APC Not Giving Nigerians The Desired Change – Ajayi | Independent Newspapers Limited
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APC Not Giving Nigerians The Desired Change – Ajayi

Posted: Jun 8, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Comrade Olaseni Ajayi, Publicity Secretary, National Conscience Party (NCP), Lagos State chapter, in this interview with EJIKEME OMENAZU, picks holes on the list of recovered loots released by the Federal Government. He also speaks on the renewed agitations by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), among other issues. Excerpts:

How do you see the successes President Muhammadu Buhari is laying claim to in his one year in office under the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform?

The change Nigerians deserve has not come. This is evidence in the one year of President Muhammadu Buhari. There is nothing that has changed; instead things have taken a turn for the worse in all facets. The economy has plunged into recession. The polity has been heated up. We have up to four mini-civil wars raging in parts of the country and many more will still come up. This is due to the attitude of the government to the national question and ethnic nationalities, especially in the South East and South South. We have seen the worsening of that during this first year of President Buhari. On insecurity, which is also related, which the regime prides itself for success, the Boko Haram insurgency is still raging on. Although the government promised two months, a year after taking over, the government is talking of technical defeat. What we need is a complete defeat, not technical defeat. The conditions that brought about Boko Haram are still there and those who laid foundation for Boko Haram are still there. Nothing has happened to any of them. In the Niger Delta, we have seen pipeline vandalisation. The regime has pushed people to arms in South South and South East. The regime behaves as if Nigeria is an occupied territory and that people can be subjugated by the force of arms. If not, the issues at stake can be resolved by democratic means and not by violence. On the economy, all the economic policies of the regime are still those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which were dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other world powers and their financial institutions. Their intention is not to develop Nigeria, but to make it easier for them to make money from the country. Instead of carrying on policies that will lead to development, the government’s policies are anti-masses, like the increase in the cost of utilities, hike in fuel price, deregulating instead of regulating the economy. There is no policy to rebuild the national economy. The cost of living is high, inflation is very high, rate of unemployment is very high, industries are folding up. In the next one year, the government will be looking for international bail-outs from IMF and other foreign financial capital agencies. This is because they are completely bereft of ideas, except the PDP and IMF ideas.

What is your take on the recent release of list of recovered loots by the Federal Government?

It is a scam and an attempt to confuse Nigerians. The so-called list is to give the impression that there is anti-corruption war going on. For instance, the 50 per cent of the recovered money are said to be cash-at- hand with the EFCC; that is about N39 billion. What does cash-at-hand mean? The list has no time references. EFCC is involved in both political and financial crimes. It is criminal to merge all these and give the impression that they did all these. Up till now, this is no anti-corruption crusade going on. The only persons that are being hounded are outright opponents of the government. While there is nothing wrong in prosecuting corrupt enemies, they should not give the impression that that their own people are saints. Even at that, the main frame of PDP has not been touched, like the ex-Generals in PDP. Even within the military, those that are being probed are mostly those from the Air Force and not the Army who should have been more involved in importation of hardware. This shows lack of clear focus in the fight against corruption. We are demanding that the government should explain the list properly, especially the N39 billion they say they have as cash-at-hand. They are confusing what they have recovered with the Abacha loot which was recovered by past regimes. We challenge them to put a date on the amounts recovered and when the processes covered. If you remove the N39 billion cash-at-hand with the EFCC from the list of cash recovery, from the N79 billion total recovery, the amount that they claim they recovered from the National Security Adviser is less than N55 billion, instead of N2.1 billion ($400 billion). So, what they say they have achieved in anti-corruption is a scam meant to confuse Nigerians. Look at the VAT payment which is supposed to be withheld tax, they just listed it as recovered loot. All we are saying is that they are not doing anything as regards anti-corruption crusade.

How would you rate the performance of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in Lagos State? Do you agree that he has performed well in the last one year?

No, not all. It is a continuation of the policies of the APC government. These policies have made Lagos to be the biggest debtor-state in the country. From the N101 billion they made in the first quarter, they incurred N29b deficit. So what is the essence raising money and you are still in debt? As we speak, we are aware that Lagos owes close to N3tr. There is a limit they can continue to extort money from the public. With the destruction of the economy, their capacity to extort will diminish because the people do not have money. Water supply has collapsed in Lagos. Basic infrastructure like collapsed. The interior roads have collapsed. The street lights and those along the major roads have collapsed. Worst still, they are running local councils with hand-picked friends. This is illegal. It is illegal for such people to collect money for the people and spend from the Federal Allocation. That is why they do not want council poll because these people are committing a lot of fraud. A lot of massive fraud is going on in Lagos through the councils. We took them to court over the council election and won.

What is your take on the agitations by Niger Delta Avengers and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East? 

The right to self-determination is fundamental. It is enshrined in the United Nations Charter. People belonging to a union are on voluntary and democratic basis. It is not by force. So, you cannot force people to belong to a union. It is the South Easterners that should be engaged. The masses of South East have support for IPOB because of their plight in the hands of this regime. It is the divisive agenda of the characters and the highly divisive elements in government that is fueling the ethnic crises we have now. The government made it clear that it has ethnic preferences. That is the danger. It also shows that it has religious preference. That also is the danger. The South East and South South masses actually have this impression, even before the election. That is why they voted against APC. What the regime has done since it came to power confirms their fears.