Emmanuel Umohinyang, social commentator and political analyst is the Convener, Re–elect Buhari Movement (RBM).
He speaks on the controversy surrounding Executive Order 6 and related issues in this interview with TITILAYO BALOGUN.
Does ex-President Obasanjo’s admonition that Nigeria’s next President must have a good knowledge of Economics not an indictment of President Buhari’s economic policies?
It is a very bad thing if we try to arrogate to ourselves the position of a student and teacher. Obasanjo has no moral capacity to advise the country, Nigeria, because he once had the opportunity to rule the country for eight years. Having said that, I am not aware Obasanjo has any record of performance in the area of economy for him to advise the country that whoever must head us must be superlative in economy.
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Remember his recent visit to Indonesia where he raised the issue of the present government not signing a treaty and told the gathering that a President who will sign it is coming.
That was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. What Obasanjo must understand is that the country has moved on from where he left it. We are not in that desperate era of 1999 when he wanted the Military to leave at all cost, and in that desperation, we brought in a man who had little or nothing to offer.
Also, his endorsement of his former vice is very funny because as at August 3, this year, the same Obasanjo had said Atiku Abubakar is not a worthy successor. Don’t also forget that the same man declared the seat of the vice president vacant. Atiku had to go to court to reclaim his seat. So, Obasanjo should not be telling Nigerians issues about the economy or leadership. It is funny when he talks about some magical ideas about what the economy should look like. Don’t forget this administration inherited an economy that was at its lowest ebb and has tried to revive the economy. We have a President who has the best of economic experts around him, and so far so good, he has been able to stabilise the economy, so people should not sit in the comfort of their room in Ota and begin to tell a country of about 200 million Nigerians how to rule their country.
Don’t you think the former President’s position is informed by current statistics about poverty and unemployment rate?
Job creation is not always the job of government. No where on earth that government creates jobs. No government can claim to have created jobs. What government does is creation of an enabling environment for Jobs to be created mostly by the private sector. I do not think the Federal Government and even the states have the capacity to employ unemployed youths. When you also look at government policy on creation of Jobs, it has been tailored towards the ‘you win programme of the last administration. Also, look at the social intervention programme of this administration – N-Power. What government does is to create the enabling environment for investors to come in. In most cases, when the environment is conducive, the artisans will do better in their businesses and by so doing expand their businesses. It is when business grows that you will talk about employment. Remember, we still have a crisis with the labour over the issue of minimum wage. It is part of the issues we are dealing with. In an environment where the economy runs itself, you don’t need to engage people on job creation, jobs will be created by the private sector. Government cannot put everybody into the civil service. It is not possible. It’s not done anywhere. If you go to other parts of the world, jobs are already waiting for you before you leave the university. I saw it in Holland. Government’s job is to create an enabling environment, so it is not about this government. Unemployment has been one of the issues our country has been facing since 1999. Why has government policies on this issue not worked? It has not worked because there is no sincerity of purpose, and I’m happy this President has come to change the narrative. It is under the Buhari Administration that we have seen that agriculture is thriving. There is a massive boom in that sector. That is why Brazil is bringing 1.1 billion dollars into the agricultural sector. The Ambassador said they are also setting up a tractor Assembly plant in Bauchi State. This is part of the gains being recorded by this administration.
Former Vice President Atiku’s business profile is being touted as an advantage in economic management; is this not a plus for him?
We are all aware that former vice president Atiku Abubakar is a retired customs officer and became Obasanjo’s vice president from 1999 to 2007. A good business man should be able to bring his area of specialisation to bear on the government. Let us Look at what the Customs generated under the administration; he headed the economic team. Recall that the late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had to cancel some of the ugly economic policies of that administration which fell under Atiku. Nobody should deceive the people that Atiku is a wizard when it comes to business. This is a smokescreen. Is it Atiku’s American University that the poor cannot afford? We should not allow a man who has no idea of how a country should be run to lead us. We are not going to be deceived by the PDP who say we should dwell on issues without wanting us to talk about corruption. In all Atiku’s campaign, you will never find an area where you will hear him talk about corruption. Nigerians will not be fooled by those talking about a better economic manager. We should not allow anybody to take us back to where we are coming from.
APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu has admitted not less than twice that President Buhari and APC have lost some goodwill, is this not a minus ahead of 2019?
Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu may be right in his assessment being national leader of the APC and been an influential leader in the country. Having said that, I have always said those who will determine the fate of the current President are the Nigerian electorate, not the elite. I can assure you that most of the elite may not even find their PVCs. They think they are still in the era where elitist advice would tinker the way the people will vote. The people have become wiser, and in 2019, Nigerians will determine their next President, not any other person.
What is your take on the controversy surroundings Executive Order 6?
There has been a lot of talk about the Presidential Executive Order 6 now known as EO6. That was not the first Executive Order signed into law by the President. If you look at the Nigerian democracy, it is patterned along the American democracy. One thing I have discovered that whenever the government takes steps to deal with the menace of corruption, you always have those who have something to hide raising their voices to high heavens, but I want to assure those without skeleton in their cupboard that the government will not do anything outside the law.
The judgment given by justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja has made it very easy for every Nigerian to go about their normal business. No provision of order 6 will be brought to bear without the court. These are just administrative policies of government to strengthen the anti – corruption drive, so those who are talking about the violation of section 43 of the constitution have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide, and I think we should commend this administration, because every President since 1999 has always whittled down the anti-corruption war when we approach an election era, but here is a President who says he will continue to push against corruption even until the last day of the ballot.
How do you juxtapose your position with that of senior lawyers who say the order devalues the constitution?
Whatsoever any opinion any lawyer may have given on the issue of EO6, I think those opinions cannot be superior to the position of the Federal High Court. Don’t forget that those lawyers are also entitled to their opinion. It will be very wrong if we think that government policies will be received with joy at all times.
That is why we have diverse opinions on issues like this, and I want to commend those lawyers that went to court to test the legality of the EO6 for taking that bold step, and also to appreciate her lordship for the verdict. I do not want to dwell much because I understand that they have gone to the court of Appeal. I will rather stand by the President on EO6 than dwell on the opinion of senior lawyers.
The post Atiku has nothing to offer – Umohinyang, Convener, Re-elect Buhari movement appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.
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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