• Monday, June 24, 2024
businessday logo


Tinubu wanted power, but was not prepared for governance – Ifoh

Tinubu wanted power, but was not prepared for governance – Ifoh

Obiora Ifoh, national publicity secretary of the Labour Party (LP), in this exclusive interview with Iniobong Iwok, spoke on President Bola Tinubu’s one year in office and the state of LP. Excerpts:

What is your assessment of President Bola Tinubu’s one year in office?

The government is not working. In the last one year, we have not seen anything that is pro-masses if there is, we have seen more hunger, corruption in high places. We have seen the award of contracts that do not have bearing on the people, high valued contracts without due process. The exchange rate moving up and down; we have not had it so bad.

Inflation is moving to 33.69% now, we have had it so bad. We have seen tears, misery and blood in the last one year. However, Nigerians know that there is hope on the horizon and Nigerians have perseverance.

But where did Tinubu get it wrong; is it his policies?

It is not about policy now, it is about preparedness, Tinubu was not prepared, he wanted power, but he never knew the enormity of the problem on ground. The statistics they gave him before he ventured into this was largely glossed over. So, he thought it was easy, You remember the ‘Emilokan’ slogan?

Tinubu came on the premise that it is their own turn to rule, not as if he has anything to offer.

So, it is not about policy, if you have incompetent person to drive policy you would get bad results and that is what we are getting today.

From the economy to education, banking anything you can think of. He is saturated with politicians that cannot think.

Look at the man handling our defence, the man that could not do anything in Zamfara State, they made him the Defence Minister.

Up till today, insecurity has taken over Nigeria because you have people who are incompetent to do that.

Inflation is galloping; when the Labour Party was campaigning, we said; Nigeria needs to move from consumption to production, but this government intensified consumption.

There is nothing like production that is why we cannot buy food again in Nigeria.

That is why Labour is asking for that amount for minimum wage, because you just increased electricity prices like that, look at food and with all these you are still paying N30, 000 as minimum wage and these people are spending huge amounts on food and living.

How do you expect people to survive with this current minimum wage that the government is offering?

There is total collapse in the system, you can see the poverty, and probably one day people would get into the street.

Most of his Ministers are misfit, I don’t know of any minister that is working and giving optimum to that position.

If you are to advise going forward what should Tinubu be doing?

He should stop junketing all over the world claiming to be marketing Nigeria; we cannot market a bad product. People that want to come to Nigeria, but the investors don’t even know what would happen to their investment.

There is a lot of investment in Lagos and because of the coastal road you demolished, is that how you would encourage people to come?

Let him stay in Nigeria and monitor what is happening, everyday things are worsening. The money he is using to travel across the globe can fund agriculture.

What is the direct benefit of the coastal road to the economy? The government is just taxing and over taxing people, even when we are saying things are difficult you are still taxing people.

The government should stop borrowing, the past government over borrowed and this man came to continue the same trend, but his money would be paid by unborn generations. Unfortunately, when this money is borrowed it is looted.

But we have the National Assembly; we are not seeing opposition lawmakers speak about anti-people policies. Do you agree?

That is not entirely true, the opposition lawmakers are speaking, but their voices are not heard because the APC lawmakers are the majority and the National Assembly is presided by APC members.

They decide who they want to give the floor to speak and who not to. Sometimes, they benefit more, being APC members in the chamber.

I’m not saying LP members cannot do more; they can do better, but in most of the committees you find less than 10% of opposition members chairing, most of the committees are chaired by APC lawmakers.

You saw what happened to an opposition senator, Ali Ndume, when he raised the alarm about budgetary spending. He was suspended because of his revelations, this is what opposition lawmakers suffer in the National Assembly.

Peter’s Obi visited Atiku and other PDP chieftains. Could you speak at the meetings?

The meeting is coming together of people of like minds, leaders who have studied the trajectory of Nigeria in the last one year. Leaders who are listening to the cries of Nigerians; leaders who are taught that things are not going the way it should go.

I mean leaders who are of the opinion that if they continue to watch in silence Nigeria would go into serious crisis. They think it is proper for them to talk on how to liberate Nigeria from the administration of the present government. Every Nigeria both the rich and the poor, is facing challenge by the current leadership in Nigeria today.

The little we gathered from their meeting is that it has to do with politics and that day our presidential candidate visited other presidential aspirants; including Bukola Saraki and Sule Lamido. Atiku also visited Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and I think this visit is on-going and good for politics.

These leaders can brainstorm and synergies for the purpose of liberating Nigeria, the thought of coalition, what a lot of people are talking about may be a reality.

Don’t isolate the other principal partners of this meeting, it is not about Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar, it is about leaders thinking out of the box to strengthen the nation.

But there are insinuations of LP’s coalition with other opposition parties in recent days, was not discussed?

Nobody is talking about the coalition they just discussed about the nation, how the country has been run underground and things not working.

As statesmen that they are, it is their right to come together and discuss to see how they can put this nation back to its prosperous way.

So, for now, nobody is talking about coalitions, but you know politics is about interest. If the interest is to win Nigeria back again and through collaboration, we don’t have any problem with that.

I think it is good for this nation and until it gets to that we would talk about it, especially if the collaboration is to get Peter Obi the presidential candidate in 2027, we would talk about it.

What is the state of Julius Abure-led national executive and the disagreement with Nigeria Labour Congress?

INEC never said they did not recognise the LP’s last convention, INEC only said they did not monitor it and that is in tune with the electoral law, which says; that INEC may or not monitor the national convention.

However, it is compulsory for INEC to monitor primary for elective positions, but for internal party things INEC may or may not.

Some days ago, INEC called the national chairman and secretaries to a meeting with the commission and all the national chairman, 19 of them were present including the Labour Party national chairman and secretary.

If they did not recognise them, they would not invite LP’s chairman, Julius Abure and his secretary? There is no election or political activity that happens without people filing maltreated or hurt one way or the other.

This does not happen in the Labour Party alone, it happens in other political parties, it is often full of intrigues.

However, if you conduct your own in line with the party’s constitution, in line with the 1999 constitution and some people are saying they are stakeholders the constitution defines who are stakeholders and every stakeholder where invited and they were present at the meeting.

As we speak, the Abure’s led national executives have resumed office, everyone that may be disgruntled one way or the other, should please forgive and forget, so that we can together take the Labour Party to effect the leadership change to this nation.

This includes the NLC and the Obedient family; these two people are very important to us; we are not in any battle with them.

They have expressed their anger and we have noted them. Part of what we are doing is that we are establishing a peace resolution committee; we are setting up, political resolution sensitization committee and directory of Obedience.

For us all these met to address all that we think went wrong. There is no problem in the Labour Party, because we are handling things in line with the party’s constitution and laws.

But there are complaints in some states about the lack of congresses and chairmen appointed by Abure continued stay in office. What is your take?

When state executive councils are put in place and they are not able to conduct their congress immediately, due to one reason or the other we would put a caretaker committee in place.

However, now that we have conducted the national convention successfully, the party will in the next one-year conduct state congresses across chapters in the country. We are working on that so that everybody will be at the same pace.