Nigeria Stagnant, Sinking Deeper Into Ocean Of Instability – Oyemade | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigeria Stagnant, Sinking Deeper Into Ocean Of Instability – Oyemade

Dr Tunde Oyemade 2
Posted: Jul 19, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Dr. Tunde Oyemade, a policy analyst, is sad that the National Assembly has been at war with the executive since the inception of the current administration at the expense of the welfare of the people who gave them mandate to be in government.  In this interview with EJIKEME OMENAZU, he calls on both arms of government to close ranks to save the nation from collapse. Excerpts:

What is your view on  the recent threat of impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari by some Senators?

I do not want to believe that the senators really want to impeach President Buhari. All they are doing is politics and politicking. We do not really know what they are fighting for. If I were President Buhari, the Senate President Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu should be left in their positions without any plot to remove them from office so that peace will reign. I believe that it is the alleged plot to remove the two from office that is making their supporters to think of impeaching the President. Which of the politicians today can boldly say that he or she is not corrupt and has not taken government’s money? Who among them has canvassed for the reduction of their salaries and entitlements, even Mr President himself? They are all playing on the intelligence of Nigerians. There is no need of impeachment, whether that of the president or the National Assembly leadership. Let them give peace a chance. Let them have time to look for the progress of the nation. All these crises are diverting their attention from what they are in government for. Nigeria is stagnant as a nation and is sinking deeper into the ocean of instability.

Would you say the alleged threat by Senator Dino Melaye to beat up Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was a joke which should be overlooked by the Senate and the party?

I do not want to believe that Senator Dino Melaye did or said what he was reported to have done or said. Remember that it was a closed session. I believe that they are all playing on the intelligence of Nigerians. Instead of the daily bickering in the National Assembly, they should all sit down and make laws for the benefit of the people. I am sorry to say that a lot of our politicians are not decent. I do not think that Nigerians take them serious any longer. I do not know why Dino Melaye should do all these things he was reported to have done, even if the Senate session was a closed one. It is unbelievable.

Do you think the issue of alleged forgery of the Senate Rules should have gone to court instead of being settled by the Senate itself?

The issue should not have gone to court. It was an internal matter among the lawmakers. The trial of the Senate President and his Deputy is one of the things that are overheating the polity. At worst, they will be jailed, but at what cost to the nation and the legislature? But this case has made Nigerians know that the lawmakers are not serious people. I suggest that by now, the Senate leadership and the APC leadership should find a way of resolving all the issues involving both the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, both his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and the forgery case for peace to reign. Only a political solution to these cases will restore peace between the legislature and the Executive.

How would you react to the plans of lawmakers to amend the constitution to provide immunity and life pension for their principal officers?
Such a plan is a pity and worrisome. What life benefit have they given to the people that put them there? The tradition everywhere is for the President and Vice President, the Governors and the Deputy Governors to have immunity. The lawmakers should leave things as they are. But, even at that, most of the governors and their deputies are known to have been involved in criminalities because of their immunity. What the lawmakers are seeking for their principal officers are for selfish purposes.

A cross section of Nigerians sees President Buhari as a Northern President. Do you also think he is?

This is because of almost everybody in position of authority is a northerner. Everyone in charge of the nation’s security agency is from the North. The Inspector General of Police is from North., the DG, DSS is from the North; The Chief of Army Staff is from the North, the Defence Minister is from the North. Interior Minister is from the North. The Chief of Air Staff is from the North. So, those calling Buhari a Northern President do not make mistake. There should be a reshuffle. Let him appoint Southerners into some of these sensitive positions. That is how he can become a real Nigerian President the Constitution wants him to be. That is also how to stop all these agitations here and there.

What should be the best way for the government to resolve the new wave of militancy and Biafra agitation? While some people are suggesting dialogue, others are making case for the restructuring of the federation. What is your take on this?

The government should hold dialogues with the regions where there are agitations. This is a short term ensure to restore peace. For the long term solution, the federation needs to be restructured. It is the selfishness and bad governance by the leaders that have led to these agitations, kidnapping of people and high wave of armed robberies. On restructuring, I suggest that we return to regionalism. The present state structure we are running is too expensive. It is dangerous that all the powers and finances are concentrated at the centre. If we split the nation into regional governments and the nation is divided into six regions, each region will be viable as they will be controlling the resources in the region themselves and pay stipulated amount to the central government. Even if we are to have states, each state should be under a regional government and be viable. It will save the nation from these agitations. Each region will have enough resources to cater for the people within the region.

Do you think that President Muhammadu Buhari is winning the war against corruption?

To some extent, he is. But, we want to see people convicted or cases concluded in court. We want to see more money returned and properties seized. The returned loot should be accounted for and put into good use for the benefit of the masses.