APC’s Campaign Promises, Mere Election Gimmicks – Akele | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


APC’s Campaign Promises, Mere Election Gimmicks – Akele

Posted: Mar 20, 2016 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nigerian Labour Leaders Are Greedy – Akele


Comrade Ayodele Akele is the National Secretary of the National Conscience Party (NCP) . He is also the Chairman of Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Organisation (GAFAMORG). In this interview with Ejikeme Omenazu, he speaks on the state of the nation, plight of the Nigerian workers and other sundry issues. Excerpts:

Seven years after the death of the activist lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, founder of the National Conscience Party (NCP) would you say his dreams are still alive?
You know that Gani died defence of the masses. He died as a role model for the up-coming generations. He was a pride for any Nigerian. If Nigerians and the Nigerian leaders will emulate Gani’s attributes, Gani’s ideals, Gani’s philosophy, Nigeria will be a better. Nigeria will be better in education, Nigerians will enjoy better life, there will defence for human rights. There will be better economic and social well-being for the Nigerian people. The masses were his constituency. He did not charge the poor for legal services. He never served government. His wealth was from his hardwork. Since he died, the human rights community has been mourning him. He has no replacement. Everybody in today’s Nigeria has missed Gani. If he were alive, he would have demonstrated against all the atrocities, all the shenanigans in the country today, even as one man.

There has been so much worry among Nigerians about the state of the economy which is nose-diving on a daily basis. Do you have such worry too?
My major worry is the poor standard of living of Nigerians and lack of direction of the current government. The government has no economic blueprint and it is very bad. Even if he has no economic blueprint, they have a campaign manifesto which should be their template. Now, all their promises have been jettisoned. You must have a programme which must be followed step by step. Even as a student, I was involved in former Governor Lateef Jakande’s housing project. He sought prototype designs and costs even before he became the governor. When he won the election, he laid foundation of all housing estates within five weeks. Now President Buhari has abandoned all his promises. This government has no economic plan. There must be blueprint. He must come out with a development plan. I don’t see how this government can succeed without a template or economic plan. That is why they are jumping from left to right, wobbling and fumbling. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That is why the Naira is falling and cost of living is very high. Now, there is public resentment against this government because of the situation of the masses. But, Buhari is gallivanting and junketing everywhere, consuming $2 million per trip. There is no wisdom in this, except the estacodes he is collecting. How many times have the people in Saudi Arabia visited us?
Would you blame the current administration for the poor state of the economy when the government said it inherited an empty treasury?
Who said there was no money in the treasury? Has he published the balance sheet of this country? Has he done the forensic auditing of all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)? It is only a one sided story. If he met nothing on ground, where did he get the money he is spending? Do you know the huge amount the nation gets from the ports on daily basis?  Some of us have calculating minds. He has not even addressed the citizens on the state of the economy because he has nothing to say. How has he been paying salaries if there is no money? How did he get the huge amount of money he used to bail out looter-governors?  Buhari just dipped hands into the treasury and bailed out corrupt governors without asking them to account for what was given to them. Now, what has happened to the bail-outs? He even spent the money without going through the National Assembly. Now the governors are asking for more bail-outs. That is the end of the road for the bail-outs. He just gave them largesse.
With the level of unemployment in the country, how do see the President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent decision not to pay the N5,000 monthly stipends to the unemployed as promised by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), during the 2015 elections campaigns?
My position is that the campaign promises were gimmicks. It is an act of dishonesty because Nigerian youths voted for Buhari on the basis of this promise. The teeming population of the unemployed Nigerians also voted for him because of this. Now, he has left them in the cold. This is corruption. It is a fraud. He stole their votes. He appeared to be a servant then. Now, he is the boss. There is no excuse if he cannot fulfill the promises. I have the posters and handbills of the N5,000 promises up till today. That shows that that the president’s integrity is at stake. He carted votes under false pretence. Now, he has reneged. He promised two million jobs every year. But, a year into his administration, we now have job massacre in banks, NNPC, construction industries, among others. The policy of government is hostile to the people. That is why ‘Area Boys’ are multiplying everyday. The N5,000 is affordable. In advanced countries, it is paid to the unemployed to keep body and soul together. Who said that a jobless graduate is not among “the poorest of the poor”? They are even a threat to the public. Buhari puts former Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, in charge of Power, Works and Housing. This is someone who did not build a single low cost house for the poor in the eight years he was governor. This is an error by Buhari as Fashola is not masses-friendly. All the houses he built in Lagos costs N45 million a flat. That is why government cannot achieve anything in power, housing and roads construction under his oversight.
Don’t you agree that focusing on infrastructure, agriculture, solid minerals and industrialisation by the government will on the long run improve the lot of the Nigerian masses?


Even if he gives the unemployed the N5,000 he can still do all these. It does not disturb his economic plan. It can only complement it. In other countries, they also do all these and still pay the stipends. Even if he puts in place all these, infrastructure, agriculture, solid minerals, industrialisation, will that end unemployment? Has he the statistical data of the unemployed in this country? This is one of the things NCP under Gani Fawehinmi planned when he was contesting for presidency. I believe the APC borrowed this from the NCP. As the NCP governorship candidate in Lagos, I had the statistical data of the unemployed in Lagos.  TheN5,000 cannot feed a minister’s dog. The minister takes N25,000 for newspapers which is far more than the minimum wage of Nigerians.
Buhari has no time for education, hospitals, infrastructure and the indigent students. In our time, there was scholarship and bursary for students. Even the military had them. There were scholarship boards. But now, they are all gone. Look at the school fees. They are unaffordable. Universities increase fees anyhow. Now, even in  the CBN, there is corruption.
How do you see President Buhari’s decision that Nigeria should join the Coalition of Islamic Countries Against Terror? Do you, like Governor Ayo Fayose and some others, also see it as a ploy to Islamise Nigeria?
He has already taken us there. Fayose may be correct. My worry for this country is the inconsistencies of this government. Buhari in Saudi Arabia said Nigeria would not join the coalition. But within two weeks, he said Nigeria has joined. It does not speak well of the president. He is disrespecting everybody. How can he take such a decision unilaterally? Ideally, he should have gone through the National Assembly. We have a weak National Assembly. If not, they should have issued him an impeachment notice. He has bypassed the National Assembly on several occasions. Look at how he dipped hand in the treasury to bail out state governors without going through the National Assembly. You do not do that in a democracy.
How do you see President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade? Do you think it is succeeding so far?
Is there any anti-corruption war?


I am not impressed. This is not how to check corruption. You cannot accuse people of corruption without investigation. After parading people in the media, you now want secret trials for Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki. I want to see all the charges, all the exhibits, all the evidence that Dasuki stole and that Kanu committed treason. This can only be possible in open trials. I have watched several treason trials of people all over the world, including that of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. How can we have secret trials of people who have been given media trial? What has happened to former EFCC chief, Lamorde? I have not heard the side of Dasuki and the others. All we have been hearing is the government’s side of the story. It is only when they are given open trial that we will hear their own side of the stories. But, you keep people in detention and they cannot prepare for their cases properly. That is not how to fight against corruption in a democracy.
I support anti-corruption war, but you cannot be punishing the masses. Nothing is working; no good roads, no water, no food. Yet, you are fighting corruption. The president, the ministers live in opulence. The ministers earn over N45 million a year. This is official. So, what has changed? This is what Jonathan’s ministers earned. So, where is the change? Buhari is on life pension as a General and former Head of State. He is still earning double salaries. Fashola is on life pension in Lagos and he is still earning salaries in the Federal Government. I expect Buhari to cut the allowances of all the public officers, including legislators and those in the Executive. This government has been appropriating Jonathan’s programme. They have not done a single thing. Is it compulsory that his ministers will earn the same thing as Jonathan’s ministers? How much is he and the governors taking as security votes? There are fraudulent pension laws in Nigerian government at all levels. The governors are taking life pension for serving their state for only eight years and they also take severance benefits, accommodation of about N1 billion in Abuja, a house in Lagos, three cars every year, doctors for themselves and their families. These are areas of corruption we expect Buhari to tackle.
It is getting to one year since he took over. Let him tell us the financial situation of the country. How much has been recovered and from who? But, my worry is that the EFCC is doing the bidding of the president. If not, why is the EFCC not after Tinubu, Fashola, Amaechi, even Obasanjo? What happened to Halliburton case? Buhari is being selective in his anti-corruption war. I see double standard in the whole crusade. Is he saying that all the APC former governors are saints, even those who defected to the party from PDP? Does defection make someone a saint? What of APC people who served the government in different capacities? The Judiciary is doing the president’s bidding. That is why there is contradictory judgements. Now, the children of powerful people are being employed in the CBN when there are capable young Nigerians looking for jobs. Why did they not advertise the positions? Is that how to fight anti-corruption war?

As a  labour leader, how do you see the current state of the Nigerian worker? Do you think he will one day smile as promised by the APC?
I weep for the Nigerian workers. They have not had it so bad. I pity them. But, I blame the leadership of Labour. When I was a labour leader in Lagos, you cannot remove a dime from workers’ salary. The leadership of Labour in this country has compromised. Too many things are being  offered them and they take. Gratuities, Christmas gifts, allocations to go on Christian and Muslim pilgrimages are given to Labour leaders. Once they take such things, they cannot act again. During my time, when I had meetings with then Governor Bola Tinubu, I never ate there. I never allowed myself to be settled. I am a qualified and Chartered Quantity Surveyor. My name is in the register of Quantity Surveyors in this country. I always told this to Tinubu when we meet. The way a labour leader takes himself, that is how the government will take him. The labour leaders in Nigeria are enticed with a lot of honorarium. I never took it when I was a labour leader. Nigerian labour leaders are greedy and are easily enticed. They tried it when I was a labour leader, but I never accepted. Now, they accept vehicle gifts bought by governments. Where then is the labour autonomy and independence? Today, the Labour Movement has been paralysed by government and politicians. They now live ostentatious lives. They ride Jeeps, accept money from governments and politicians who settle them whenever there is a crisis. Tinubu sacked me because I refused to compromise.