• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Buhari was ill-prepared for power, failed Nigerians – Amode


Hakeem Amode is the Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State.
In this exclusive interview with Iniobong Iwok, he assesses Muhammadu Buhari’s eight years in office, what needs to be done for democracy to strive in Nigeria, PDP’s candidates’ chances at the election petition tribunals among other issues.

What is your take on Muhamamdu Buhari eight years in office?

It is interesting to look at how he became President of Nigeria; firstly, he rode on propaganda all in a move to get Goodluck Jonathan out of power.

There were so many lies and the rest. When he got to office, they were not even prepared, because it took him six months to appoint ministers, at that time instead of them to begin to start on the first day to manage Nigeria’s economy.

If you check how much a bag of rice and litre of petrol was sold at that time you would know where we are today.

The promises Buhari made to Nigeria were not kept; if you look at security, you would realise that we are worse off than before. If you count the number of people that were killed right now compared to then, you would be shocked.

The only thing they would tell you is that; when they came in there were flags of Boko Haram in several local governments and now there is no flag anywhere.

But if you check well, the rate of killings has gone up; there are other crimes now that are even worse. There are inter-tribal wars and Killings now in Plateau State.

Look at Borno State and Southern Kaduna. Borno State is just getting back to normal; look at the many IDPs camps everywhere in the North, President Buhari has not done anything for Nigeria, only a selected few benefited from Nigeria.

On a holistic scale, we are worse off, look at the exchange rate. They started with Propaganda about Jonathan removing petroleum subsidy. Look at our debt ratio when Jonathan was there and now. We are trillion in debt now compared to when Jonathan was in power. In the next coming years, my grandchildren are the ones to pay back the loans.

It is a situation, Nigerians know what they fill now with the mandate given to him, everybody is crying and hungry, he has not done well in all sectors.

He is a total failure, he performed better in Infrastructure only, but when you have infrastructure and your people are hungry, they cannot afford to fill petrol in their car, what is the essence of having this infrastructure? We are really suffering.

Some Nigerians say that President Buhari’s refusal to change cabinet is part of the reasons why he failed. Do you agree?

Everything stops at this table, if the Minister performs the credit goes to him, if they perform below expectations the blame should also go to him. A non- performing Minister ought to be removed.

The way Buhari operated shows that he does not understand how to run the country. When he was Military head of state, it was Idiagbo that was working.

So, we all understand that, if you look at where we are now, you would know that it is the lack of capacity; the capacity to revamp the economy, handle insecurity etc.

People believed that because he was a former military officer, he had integrity, but look at the corruption rate we are now. We were better off during the Goodluck Jonathan era.

Nigerians have called for a review of the Electoral Act for tribunal cases to be completed before inauguration. What is your take?

What the 10th Assembly needs to do is to look at the Electoral Act and make amendments. We had about six, seven months after the primary just free.

Even the five months that we had for campaigns was too much, this could have been adjusted for the tribunal to sit and finish all cases before inauguration of elected officials and the President-elect. I pray the National Assembly looks at it and makes the necessary amendment to the Electoral Act. Also it is important that we look at INEC also, some of the national commissioners are card carrying members of political parties. There is need for change; PDP as a party would make a submission to the National Assembly when the time is right.

Are you optimistic that the tribunals at the state and federal level can give favourable judgement?

It is difficult to say we are not optimistic, we must believe in the rule of law and the rule of law is what governs and makes the country work right.

So, what we would do is to appeal to the conscience of everybody involved in the tribunal, to be fair and to look at Nigeria as a country and to look at what people outside would say about Nigeria.

Every judge involved in this election should look at the cases with merit, because the world is watching our judiciary, it is important that we do justice and be fair to all, so that the government too can have credibility, because as it is there is no credibility in the last election.

For them to do otherwise, I pray that nothing would happen to Nigeria, we remain one country focused on being the best for Nigeria. PDP is poised and focused on doing the right thing for Nigeria.

Olajide Adediran, the PDP’s gubernatorial candidate in Lagos is in the tribunal challenging Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s victory in Lagos. Are you optimistic he would get justice?

We believe we would get justice, because all these candidates were not properly sponsored by their political parties, against the Electoral Act and the constitution of Nigeria.

We are appealing to the judges that they should look at the cases in front of them and follow the Electoral Act and constitution and do justice to the whole case. I am confident of our chances, because I am part of those who have been involved with the whole case from the beginning and I know what case we have.

The PDP chairman in Lagos State was recently suspended, what is the situation now?

The Lagos State chairman and the deputy were not suspended by the party at the state level, everything originated from the ward and there is a court case. What we at the state State Working Committee said was that; let us ratify what came from the ward.

We asked the chairman to step aside, pending the court case and we have set up a disciplinary committee to look into the allegations against them.

What is wrong with Nigeria’s democracy?

It is sad we are where we are today; everybody in government today, one way or the other has gone to school abroad or visited abroad and see the way things are done there. The Selfishness and greed of politicians and the support of the general masses are what brought us where we are today. If Nigerians stood their ground, and refused to vote for corrupt and ineffective politicians for a second term in office, nothing would happen. But we are docile; we allow these things to happen to us.

Some of them the way they drive here, immediately they get into their car and drive abroad, they change. Their lifestyle, everything changes. Oftentimes they are humbled by the law there. People are talking of foreign investment, how you can have foreign investment when you have a government that does not respect the law, and violates the rights of the people.

So many things are happening in our country, I bleed for Nigeria. We have people with questionable character in government. We have our court handling cases for five to ten years; people can’t get justice when they go to court. It is difficult for a foreign investor to come and invest his money here.

Are you saying democracy has failed in Nigeria?

Democracy has not failed, it is Nigerians that have failed themselves. When a politician retires from politics, he would still be a Nigerian; Nigerians do not hold our politicians accountable for what they have done.

We need to begin to hold our politicians accountable for what they have done. You gave somebody your mandate, he did not perform and he comes again and you vote such people into office again. This is what is happening in Lagos and that is why you see failure of governance everywhere. It is Nigerians that would stand up for themselves and demand that enough is enough.

Politicians have taken us for a ride, because we are not holding them accountable. Politicians think they can give Nigerians their money during elections, get what they want and move on. When you go to a politician for him to solve your problem, he would take money meant for the repair of that road to give you to solve the problem.

Money that is met to fix our roads and hospital and when they are found wanting, we turn against the institution. We can’t say democracy has failed; it is us that have failed democracy.