Bode George is a former deputy national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He recently interacted with a select group of journalists in Lagos on the state of the nation. Iniobong Iwok, brings the excerpts:
What is your assessment of President Bola Tinubu’s reforms after 100 days in office?
This journey is not a 100 meter dash race; it is four years. There are twenty-four hours in a day, three sixty- five days in a year. Multiply 365 days by four years, you know the number of hours; he is going to stay there.
As human beings you make mistakes because they are not ready, you can never be there, that is why you don’t jump from zero, you learn.
Why do you have civil servants, experienced civil servants, because they can be good, bad and ugly depending on you as the leader. Because once you arrive, they look at you and try to know the kind of leader you are, they look at you and see what you are doing.
But if they know this man is knowledgeable and wants to learn they stay. Noise making does not work in governance.
It reminds me of when I was in the military, when you get anywhere you see them and say; if you make noises we lock you up in the cell.
You should be a servant leader, like it is taught in the bible and Quran. Be ready to support and listen. Be ready to discuss with people.
A leader must show humility and respectability to the people. You demand respect, you must show respect to the people. It is not a one way track.
Any leader who defines loyalty as a one way thing is a bad leader, once you demand from your people, it means you yourself you must be loyal to them.
What is your view about the way President Tinubu is handling the distribution of palliative measures after removing fuel subsidy?
The economy policy of the Tinubu’s administration is a joke.
There is no individual in this globe called earth that knows it all. Who is the Chief Economic Adviser in the Villa? Is he a voodoo economist? Is he a medieval economist? Basic theory in economics says that when too much money is chasing a few goods, it causes hyper-inflation.
You gave N5 billion to states as palliatives, who took that decision? Lagos has more than 22 million people, Bayelsa has about two million people and they have the same money.
Kano with a huge population got the same with Jigawa. Is it money for the boys or money for the people? The whole world is now a global village.
The moment Russia shut down their gas pipeline to Europe; they have all been in hell. What we are talking about here is the pain the people are passing through.
In England too, there is pain and the people are shouting, doctors are on strike and the salary can no longer meet their daily needs.
The cost of electricity has gone through the roof. But in Nigeria, what the hell are we doing here?
Teach me how to fish, you would be helping me forever, but giving me fish means I would keep coming to you.
And this money is borrowed, what is the total money in our savings because that money would define your relationship with the dollar.
What happened to the foreign reserve? Everybody is keeping quiet and not talking, it is our right to talk.
Bring Godwin Emefiele to Court, we must see him and ask questions. What did you do with the money?
The dollar rate now is very high, unbelievable, what about the manufacturers, how are they coping, except you are beneficiary of Emeifiele’s largess where you get dollars at a certain rate.
Where he looks at you and gives you a certain rate. Let him come and explain to Nigerians, we want to know how he managed the CBN.
So that others who would come in future would not do the same thing. Anybody who does such must be brought to book.
Finally, let this be Nigeria’s definition of democracy, government by judiciary by judiciary. It must be the government of the people for the people by the people no matter the mess INEC has created send them to go and do the election again.
Nyesom Wike, former Rivers State governor is serving in the Tinubu’s administration as FCT Minister. How do you react?
I am getting closer to being an octogenarian. I want to state categorically, the way my young brother manages this thing is not the proper way, it is advice to him because he can be a very, very exceptionally good man.
The essence of having elders is that; no matter the new cloth you have, you cannot have as many rags as an old man. The electoral process is not over until before we get to the Supreme Court.
Jumping ship early can be dangerous, because if you don’t have the proper distance information and the other ship sinks; you are going to the bottom of the sea.
When Baba came in 1999 after everything had been settled, he said he wanted a nomination from other parties.
I remember it was Vincent Ogbulafor, I can’t remember the other person that came to join Baba’s government, it is not bad but let’s finish the court process.
The party can decide who would join the government because it would make a lot of sense. It would make sense to have a government of national unity, but you talk to the political party for the purpose of respect and super management.
The party is supreme than the private enterprise of any individual.
Maybe out of anger because of the things that have happened in the past, some of us have more grouse against the system.
We are still coming to resolve the issue in our party that led us to where we are today.
Some people suddenly decided that they own the party, hijacked the party and refused to listen.
In recent weeks, we have seen tribunals sacking and affirming election winners at all levels. How do you react?
Our electoral process is shambolic, nonsensical and makes the country nosedive. It is the manipulation of the system.
A glitch on the day of the election is unforgivable but INEC chairman told us they were ready but with what happened, the generation to come will never forgive him.
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The most contentious issue in Nigeria today is the judiciary; it is one of the pillars of government. Is it right for the judiciary to tell us who won or lost the election?
What we understand is that democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people, but in our own case it shouldn’t be the government of the judiciary by the judiciary and for the judiciary. Is that democratic?
It is the will of the people that should prevail. If you discover any wrong, ask them to go back and conduct a fresh election even if it takes a hundred times. The job of the judiciary is not to tell us who lost or who won.
How do you react to Nigeria’s efforts to restore democracy in the Niger republic after the military seized power some weeks ago?
The coup in Niger republic has no impact on our national interest. We should go to war only if our national interest is abridged.