Buhari’s poli­cies mak­ing life ex­pen­sive – Kwara PDP Chair

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - From Romoke W. Ah­mad, Ilorin

What’s your take on the poli­cies of the Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhar­iled gov­ern­ment?

I’ve al­ways been of the view that the APC only shouted change as its mantra but up till now, we don’t know where it’s head­ing to be­cause its poli­cies are not clear. It’s cu­ri­ous that Nige­ri­ans can go to an elec­tion with­out vot­ing for man­i­festo and only voted on the in­tegrity of one man. And since the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Buhari over a year ago, he has been putting pieces to­gether with­out ac­tu­ally know­ing what the gov­ern­ment wanted to achieve.

Some­times they say they’re fight­ing cor­rup­tion which is not deep as it ought to be. An anti-cor­rup­tion agenda must be one that will be very com­pre­hen­sive; it should not be mere pun­ish­ment of the cor­rupt. It should in­clude is­sues that will pre­vent cor­rup­tion in all ram­i­fi­ca­tions; it should also in­clude re­ori­en­ta­tion of the peo­ple for a life that will min­i­mize cor­rup­tion. It should in­clude sen­si­ti­za­tion of the peo­ple to be­lieve in a life of in­tegrity and char­ac­ter. How­ever, the anti-cor­rup­tion agenda to­day is one-sided be­cause, apart from the Se­nate pres­i­dent, who is a mem­ber of the APC and is be­ing pros­e­cuted be­cause he didn’t sub­ject him­self to party supremacy, ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple ar­rested be­long to one po­lit­i­cal party.

They are be­ing tried for spend­ing gov­ern­ment money on cam­paign. Who among them (APC) can say he didn’t ac­tu­ally spend gov­ern­ment money to be in po­lit­i­cal po­si­tion? Can Pres­i­dent Buhari say all the money he spent in 2015 is his per­sonal money? Can he say no money came from Kwara, Osun, Lagos, Rivers and other states con­trolled by their party to fund his cam­paign?

Sec­ondly, I don’t re­ally un­der­stand their eco­nomic pol­icy. It’s so shallow be­cause they have not made any dif­fer­ence from what we used to have to the ex­tent that we’ve no op­tion but to con­clude that the style of the pres­i­dent’s ad­min­is­tra­tion might be dif­fer­ent but the re­sult re­mains the same. Obasanjo, Jonathan and the present pres­i­dent all have dif­fer­ent meth­ods of fight­ing cor­rup­tion, but, none of the meth­ods can guar­an­tee that cor­rup­tion would be erad­i­cated.

Are you in sup­port of dereg­u­la­tion of the down­stream sec­tor?

Yes, I’m in sup­port of dereg­u­la­tion. In order words, I’m not against in­crease (in fuel prices). What I’m against is that the en­abling en­vi­ron­ment that ought to sup­port the in­crease is not there yet. One would have ex­pected that wel­fare should’ve been in­tro­duced to cush­ion the ef­fect of the in­cre­ment. Re­finer­ies should have been put in place even if the so­cial wel­fare pro­gramme could not be put in place; even if they will go and bor­row money to es­tab­lish and ren­o­vate the re­finer­ies and re­fine the crude oil lo­cally.

It’s then that gov­ern­ment can talk about dereg­u­la­tion and it will be mean­ing­ful. How­ever, with the dereg­u­la­tion and hike in prices of ev­ery­thing, I can­not see any mean­ing­ful im­pact. If you cal­cu­late what Nige­ri­ans are pay­ing now, it is as if we’re only earn­ing in­come to pay taxes to sus­tain gov­ern­ment. So, how’re Nige­ri­ans go­ing to sus­tain them­selves?

What do you think the present ad­min­is­tra­tion should do dif­fer­ently?

I think the first thing gov­ern­ment at all lev­els should do is to sit down and cut un­nec­es­sary spend­ing; I ex­pect us to do away with gov­ern­ment of mis­placed pri­or­ity like we used to have in Kwara State. This is not the time for gov­ern­ment to be build­ing un­nec­es­sary ed­i­fices, foot­ball academy, cargo ter­mi­nal and avi­a­tion school; this this not the time for gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to ride a car that is more than N10 mil­lion; this is not the time to ren­o­vate gov­ern­ment house or the villa. What­ever money we have now should be used for eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment of the peo­ple.

Gov­ern­ment should fund ideas gen­er­ated by young peo­ple so that in the next four years, gov­ern­ment would have em­pow­ered the young ones who can con­trib­ute to the econ­omy. What­ever money gen­er­ated from taxes on the new ideas can be used to build new roads and other in­fra­struc­ture.

What’s your take on the cri­sis rock­ing the PDP both at na­tional and state lev­els?

Let me be re­al­is­tic. A party as big as PDP that has been in gov­ern­ment for the past 16 years must face the type of cri­sis we are fac­ing now. When we had sim­i­lar cri­sis in the past, there was the pres­i­dency that al­ways stepped in to set­tle the dif­fer­ences. But now, we don’t have the pres­i­dency. Also, we used to have more than 20 gov­er­nors be­fore, but we only have 12 now. So, the 2015 elec­tion re­ally de­flated the power of the PDP. It’s when we fight that we would sep­a­rate the se­ri­ous mem­bers from the un­se­ri­ous ones, and the party will be stronger.

You were ac­cused of declar­ing your­self the chair­man of the party in Kwara State when there was no elec­tion…?

If jostling for of­fice is called fac­tion, I think the cat­e­go­riza­tion is wrong be­cause it’s nor­mal for peo­ple to jos­tle for of­fice. We went for elec­tion with my main con­tender, Prince S. A Fagbemi; we both sat from 11:00 am till 7:30pm and there­fore when did thugs drove him out and de­nied him par­tic­i­pat­ing in the elec­tion?

He brought the thugs to dis­rupt the elec­tion but be­cause God is above ev­ery­body, none of those ar­rested be­longs to my camp.

Are you say­ing there is no fac­tion in Kwara PDP?

That is ex­actly what I’m say­ing.

You were also ac­cused of in­clud­ing fake del­e­gates among those that at­tended the

na­tional con­ven­tion?

We’ve pub­lished the names of those who went for the con­ven­tion and asked them to point out the fake del­e­gates among them. Ob­vi­ously, they’ve been telling lies.

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