Buhari Should Give His Ministers Free Hand To Do Their Job – Tanko | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari Should Give His Ministers Free Hand To Do Their Job – Tanko

Posted: Nov 3, 2016 at 6:40 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)


Dr. Yunusa Tanko,  a former national chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) is the  National  Chairman of the National  Conscience  Party (NCP). In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he speaks on crucial issues as it affects the nation. Excerpts:


 What is your take on Senate’s rejection of President Muhammadu Buhari’s $30billion loan request?


The reality is that nobody is telling us the truth about the situation in the country. We were supposed to have a budget of N6.08tr. We have never seen a provision like that in the history of this country. And yet the government told us that they have ways to generate money to finance this particular budget.  At the moment now, we are hearing that so much money has been recovered to the tune of $3.4tr which we are not sure if it is real or not. I will support the position of the Senate to critically examine what they want to use the money for.  As Nigerians, we don’t know the true situation of this country financially and that is unfair to the people of this country.


 Some Nigerians have been saying the money recovered from looters should be used to revamp the economy. What is your take on that?


Yes of course.  Let us even assume that the amount they have recovered so far is shared into two. That would have taken care of the budget and we wouldn’t have fallen into this situation.  So, to me this situation that we find ourselves in is a man-made situation because we have a president that is stingy with spending. As it is now, how many Ministries are effective? They are all in limbo. Where is their budget? Where is their spending?


 Minister of Budget said FG has implemented 79 percent of the 2016 budget. Do you agree with him?


That is a total lie.  Now, the total budget of former president Goodluck Jonathan was N4.4trn and as at that time we were accusing the government that they cannot execute that budget 100 percent. They said they spent about 79 percent of that total budget. Now, here we are at the fourth quarter of the year. We have a budget of N6.8tr and I doubt if 50 percent of that money has been spent into the system.  Because what we read in the front of the dailies few days ago was that they spent N3.4trn  into the system, that to them, represents 79 percent. I don’t know how they arrive at their statistics but how can that amount represent 79 percent? The issue is that they said they will use the budget till next year,  so they have not spent up to 50 percent of the budget. The only thing the Minister has been doing was injecting us with money that he shared. How can you be injecting us when you are not running the budget according to what you said?  So, I do not agree that they have spent up to that 79 percent. If they insist on having implemented it, then they should show us the statistics because figures don’t lie.


  With the way things are going, do you see us getting out of recession soon?


No. in fact, from their discussion, they said that we are going for 18 months, which is next year. But the thing is, I just came back from a meeting in Jos where some of the best brains of Nigeria met.  The truth is, you cannot get out of a recession when your foreign reserve is low.  You need to increase the foreign reserves to a point where it will be attractive. That is when the naira will appreciate.  When the naira appreciates and you are spending into the system that is when you get out of recession.  We have a government that is very stingy and calculative of its own spending and neither are we producing in such a way that it will increase our external reserves.  We are still a consuming nation as it were and they are not providing any indices that will take us out of the system where more money will be coming into Nigeria and we will save more with more money in the system.  As at now, nothing is coming in and we are not producing anything.  They made us believe that we are now producing rice. Up till now, we have not seen anything.  If you want to divert the economy into agriculture, how many farmers have you empowered? None.  So, they are not getting their acts right by saying that probably we will soon get out of recession.  The attitude of the government does not reflect that.  The attitude of government must show that they are ready to invest into the capital income of every Nigerian so that we can now be increasing in our productions.  Then, we can save more and there will be more money in the system. That is the only way out of recession.


Some are calling on the president to reshuffle his cabinet. Do you think this will have a positive effect on the economy?


The truth is, we didn’t have the right persons in the positions. It took us almost seven months to be able to get this particular crop of Ministers. And for me, it is not about replacing the Ministers, it is actually about the president allowing the Ministers to work and be creative. He should give them free hand to operate.  As at now, none of the Ministers are working or creative. To me, they are even afraid of the president because they are not giving any ideas to the President and even if they want to, he is not taking any ideas from them.  They are not allowed to even perform their duties. Like I said earlier, money is not being allocated as at when due to these ministries.  Even though, some may be reshuffled so that they can go into areas of their competence, but then the Ministers themselves have not been given rooms to perform.  They are not performing and that is the plain truth.  It is only when the president is giving them the free hand to operate that Nigerians can see their real performance but  I don’t see him doing that.


 Some indicted judges have mentioned politicians, including serving Ministers as culprits for trying to induce them financially over electoral cases.  Do you think that allegation should be investigated?


Of course!  The way they are going, all the institutions in this country are already desecrated.  It started with the Nigerian Military,  it goes into the National Assembly, now it is the turn of the judiciary. Unfortunately, these are the pillars of democracy so, we are putting democracy in danger, cowing them so they don’t say anything. If you say anything, the next thing they’ll say they have found some amount of money in your house and you are finished.  Also, nobody is giving room to anybody who is being accused to make their statements. Agreed, some of the judges have messed up like Justice Abang for example. He did the same thing to the National Conscience Party while he has also put the Ondo PDP in a huge dilemma.  How can a judge be giving a judgement where even the two principal persons are not even a party to that particular case?  Jegede and Ibrahim are not even cited in that particular issue.  We need to be careful how we go about these things. Anybody that alleged fraud should be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt before we indict any individual.  Otherwise, nobody will be able to make a statement or say anything in this government. So, the institutions need to be strengthened and they must stand for their integrity. If they are accused, they should come out and defend themselves. If they are guilty, then they should be prosecuted.  We cannot continue to do justice on them on the pages of the newspapers. It is not correct.  Today, we may be enjoying it, tomorrow, it may be our turn.