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Buhari needs two terms to consolidate his policies- El-Badawy

Alhaji Hassan El-Badawy represented Bade/Jagasko Federal Constituency of Yobe State in the 7th House of Representative. He says in this interview that President Muhammadu Buhari…

Alhaji Hassan El-Badawy represented Bade/Jagasko Federal Constituency of Yobe State in the 7th House of Representative. He says in this interview that President Muhammadu Buhari should be supported for second term as the circumstances in South Africa which made Nelson Mandela serve only a single term was different from Nigeria’s.
Daily Trust: There are a lot of crises in the economy and the polity; does this mean President Muhammadu Buhari’s blueprint is not working or he is simply overwhelmed?
Alhaji Hassan El-Badawy:
Even though you come with a blueprint, what you meet on ground determines how you act. I don’t think he can use whatever blueprint he came with from what we all know he met on the ground.
DT: The APC made lots of pro-people electioneering promises, but the administration has removed subsidy on kerosene, increased power tariff and taxes. What does this suggest to you?
The question of kerosene subsidy and power tariff was on the ground before this government, but what is wrong is the economy itself. The people who handled the economy knew that, they did it wrongly, with a lot of wastages. They ran the economy with impunity; they allowed the treasury to be ransacked by economy saboteurs. These characters became billionaires overnight. They put their interests first before the Nigerian people. These are what brought all this. For example, where are the reserves in the sovereign wealth account? If these funds were available, these things wouldn’t be happening.
 DT: Should the government punish innocent Nigerians for the sins of a few then?
What you don’t realise is that these things were not done by the APC government. It was done by the previous government. Privatisation was not done by APC, and now that APC is saying these things are wrong, Nigerians are complaining. You don’t do things overnight. This government is trying to ensure that the rule of law stands, therefore you have to be meticulous in doing things. That was missing in the previous government and that is why you find these excesses. But the government is not forcing people to make extra payment. There are institutions established by law to make people do certain things and these have to be revised, these are areas that require tutelage and nurtured until the thing is imbibed by the people.
Today in Nigeria you find that those who have money run the show but this time, it is different, this government doesn’t lay emphasis on money. If it was about money, then Buhari would not have succeeded or won the election.
DT: The president once said he prefers working with civil servants than politicians but with the recent controversy over the 2016 budget, how do you want the president to see civil servants now?
A former British prime minister once said that if he can have the civil service with some few trusted men, he will continue to rule Great Britain for the rest of his life. This is because the British civil service was impeccable and impartial. They will serve all prime ministers faithfully. So the British government relies on the civil service.
Now look at what we have in Nigeria, a civil service that serves a government that was corrupt and inept, watched the destruction of the national treasury because they knew what was happening. Falling short of what Murtala Mohammed did, we have to come to a middle course we have to sanitise the service. We cannot say everybody is a thief so they should go. The president has refused to do that. He worked with some of the permanent secretaries and when he discovered who they were, he retired them quietly. But the bulk of the civil service is there with the mentality of what they used to do and you cannot just sack everybody because you won’t even know them. Fortunately, for this government and for Nigerians, these crooks that are built in around and within the civil service have reared their heads to show what they are. They thought they could get away with what they have been doing all these years and once they get it in the budget, you won’t know what they are doing, but thankfully, the president has people who scrutinised the budget and picked out the paddings. You will see them around driving big cars and building estates and nobody will ask them how they earned the money.
DT: What do you think should be done to these civil servants?
You have to sanitise the civil service. You must have a loyal and fully motivated civil service before you can execute your projects. As a governor or president, yours is to make plans, provisions and service, but the implementation is in the hands of civil servants. As long as they are not honest and loyal, these aspirations stay on the drawing board because you can’t do it alone. What is required is to look into the civil service and see those that need to go and evidence of who are the culprits. The good thing about the civil service is that everything is documented; no minister or governor will take a single kobo without anybody knowing because everything is documented. So we can trace these culprits and weed them out of the system so we can get the people that can follow the ethics of this government.
DT: Civil societies are complaining of being sidelined by the present administration, even Emir Sanusi of Kano recently criticised some of the financial policies of the government, what do you make of this?
These are issues that many people talk about, but what I know is that this government is facing formidable challenges from all angles and corners, especially those who have their fingers in lots of misconduct and they are large in numbers. They can sponsor bad ideas in the mind of people. These are being looked into and being studied carefully to know whether they are genuine or not. We have to be careful because there are huge serpents waiting to strike at the slightest opportunity. This government is out to make sure that those distorting the future of this country are prosecuted. Government is not taking some of these things lightly; we need to remove the chaff from the grains so that things will work well.
DT: Despite being less than one year in office, there are debates on single or two tenures for President Buhari, where do you stand here?
It is a very interesting issue; it requires a lot of discussions. In order to tackle this clamour by people, we need to go back to where we came from, how this government came in before we can decide on the terms he will stay. For me, for Buhari to do a second term is a must. Then his vice needs to be given the chance to do two terms too so that they can exhaust all their plans for Nigeria. They have good programmes lined up for this nation and Nigerians should give them the chance to change the state of this nation. Also, their party was formed barely a year ago. Buhari came in and started correcting the wrongs; you need lots of time and efforts to look into a lot of things. Let us take for example, the corruption issue, we need to investigate because arms deal was not an issue for the previous government, it was when he was about to take over that this arms deal came to the surface. We have other sectors like MDAs that need to be looked into. He cannot finish these things in just one term. It is a very serious issue that government needs to take care of the future. The situation we have on ground requires Buhari to have another term after the current one to consolidate before he can hand over.
DT: But late Nelson Mandela was also asked to do two terms by many South Africans, but he declined, citing the importance of strengthening institutions instead of individuals. Don’t you think Buhari should emulate Mandela?
You know that the Mandela situation is different from that of Buhari. Buhari came as an opposition party, while Mandela spend 27years in prison which gave his party strength and courage, knowing their master was in jail but alive; that spirit gave them zeal and passion to tackle apartheid. Mandela ruled South Africa indirectly in prison for 27 years before he came out because it was out of his sacrifice that his supporters gathered and continued. But you need a party on ground with structures so that it can stand its position. You cannot compare Mandela with Buhari. The vice president is there, others are there and they can take over after he has done his second term. But the issue of Buhari stepping aside for others to take over is not the best.

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