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Buhari’s policies making life expensive – Kwara PDP Chair

What’s your take on the policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government? I’ve always been of the view that the APC only shouted change as…

What’s your take on the policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government?
I’ve always been of the view that the APC only shouted change as its mantra but up till now, we don’t know where it’s heading to because its policies are not clear. It’s curious that Nigerians can go to an election without voting for manifesto and only voted on the integrity of one man. And since the election of President Buhari over a year ago, he has been putting pieces together without actually knowing what the government wanted to achieve.
Sometimes they say they’re fighting corruption which is not deep as it ought to be. An anti-corruption agenda must be one that will be very comprehensive; it should not be mere punishment of the corrupt. It should include issues that will prevent corruption in all ramifications; it should also include reorientation of the people for a life that will minimize corruption. It should include sensitization of the people to believe in a life of integrity and character. However, the anti-corruption agenda today is one-sided because, apart from the Senate president, who is a member of the APC and is being prosecuted  because he didn’t subject himself to party supremacy, majority of the people arrested belong to one political party.
They are being tried for spending government money on campaign. Who among them (APC) can say he didn’t actually spend government money to be in political position? Can President Buhari say all the money he spent in 2015 is his personal money? Can he say no money came from Kwara, Osun, Lagos, Rivers and other states controlled by their party to fund his campaign?
Secondly, I don’t really understand their economic policy. It’s so shallow because they have not made any difference from what we used to have to the extent that we’ve no option but to conclude that the style of the president’s administration might be different but the result remains the same. Obasanjo, Jonathan and the present president all have different methods of fighting corruption, but, none of the methods can guarantee that corruption would be eradicated.

Are you in support of deregulation of the downstream sector?
 Yes, I’m in support of deregulation. In order words, I’m not against increase (in fuel prices). What I’m against is that the enabling environment that ought to support the increase is not there yet. One would have expected that welfare should’ve been introduced to cushion the effect of the increment. Refineries should have been put in place even if the social welfare programme could not be put in place; even if they will go and borrow money to establish and renovate the refineries and refine the crude oil locally.
It’s then that government can talk about deregulation and it will be meaningful. However, with the deregulation and hike in prices of everything, I cannot see any meaningful impact. If you calculate what Nigerians are paying now, it is as if we’re only earning income to pay taxes to sustain government. So, how’re Nigerians going to sustain themselves?

What do you think the present administration should do differently?
I think the first thing government at all levels should do is to sit down and cut unnecessary spending; I expect us to do away with government of misplaced priority like we used to have in Kwara State. This is not the time for government to be building unnecessary edifices, football academy, cargo terminal and aviation school; this this not the time for government officials to ride a car that is more than N10 million; this is not the time to renovate government house or the villa. Whatever money we have now should be used for economic empowerment of the people.
Government should fund ideas generated by young people so that in the next four years, government would have empowered the young ones who can contribute to the economy. Whatever money generated from taxes on the new ideas can be used to build new roads and other infrastructure.

What’s your take on the crisis rocking the PDP both at national and state levels?
Let me be realistic. A party as big as PDP that has been in government for the past 16 years must face the type of crisis we are facing now. When we had similar crisis in the past, there was the presidency that always stepped in to settle the differences. But now, we don’t have the presidency. Also, we used to have more than 20 governors before, but we only have 12 now. So, the 2015 election really deflated the power of the PDP. It’s when we fight that we would separate the serious members from the unserious ones, and the party will be stronger.

You were accused of declaring yourself the chairman of the party in Kwara State when there was no election…?
If jostling for office is called faction, I think the categorization is wrong because it’s normal for people to jostle for office. We went for election with my main contender, Prince S. A Fagbemi; we both sat from 11:00 am till 7:30pm and therefore when did thugs drove him out and denied him participating in the election?
He brought the thugs to disrupt the election but because God is above everybody, none of those arrested belongs to my camp.

Are you saying there is no faction in Kwara PDP?
That is exactly what I’m saying.

You were also accused of including fake delegates among those that attended the national convention?
We’ve published the names of those who went for the convention and asked them to point out the fake delegates among them. Obviously, they’ve been telling lies.

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