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APC Not Prepared For Governance – Dominic

Posted: Jul 2, 2015 at 12:14 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Michael Adegbola Dominic, a medical doctor and politician, was governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State in the last poll. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he speaks on the 30 days of Buhari’s administration, crisis in the National Assembly, and other issues. Excerpts…

It is over a month now since President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in, yet he has not appointed ministers.  Are you not worried that this could slow down the pace of governance?

It is something that nobody expected going by the vigorous campaign of the APC and President Buhari and the promises they made of change. All Nigerians expected this change and the expectation is very high. But, unfortunately, what we are getting is the reverse of our expectations. Buhari and the APC had more than four years to prepare for this governance that has been entrusted on them. They have been in opposition for the past 16 years and they have been very critical of many decisions of the PDP-led federal government, telling Nigerians that they can do things better if given the opportunity.  So, Nigerians expected them to hit the ground running upon their taking over the reins of government. But, unfortunately, they seem to have nothing to offer. They have also failed to learn from the achievements and mistakes of the PDP. Obviously, Buhari and the APC are not prepared for governance. It is obvious that they are confused. They made outlandish promises during the campaign that anybody who has some political experience will know that some of the promises were irrational, unrealistic and only intended to deceive Nigerians to vote for them. Like promising to pay N5, 000 monthly stipend to all unemployed Nigerians and elderly ones. How is that possible with our current economy and the falling price in crude oil? I can’t remember any government in this country that stayed one month in office without appointing ministers. Instead of settling down to government, they are busy fighting both in the party and the APC-controlled National Assembly. So, Nigerians shouldn’t expect anything spectacular from the APC-led federal government. By the end of four years, Nigerians will have realized that they made a mistake voting this government in.

 

Don’t you think it is too early to judge the performance of the government – maybe assessing their performance after 100 days in office would be more like it?

Some people have argued like that, but the truth is that the morning shows the day. How a day will end will be seen in the morning of that day. We have had other governments in this country, they didn’t start this way. Look at the issue of Boko Haram. When Jonathan was leaving, Boko Haram was almost fading out. At one point, that was not the situation because Boko Haram was everywhere. But Jonathan was able to contain them and flush them out of the Nigerian territory to the border areas in the North-East.  Now that Jonathan has left and Buhari is now in charge, Boko Haram is now everywhere and they have taken back some of the territories. The bombings are now on a regular basis and the APC-led federal government doesn’t seem to have any idea on how to tackle it. I expected Buhari to have sustained the progress Jonathan made but instead it is the reverse we are seeing today?

 

The President recently said old age will limit his performance. Don’t you think this is an honest confession by him?

Yes, the president said Nigerians should not expect too much from him on account of his age of 72 years. But I have however observed that the president has demonstrated high physical and mental capacity and capability throughout his campaigns and since he became president. He traversed the 36 states of Nigeria during his campaigns and, since he became president, has been working almost round the clock holding meetings and summits at home and around the world. He demonstrated remarkable mental alertness and skill in his handling of the National Assembly leadership crises in his party. The relevant factor here is not the age of Mr. President but his capability. President Mugabe of Zimbabwe is 91 years old and is still there because he still shows capability for his job. Nigerians wanted a job done and needed a capable man to do the job. Muhammadu Buhari applied for and got the job, based on his past records and his stated promises, some of which were downright specific, and even bordered on the miraculous. Bringing the value of the naira to par with that of the dollar would certainly be a miracle. Also, it had been impressed on Nigerians that once Mahammadu Buhari became president, all Boko Haram guns and bombs would fall silent at the mention of Buhari’s name. But it is not so. The bombs have increased both in frequency and in intensity. Nigerians cannot wait to see these promises and others fulfilled, and the president seems overwhelmed by the high expectations. It has now dawned on him and his party that the head of an elephant is not load for a baby. But no excuse is good enough now. The president has entered a contract with the people of Nigeria. The people have delivered and the president just has to keep his own part of the contract. It is too early to ask the president to resign now. We shall support and encourage him to deliver on his promises. But he has to deliver. Nothing less would be acceptable.

 

The president also said he met an empty treasury upon assumption of office. Do you think this can hinder him from effectively carrying out his plans for Nigerians?

I don’t know what he expected to see. Was he expecting the outgone president to have filled up the treasury with money so that he will come and spend it?  Any government in power is expected to make money and spend it for the people. When you come into government, you take up everything, including the assets and liabilities of the government. When APC came in, they saw the railways working, airports have been remodeled, PHCN unbundled, and various infrastructural projects and reforms ongoing. All these things cost money. Look at the issue of Boko Haram. The western powers refused to supply Nigeria arms. The president had to resort to buying arms and ammunitions from the black market. That was why some millions of dollars are now stranded in South Africa. Despite these challenges, he still recorded huge success against Boko Haram. All these things cost money. I don’t know whether Buhari was still expecting the government to have prosecuted that kind of war and still leave a full treasury for him to come and spend. Since Buhari came in, he has been making money every day. He should use that to carry out his various projects and also look for ways to generate more money. But unfortunately, he seems not to have a clue on what to do. He keeps running to G-7 for assistance like Almajiri. I expected us to have grown beyond that. We have gained independence as a sovereign nation and we shouldn’t recolonise ourselves. We should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the UK, US, Germany, France and other nations in the G-7 and not running to them as beggars all the time.