­ria laid off Nige­ri­ans work­ing for them, un­em­ploy­ment rose, job­less­ness rose ac­cord­ing to the NBS sta­tis­tics. It is very clear, most places you go to, it is the same cry. The Forex pol­icy of the gov­ern­ment has brought a sit­u­a­tion where most of the banks are short of For­eign Ex­change. Peo­ple who have busi­nesses abroad are forced to with­draw their money and take it to the neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. What that means is that in the near­est fu­ture, very soon and quote me, the bank­ing in­dus­try may col­lapse. Most of them would lay off their work­ers. The Sin­gle Trea­sury Ac­count which we in­tro­duced was to be im­ple­mented in phases. But the way they are im­ple­ment­ing it now as they ask all the paras­tatals and Min­istries, De­part­ments and Agen­cies (MDAs) to op­er­ate just sin­gle ac­count un­der the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria (CBN) would spell doom for this coun­try and the bank­ing in­dus­try. So, it was a pol­icy that was well thought out un­der our ad­min­is­tra­tion. But the im­ple­men­ta­tion process has to be in phases. It is not a full im­ple­men­ta­tion as they have done it. It is af­fect­ing the econ­omy se­ri­ously. Within the 100 days of Buhari’s regime, I keep on say­ing it, in terms of in­tegrity, in terms of dig­nity, in terms of forthright­ness, give it to him, there is no doubt about that. But in terms of method­ol­ogy and ap­proach to is­sues, he is lack­ing in that ap­proach. That is why un­der his ad­min­is­tra­tion in the last 100 days, we have been hav­ing pol­icy sum­m­er­sault. They re­moved road­blocks ev­ery­where. Later, they dis­cov­ered that it was wrong. They re­versed that. Some places should have road­blocks. Some places should not have.

The var­i­ous out­bursts at the in­ter­na­tional fora do not speak well of Nige­ria. A leader doesn’t go out­side the coun­try to de-mar­ket your coun­try. You can say any­thing of your coun­try within the coun­try. The essence of diplo­macy is to put your coun­try in a brighter light so that you can draw in­vestors. It can bring in friends that would as­sist you. But when ev­ery time Mr. Pres­i­dent goes out­side Nige­ria ei­ther in the U.S or France, the only thing we could hear is that, ‘the Min­is­ters are noise­mak­ers. The per­ma­nent sec­re­taries are this’. You are not help­ing the coun­try. That is not diplo­macy. That is why I said even while they are in gov­ern­ment, they are still be­hav­ing like op­po­si­tion. You don’t go to the US and say that the gov­ern­ment you took over from is cor­rupt. You are de-mar­ket­ing Nige­ria. You are de-mar­ket­ing your prod­uct. As at the time Dr. Jonathan handed over, we have cov­ered a mileage. For the first time, Jonathan gave us a mileage that ‘this is an in­vestor-friendly coun­try’, ‘Nige­ria re­mains a po­ten­tial na­tion’, ‘Nige­ria re­mains a peace­ful coun­try’, ‘if you are look­ing for a model of democ­racy, it is Nige­ria’. That gives us a mileage. So, go­ing out­side again to blacklist that same gov­ern­ment that did that, you are not just black­list­ing Jonathan, you are black­list­ing the coun­try. So, when you look at all these, in terms of pol­icy state­ments, you ob­serve that we have not been hav­ing re­sult. When you say, ‘Yes, elec­tric­ity has in­creased’ and I asked them ques­tion, when did Buhari turn to a ma­gi­cian? These are prod­ucts of in­vest­ment made by the im­me­di­ate past gov­ern­ment. When you say there have been im­prove­ments in this and that, it is the foun­da­tion laid down by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment. So, in terms of the econ­omy, it is a glar­ing thing that the econ­omy has not im­proved at all. It has been dec­i­mated.

For­mer Min­is­ter of Na­tional Plan­ning, Dr. Abubakar Olan­re­waju Su­laiman

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.