Saraki’s Trial Has Political Undertone – Adikwuru | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Saraki’s Trial Has Political Undertone – Adikwuru

Posted: Sep 22, 2015 at 12:41 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Former Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Rochas Okorocha and ex-Executive Secretary, Imo State Lotteries, Pools Betting, Gaming, Casino Promotions and Control Board, Dennis Adikwuru, in this interview with  Ejikeme Omenazu speaks  on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari,  Senate President Bukola Saraki’s ordeal and other sundry issues. Excerpts:

The President during a recent visit to Japan stated that his government is negotiating with the Boko Haram for the release of the abducted Chibok girls. How would you react to the move?

The issue of negotiating with Boko Haram is not new and did not begin with the President Buhari administration. It is a necessity if only it can bring about the end to insurgency and the release of Chibok girls as well as restore the peace of North East and Nigeria in general. Negotiation is a veritable instrument of reconciliation and peace building world over and at times of crises, wars or conflicts, countries employ negotiation as a tool of finding lasting peace and conflict resolution.

The immediate past government of President Goodluck Jonathan had also went into negotiations with Boko Haram just as it did with the Niger Delta groups which yielded results with the amnesty programme. So, there is nothing wrong if the president goes into negotiations with Boko Haram and I believe he has the support of Nigerians. This is also more expedient when the group is surging on daily despite the full force of Nigeria’s military onslaught in the region. We cannot continue to waste human, material and financial resources of this country fighting an endless war when we can take on negotiation as an alternative approach.

The Boko Haram recently bombed an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Adamawa, killing many of them as well as some emergency workers. How do you see this development?

The bombing of the IDPs camp in Adamawa State by Boko Haram is part of the warfare in the North East and they can go to any level to destroy lives and properties of innocent citizens. All they want to do is to make life inhabitable for people and also make the country ungovernable. It is quite unfortunate and an act of wickedness, man’s inhumanity to man in a country whose sovereignty guarantees freedom for its citizens but this freedom is hijacked by a group of ruthless individuals on self serving and suicide mission. While I commiserate with the deceased families and the displaced people, I urge the government to expedite actions that will bring an end to this nightmare to our fellow Nigerians.

Also while in  France the President stated that the country’s currency will no longer be devalued further. How realistic is this assurance by the President in view of the present state of the economy?

The issue of devaluation of Nigeria’s currency is not an academic exercise or a statement of oration, but one that is predicated on the health of Nigeria’s economy. The strength of any nation’s currency is determined by its economic base and if the president has assured that the naira will no longer be devalued, I believe he means that he is going to put the economy back on stream. When the power sector is revived, the manufacturing sector comes alive, infrastructure especially roads are motorable, then the economy bubbles and the currency stabilises. For now, we cannot pin down the value of our naira because of poor level of the economy, but given the determination of the present administration to rebound the economy, we are sure to have a valuable currency.

Don’t you think the ongoing trial of Saraki will sour the relationship between the Presidency (Executive) and the National Assembly, especially as the president’s ministerial list is being awaited in the Senate? Don’t you think that this will affect the clearance of the president’s ministerial nominees?

The trials of Senate President, Bukola Saraki is part of the power games associated with politics, especially, our Nigerian brand of politics. It also justifies the description of power as transient and relative. It is just unfortunate that our politicians do not realise this fact that they cannot hold onto power forever and that where their power ends, other people’s power emerges. Having said this, I cannot say that this retrospective trial is healthy for the new government because it smacks of vendetta and witch hunting which of course Saraki’s political antecedents have given way to. However, I will advise that a political approach be employed to resolve it in the interest of Nigeria’s democracy because the legislative arm is gradually fading away. I will also advise that our leaders do not make caricature of the anticorruption programme of the government to the extent of using it as a vindictive tool or instrument of intimidation against perceived or real political enemies. Let me also say here that Saraki’s travails go a long way to demonstrate the disunity or lack of purpose in the ruling party and as well a payback reward for Saraki’s past.

I have already said that the legislature is getting dormant and redundant and it does not augur well for our democracy. As for the president’s ministerial nominees, I do not envisage any issues in getting them approved because the fillers have it that they are credible Nigerians who should not encounter difficulties getting the senate nod. Besides, Nigerians will not accept any further delay in the emergence of ministers because it has slowed down governance for too long and the president cannot do everything. Coming to Executive and National Assembly (Legislative) relationship, I can say it has been frosty and intimidating of the legislative, which is not ideal for democracy. However, the learning period is getting over and we expect the full play of democracy by the three arms of government bereft of any interference or intimidation.

Labour recently advocated for capital punishment for treasury looters. Would you subscribe to death penalty for corrupt public officers?

The proposal for death penalty for corrupt officials is not realistic and not feasible. Much as the financial crime is deemed to be a serious economic set back, you cannot canvass for death penalty for offenders. What we need most is to recoup all stolen money in cash or material, sentence convicts to fixed prison terms and ban them from holding public office. There should also be systematic checks and balances to forestall occurrences of corruption and as well anticorruption agencies should be sanitised for efficiency.

As a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  would you say the party is really living up to expectation as the current main opposition party in the country?

When you talk of PDP living up to expectations as an opposition party, you take into consideration the circumstances of its emergence as an opposition party. One can say that many Nigerians, especially of the PDP stock, never anticipated the opposition turnaround this soon. Also for 16 solid years, the party controlled power and basked on the euphoria of a sitting government. And suddenly, power slipped from the party with accompanying defections, intra-party squabbles and of course repositioning efforts. The repositioning is yet to take place from the ward to the national levels and until that is done, it may not come to terms with its current opposition status.

Again, the National Publicity Secretary, being the arrowhead of opposition statements, has not been known much in terms of the burden and strategies of opposition. You can see that opposition in Nigeria thrives much on propaganda and warfare like scenario which people like Lai Mohammed and Femi Fani-Kayode are masters. I believe with time, PDP will fully assume the opposition status it has found itself.

A section of the people, especially in the South East, have been accusing the president of marginalisation, saying that he has been pro-North in his appointments so far. How would you react to this allegation?

We cannot be talking of marginalisation of the South East everyday because it is a recurring decimal and derives from the insatiability of man. When you also accuse president Buhari of being pro-North, I bet you there are some parts of the North that may accuse him of marginalising them.

I think it is high time our people of the South East address their peculiar problems in the Nigerian polity and take drastic and critical resolutions. I consider marginalisation as a subject matter and the cry of it as distraction we need to get away with.

Comments (1)

  • Sep 27, 2015 at 6:40 pm vic

    Saraki is thoroughly a corrupt thief and a liar, he is rightfully before the tribunal to answer the charges slammed against him, there is no question of political undertones- that is only a figment of your imagination.

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