Let’s Assess Buhari After 6 Months – Ladoja | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Let’s Assess Buhari After 6 Months – Ladoja

Posted: Jul 21, 2015 at 12:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

For the first time since the former governor of Oyo State and the governorship candidate of Accord Party in the April 11 election in the state, Sen. Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, dragged the incumbent governor and the winner of the election, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, of the All Progressives Council (APC), before the Election Petition Tribunal, he broke his silence during the last Sallah Celebrations. In this interview with journalists, including OLADELE OGUNSOLA, he expressed confidence in the ability of the tribunal to dispense justice within the stipulated and available time. Excerpts…

Congratulations on the successful completion of the 30-day Ramadan Fast. Your case before the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal seems not to be progressing at the expected pace, are you not apprehensive that the case may not be determined within the 180-day statutorily meant for it?

Rashidi Ladoja

Rashidi Ladoja

Thank you for your compliments on the Ramadan Fast and I urge all Islamic faithful not to go back to all those things they considered unworthy during the Ramadan Fast. Coming to the issue of the election petition, I trust in the judiciary. The eminent justices were aware of the mandatory 180 days to dispense justice in the matter, all parties in the case had the assurances of the Bench that the case would not go beyond the stipulated period. I know they are aware that they have 180 days to dispense the case and they have given us their assurances that they will keep to the legally stipulated time. They may have problems here and there but we have their assurances.


As a former governor and somebody still aspiring to govern the state, how do you feel about the government workers’ salaries running into arrears in some states across the country?

It is a worrisome development which calls for serious concern. The problem varies from state to state; there are some states that did not have enough money and yet they embarked on gigantic projects. There are some states that wasted money doing projects that are unnecessary because we believe that wherever the private sector is strong, the government should not go and dabble into it, particularly, if it is economic issue. I do not think it is the responsibility of any government in any part of Nigeria to build hotels, because, there are so many hotels everywhere, but government can standardize them and collect taxes from them rather than compete with them. There are some states who wanted to please their people by embarking on projects that they cannot sustain like saying they want to give money to the unemployed rather than creating jobs. There are some states that embarked on giving free meals to pupils in schools, not considering that the money may dwindle in future. Many of these states also depend on federal allocation rather than engaging in areas to increase their IGR. Of course, others spent the money on elections. The condition attached to the bail-out is making the facts clearer. This is a period of adjustment, we need to provide cushion for about six months. When we left government in 2006, we left N11bn and that was what we provided for that even if there would be any shortfall in federal allocation, we could pay salaries for three months and nobody would know that there is problem. You can adjust your finances. The bail-out will teach them lessons on proper management of funds. But the unpaid salaries is really causing insecurity problem in the country.


President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, announced a cut in their salaries by 50 percent and reports had it that some governors had followed suit, what do you make of this new trend in governance?

I see some of them as window-dressing. If you say you cut the salaries of the National Assembly members, who knows how much they are earning? We only know what is written in the revenue allocation commission, but we don’t know what their allowances are. So, if their allowances are N30m and salary is N5m and you say cut the salaries, what does that translate to? So, unless they tell us their full package and say from the total package, I am cutting it into half, if not, just cutting my basic salaries into half, we are still window-dressing. We have still not learnt our lessons in politics, to be open, and at times we take the public for a ride and we say we are doing it. If your allowances are N30m in a quarter and your annual salary is N5m, who is fooling who?


President Buhari is well above a month in office, could you look into the administration’s foundational stage and project into its direction?

That’s a very difficult task, because there is yet to be a categorical policy guideline on how the government is going to be run. But I strongly believe that it is too early in the administration to start picking hole in whatever has been done or yet to be done. It is too early to criticize anybody, it is too early. He has not yet spent 100 days out of almost 1,500 days, so why are you criticizing somebody in less than three-months? You cannot expect somebody that has not been in government for quite some time to know all the doors in government to open at the same time. The man has been there before and he is calculating every step he takes. I think we should allow him to have his way. In six months’ time, we can assess him whether he has done well or not, we cannot assess him in one month. He has to take stock as a new man there  and he has started putting in place Service Chiefs, we should not be in a hurry. He cannot behave now like a military person, and so he has to take his time and consider the possible effects of his action on the people. He must also consider the effects of his actions on the legislature and the judiciary, all these organs must agree with you in a democracy. By and large, I want to believe that President Buhari knows what he is doing and as he his getting by, he should be getting results.


Should we regard Buhari’s trip to America as part of laying foundation for his new administration?

You have every right to describe the trip in any language that suits you. Mr. President has his reasons for going there. Part of it is, I think, support to fight Boko-Haram, more particularly since Boko-Haram has been linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS. The problem of terrorism is not only in Nigeria, it is a worldwide phenomenon, and only concerted efforts will break the terrorists’ back. We may need their intelligence; we should give the president the benefit of the doubt to do it his way.