2019: Atiku no Match for Buhari –Obi

Comrade Goodluck Obi, ctivist and social commentator is the National Co-coordinator of Re–Elect Buhari Movement (RBM).

In this interview, he speaks on issues surrounding executive order 6 and allied matters of national interest including the coming general election which he said President Muhammadu Buhari will win.

Excerpts

Is ex–President Obasanjo’s admonition that Nigeria’s next President must have a good knowledge of Economics not an indictment of President Buhari’s economic policies?

It is a very bad thing if we try to arrogate to ourselves the position of a student and teacher. Obasanjo has no moral capacity to advise the country, Nigeria, because he once had the opportunity to rule the country for eight years. Having said that, I am not aware Obasanjo has any record of performance in the area of economy for him to advise the country that whoever must head us must be superlative in economy.

Remember his recent visit to Indonesia where he raised the issue of the present government not signing a treaty and told the gathering a President who will sign it is coming. That was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. What Obasanjo must understand is that the country has moved on from where he left it. We are in not in that desperate era of 1999 when he wanted the Military to leave at all cost, and in that desperation we brought in a man who had little or nothing to offer. Also, his endorsement of his former vice is very funny because as at 3rd of August this year, the same Obasanjo had said Atiku Abubakar is not a worthy successor. Don’t also forget that the same man declared the seat of the vice President vacant. Atiku had to go to court to reclaim his seat. So, Obasanjo should not be telling Nigerians issues about the economy or leadership. It is funny when he talks about some magical ideas about what the economy should look like. Don’t forget this administration inherited an economy that was at its lowest ebb and has tried to revive the economy. We have a President who has the best of economic experts around him, and so far so good, he has been able to stabilize the economy, so people should not sit in the comfort of their room in Ota and begin to tell a country of about 200 million Nigerians how to rule their country.

 

Don’t you think the former President’s position is informed by current statistics about poverty and unemployment rate?

Job creation is not always the job of government. Nowhere on earth that government creates jobs. No government can claim to have created jobs. What government does is creation of an enabling environment for Jobs to be created mostly by the private sector. I do not think the Federal government and even the states have the capacity to employ unemployed youths. When you also look at government policy on creation of Jobs, it has been tailored towards the ‘you win programme of the last administration. Also, look at the social intervention programme of this administration- N-Power. What government  does is to create the enabling environment for investors to come in. In most cases, when the environment is conducive, the artisans will do better in their businesses and by so doing expand their businesses. It is when business grows that you will talk about employment. Remember, we still have a crisis with the labour over the issue of minimum wage. It is part of the issues we are dealing with. In an environment where the economy runs itself, you don’t need to engage people on job creation, jobs will be created by the private sector. Government cannot put everybody into the civil service. It is not possible. It’s not done anywhere. If you go to other parts of the World, jobs are already waiting for you before you leave the university. I saw it in Holland. Government’s job is to create an enabling environment, so it is not about this government. Unemployment has been one of the issues our country has been facing since 1999. Why has government policies on this issue not worked? It has not worked because there is no sincerity of purpose, and I’m happy this President has come to change the narrative. It is under the Buhari Administration that we have seen that agriculture is thriving. There is a massive boom in that sector. That is why Brazil is bringing 1.1 billion dollars into the agricultural sector. The Ambassador said they are also setting up a tractor Assembly plant in Bauchi State. This is a part of the gains been recorded by this administration.

 

Former Vice–President Attiku’s business profile is been touted as an advantage in economic management, is this not a plus for him?

We are all aware that former vice president Atiku Abubakar is a retired customs officer and became Obasanjo’s vice president from 1999 to 2007. A good business man should be able to bring his area of specialization to bare on the government. Let us Look at what the Customs generated under the administration he headed the economic team and the Buhari administration. Recall that the late president Umaru Musa Yar’adua had to cancel some of the ugly economic policies of that administration which fell under Atiku. Nobody should deceive the people that Atiku is a wizard when it comes to business. These are smokescreen. Is it Atiku’s American University that the poor cannot afford? we should not allow a man who has no idea of how a country should be run to lead us. We are not going to be deceived by the PDP who say we should dwell on issues without wanting us to talk about corruption. In all Atiku’s campaign, you will never find an area where you will hear him to talk about corruption. Nigerians will not be fooled by those talking about a better economic manager. We should not allow anybody to take us back to where we are coming from.

 

APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu has admitted not less than twice that President Buhari and APC have lost some goodwill, is this not a minus ahead of 2019?

Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu may be right in his assessment being national leader of the APC and being an influential leader in the country. Having said that, I have always said those who will determine the fate of the current President are the Nigerian electorate, not the elite. I can assure you that most the elite may not even find their PVCs. They think they are still in the era where elitist advice would tinker the way the people will vote. The people have become wiser, and in 2019, Nigerians will determine their next President, not any other person.

 

What is your take on the controversy surroundings Executive Order 6?

There has been a lot of talk about the Presidential Executive order 6 now known as EO6. That was not the first Executive order signed into law by the President. If you look at the Nigerian democracy, it is patterned along the American democracy. One thing I have discovered that whenever the government takes steps to deal with the menace of corruption, you always have those who have something to hide raising their voices to high heavens, but I want to assure those without skeleton in their cupboard that the government will not do anything outside the law. The judgment given by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja has made it very easy for every Nigerian to go about his normal business. No provision of order 6 will be brought to bear without the court. These are just administrative policies of government to strengthen the anti – corruption drive, so those who are talking about the violation of section 43 of the constitution have nothing to fearif you have nothing to hide, and I think we should commend this administration, because every President since 1999 has always whittled down the anti – corruption war when we approach an election era, but here is a President who says he will continue to push against corruption even until the last day of the ballot

 

How do you juxtapose your position with that of senior lawyers who say the order devalues the constitution?

Whatsoever any opinion any lawyer may have given on the issue of EO6, I think those opinions cannot be superior to the position of the Federal High Court. Don’t forget that those lawyers are also entitled to their opinions. It will be very wrong if we think that government policies will be received with joy at all times.

That is why we have diverse opinions on issues like this, and I want to commend those lawyers that went to court to test the legality of the EO6 for taking that bold step, and also to appreciate her lordship for the verdict. I do not want to dwell much because I understand that they have gone to the court of Appeal. I will rather stand by the President on EO6 than dwell on the opinion of senior lawyers

 

 

 

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