Not All Campaign Promises Can Be Fulfilled – Sani | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Not All Campaign Promises Can Be Fulfilled – Sani

Posted: Mar 8, 2016 at 12:20 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Anthony Sani, member of the governing council of University of Jos was Spokesperson of northern delegates at the 2014 National Conference and  former National Publicity Secretary, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), in this  interview with Augustine Adah, he speaks about the challenge facing Buhari’s government, clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in some parts of the country and other issues. Excerpts:

In less than three months to the first anniversary of this government, Nigerians are worried that the government has no proper grip on how to tackle myriads of problems facing the country. What is your understanding on the issue?
If you consider the circumstances under which the current regime came about, then it is not hard to understand the basis of the high expectations and the apprehension you have mentioned. During the immediate past regime there were insecurity posed by the insurgence, unbridled corruption as symbolized by managerial imperfections of petroleum subsidy and pension scam as well as embarrassing level of unemployment that comes with poverty which the leadership used as weapon of mass destruction in the mistaking hope that poverty is often directed at the heart of freedom or liberty. It was against such backdrop that the current regime emerged. The expectations by the voters have been that the ensuing government would reverse the Misery Indices and the unsavory Human Development Index in short time which they claim is too slow in coming. But this is an odd thing to say, precisely because the government has to plan its strategy by way of setting the priority, since the economy cannot revamp amid insecurity and corruption that has stolen our empowerment, stolen our opportunity and stolen our future. I want to believe that is what has informed the emphasis on putting an end to the mindless killing by Boko Haram and the fight against corruption which some people believe is done at the expense of the economy. The fight against the twin evils of insecurity and corruption seem to be on course, considering the progress which has been recorded. It is rather unfortunate that the economy which depends on oil has been buffeted by the drastic fall in oil price that is about the only source of the nation’s foreign reserve needed for importation of goods and services. Hence the hue and cry across the country about the pains associated with the dearth of foreign reserves and thus of goods and services. It is against such backdrop that the government has been hesitant to devalue the naira, given the fact that our economy is not export-driven but import-driven. The President has defended his position when he said by 1984 the exchange rate was one naira exchanged for $1.25,and since then the naira has progressively been devalued to today’s exchange rate of about $1 to N300:00,yet the economy is still dependent on imports. Hence the decision of the government to use its limited foreign reserve for exclusive preserve of importation of machineries and raw materials for industries which can help in diversifying the economy away from dependence on oil. But such a diversification cannot be a day’s jobsite requires consciously directed effort to make desire possible and then actual. I understand the argument of those in favour of devaluation out of the fear of corruption that is a natural concomitant-in our clime- of the wide disparity between the values in official market and the parallel market. I would have preferred such pundits to counter the regime’s submissions using economics rather than fear of corruption. This is because we cannot afford to use fear of corruption as basis of our public policies. We rather fight and conquer corruption. But I can understand the anxiety which has informed the decision to convene a summit on the economy. This is because there can be no cavil in the significance of convening such a summit, since it will make it possible to carry Nigerians along in the difficult task of diversifying the economy.

The government and security agents are working towards moving displaced persons back to their respective communities in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states; do you think there is enough security on ground to guarantee their safety?
The desire all Nigerians share is for displaced people to go back to their respective communities. But this cannot be done at the expense of their securities. Nigerians would therefore expect the government to secure the respective communities before returning the displaced people. This should be the overriding consideration before they are returned.
President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused of being bias in fighting corruption as more than ninety percent of those arrested are members of the opposition PDP?  How best do you think Mr. President can fight the war against corruption?
When people give ethnic, religious and partisan or even regional coloration to all actions of government it is not helpful. Are those accusing President Buhari of skewing the fight against corruption saying those arraigned are not corrupt but arraigned based on trumped-up charges because they are of opposition? I do not believe those complaining that the fight against corruption is selective are helping the war against corrupt practices, but instead they are helping corruption to fight back. We cannot expect application of quota system and federal character in the war against corruption.Surely,the anti graft war cannot begin and end with Dasukigate.It must be a continuous process and due process of law must be followed.

The government said it did not promise to pay stipends of N5, coo to unemployed youths in the country, do you think Nigerians can still trust this government?
I really do not know whether the government made any promise to that effect. But assuming the promise was made, I expect what should concern Nigerians is whether such promise is implementable amid the drastic fall in the oil price. While I agree that politicians be held accountable for the campaign promises, voters should also share in the blame for inability to deliver on any campaign promises. This is because some promises by politicians may be too good to be true. For example, should voters believe campaigns which promise air-conditioned roads or rivers upon which bridges are to be built? You may wish to note that I never believed President Buhari who had been Head of state and minister of petroleum would not know the oil price in the international market is not within the purview of what Nigeria can do, and would promise to stabilize price of oil. So while inability to deliver on the promise of the mandate could adversely affect credibility of those who make them, voters should also analyze whether the campaign promises are feasible or implantable.

The menace of Fulani herdsmen/farmers is becoming a time bomb in Nigeria, in your opinion, how can we get out of the problem?
The government must study the underlying factors that bring about clashes between Fulani herds men and farmers, more so that we had taken peaceful coexistence between herd’s men and farmers for granted in the past. There have been some changes in the economy which are predisposing factors. Take for examples, there have been decrease in grazing land due to increase in population of farmers which has increased the frequency of the clashes between the practitioners of the two occupations, the e-payment in the economy has made armed robbers to transmute into cattle rustlers and there are allegations that the Fulanis gun men are not from Nigeria. And given that the clashes are also reported in states in NW which is predominantly Fulanis,I prefer that we do not give the whole saga any ethnic coloration, but instead to study how herds men and farmers live in peace. More so that we had experienced peaceful coexistence in the past. This is because there are herds men across Africa.Also, there are the gypsy Roma in Europe who live with their farmers peacefully. We can learn from such countries and bring about peaceful coexistence. I do not believe the situation is beyond redemption.