Why Nigeria’s current electoral system cannot guarantee good governance – Salvador
Moshood Salvador, a former member of the House of Representatives is a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State. In this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, he assesses the state of the nation, spate of insecurity, among other issues. Excerpts:
What is your take on the state of the nation and spate of insecurity?
We have been talking ever since but the situation has remained the same. But I can see that Nigerians are not serious, the public are the enemies of themselves. You can see the way they are using WhatsApp opportunity for gossip, they talk out of sense. People would be parading themselves, wanting to be senator, president, governor, but Nigerians that would vote do not care about the background of the person; they just collect money and vote for them. Then we should not be complaining; it is a terrible thing we have here. So, we keep talking and talking, but we can still see the bad attitude towards governance. Some people would say because I belong to a certain party I cannot talk against the party; then talk against myself, talk against the future, talk against the killings, because it is your government.
You see people’s attitude to good governance, it has become part of the system; people are not serious. Every day we open the newspapers you feel sad at the type of stories you see. We keep talking, nothing has changed; I don’t need to keep talking like a broken record, we keep doing the same thing again and again. Governors would be talking like they don’t have powers to protect their people.
But the governors said the police are under the control of the Federal Government there is little they can do. Is that not?
That is not true, they are not just serious. Does that mean you sit down and they would just be killing your people and you are not doing anything? Why are we unable to catch one? And you are waiting for the government? They don’t know how to use people’s power that is why they are talking like that. When we talk of security; that belongs to the people, you should be holding your gun; I don’t need to talk more about that. So, if they keep electing incompetent people in government that is where the issue is.
Does the high cost of things and high unemployment rate in Nigeria bother you?
We should expect that in a pandemic period like this. This is when you know the government is not serious, with the effect of the pandemic on people, you are increasing tax, price of fuel, and tariff. I mean everything; the effect would go back to the public. Look at my farm; we have sacked about 28 people recently, because the prices of things have gone up and we keep paying huge bills every month; how do we survive that? What we were managing with N2million is up to N8million. We can’t retain workers. We have seen that we have put people who are tired there and we should not expect them to perform. It is high time the youth embraced farming and other creative jobs with the high unemployment rate in the country now.
I have people I brought to my farm. They are not on salary, they use chicken liver for different products and they are making money. The youth have to sit down and think; the banks give loans, if you have integrity and collateral we should embrace this to sort unemployment in Nigeria.
We have to change our mentality in Nigeria considering the way the economy has turned. For example, the culture of conserving energy, you go to some apartments you meet light in the afternoon when it is not needed and no one is at home. The reason why the switch of the toilet is there is because when the light is not needed put it off; all this culture we have to adjust, it is a new normal.
These days, I talk less; whatever good I want to do for the public I do, I feel fulfilled and happy. If you would be here till 6pm you see how they are distributing food to people in this compound. Yesterday, we gave food and clothes. Once I can do that on my own everybody should go do their own thing; I can’t turn myself into a transistor radio.
What is your take on secession agitations?
When were the political office holders appointed that they are now agitating today? The man came in, that was in 2015 and you are agitating in 2021, that is why when I see things like that I have to sit down and think and strategise.
Most of them are mostly comedians, you were there when they were appointing all the offices to Northerners, you were there when they were given N1billion to Boko Haram comparing them to the Niger Delta militants. Maybe, they needed something and it did not come that is why they are talking. No, I don’t do my things like that, or follow people like that, I just have to sit down and assess the situation.
But leaders say the refusal of the President to restructure the country has fuelled the agitations. Do you agree?
Obasanjo was there and they talked about restructuring and he did not do it, despite that he was a Southerner. Yar’ Adua, did they talk about restructuring? He had bad health. Then we had Jonathan, a Southerner who did not restructure the country. Now, we have Buhari a Northerner and people are telling him to restructure; why would he restructure when he knows he would not benefit from it? Those that would benefit from restructuring were there but refused to do it. When you had a bird in your cage, you refused to allow the bird to sing for you, they now open the gate and the bird flew away and you are now asking the bird to come and sing for you. That is nonsense. I don’t see any sense in what they are doing now.
What about agitations for zoning of the presidency in 2023; what is your take?
Who says is turn by turn Nigeria limited? They should go and collect forms and contest; anybody that wins. Zoning is unconstitutional and somebody is talking that it must come to him by force. If you need power you have to call people in your zone and others and discuss. It is just time wasting, you don’t have to believe in the method of agitation always. There must be a method of negotiation which we have been using here for a long time.
We have a Southern Nigerian parliament where are they now? Ekwueme was leader of South-East, Edwin Clark was leader of South-South and Babagbonigin was leader of South-West where are they now? If Ekwueme is dead, the rest two are not dead. Ekwueme should have been replaced. But they would not use the opportunity in their hands; they threw it away and now looking for it.
And it is right of anybody to decide whether to give you power or not. You are the one who would fault yourself for not getting the presidency because when you needed to form a Southern body you did not form it. The North wants division in the South and they are happy if it happens like that.
But the Igbos say the presidency is their turn in 2023, do you think so?
Do they have the numerical strength? Do they have the democratic strength? Do they have the electoral ability? The whole population of Igbo is 17 million and calculate that to the voters on the street.
What is your take on delay in passing the amended Electoral Act?
The current delay in passing it is encouraging rigging. When you delay in not passing it, INEC would not be able to use electronic voting, meaning that you do not like this country. Current system cannot guarantee good governance.