Are you not worried about the growing spate of banditry, kidnapping, and killings across the country?
Even the deaf and blind know what is happening and are worried…
How did Nigeria get to this stage as a nation; where did we miss it?
you don’t ask where we missed it as a country in the contemporary world we live in today. With all the technology in America, there is still terrorism there. American is just trying to pull itself out of Afghanistan because of terrorism. There is even internal terrorism that Biden is batting with and other developed countries are battling with. Ours is worrisome because it is new to Nigeria. The way and manner we have tried to handle banditry and terrorism have not produced the desired result in terms of taming the menace. But recent reports are beginning to show positive news because we have turned the curve against them. We hear of kidnapped children being released, we now hear of Boko haram willingly surrendering to security agents. These are positive signs that we need to applaud.
South East which used to be calm seems to have joined in the menace of insecurity. Are you worried?
Every Nigerian should be worried. Nobody wants to see that lives are being lost. we can’t pretend that these things are not happening. Nobody will want to see a human being killed for no reason, even if you don’t know him. So when you hear reports of numbers of people being killed daily, you must be worried.
Some see what Is happening in the South East as a ploy by the Igbo’s to get the presidency.
It will be quite unfortunate if IPOB will use the killings of traders and marketers as a ploy to get the presidency. Some people have been accosted and killed, their goods set ablaze for no reason, it is unfortunate. Nobody in his senses who claim to know Nigeria will believe that violence will give them the presidency. I don’t believe somebody will kill because he wants to be President. Nigeria once had an Igbo president in the person of Azikiwe who is still being celebrated as a pan-Africanist. So the attitude, agitation, and threats to those of us who are old enough are nothing new. If anybody thinks he will get what he wants by threat, then he is wrong. I believe it will be appropriate to say that, not just in Nigeria but, anywhere that, nobody has the monopoly of violence as an indicator for discontentment. If everybody will bring out his arsenal for violence, we will have catastrophic as late Mbadiwe said that, “ it will be a catastrophic cataclysm of as the late chief Mbadiwe of blessed memory will say”. We were old enough to hear from the late Igbo man. Anybody who is not thoughtful and thinks he will get what he wants by mere threats to induce fear in us, then the person needs to think again or go back to school.
Some fear sit-at-home orders issued by IPOB to the east will have a native effect on the economy. What do you think?
Of course, it has. In keffi when I was growing up, we had Igbo’s in our mist. We interact with each other freely. So Nobody who obeyed the sit-at-home order is adding value to himself or the economy. Sit at home cannot contribute anything to the emancipation of the Igbo politicians or businessmen. The first victim will be the Igbo man himself. If they don’t come out to do business, it is their problem because we don’t feed them. How do you want anybody to think of a nationalist when you stop them from their business while their brothers residing in other parts of Nigeria continue their business? Now you say in your zone, those coming to do business and your people should sit at home. Except maybe they have other means of getting money, most will be affected negatively. It is just a destructive attitude and it will soon come to an end and the serious Igbo man/ woman that is suffering will heave a sigh of relief.
Lagos and Rivers’s States recently signed VAT laws and northern governors have been kicking against it. what is your take on this?
The case is still pending at the highest court of the land to Wit. as a lawyer, when a case is in court, it is subjudice. I am not expected to comment on it until judgment had been passed. The FG has appealed the ruling of the court that gave that judgment.
Coming back to the National Assembly, what is happening to the constitutional review PROCESS?
The excise was ongoing even when we were on recess. The Senate president has assured Nigerians that once they have deliberate on the reports gathered from zonal review, they will be sent to states…
There are fears that the constitutional review might be skewed towards favoring the presidency or seek for the third term for the president?
In what way? Throughout our discussion and the public hearing with the zonal public hearing we had, nobody brought the topic of adding a term for the president. This president ( Buhari) is a man of honor. He has told us in different fora and at the national executive meeting of the party after the 2019 elections that, he is a Muslim who took an oath with the Holy Quran that, he will observe and obey the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, he went further to say that, the constitution which he swore to observe has made provision for two-term and he intends to honor this. He has won for the second term and that won’t contest again. why should I doubt him? So there is no such thing and the APC is not propagating such a thing.
Still, in National Assembly, the president just wrote to them seeking permission to take a loan of $4bn. Don’t you think this is getting too much?
The media must help to enlightened Nigerians on some of these issues. The presidency is constitutionally mandated to write the national Assembly its intentions to borrow money and what he wants to do with it. It is left for us to weigh the merit and demerit in the executive proposal for the facility. If our considered opinion and reasons adduced for the facility are realistic and convincing, then we have a duty not to reject the proposal. As a nation, we have decayed infrastructure that needs rehabilitation and reconstruction. How many ships were alive and sailing on the high seas before the coming of this administration? It is common knowledge that the revenue in the country has fallen. We are just trying to pick up the economy. It was during the coming of this administration that prices of crude fall to as low as $26pb. It is just now that it is picking up.
This government met Nigerian foreign debt at $10bn and in less than six years, it has risen to $35bn and they still want to borrow again. Should we agree with those alleging that the federal government might mortgage the lives of future generations?
No; borrowing perse did not start with the Buhari government. Two, we inherited loans when we took office. We also made our agenda clear and Nigerians gave us their support. The demands of Nigerians are also increasing by the day. So where do they expect the federal government to get money from in the face of dwindling oil prices? Government cannot function without money. This government brought sanity to the polity. Why can’t people talk about positive things? The media should seek facts and present them to Nigerians. Our railway that last functioned in the first republic is beginning to pick up since these governments came to power? This government has done a lot for Nigeria and it is still doing, people should be criticized fairly and intelligently.
But there have been reports that 90% of our budget is used to service loans
That is not true. How the government uses 90% of its funds to service debt? It doesn’t make sense at all. I want someone to come out and challenge me because I know that this government is the best on-budget implementation. They also comply with due process. President Buhari is a strict disciplinarian and he believes that charity begins at home. Most of those criticizing the government are those who were beneficiaries of corruption in the past and now it is not happening their way, so they don’t want to see anything good in Buhari is doing. We have said it times and again that, corruption is fighting back.