APC Is Talking Of Change Only In The Paper- Adeniji-Adele | Independent Newspapers Limited
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APC Is Talking Of Change Only In The Paper- Adeniji-Adele

Posted: Apr 9, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Prince Adebola Adeniji-Adele an engineer is the National President, Citizens Liberation Advocacy Initiative (CLAI). In this interview with Augustine Adah, he speaks on the current fuel scarcity and sundry issues. Excerpts:

For the past few weeks, Nigerians have been going through hardship occasioned by scarcity of petrol and high cost of living; do you think the present administration is right on course?

For a long time we have been clamoring for change, but my greatest surprise is to see otherwise. We have three different types of change, one we have change of mind, activity and paper. I am thinking the change APC was talking about is that of paper only.  It is so funny that this present administration seems not to trust anybody and that is why it is not getting it right in some areas. As I am talking with you now, I stand to be corrected we have 36 ministers, but nine of them have no portfolio, and one person is in-charge of three portfolios. Now, President Muhammadu Buhari made himself the minister of Petroleum while Ibe Kachikwu who was already the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was named the minister of state, because the administration did not trust other able Nigerians to do the job.  If you look at the list of ministers in the present cabinet, with the exemption of Minister of Transportation, Works, Housing and Power, Solid Minerals and few others, all of them are above 60 years of age.  How do you expect magic from these aged men in this era of technological innovations? I pray that Kachikwu would be able to deliver petrol to Nigerians as promised because today is already April 7. Though I learnt that some saboteurs are sabotaging the effort of the present government in fuel supply to the country, I wish the government would be able to overcome all the impediments as fast as possible.

Many Nigerians are agitated that the present government has not been able to keep its promise on many issues. Do you think the government has kept some of the promises made to Nigerians so far?

This is a very good question. I don’t think one year would be enough to criticise the present government objectively. I personally, and CLAI our NGO have taken position that we would not assess the present government until after two years. I know that the present government is after those who made away with Nigerian money to recover them, let us see what would happen to those involved and what the government would do with the money. To be fair to them, one year is insufficient for any objective assessment of the government looking at the monumental frauds that characterised previous administrations in the country.

Talking about fighting corruption, what is your assessment of the way the government is going about with the issue?

Though I am not Buhari, but we have heard several complaints from some people and groups about the manner the government is going about fighting corruption. Some even complained that it is one sided, others said it is a tool used against political enemies. But the bottom line is that we know those who are corrupt both in the past and present governments. Those that padded the 2016 budget by N10b are part of the present government whether they are civil servants or not, I expect the government to fish them out and punish them. I would not support fighting corruption that is not holistic. If you observe carefully, you would notice that some of the people who were accused of corruption presently did not steal the money for personal purpose. It was the money meant for purchase of arms and ammunition that was diverted for 2015 presidential campaigns.  I believe that APC as the ruling party is not free from the same crime because they have not told us where they got the money used for their own campaigns. We knew that many state governors donated a lot of money for the presidential campaign of the party, the money that was supposed to be used for the development of their respective states.  I think this is where I cannot blame Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of Finance completely because when the issue came up she protested and requested that a presidential approval must be obtained before the release of the money. If they go to International Court of Law, I believe the woman has something to say there.

What is your take on the recent declaration by the Attorney General of the Federation that the government would amend the electoral act in order to empower INEC to be able to deal with electoral crimes?

They should do that quickly because it is becoming too late. We have an adage in Yoruba that says if you don’t marry to wives, you wouldn’t know the best among them. When OPC under Gani Adams demanded for the head of Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of INEC last year over poor performance or whatever reason, little did they know that Nigeria would have somebody that would plunge the country further into election crisis. I have never seen any election successfully conducted under the present chairman of INEC. It is either inconclusive or characterised by violence. You saw what happened in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states, if we begin to have inconclusive elections during rerun, what do you expect when the general elections that would affect the 36 states of the federation would be conducted? So we need that law now. If they don’t do it now perpetrators of election violence and other malpractises would continue to have a field day and we would be denied of the fruits of democracy in the country.  We don’t see anything that happened to those arrested of committing electoral crimes by INEC, because it does not have power to prosecute them. But if we can have the law now, it will help in curtailing violence because those who profit from the act would have a rethink.

You have been suggesting that INEC should conduct both accreditation and voting simultaneously, do you think it would help our electoral process?

We thank God that we did not advocate anything that is not beneficial to Nigerians.  It does not make sense to accredit somebody let say by nine o’clock in the morning and ask the person to come and vote around one O’clock in the afternoon. Many of them may go home and not come back to vote as we experienced in previous elections where the number of accredited voters are more than those that casted their votes.  Now what we are advocating was experimented in the Bayelsa State supplementary governorship election and we saw that before 12 o’clock people have finished voting and give INEC opportunity to collate the result of the election on time. The idea of allowing voting to continue into late night encourages malpractices and violence.