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NigeriaDecides2023

What we have in Nigeria is not democracy – Falana

A civilian regime is a far way from democracy. Democracy according to the constitution means the maximum participation of the people in their own affairs, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria has said.

He said the type of democracy in which people are bought with money is not democracy at all. Falana made this statement while talking with journalists at the 2022 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos.

“Not long ago delegates were purchased in dollars and in a couple of states, votes were bought with hundreds of millions of naira, that can not be a democracy,” Falana said.

“Elections were anchored and campaigns were anchored on welfare programs. At that material time, political parties were promising to cancel gigantic taxes and other taxes that were meant to vaporise the people, people were promised free education for their children, access to affordable health and full employment and so on and so forth. But now the only cardinal program of the political class is money! Which can not be democracy but plutocracy”.

Falana noted that some people were arrested in Ekiti and Osun but they have not been prosecuted.

He said: “You guys in the media covered those that were arrested and we are demanding for the prosecution of those that were arrested so that their cases will serve as a deterrent to others who want to sell their vote because it is dangerous to sell votes.”

On the 2023 election contestants, Falana said “profound respect to all the political parties but the crises of insecurity is not being addressed, crises of dollarisation is not being addressed. For example, you guys in the industry are not helping us, the central bank announced a couple of years ago that it has entered into a currency exchange program with China in which case we could buy goods in China in Naira and the Chinese were having a lot of projects here right?

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“We can also use yuan which is their currency but the west, the IMF and World bank have refused to make that process work and for us the central bank can not be complaining about dollars because the American dollar is not our legal tender and we insist that you must ban all the goods that can be produced in Nigeria. So why is everyone talking about dollars?

“We should sell our oil in Naira and if we do that we enhance the value of the Naira but right now some schools are allowed to collect fees in dollars illegally, some landlords collect rents in dollars illegally, even some government departments are collecting money in dollars illegally, people are spraying dollars illegally but the central bank pretends that we are taking steps to improve the dollars when you have dollar rise your economy and its causing poverty.”

Asked if the present administration can change anything with a few months to go, Falana said: “we should forget about the Buhari regime, that regime is gone! Nigeria should demand quality governance and we don’t have to wait till February next year. We must insist today that we deserve security of lives and properties, that we also deserve employment of young people and that we need to engage in production.”

“A few years ago a country in Africa banned the importation of second hand clothing, I think Rwanda, Trump threatened and the leaders of the country said they want to revitalize our textile industry, why can we not do that here?”

“Malaysia came to Nigeria in the early 60s to take palm kernel seedlings, today that country is the second largest producer of palm oil in the world, we were the largest producer of palm oil in the 60s, why can we not today now and engage young people to go the farm, embark on mechanized farming and let our country move forward.”

He made an appeal saying that he is begging the people in the media not to take mere passing interest and he also made mention of how the minister of finance claimed that we need N6.5 trillion to import petroleum products this year, which he claims not to be true, he further said “ the minister of state in the ministry of petroleum resources has said publicly that it is fraud, the Controller General of Custom col. Hamid Ali has said this is fraud! So where are the figures coming from? So, we must insist and ask the government to deal with smugglers, we can not be punished for the offenses of smugglers!”

On refineries in the country, he said: “they said they are using $1.5 billion to fix the refinery in Port Harcourt but the government has invested $2.7 billion in Dangote’s refinery but with $2.7 billion you can buy a new refinery in abroad and assemble it here but the government is not prepared, so we must investigate the monumental fraud going on in the fuel subsidy”.

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