Obaseki not practicing democracy in Edo – Peter Uwadiae Esq.
- Calls APC govt ‘Obubuyaya’
Peter Enosoregbe Uwadiae is a popular Benin based lawyer and Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] chieftain. Frank as ever, in this exclusive interview with our Correspondent, Abavo Kingsley, he bared his mind on the Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration in Edo State, and other issues of national interest.
Six months into Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration yet no exco in place hence commentators are complaining that we are not in military dictatorship where sole administrator ship is allowed. What is your take as a lawyer?
Democracy which represents the government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not what is being practiced here by the All Progressives Congress [APC] administration. This is the second time we are having that kind of experience. It has trickled from the national level to the State level. When the Buhari administration came on board, they gave all manner of excuses for not appointing ministers that they were going to use their microscope, according to them, to screen the persons they want to appoint if they have the DNA to work for the government of the day. Apparently what came out of it was a shabby act coming from elected representatives of our people. We are not oblivious of the fact that this government is replete with attitude that shows resemblance of the federal government. That being so, it is common knowledge now that this is characteristic of APC government that they give opportunity to either the Governor or the President to make use of the resources, manage the economy in manner that is inconsistence with the constitutional provision and ultimately to their benefits. Obaseki was sworn in governor of Edo State. Expectation of the people was that he would earnestly appoint Commissioners, Special Assistants and all of that that would comprehensively put in place a government robust enough to take up the challenges of the State. I am also not oblivious of the fact that Obaseki as a person and a governor, are now two different things. One, Obaseki before now we were made to believe that he is a seasoned economist, he is a seasoned administrator, they gave him all kinds of names to pull a wool across the face of the Benins so that they can ultimately get him into government. That they have done. But today, if a man that is termed an administrator, if a man that is termed as a renowned economist, if a man that is termed as a good and educated person, he ought to have understood the fact that the constitution did not make provision for him to be governing the State all alone. So, not having taken that bold step of putting in place a structure that would effectively manage the affairs of Edo State, portends danger for us; economically, socially, and politically. And this should have sent a signal to his party; the APC. But because they always do their things anti – clock wise, that is why they are very comfortable. An average Edo person will know that it is not possible for government to function without commissioners and aides of the Governor. I want to say equivocally that we do not even have a government in Edo State right now because if anything unconstitutional is in place, it shows that it is an illegal arrangement. We are made to understand that he was elected by the Edo people. An elected Governor, for over six months operates not even from Government House, but Protea Hotels. And there are no commissioners, there are no aides. A ministry without a commissioner, a permanent secretary cannot handle the affairs of a commissioner. These are two separate offices. The constitution of Nigeria recognizes the position of a commissioner; the constitution recognizes the executive arm of government to be made up of persons who are not permanent secretaries. Permanent secretaries are civil servants in their own rights. So, if a government is operating without due regards to the constitutional provision, which means it is anti-people. It means that government is unconstitutional because you must work along with the constitutional provision. Anything that derails from it is ultra vires; it means that we do not have government in Edo. I make bold to say; I challenge Obaseki to it. Why has he not appointed commissioners? Why has he not appointed aides? Is he going to bring these commissioners from other states? Are they not people that are living with us? Are they not his party people? What parameters; I was made to understand that he set up a committee headed by Prof. Agbonlahor to screen nominees. When a committee set up by the Governor will be screening nominees to be appointed commissioners, you have suddenly taken away the responsibility of the House of Assembly and put in a committee. If they do all of that, what will now be the responsibility of the House of Assembly that will ultimately ratify or screen anybody sent to it by the Governor in line with the constitutional provisions? What is the whole essence of setting up a committee headed by a Professor who is not even a lawyer to know what the legal implications of his actions will be? I am glad that most of the things that the APC government is doing today, the courts are beginning to tell them that they are anti – constitutional. It is not the responsibility of a panel set up by a Governor to be screening aides, commissioners. Where is it written in Nigeria’s constitution? So, I am worried sick for Edo people, I am worried sick for our economy because the implication of all this is that we are going to have a government that will be clout with the powers of the Governor; persons that will not be doing what is right, but because it is the Governor that picked them, their loyalty will not be to do what the Edo people will want but that of the Governor. So, I am of the opinion that this government has not started well, the Governor has not behaved in a manner that is consistent with an elected governor, he has not behaved in a manner of a man who is abreast with the constitutional provisions of the grand norm which is the constitution itself as it relates to the governance of a State. Take a cue from other States I do not see the need taking whole lot of time to appointing commissioners, and aides because these are people that have worked with you during the electioneering campaigns, you should be able to know their carriage, and you should be able to know their worth. These are people from the same political fold; one would have thought that few weeks after the inauguration or before inauguration of the government, and you should have been able to have an idea of who these persons are—whether they are people who can share the same ideology with you, that whether they can build a synergy between the government and the people to create an enabling environment for the economy of Edo State to grow. We are highly expectant of a good government, and it will be a monumental failure if he fails to start well.
The hype was that Obaseki was the soft – ware that made the administration of his predecessor to succeed. So, one would have thought that he ought to have known those to engage in the implementation of his electioneering campaign from the beginning like you mentioned thus hitting the ground running. Against this back – drop in few words bare your thoughts on the man Obaseki.
Like I said before, the whole world made us believe that Obaseki is a technocrat, that Obaseki is a seasoned economist. That he was the hub of Adams Oshiomhole government, that Adams Oshiomhole economic team was headed by a renowned technocrat, a renowned Economist. But by the way, I will say what makes a renowned Economist is his background. We got to know in the course of our campaign prior to the election that the hype they made about the man, while Oshiomhole was in government, was not a true reflection of who he is. His CV is quite apt about this; the man that did not have the basic requirement to be admitted to study Economics. A man who read Classics, a man who did not go through the four walls of the university or polytechnic to study Economics cannot suddenly just become a renowned Economist. I don’t know where they got their statistics from. However, one would have thought that if what they made the world believe that he is, is actually who he is, he would have started well. He would have known the intricacies of governance and apply the commonness systemic approach so that the right thing will be done at the right time. I don’t want to talk about Oshiomhole’s government whether it was a failure or a success; that is another issue for another day. But I do not think that Obaseki was the hub of Oshiomhole’s government. If he was the hub of Oshiomhole’s government then we would expect a failure because by all standards economically, Adams Oshiomhole is a failure. Adams Oshiomhole’s government was a failure in Edo State so if Obaseki was the hub, then we don’t expect anything less. Apparently, like we hear from his party members; Obaseki is not a politician. Obaseki does not even know the basic element of governance and it is playing out. I do not know how to assess who he is. Whether he is the man that read Classics that should be working in a media or theatre house, I do not know. Whether I would now take him as an Economist, a man who does not know the basics of demand and supply, and now being term a renowned Economist, I do not also know. But by and large, his imprint will tell us whether he possesses what they now say he has. I don’t think he has the right approach to governance because if he spent eight years in the past government and he is in an environment that he is used to, there would have been no need for him to take time to under study whatever. He would have started earnestly but he has not started at all. They have made so much hype about the few things they have done. I drove through Navy Street few days ago; the hype they made about Navy Street, I thought that it was about 10 km road. But when I drove through Navy Street, I saw about 0.05 km road less than half a kilo and today that has been the parameter to judge Obaseki’s administration in six months. We do not even know today how much Obaseki administration has gotten from federal allocation. We do not also know how much is realized from internally generated revenue. For us to now celebrate a 0.05km road as a yard stick to measure the success of a government, State government not local government; in the early time of the fourth republic, local governments were tarring roads but today, we are making so much noise about a Governor working on less than 0.05km road and we are saying there is success in Edo State. But however, I want to say that Obaseki should do the needful, put the people that knows what it means to be in government around himself so that he can be taught; because his party has told us that he does not have the basic requirements of a good governor but that he was brought by the cabals that are still managing the affairs of Edo today and that is Oshiomhole and his group. I cry for Edo State; a young man, Abumere was weeping at the airport few days ago, how a deputy governor hired thugs to beat him up. Prior to his coming, the same deputy governor phoned him not to enter Edo State and that is a man in his own party. That is the relic of what we are seeing of a government we termed a successful government or a government that will better the life of Edo people. I am also much worried about his approach to clean up of Edo State. People are already complaining that the persons he has contracted to do that act for Edo State will not only put salt and pepper in the eyes of Edo people but that they will disgrace his government. And that have just started. So, we need to sensitize our people so that our affairs can be properly managed by those that we elected to manage them for us. We should tell them that we are no longer fools; Edo is a very important point; a hub of Nigeria, the microcosm in a microcosm of Nigeria State so we should not treat Edo State with that ignominy and levity, triviality and unconcern approach of government to the yearnings and aspiration of our people. We have a say as to how Edo State should be governed and in all, I do not see Obaseki wearing that toga successfully and managing and driving Edo State to the promise land. We are made to also believe that his government is interim however, that is an issue for another day because in the eye of the law, it is interim until we get to the supreme court and it says he is the governor elected to govern Edo State but for now, we wish him well while he acts as interim governor for Edo State.
Using the proposed Gelegele Sea Port as Free Export Processing Zone, steps to attract investors to Edo State and others as parameter, how would you score him on policy formulation so far?
You talked about Gelegele free export processing zone that is not the handiwork of Edo State government. We must define them; that is Federal Government initiative. And that Gelegele issue has been there right from the time of Obasanjo and was given a lifeline in the time of Jonathan. So Gelegele is not an Edo State project therefore whatever contribution Edo State government has, can only be assessed if Gelegele is put to use. But I want to believe that Edo State government will give the Federal Government personnel that are coming to put that initiative into proper functioning, the enabling environment to actualize that dream. Right now, Gelegele Port is yet at the planning stage so it can only be assessed if it becomes functional so I will not score him on this. But I am worried sick about the scam we find in Nigeria today. The people that came pretending to be investors, to me, are not genuine. The Italians that came, how many industries do they have in their own land that they are coming to bring their expertise to bear on Edo? Who are they? We only saw Deputy Ambassador not even investors. When investors come, we know them. They will tell you their company overseas that they want to have a counterpart here. Like when Shell – BP came, we were made to understand that it was the largest oil company in their home country and today, we inter- face with their representatives. But these people that came, we were hoodwinked to believe that they are investors. We were told that they were coming to help us fight human trafficking. The Italians cannot feign ignorance that Nigerian girls go abroad to prostitute. Who are the people they prostitute with in Italy? Are they Nigerians? Who sleeps and enjoy these girls, are they not Italians? So the first thing we should be asking; how much effort have you put in place in your country to repatriate those girls on the streets? I tell you; those things you watch on television are gimmicks and that is the very bane of our development where people because of their colour and race we think they are coming to positively change our political and economic system. They cannot. We are also made to believe that the Chinese came. What company do they come to represent? And that is why I say it is a scam. When Obaseki was campaigning, he told Edo people that he was going to create 200,000 jobs and every day the CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) keep reminding him of that target. And because of that constant reminder, that is why we see what is happening now. I give you a classical example; we are all living witness about what the Federal Government said about cleaning up Ogoni. It was flagged off making the Ogoni people believe that their brother then; Goodluck Jonathan deceived them thinking that in a couple of weeks they will begin to enjoy the cleanup. But today, what has become of it? That is what we call ‘Obubuyaya’. They did that to deceive the people that their brother never did anything for them. Today, we have come to realize that one of the things the APC used to deal with our people is propaganda; they live on propaganda, and they feed on it. Let Edo people watch and see in a couple of years if they will see the faces of these so call investors again in this State. They have come to do what they have been assigned to do, to tell us that they are coming to invest. We will see; how many Italians, Germans, Chinese and from all over the place that came during Oshiomholes’s time, where are the investments today? The eight years have expired nothing happened about what we heard in the media. Today, we are again being brain washed by Obaseki that people are coming from across the globe to invest in Edo and that is the last you will see the faces of these people here. So those things shown on television and published in the newspapers are for the archives and not for the realistic disposition of Edo people that they will come to fruition; I can take a bet on that.
Barrister, so are you saying that you do not have faith in the 200,000 jobs promised by the Obaseki administration? People are being trained on skill acquisition, registration of unemployed persons done, Agric loans promised and large expanse of land reportedly acquired waiting to be shared among intending farmers and yet you do not have faith in that promise?
I like the word you used; waiting to be shared among farmers. I will take off from there. Waiting to be shared among farmers, that is the key. The wait shall never end until after eight years. We have seen some of these things before. What you hear them say is not what they do. They tell the Edo people what they want them to hear and do that which they want to do. The training session and registration; did we not see Oshiomhole registering people, we have seen in Edo State where letters of appointment were issued out and there were no jobs for them to do. We are seeing registration now. What is the difference between the letters of appointment that were issued out without jobs and the registration being done now? How many persons have been given loan? We hear them say form yourselves into co- operatives so that you can be given loan. Six months running, how many persons have got the loan? Six months is not one day. Government that is serious about caring for its people, by now we ought to have been hearing about persons who have been given loan and this is the farming season. I tell you, once the farming season is passed, the next thing we will hear is, wait for next year, the money will be available for you to collect. So, I don’t believe in all these gimmicks. We have been deceived enough by subsequent government of the APC. Oshiomhole did it for eight years and we are just seeing a carbon copy of what Oshiomhole did and we are all rejoicing. I even pity people that have registered. Ask your friends who were given letters of appointment, what happened to their letters after two years the letters were given?
If I may cut in here, I don’t know what you mean by all of us are rejoicing because recently I watched on TV, in the NEC meeting of the APC, one of the issues that were discussed, was the dissatisfaction of the party members complaining of being neglected by the party. And El – Rufai in addressing the media acknowledged it was true but it was due to the bad economic situation in the country. However, the party was going to henceforth formulate means to care for its members without dipping hand into government money and bringing into government unqualified people, he promised. So flowing from that, people are not celebrating. I don’t know if you share my thought?
It will be wrong for any Nigerian to celebrate. What are you celebrating? You know why I like Nigerians? We are happy even when we are sad. So, I want to share the views of El- Rufai. He is a man I used to respect very well but by the time he started hobnobbing and romancing with the APC, I lost confidence in his person. But that element of radicalism in him still plays out a little in this kind of situation. Yes, he spoke the mind of Nigerians even within the same party; APC, they are dissatisfied with government from the national to the States even to the local government. I hear of people being suspended because they said something. I do not think any person in Edo State will be more APC than someone like Samson Osagie. What was his ill, because he didn’t do what the party wanted him to do and because he spoke his mind on some sensitive issues, he was suspended. Few weeks later, the same political party from his local government that we were made to understand that suspended him came out to say that we never suspended him. So where did the suspension come from? In all of these, we don’t still have a party call APC well enough managed to take care of the crisis situation we have in Nigeria. Yes, there was economic meltdown globally but every nation that mean well for their people have come out with blue print, there is economic direction that is taking them out gradually from this economic meltdown. Nigeria is not a peculiar State when it comes to economic meltdown but the problem we are having here is that there is no system approach to get out of this recession. The government that we have elected we thought could channel our resources towards coming out of the meltdown is not helping issues. So when you say APC, some of its members are complaining of neglect, that is the genuine reflection of the Nigerian citizenry how we feel about the present government, how we are being pained, pained by the government we voted for. If you want to implement change, there must be signs of the mechanism put in place to implement the change. The government that said it wants to implement change is now worse than the one it seeks to change. I don’t know where we are changing to; and that is the question we never asked when they were campaigning about the change. Whether we are changing from good to bad or from bad to worse; but the indices today indicate that we are changing from good to bad. And in all ramifications, it is change itself. It depends on how you want to look at it, whether it is change positive, or change negative. But what we are experiencing in Nigeria is that we are experiencing change negative. And all the sections of government from the national to the states and local government are implementing that. That we must change from good to bad, we must change from enjoyment to suffering, from been able to put food on our tables to being beggars on the streets. So, when you look at El- Rufai’s statement, I salute his courage. I salute Shehu Sanni’s courage, I salute few members of the National Assembly who today are bold enough to tell the world that APC do not mean well for this country. And if that is the true reflection of what is happening in our society today, I salute their courage.
Now looking at the President, taking his decision on the Paris Fund refund which he specifically directed that State Governors should use to pay salaries; Edo reportedly got N11 billion in the first tranche but they didn’t comply. Don’t you think he is a lone ranger surrounded by people who pretend to share his ideology of working for the people?
The wife was the first to cry out that President Buhari is surrounded by cabals. When Aisha Buhari told Nigerians that her husband was no longer in charge of affairs of this country people laughed at her. When she said in Buhari government there exist people who do not even have APC card as Ministers, and Aides, people laughed. Nobody would understand a man more than his wife. It is just a mere subterfuge to think that the man is not in charge of his administration. Yes, he is not in charge because of the way he came in. Buhari knew that if he was not surrounded by these vultures, hawks, he would not be able to win the election. They say he who pays the piper dictates the tune. These people who are around him today, dictated his coming to power that is why the man is not crying otherwise, the man would have been crying that his government has been hijacked by this cabal. We are aware of the fact that those who are in government today, many of them are not politicians. Many of them did not even work for APC to win, many of them do not even know the problems of Nigeria, many of them do not have the solution to Nigeria problems, many of them are not even in government because they want to work for the good of Nigerians, many of them are in government because of what they have put in, and they want to get back their investment, many of them believe that government was an investment; put in five naira, and expect ten naira margin at the end of the day. So, if you are telling me that Buhari is a sincere man, I will honestly tell you that he is not. Why? If he was a sincere man and he meant well for Nigerians, so much money was sent to states, he would have also put mechanism in place to see to how this money is effectively managed by all the states. We only hear that some governors were confronted to give account of how they spent the money. What is the outcome? How many of the Governors actually used the money for the purpose for which it was meant? You said Edo State reportedly got N11 billion in the first tranche. What was that N11 billion meant for? Who was the person that managed the spending of that money? Who can now tell Edo people where N11 billion went into? Where was it spent and for what purpose? You said the President directed that it should be used to pay salaries. Edo State government told us that even before the Paris Club money came, they were paying salary. If the government was paying salary before the money came, it means that money couldn’t have gone into payment of salary; it should have gone in to somewhere else. What is therefore the project that money was spent for? And where is that body the Federal Government set up to monitor spending of that money particularly in Edo? It is no there. So, it is like calling your children home; we have so much to share, how do we go about it? And that was what the Federal Government did and without even having recourse to how that money came. Whether it was their own government that fought for that money. That money was there, it didn’t come in Buhari’s time. We didn’t tap it, but the Federal Government of the PDP which they now term as corrupt government deliberately kept it for rainy days; it was like a reserve, the APC came and spent it without anybody now asking question how the money was spent. So, if you are telling me that Buhari on the basis of that money is a genuine man, he is not. If he is a man that is genuinely fighting corruption, if he is a man that is genuinely fighting the course of our people, he should have asked how each of the States spent their own share of the Paris Club refund. Who is asking questions? Nobody is asking, and nobody is answering. The money has gone into few individuals pockets yet we are talking about fighting corruption. So, who are we deceiving? I will take you back memory lane; when Jonathan’s wife was shouting that the man APC was parading has lost memory and may not be able to function; in Western democracies once you are above 70s, you will never win election. Look at what happened in France recently; a 39 year old man is now the President. A complex state like France; that is to tell you, that state affairs are too complex for a 74 year old man whereas statistics tells us that he is over 80 years. So, if you are saying Buhari is sincere, it is not true.
Still on the sincerity of the President; the shocking revelation of loots being recovered in all unimaginable places courtesy of the instrumentality of the fight against corruption of the Buhari administration; as a Nigerian, what does that impress on you?
Yes, every subsequent government in Nigeria has not been able to beam the search light on corruption. Yes that is quite evident. I tell you honestly, what we are seeing today, the 43 million dollars and others is a tip of the iceberg. Corruption has been institutionalized during the military era nurtured during Obasanjo – Yar’ dua time but it was whittled down during the time of Goodluck Jonathan and I will give you statistics. Till today, we are still recovering Abacha’s loot. The reason why Nigerians are shocked at what they are seeing now, it is because previous governments have not made any attempt at probing their predecessors. If they had done so, what is being revealed now would have been minor. I ask what happened to all the monies we had during Babaginda’s time. Today, Babaginda is still being regarded as one of the richest Africans. Where did he get all the money? All the aides around him later went on campaigning to be senators and governors. Where did they get the money? I honestly will take you back memory lane. In the Obasanjo era, all the money gotten from privatization, where is it? Obasanjo we were made to understand when he was elected as President of this country, he had only N20, 000 in his account and now where did he get all the billions he possesses? How much is the salary of the President per annum if he wants to genuinely fight corruption in this country? So the idea that the Jonathan administration was the most corrupt is only an attempt to paint the man black. I can also say with all sense of responsibility; how much of all these monies have been traced to Jonathan? Rather, we are talking about his aides.
But that depicts his weakness being in charge
Listen to me; it is not about being weak. What Jonathan did as President of this country, I will tell you no other had done it. When our economy was at the lowest ebb, Jonathan brought the wise men. Today, Akinwumi is the President of African Bank. It was Jonathan that fished the young man out. Okonjo Iweala of course her track record speaks for her. She was brought into government and many of such technocrats. They put in place an economy blue print that was to last till 2020. That blue print, in the last four years of the last administration, we were already seeing the signs of a resurging economy, one that promises to be better tomorrow. All that has died now. Tell me, what is the economic plan of this administration? What does Buhari has for Nigeria in terms of economic direction? What does the Minister for Finance has as an economic direction for this country? We don’t have any! Again about the revelations today, many of these monies were not stolen in Jonathan’s time. How can you justify a situation; the N43 billion found in Ikoyi, on the wraps were written year 2016. Jonathan left office in 2015. You cannot print money today and put tomorrow’s date on the wrap. So, that is where it lies, the possibility of tying that money to Jonathan’s time is like cooking hot porridge and asking someone to put his finger into it. It will burn everybody. The Federal Government knows that it will burn everybody that is why it did not set up a judicial enquiry to investigate it. That kind of money cannot be what a presidential committee should be investigating. They should have allowed the EFCC that started the whistle blowing to continue the investigation. Why will you set up a presidential committee to handle such sensitive issue? It is like being a judge over one’s case because the people who are being investigated by the presidential body, are the same people who took that money there. How do you ask a thief to go investigate what he has stolen? So, I wanted a situation where if Buhari was sincere enough even if it is judicial inquiry or since it is criminal in nature, let EFCC that unraveled this money give us a leeway and a very impartial investigation into how this money was kept there. We are made to believe by those whistle blowers and propagandists that the money left Central Bank in the time of Jonathan. Central Bank could not offer any useful information but on the face of it, it was obvious that with the practice in the Central Bank, any mint that comes out of the Central Bank today bears the stamp carrying today’s date on the wrap. And this money recovered, is carrying the stamp of 2016 on its wrap and you are tying that money to someone who left office about a year or two ago then you are not fair to that person. You are worse than even a corrupt man trying to pull wool across the eyes of Nigerians to believe that a sincere person who left office two years ago is the one that is still corruptly taking money from Central Bank that he no longer has control over. Yet money printed in 2016 is still being tied to him.
Finally, don’t you think what we are having on our hands is because many aggrieved persons on PDP platform are in APC; likened to a situation of a new wine in an old bottle. As it is said; a leopard cannot change its spots?
Aggrieved, what were they aggrieved about? Power seeking, praise singers who wanted to corruptly enrich themselves and the government then said we won’t give you the opportunity to do all of that in our administration that we are putting in place to ensure that there is a better tomorrow for Nigerians, they all left the party and gang up like you said, yes, take their characteristics and put it on a scale and see where the pendulum would swing. Those that left PDP for APC, the commonest reason they were giving was that PDP was corrupt. But the under current was that they were people who the then government said enough of your corrupt attitude you can seek relevance elsewhere. I would start by the core governors that left PDP. Amaechi spear headed that move. Amaechi got River State down below. He corruptly managed River State and while the APC governor of course he was now a member before he left office. Why they could not win the election was because the average Rivers State man believed that there was no use hobnobbing with a man presented by Amaechi. Dakuku Peterside that contested that election was just an unfortunate person. Although, he is enjoying in Maritime Authority today, the man with whom he came to contest election in Rivers, the people have rejected. The bulk of APC members today were people rejected by the PDP not that they left the party. PDP rejected them and said go flourish where corruption is the order of the day. At that point in time what Jonathan administration wanted to prove to Nigerians was that we can get it right again. And while trying to get it right, it must be systemic. We must put in place mechanisms to get this country out of this quagmire and in doing that Jonathan believes Nigeria has sufficient reserve or reservoir of intelligential that can move the State forward. They saw that the soil was no longer fertile for them to continue their trade hence they left PDP and today, they have a fertile ground to carry on with their corrupt practices. Will any Nigerian take Amaechi serious that he does not like money, he is not corrupt? Why he is not corrupt is that he does not like money. A man who during the Presidential election could hire private jet for his candidate using State resources to fund presidential election says he does not like money, a man who has houses all over the place, says he does not like money and I will also ask, how was his practice, who was Amaechi before he became governor of Rivers State? Did he have anything to declare as asset before he became governor, before he became Speakerof Rivers State House of Assembly, who was Amaechi, before he entered politics who was Amaechi so these are pertinent questions we must ask ourselves. Recently, we were hearing that the Federal Government is planning to borrow five billion US dollars to fund railway. Who is in charge of transport, Amaechi. Who is going to utilize that money rightly or wrongly, Amaechi. Since I knew Amaechi from his time of being in the State House of Assembly, being a governor and up till now, Amaechi cannot be quantified in monetary terms. Can such a man reasonably and justifiably tell Nigerians that he is not corrupt?
Amaechi is just one person
I started with Amaechi and that snowballs into others especially the governors that decamped then into APC. I don’t want to talk about their over lord in Lagos; Ahmed Bola Tinubu. Yes Tinubu as governor of Lagos State, the internally generated revenue of Lagos can sustain Lagos, he said so, he told us. He made Nigerians believe that he was not interested in what comes from the Federal Government; it is true. Who was Tinubu? Compare Tinubu when he was not a governor of Lagos State and when he became governor and since he left office and that will also tell you, that is a man who leads the cabal that make up APC. A man that was a governor and now riding private jets, the affairs of Lagos State has not been probed one day. How do you justify a governor, public servant leaving office and few weeks after buying private jets and he is saying he is not corrupt? I can go on and on about these people that make up APC. Your own President, what about the 25million dollars of PTF that was swindled in his time as the chairman of that body? What happened to that money? That is the man that is fighting corruption. In all of these, I want to say that Nigerians must wake up from all deceit of the present administration. Like you call them, an old wine in a new bottle that is what we are seeing in APC. Nothing has changed about them. The leopard cannot change its skin. The selective fight against corruption is not it. It is aimed at demystifying the opposition that will fight them in 2019. You said Sule Lamido should remain behind bars. What is his offence? That he made uncomplimentary comment about this administration and that amounts to treasonable felony. If so, now what is the faith of the Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria that has been signed into law? That Nigerians have the right to say anything about the government that they feel is not right. What is now its efficacy, what happened to it? Nigeria is a signatory to so many charters that snowball into the Freedom of Information Act. Has Nigeria become a pariah state? We have seen people who talked about Buhari government a failure how they have been treated because they are in the opposition. No government succeeds without a virile opposition. All the renowned democracies of the world succeed because of virile opposition. You cannot run Nigeria like this and run her into a one party state. That is the aim of the APC that it can continue to silence the opposition and that come 2019, they will have a free ride to Aso Rock but it is not going to work because Nigerians will keep talking no matter how the government tend to make them not talk, they will continue to say it the way it ought to be and not the way Buhari and his cabal want it to be. Is this what we voted for? Is this what Nigerians call change? Is this what they wanted? That people who could eat three or two square meals a day two or three years ago, can no longer afford one square meal today. They no longer have faith that tomorrow will come and of course tomorrow will come. Whether they will survive till tomorrow, they don’t know. We hear of people committing suicide; this is the first time in the history of Nigeria that a medical doctor will jump into the lagoon because he is frustrated. He does not have future. We see in Edo pick pockets of yesterday are being glorified having escort whereas University graduates, Ph.D. holders are frustrated, they do not have job. That is the situation we face in this country. That is the reality we face in this country that you must be in APC government for you to have three square meals on your table. It does not work like that. In the time of Jonathan there was opposition and it was allowed to operate without any form of harassment and intimidation like we are having today. So, this government must realize that Nigeria was not a one party state when they came on board otherwise, they will not have the opportunity to contest that election. They should allow Nigerians freedom to air their opinion and not do things in the way the APC want it. It shouldn’t be that way. We must live in a society free from intimidation, molestation and harassment because I do not wear the toga of APC, I do not have a voice any more. The voiceless Nigerians, their voice will certainly be heard loud and clear tomorrow.
Thank you very much.