“If you don’t measure well and ensure that the exchange between Nigeria and other countries or domestic trade is not properly measured in a way that you are not cheated, you can’t make it in economy because you can’t plan.”
Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
Presidential candidate of Action Democratic Party (ADP) Alhaji Yabagi Sani, believes that the duo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar have nothing good to offer the country and therefore should be rejected by voters in next year’s poll. He spoke on other issues of interest.
The presidential campaign will start in the next two weeks or thereabout. What would you be telling Nigerians about your aspiration and why they should vote for you?
Nigerians already know what we are coming to tell them because this is something that has been in the public domain and it’s being discussed, the issue of credible alternative and leadership. This country
has lot of potentials. It is a country that has promise for greatness and the missing link between this country and greatness is leadership. So, I’m coming to tell them that we have what it takes to give them leadership. It is leadership that is informed, connected, exposed and to a very large extent, tested
in a way that will convince Nigerians that we can deliver. We belong to this time and when you have people that are in the past, of course, they can hardly think in terms of the future. But we represent today and we represent tomorrow. We are coming to tell Nigerians that there is no going back
to Egypt anymore. We can’t continue with status quo and we can’t go back to status quo ante. That means we cannot go to PDP era anymore. We cannot again continue with things that have failed Nigerians. So, the message is already there. It’s just for us to re-echo it for Nigerians to now know that what they have been yearning for is in us.
You transmuted from the position of National Chairman to Presidential candidate. The impression it gives out there is that probably the party could not get any good candidate to fly the flag of the party. Were you really nursing that ambition?
If you marked what I said, I said we don’t want to go back to status quo ante and we don’t want to maintain or continue with what we have today. I’m talking about personalities that defined that era. What
we have today, there is nothing that has changed in terms of the personalities that have now come forward to rule this country. So, why we couldn’t fit into the idea of who should rule this country is that going by the constitution of our party, you will see that it is styled in the line of having a fresh face for this country. We want something that can excite Nigerians, so that Nigerians can now say ‘he is not doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results.’ It’s now that we are going to do things differently and we have different results. We have engaged with quite a number of people and they know that it’s not possible to come here and then continue with business as usual. We have taken cognizance of the experience of the past which we want to do away with because we say we are the credible alternative. We don’t want Nigerians to continue with the lacklustre personalities that brought us to this quagmire that we have found ourselves. We want to give this country a lease of freedom so that we can now be able to really deliver on the promise of this country. This country is so great in terms of resources, in terms of anything that you want to look at. Is it the location of this country that you want to look at or the size, or the resources we have?
Look at what has happened to us. Our GDP was about $586 billion in just 2014. Today, we are $375 billion, meaning that we have gone so backward even in terms of productivity in this country and we have the capacity to grow this GDP at a rate that is even faster than America that today you can say is the biggest economy in the world. We can be bigger if we have the right leadership. So, this is why at the end of the day, when we saw that we can’t continue to do what we are doing, we were left with no choice than to look within us that are motivated and have the sense of conviction that we can give this country the positive change that we require. That’s why when we sat down and decided I should run as the presidential candidate.
Talking about doing things in a different way, what are the indices of your agenda that you think will make you do things in a different way?
We believe that a government is as strong as its regulatory agencies. We have observed the weakness in the regulatory agencies that we have in this country.
Look at the sector that is the life wire of this economy, oil and gas sector, DPR in a serious country will be an independent agency that should serve the interest of this country, not the interest of those who are in NNPC or somebody who is a Minister. So, our government will make sure that agencies like DPR are effectively empowered to deliver at the speed and efficiency that is required. Today, go to DPR and you will be lucky to find some of them even with computers that they are supposed to work with. Even tools to work with, they don’t have. So, how do you expect such an agency that is charged with the responsibility of monitoring production and then giving this country the kind of reserve that we need in terms of oil and gas production to function? You have an agency like that they don’t have vehicles, they don’t have computers.
Look at Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission. This agency is supposed to monitor the revenue inflow into the federation account. What is happening in that agency too? They lack computers. They don’t have vehicles. They don’t have the kind of people you should have in such agencies. What is wrong with even collaborating with the private sector to inject the private sector aggressiveness into those agencies and see the wonders that will happen in this country?
Go to Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment. Among the agencies that you have there, you have weights and measures, legal metrology. Legal metrology is the cornerstone of all the great economies you see today. If you don’t measure well and ensure that the exchange between Nigeria and other countries or domestic trade is not properly measured in a way that you are not cheated, you can’t make it in economy because you can’t plan.
So, what we are saying is that we will take a look into these agencies and reform them and make them to perform very efficiently because without that, the government up there, the man in Aso Rock can do nothing. The service delivery that we are talking about in democracy comes through those agencies.
What about the anti-graft war?
Talking about how to fight corruption, you can’t fight corruption if you don’t have well organised agencies of government that are monitored effectively, that can deliver on the mandate given to them by the constitution. There are Acts of parliament that are supposed to be enforced but they are not being enforced. There are so many other agencies that I’m sure that if they were working well, we will not be where we are today in terms of the economy of this country and in terms of even the way people behave because if you give human beings that freedom, they take advantage. If you go to other countries, you don’t find people flouting the laws of the country the way they like. It’s because you have people who are in charge. You don’t only talk about EFCC and ICPC confusing people that that’s how to fight corruption. That is vendetta that you are engaging in, unleashing unnecessary terror on the citizens of the country, instead of you to go and look at how the system is working. The system of government in this country is so loose. Nobody is in charge for God’s sake.
Our government is coming to ensure that the system works the way it’s supposed to work so that we can have the results that we are supposed to have.
Why do you think some Nigerians may not dismiss your ambition with a wave of the hand, knowing that ADP does not have the national spread that can really make you win the presidential election?
It can’t be because even the APC was not an organisation that was represented in all the nooks and crannies of this country. By the time Nigerians see the promise we are bringing, believe me, people will leave APC and they will join us. Why were they crisscrossing among the already failed camps? It’s because people were looking for the victory camp and how do we queue in. There are people that I know have genuine intentions on how to move this country forward. We know some are there for pecuniary gains, but there are people in this country that are concerned about the progress of this country, but where is the platform, how do we do it? Who is there to really give us that opportunity to be great, which is the promise of this country?
Look at even what happened in France when Macron emerged. He didn’t have the political party that is all over the place. Look at Trump who came with his own thing and attacked even the Republican. He didn’t go with the Republican network. He created his own network. He told Americans what they need to hear and they keyed in. Everybody was there for him in spite of the stumbling blocks that the Republican as a party was putting on his path. So, it’s not about the party per say. It’s about the message. It’s about the individual. It’s about the fact that things that are happening in this country shouldn’t happen because they are not supposed to.
What do you make of the Shiite protests in the last few days?
The precondition for peace is justice. Where there is no justice, you can’t have peace and I’m not sure we are being fair to ourselves when we are addressing some of these issues. If a competent court of law has made certain pronouncements that this is what should happen, as a government, you should obey or make an appeal and that appeal be attended to. This is why we are where we are today. If the court says release Zakzaky, you release him and as a government, you must find a way to contain him. What is wrong in saying that he is under house arrest at least to demonstrate that you are following the court judgment because you want to promote peace? Government itself does not want peace for whatever reasons. I don’t know, but that’s where the problem lies.
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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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