Controversy Over Appointments Uncalled For – Alli | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Controversy Over Appointments Uncalled For – Alli

Posted: Sep 3, 2015 at 12:03 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Hon. Lateef Adebola Alli under the Alliance for Democracy (AD) represented Akinyele/Lagelu Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Abuja between 1999 and 2003. In this encounter with, Oladele Ogunsola, the chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) bared his mind on the recent appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari and other issues of national interest. Excerpts:

The recent appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari has elicited diverse reactions with some of the identified supporters picking hole in the manner of the appointments, what’s your reaction to the issue?

First and foremost, it is not morally expedient for me as a party man to go on the pages of newspapers to criticize my party and in effect, the President. If I have any observation, my position as a leader in my own right and a senior party member confers on me the responsibility of passing my message through a proper channel. Be that as it may and for the purpose of this encounter, let me observe that Nigerians are too much in a hurry and very quick at passing judgement. I’m not holding brief either for my party or Mr. President, but, as somebody who had at a time being opportune to play national politics having been a member of the House of Representatives, I can claim to know that the situation is not as volatile as being painted in some quarters. Some people fail to appreciate the fact that the North that is usually referred to is not just a single entity or to use the common phrase, there is nothing like monolithic North just as there is no monolithic South. Some people have forgotten that the entire North they take as one consists of three geo-political zones just like what we have in the South. In that regard, consciousness must be taken of the fact that all what the President has done so far and being accused of  in relations to the North is across three geo-political zones. So what’s the fuss about 15 appointments so far out of over 500 to be made?


But, the argument in some quarters is that by the time the other areas are considered for appointments as being postulated by you, juicy offices would have been given out or what do you feel? 

That’s what I mean by the earlier remark that Nigerians are quick at passing judgement and let me add that it is rather unfortunate that a lot of people out there are yet to come to terms with our party’s mantra of ‘change’. If anybody is still talking of one office or position being juicier than the other, such a person is yet to align with the present day reality or being unable to key into the new vision. This era is not going to be ‘come and chop’ kind of thing that we had in the past. Then come to think of it, but for the name of the occupier of the position that is attached to a particular tribe, what benefit does the office holder bring to his people in tangible term? Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was the president of the country while I was in the House of Representatives and was there for another four years after I had left making eight solid years, what is it that can we point at as the benefits his presidency brought to the Yoruba as region? He turned the sod of the dualization of the Ibadan/Ilorin road in year 2000 or 2001 during the tenure of the late Alhaji Lam Adesina as the governor of Oyo State, the project now is an abandoned one. Just at about your time of coming in, it was reported that an accident occurred on the road, claiming as much as seven lives at a go, yet, those were the kind things the dualization would have prevented if the job had been done. Between 2007 and 2011, the Yoruba produced the Speaker of the House of Representatives in persons of Hons. Patricia Etteh and Dimeji Bankole, what can we point at as specific gains they brought to the Yorubaland? Unless you now have contrary view to mine as to suggest that may be it is we the Yorubas that we don’t use our positions to benefit our people and you will now tell me how the former President Jonathan used his position to benefit his people specially or how former Speaker Aminu Tambuwal used the Speakership position to specially favour his people. So, in my own personal opinion, I want to submit that what should be our concern is how this country can truly move forward. I’m not saying it is only people from a particular area that can do the work, but, I’m sure the person we reposed our confidence in through the ballot is capable of doing the job and he should just be allowed to do it since he’s the one to render account of stewardship in four years’ time.


The President and your party is about 100 days in office, how do you assess the performance of the President so far? 

You will agree with me that 100 days are too short to really measure the performance of a new administration especially in a situation where the former administration was run by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has been confirmed as a regime of anything goes. If the information in the public domain is anything to go bye, it is no gain saying that the country was left in economic ruins by the past administration and the new administration headed by President Buhari has been trying to sort things out in order to get the clear the picture of what to be done. As noted by some of our party leaders earlier, the mess created by the last administration cannot be cleared in a jiffy and that’s what has been slowing down the pace of the work. Be that as it may, you will agree with me that despite the fact that there is yet to be any pronouncement on what and what the new administration wants to do, we have been witnessing some changes which some people have attributed to President Buhari’s body language. We are already witnessing that in the areas of power supply, fuel distribution which now sells at official price in all the filling stations without having to queue endlessly, exchange rate of Naira and more importantly in the area of insecurity. Though, the war against insurgents is yet to be won outrightly, we are witnessing progress in that direction. The war against corruption has not really started, but, we are beginning to sniff that the fear of Buhari is the beginning of wisdom. In short, there is hope and everybody is looking up to a good time under the new administration.


In the area of corruption that you have just made mention of, the announcement that special courts will be established to try corrupt cases has elicited, as usual diverse reactions, what’s your view on this, taking into cognisance of the arguments of people on the issue? 

I have read the diverse opinions expressed on the matter and what I have been able to deduce is the fact that everybody is aware that there must be ways to tackle the problem of corruption in the land. That’s very germane, the only area of disagreement is the modus operandi. While some people hailed and welcomed the establishment of special courts, some argued that there was no need for new courts but that the existing courts should be strengthened to speedily deal with corruption-related cases. As I noted earlier, none is arguing trying corrupt people and my take on the issue is that the special courts will be better in this circumstance. If election petition tribunal can be set up outside of the courts to hear election matters with time-lag, there is nothing wrong in setting up special courts to try corruption-related cases. The existing judicial process has in no small way impeded the fight against corruption and in effect made corruption ‘attractive’ if I may use that word. Imagine corruption cases dragging on for years in the court without concrete determination of such and to further insult the sensibilities of the people, the accused without any remorse still go contesting election, an indirect way of telling the rest of us to go to blazes? I welcome the idea of the special courts to try offenders and where cases will not be suffering adjournments ad infinitum.