Nigerians have been implored to support the second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari to enable him consolidate on his present achievements. Giving the advice in an interview with Saturday Sun, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu said President Buhari deserves support for his re-election bid because he has not only been doing well but has also been taking Nigeria in the right direction. She described political leaders ganging up against the President as failed politicians who will be disgraced by the outcome of the 2019 polls. She spoke to TUNDE THOMAS.
How would you assess the state of affairs in the country because some Nigerians are saying things are getting too tough and suffering becoming unbearable?
The problems of Nigeria didn’t start today. Some of these things have been long coming. But unfortunately the man, Buhari who decided to put us on the straight and narrow path that will restore Nigeria’s lost glory is the one being blamed for everything now, and the people who ought to support him by letting Nigerians know that some of these things are not Buhari’s making are not doing their job.
Today, you hear some Nigerians saying different negative things about Buhari like some will say Buhari has come, and poverty has come to afflict Nigerians, but this is wrong. Those saying this kind of things are being unfair to Buhari. The problem has been there before Buhari became president. If Buhari had not come into office that time he took over as president, Nigeria would have gone bankrupt. If Buhari had not become President in 2015, Nigeria would have become a failed state by now.
Are you saying that it is unfair for Nigerians to criticize Buhari over the hardship and suffering they are facing?
Nigerians should stop blaming Buhari. He is working and saving Nigeria from a lot of problems but unfortunately he doesn’t have the right machinery to portray to members of the public what his government is doing. Instead of telling Nigerians about what Buhari is doing and has achieved, what his handlers have been doing is to say PDP has done this or that or responsible for this or that. They should leave PDP alone, and explain to Nigerians what Buhari is doing, what he has done, and why he has to do certain things in certain way. By pointing to PDP or keep on referring to PDP, Nigerians will say Buhari and APC are looking for excuses to cover up their inefficiencies.
They should leave PDP alone. Although it is true PDP added its own to Nigeria’s problems, but some of these problems also predated PDP. They have been there for a long time and it is just that these problems are manifesting now. If you look at Nigeria’s history, we have gone through many phases. Even the military also has their own share of the problem.
Although when PDP came in, they didn’t help matters. It was as if they don’t know how to do it. Mediocrity in leadership has been the bane of Nigeria’s economy. We don’t have strong foundations. Our problem didn’t start today so we should stop blaming Buhari. It is only a pity that Buhari’s managers have not managed him very well. At times, within APC the ruling party itself, they act in opposition to one another. You see the Presidency doing one thing, and you see the National Assembly being controlled by APC doing another.
Again when the Presidency is doing whatever it wants to do especially to fight against corruption, you see these forces within APC rising against Buhari again. So there is no harmony in APC.
With this scenario of APC you painted, don’t you think it will have effect on President Buhari’s re-election bid in 2019?
Definitely it will have an effect but not to an extent that it will jeopardize Buhari’s re-election. The election will be tough but Buhari will win. The average Nigerian still appreciates Buhari as a man of integrity. Average Nigerians are not buying all those things some of his opponents have been trying to use against him. Average Nigerians have not accepted all those claims that these things or those things have been done or are being done by those close to him.
Among the grassroots, Buhari is still highly respected. The common people are hungry quite alright but by the time you ask them which one they prefer between somebody that will give them bread and somebody that will teach them how to make bread, they will say they prefer the person that will teach them how to make bread.
Then many people now are no longer waiting to be fed. Everybody now wants to be an entrepreneur, the economy is forcing many Nigerians to become innovative. Many Nigerians are now putting on their thinking cap on how to survive and interestingly there is no candidate that can match Buhari’s quality and records of past achievements. Buhari still remains the candidate to beat. The election in 2019 is going to be interesting but I believe Buhari still remains the candidate to beat.
Are you now saying that it will serve Nigeria’s interests better for Buhari to go for a second term?
Yes, that is my position. That’s what I believe. It will serve Nigeria’s interests better for Buhari to go for a second term so that he will be able to consolidate on what he is doing now. But it is unfortunate that there are still some people who are not on the same page with Buhari, that are working with him inside his administration. If these people can close ranks and work with Buhari with one purpose, it will be very great for Nigeria. Buhari is taking Nigeria in the right direction. He deserves our support.
But some Nigerians have talked and complained about President Buhari’s style with some saying that he is too rigid and inflexible on certain issues, what’s your take on that?
Buhari should maintain his style. If he bends the way some Nigerians want, then corruption will set in. When you start compromising, then corruption sets in. Buhari should remain focused. He should not be distracted.
Some will say that there is no administration that is fool proof on corruption, I agree but there are some that are really barefaced corrupt administrations but I like Buhari for not compromising on the war against corruption.
Now, we don’t have the practice like in the past where Ghana-must-go bags full of money were being taken to members of the National Assembly to give to lawmakers to induce them to pass bills. It is barefaced corruption. But thank God that Buhari is not involved in that kind of evil practice. We should give kudos to Buhari for stopping that kind of corrupt practice. Thank God that Buhari would have none of such evil practice.
Can we then say that’s why he has been having running battle with members of the National Assembly on some issues?
May be. Somebody was joking the other day that apart from the normal allowances they gave the lawmakers that the National Assembly has now become a dry land, that things that were flowing before have stopped under the Buhari government. I also like the whistleblower policy introduced by the administration.
The policy has helped to checkmate corruption. It has helped to promote probity and accountability, and the whistleblower policy is one of the reasons some people don’t like Buhari. Those corrupt Nigerians hate Buhari for introducing that policy. Many people are afraid of the whistle blowing policy and things are now being done the proper way. It is not that Nigerians don’t like doing things the right way but just that many are not educated on how to do things the right way.
If Buhari’s administration owes Nigerians anything, it is for the government to continue telling Nigerians and also enlightening them on how to do things the right way. It is by telling Nigerians and also enlightening them on how to do things the right way that Nigerians will appreciate what Buhari is doing.
What is your take on 2019 general elections because a lot of prominent Nigerians including clerics have been saying a lot on this?
All I’m praying for is that the election will not result in anything that will send or throw some of us into diaspora. The election should be peaceful. There should be no violence. Those taking part in the election, as candidates should jettison thuggery and violence. There is no need for us to engage in violence over elections.
In 2019 we should allow Nigeria to be. Then the way the social media has been reporting events in the country is also capable of heightening tension, the social media people should watch it. We don’t want war in Nigeria. 2019 should not be a do-or-die affair.
On the issue of insecurity, especially continued killings in the North and the Boko Haram attacks, some Nigerians have urged federal government to find urgent solution to the problems warning that failure to do so might even put 2019 general elections in jeopardy, what’s your view on that?
The killings have to stop. Government must have a way to curtail it. I want to believe that this present government has no hand in the killings, and what Nigerians need to understand is that there are some insurgencies that are not easy to put down or contained.
I also believe there are people who are hell bent on making life difficult for Buhari, and the tendency is to believe in that since Buhari himself was quoted as saying at one time when he lost election that he would make Nigeria ungovernable, so it might be pay back time for him by those who want to pay him back in his own coins. I feel that some people might want to pay him back. Although Buhari then made that pronouncement to make Nigeria ungovernable when he lost the election that time but he didn’t unleash any violence on Nigeria, but his opponents are capitalizing on his verbal statement then to make life difficult for his administration today.
One thing that Nigerians must understand is that there are too many interests upset by Buhari’s emergence as president, and these people are not going to keep quiet. Some of Buhari’s policies like BVN, TSA have become a big threat to many vested interests. But Nigeria needs some of these policies being introduced by Buhari for us to move forward as a nation. Buhari is promoting transparency and accountability in governance, but some Nigerians especially the corrupt ones are not comfortable, and they are the ones giving him headache.
Buhari has stepped on many toes but the question Nigerians should ask themselves is this, all these Buhari is doing,is he doing it for himself? Why is Buhari stepping on many toes? Is Buhari a sadist that just wants to make life difficult for Nigerians? But he is actually working in the interest of Nigeria. He is working to secure the future of Nigeria.
To stop these killings, if there is need to ask for international support, he should not hesitate to do so. He should also do internal investigation whether there is internal collusion that is making it difficult to contain the insurgency. Buhari should beef up the nation’s security. It is possible to tackle insurgency before 2019, what is necessary is for Buhari to do all the needful.
How do you see the alliance being proposed by about 38 political parties to confront Buhari and APC in 2019?
What is the antecedent of those involved in the alliance? What are they bringing to the table that can make them say that Buhari is a failure and that he should go? Which success can these people point to as being their achievements? None.
But your former party, PDP is also involved in this alliance talks …
And so what? PDP failed Nigerians when it was in power. All these people talking of alliance are narrow-minded people. They are selfish politicians. All these people that are talking of forming an alliance against Buhari, what did they achieve when they were in power? These people had all the opportunity to make Nigeria the greatest in the world when they were in power but they blew it. They failed Nigerians. This alliance against Buhari will fail.
What are these people talking of alliance against Buhari going to do for Nigeria again? When they were in power, they didn’t live up to expectations. They didn’t do anything to transform Nigeria. They were failure.
I’m sure Nigerians will reject these people because Nigerians won’t like those who failed them before to come back again. Buhari has made a lot of revelation to us about how these people looted Nigeria, and he is blocking all those avenues through which these people have been milking Nigeria, and they are not happy with him.
2019 general election is going to be issued-based, and if you tell me not to vote for Buhari, then tell Nigerians and me what you have to offer. These people opposing Buhari have nothing to offer. Were they not there in power before? And when they were in power what did they offer Nigerians? Nothing. They were a bunch of failures.
But Buhari has also really has to step up, especially he and APC should do more on enlightening Nigerians about his achievements. They should let Nigerians know they are working. Buhari needs to let Nigerians know what he and his administration is doing. He is doing a lot to transform Nigeria but the man has been quiet about highlighting his achievements.
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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.
President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.
Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.
He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.
He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.
“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’
“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.
“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.
“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.
“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.
“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”
However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.
He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.
“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”
CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers
The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.
“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?
“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.
“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.
“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”
Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.
“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.
“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.
Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike
Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.
Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.
The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.
Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.
Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).
Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).
The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”
On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.
The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.
“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.
The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”
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