Moshood Salvador is a former member of the House of Representatives and member of the 2014 National Conference. In this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, he spoke on the state of the nation, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s reforms, among other issues. Excerpts:
What is your take on the one month of Bola Tinubu’s administration?
It is very important for us to know what we are doing before we start agitating; President Bola Tinubu has only been in office for a month, we have 12 months in a year. We have 96 weeks for him to spend and he has spent only one month of the four years of the administration and people are already agitating.
Personally, the administration has started well. In recent months, we talked about insecurity, we were all lamenting about the killings, kidnapping in the country and he sacked the service chiefs and appointed new ones after assuming office which is what a lot of Nigerians clamoured for.
It is not the President alone we should be looking at, we should also be monitoring the people President Tinubu appoints and assess them. The sacking of the security chiefs shows that he is ready to take tough decisions. What has the Nigerian Air force done since the new people came in? What have the Police done?
The Police authorities are now talking of withdrawing orderlies from prominent Nigerians in the society, I don’t support such a decision. You are talking of removing police from people that are paying for the service, even when we need more of them.
We are talking about insecurity across Nigeria, why can’t you recruit more police, because we need more police in Nigeria now to secure the country.
If the police authorities can sit down and think well, policing can be a source of revenue. They can make money from the VIPs and other sources, expatriates. I am not saying people should be extorted. It would be additional money for the police and the officers would be happy, they should look at making things better rather than negativity.
The reforms are coming fast and there are plans for an electricity tariff hike. Do you support that?
If somebody wants to increase the price of his goods ask him what would be the difference between the one you are giving me before and the new one. I expect our people to commit the government to provide uninterrupted power supply.
Our people should tell the government if that is done to increase tariff by 3% or 5% we would not mine, rather than for our people to be saying you cannot increase tariff, they are just giving opportunity for Labour and the rest to be making money.
People are complaining of the high cost of living, reports indicate that more Nigerians will be poorer. Don’t you agree?
Don’t mine World Bank; Nigerians should stop listening to all the rubbish of the UK, the problem in Uk is more than what we are talking about here.
Why would the United Kingdom try to deport 10,000 asylum seekers, it is their right to stay in the UK because their rights are threatened in their country. We don’t have a problem, it’s just that we listen to the wrong negative.
I would ask all the youths to sit down and I would tell them what to do and make it in life. What I am saying is that the youths should allow us strategies, so we can get something from this government.
It is not all the time agitations; we should also try to see how we can dialogue. Obafemi Awolow and MKO Abiola agitated for so long what they got?
Are you aware of the high cost of commodities in the market because of President Tinubu’s reforms?
It is difficult I know, but we should be rational, ways to make it easy for the youths is what I want us to think about. The high cost of commodities is a global problem.
In the UK the prices of food and other commodities are up. It is not about the Ukraine war, it started after the Covid-19 period. May we all sit down and see how we can initiate strategies to ease the situation. We are talking of fuel subsidies; if they bring the fuel price down today, transportation fares would not go down.
The President should be careful with some of his statements, you can remove fuel subsidies without problem.
What would it cost the government to give 20 buses to all the states across Nigeria? The buses would be free and commuters would not pay. Let Nigerians be using these buses free for two months. I trust Nigerians that they will forget the hardship.
Dialogue should be applied in resolving government policies which are perceived unfavourable to the masses.
I think Nigerians would appreciate constant power supply, even if you increase tariffs, but let them see improvement in the quality of what they are paying for.
I also suggest the government should rather increase tariffs in industrial areas and where the elites reside to take care of the poor, considering the poverty level in Nigeria now.
It may be costlier than what we have on ground now, but that difference should be taken up by the elite.
Nigerians are also agitating that there should be a cut in governance. What is your take?
It is very important for the government to cut expenses and reduce costs if they are serious, so they can have enough money to take care of the poor.
I was talking about how to take care of the poor; subsidising food, it is not by giving cash. Giving cash encourages stealing.
We have strategies for dealing with the public. The President has suffered before so he understands. The President said recently when he met with Aliko Dangote that Nigerians should deserve pity.
Let us think of avenues to channel complaints to, we have a President that can listen to you. So, for me it is just to get that channel to be speaking to him rather than agitating and agitating. There should be dialogue between the Tinubu’s administration and ordinary Nigerians.
A lot of people are worried about the overwhelming influence the executive had in the election of the National Assembly leaders. What is your take?
There was an election I saw on YouTube, I was not there, it was only what the media presented to us that I can make my judgment on. Either voice vote or individual election as long as the rule and guidelines of the National Assembly allow and provide for what they did, we cannot have any objection to that. What was presented to us was an election, somebody was elected.
There are agitations that we don’t need a bi-cameral legislature. ?
It is about the type of government we have, which is presidential. Who are the people saying it? Let them come out and talk. Today we only hear rumours, people don’t come out to talk.
If you notice what Tinubu is doing now, he is only doing what we recommended at the National Conference in 2014, I was part of that conference. He would implement some of the recommendations. State police he would do it. If all those recommendations are implemented there would be changes. We have to work to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.
Are you optimistic that President Tinubu is the “messiah” for Nigeria?
I don’t beat my chest for anybody, what I have seen him doing now, the way he is talking I can see he wants to follow the 2014 National Conference recommendations to make change. The major recommendation of the national conference was to restructure the country, which is why the Northerners said they should throw it in the garbage.