• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Tinubu’s policies responsible for Nigeria’s current economic woes – Johnson

Tinubu’s policies responsible for Nigeria’s current economic woes – Johnson

Ladipo Johnson is the national auditor and chairman of the disciplinary committee of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP). In this exclusive interview with Iniobong Iwok, he spoke on the crisis rocking the party and other burning national issues. Excerpts:

What is your assessment of the Bola Tinubu administration so far?

Unfortunately, Bola Tinubu’s administration has not started on a good footing. It would appear that he did not plan properly for governance. How do you explain coming into government and increasing the size of cost of governance with the type of economic situation he inherited?

As an afterthought, he is now trying to reverse things by implementing the Oronsaye report. His fiscal policies have also got the economy heading in the wrong direction. Inflation is getting higher, the naira has lost value and there is increased insecurity in the land.

Externally as well, we all saw what happened with Niger and Co and the ECOWAS, these do not make for a good first year report card for his administration.

Insecurity is on the rise, Kaduna State is under the thumb of terrorists, over 340 people in one week. What is your take on the situation?

The Financial Times of London, just a few days ago, defined the kidnapping racket going on in Nigeria as the symptom of a failing state. What happened in Kaduna is a sad reminder of the unfortunate Chibok debacle. Unfortunately, it would seem that our government has refused to learn any lessons from Chibok.

The Kidnapping together with increased banditry in various parts are ominous signs for the country. One of the most important responsibilities of the government to its citizens is the protection of lives and property.

I think we can all safely agree, devoid of partisanship, that the government is failing in this regard and must get its act together very quickly.

I dare to add that the fear of most discerning Nigerians at this point is that, with the consistent increase in inflation especially food inflation, the increase in the cost of living, and the southward trajectory of the value of the Naira, it is easy to see that this apparently lucrative business venture of kidnapping might just continue to be on the increase, as government has not gotten a hold on it.

The naira is fluctuating daily and Nigerians are blaming the Tinubu administration’s policies for that. Do you agree?

All we need to do is to look at the value that the naira has lost from May 29, 2023 to date, once you look at that you would know the naira has been affected by my monetary policy decision.

The naira has been affected greatly by physical policy decisions. It is clear that the removal of subsidy affected the economy and at the same time the floating of the naira has had an adverse effect on virtually everything, the cost of living.

This has continued to drive up inflation, it makes the standard of living of average Nigerians drop and the cost of living has increased.

But the buck stops at the table of Mr. President and it must be said that the government must find a solution to the economic problem in the country now.

Tinubu and his team must begin to formulate economic policies to begin to run the value of the naira and turn around the economy of the nation.

Recently, it was rumoured that Rabiu Kwankwaso was planning to team up with Atiku Abubakar to form an alliance ahead of the 2027 general election. How true is this?

Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso is doing everything he can to rebuild the NNPP, political party and not at the present moment considering whether to form an alliance with Bola Tinubu or Waziri of Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar.

What is important at the moment is to strengthen the party, broaden the base of the party and make sure that the party becomes a household name in Nigeria as a viable opposition country in Nigeria.

We are not bothered about what people are saying now but planning ahead. Whatever happens in 2027 will happen then; we are not bothered about 2027 yet.

Many Nigerians in recent months have canvassed for a parliamentary system as solution to Nigeria’s problems. What is your view?

The cost of governance and the cost of the presidential system are too much for the country to bear. I believe we spend 80 percent of our budget on recurrent expenditure.

The cost of maintaining the National Assembly and other state Assemblies is very expensive. Scrapping the executive arm of government is something we must consider.

The parliamentary system is cheaper to run, in the parliamentarian system some of the lawmakers are also the ministers and it is the system we operated before.

But we must look at the issues that led to the end of the first republic to make sure we are ready for the parliamentary system of government.

The parliamentary system is something that I have interest in looking at to see if there is benefit for us in the medium and long term for the country.

As a country, in the meantime it is for us to cut the cost of governance drastically to leave the much needed funds for healthcare, schools, housing and other basic infrastructures in the society that our people desperately need.

What is your assessment of the Godswill Akpabio-led Senate, especially with the budget padding allegation last week?

The Godswill Akpabio-led Senate have not given Nigerians reason to have confident in them, due to scandal accusation of budget, that have not done them any good and it remains to be seen if they would serve the people of their senatorial district very well or not, but at the moment and in some cases, it appears to be farce.

What do you think needs to be done to have a free and fair poll in Nigeria going forward?

That is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma! But really we have to change the orientation of our people. Our elections are presently in furtherance of corrupt practices.

Corruption has become endemic and has torn the fabric of society to shreds. The home, schools, churches, mosques are corrupt! We really need to begin to work on these things, to save our society.