How corruption made Emefiele to relegate himself from CBN gov to farm manager – Sen Girei
~ Says Nigeria will regain its greatness under Tinubu
~ Vouch for Ribadu, says ex-EFCC chairman will never disappoint Nigeria
Senator Abubakar Girei, a stalwart of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nigeria, has expressed optimism with the way President Bola Ahmed Tinubu starts running his government. He noted that with the bold, courageous and decisive steps he has so far taken, coupled with some of the critical appointments he made, Nigeria will surely gets it right this time around.
Girei who spoke with reporters on various topical issues during a press conference in Yola, called on the Tinubu led FG to put strong palliatives in place to cushion the negative effects of the subsidy removal on the toiling Nigerian masses.
As a son of Adamawa State how did you receive the appointment of one of the sons of the soil, Malam Nuhu Ribadu as the National Security Adviser to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu?
I felt elated, animated and energized when the announcement was made because I know behind that singular decision, lies a strong resolve and political will of ending the scourge of social and other forms of insecurity in the land. In Nigeria, no one needs to be told the antecedents of Malam Nuhu Ribadu as far as work ethics, discipline moral standing and courage are concerned. If there is anyone in Nigeria that has the courage and will to address the security imbroglio facing the country, that man is Nuhu Ribadu.
Such deportment of appointing the right people into the right positions gives us the hope that unlike past, Tinubu came with the clear intension of resolving our numerous socio-economic challenges. With such mindset, it is my humble belief that Tinubu is the messiah Nigeria is earnestly waiting for at this critical point in our nation’s history.
I will say with all sense of modesty that Ribadu will not disappoint Tinubu and Nigeria. And I assure the president, the people of Adamawa State infact I dare say Nigerians, will give Ribadu 100 percent support to succeed in this important national assignment.
In the same vein, I must also give the president a big kudos for selecting his new service chiefs and other appointments he made so far. I personally know some of them and I can assure you they are men of valour, timber and caliber who will do this nation proud, I have the instincts that the menace of social insecurity will soon be over in the country.
Nigeria’s economy is currently in a comatose state with high inflation, crippling interest rates, high unemployment and huge debt portfolio amongst many other challenges. A number of analysts have posited that the country is at a tipping point economically. Do you think Tinubu has the capacity to rejuvenate the ailing economy?
Tinubu is a man who came to the job well prepared. The president is a man who will never hide under excuses to evade discharging his responsibility. In fact, as a world class financial expert, Tinubu knows the economic challenges bedeviling Nigeria very well. He has already started attacking some of the challenges behind our economic dislocation and very soon Nigeria’s economic landscape will change for the better.
Some of the measures he is adopting naturally come with excruciating pains in the interim but as the policies mature, the pains will begin to subside until total healing is achieved. Our economic situation is so bad that the biggest challenge next to insecurity is the economy and like the president repeatedly said during his campaign, he is ready to tackle the challenges head on and as Nigerians have been rightly saying, the president has hit the ground running alluding to the fact that they are also satisfied with his leadership style which is quite unprecedented and promising. I believe Nigeria’s economic challenges will sooner than later pale into insignificance due to the president’s new approach.
It is my hope that the president will assemble a team of experts and people with unquestionable character, integrity and reputation in his subsequent appointments. These experts should invest adequate time to intensively understudy the challenges facing Nigeria and give them serious thoughts and come up with far reaching solutions for the benefit of the country.
We can’t afford to fiddle at this very crucial time because Nigeria is on the verge of the precipice and the slightest error of judgement may become the lethal dose that will set us tipping. We must therefore, rally behind the president in his resolve to proffer lasting solutions to our security, economic and other challenges.
The critical decisions he has taken so far and the appointments of men of integrity and capacity since coming to power are reassuring. They are also pointers to the fact that more positive developments will follow suit. I will urge the appointees to see their choice as a call to national duty which they should discharge with all sense of commitment and patriotism so as to became part of the history of the renewed hope and a transformed Nigeria.
The major challenges stunting our development as a nation are corruption and lack of political will to enforce rule of law. I urge the president to accord seriousness in monitoring and evaluating his appointees. Goals should be set alongside timelines, anyone who fails to measure up should be shown the way out. The president should also ensure that measures are put in place to stamp out corruption or to at least lessen it because no serious achievement could be made if political appointees are not held accountable.
One of the daring policies the president made is the complete subsidy removal on petroleum products. The subsidy quagmire was as old as Nigeria itself as various administration alluded to their failures to deliver to the subsidy conundrum. Do you think with the subsidy removal Nigeria will get it right this time around?
This is what I referred to as the boldness of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Since he came, unlike any other administration he has removed the petrol subsidy which has lingered for time immemorial, suspended CBN governor, Emefiele, suspended EFCC chairman, Bawa and harmonized the exchange rate as well as other very significant actions he took in a very short space of time.
With this kind of courage, I believe the president will make a lot of inroads in a short time. But I will not fail to say that some of these courageous policies also have their flipsides especially on the lives and livelihood of Nigeria’s toiling masses. Even before the introduction of these policies, life for an ordinary Nigerian is a mishmash of agonies and pains. Already, there is crippling inflation, high unemployment rate, massive insecurity, and dearth of infrastructure which is responsible for the staggering poverty levels we had as over 133 million out of the 200 million Nigerians according to studies, are currently subjected to multidimensional poverty.
This calls for sober reflection on the part of the president and the need for putting robust palliative measures to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal on petroleum products. And going by reports, very soon the subsidy on electricity will also be removed. I want to really make a clarion call on Mr. President to tarry awhile on the subsidy removal on electricity due to the harsh and inclement economic conditions being faced by the greater majority of Nigerians till the effect of the petroleum subsidy removal is significantly reduced.
And I must also call on Mr. President to remain very vigilante as far as the harmonization of the exchange rate regime is concerned. In the past, various presidents like Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha and even Olusegun Obasanjo have put in place the exchange harmonization policy without success. So for this policy to thrive successfully, President Tinubu must do what the other presidents failed to do to ensure its success.
What is your take on the arrest of the suspended CBN governor, Emefiele?
The suspended CBN governor has long outlived his usefulness. Emifiele has only succeeded in bastardizing the economy as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu rightly said during his visit to France recently. The inglorious reign of Emefiele has nearly brought Nigeria to its knees because of a regime of unprecedented mismanagement, abuse of office, looting of our treasuries and high-handedness that took place.
He almost ruined our naira through massive printing of our currency, introduction of a regime of multifaceted exchange rates and at a point even contested for the presidency and lately came up with the naira swap policy which caused massive havoc to Nigerians.
The suspended CBN governor has also bastardized the agricultural sector and completely abandoned his role as the CBN governor and turned himself to a farm manager. Because of that, the real agricultural practice was relegated to the background. He corruptly introduced all sorts of contraptions through which massive larceny took place.
We have federal ministry of agriculture, states ministries of agriculture, we also have agricultural development authorities, we have river basin development authorities and we have bank of agriculture. But in his desire to fritter away tax payers money, Emefiele abandon all the existing institutions meant to administer the agricultural sector and introduced those contraptions I mentioned earlier in his desire to shortchange Nigerians.
If the CBN governor has involved the bank of agriculture in channelling the massive resources he spent in funding his pet contraptions to the peasant farmers as is being done, Nigeria would have become a hub of food exportation to other countries. The suspension and arrest of Emefiele is a right step in the right direction. The government should go further to dissolve the new outfits Emefiele created and merge them with long standing institutions.
What is your take on the election of the new leadership of National Assembly?
As we all know, the national assembly is the bastion of democracy. Our democracy is completely hinged on the legislative arm of government. It is the only institution that guarantees the sustainability of democracy. Judiciary and executive arms are very important too, but the most important arm is the legislative arm.
The NASS has elected its leaders in a free and fair atmosphere even though with some guidance as dictated by the circumstances we find ourselves. My call is for the winners of the election to be magnanimous in victory and to carry his fellow contestant as equal partners in the progress of that important arm of government. I will also call on those who loss the election to accept the outcome in good faith. My call on the leadership to be magnanimous in victory is based on the ugly experience of 1999 of which I was an actor. Because of the failure of the then senate president Evans Enwerem to carry Sen. Chuba Okadigbo along, the senate from the beginning to its end was embroiled in crisis which snowballed into the disgraceful fall of Enwerem.
In order not to repeat such mistake, I call on the Senate President H.E Godswill Akpabio to embrace the camp of his major rival, H.E Abdulazeez Yari for peace to prevail.
I’m optimistic the new leadership of the senate, will be able to provide the leadership needed to ensure peace and stability of the 10th National Assembly and to also carry out its oversight functions effectively. I also urged the leadership to support President Tinubu in his desire to turn around the fortunes of the country and TRANSFORM our dear Nation from third world to first. It is doable and I believe president Bola Ahmed Tinubu has the capacity to do it.
How confident are you in the abilities of Tinubu to deliver the goods?
I have absolute confidence that Tinubu will deliver on his mandate because the president has demonstrated that many years ago even before he became the governor of Lagos State. Tinubu was among the close allies of Abiola who supported him to win the annulled June 12 election of 1993. We all know what he did when he became the governor of Lagos State. In 1999 everybody was afraid to go to Lagos State because of the activities of the area boys and other security concerns.
In his first term, he completely rid Lagos of the activities of the area boys and all other security concerns hence turning Lagos to a model city. In his second coming, he turned around the economic fortunes of the state despite the unnecessary altercation with president Olusegun Obasanjo that led to the withdrawal of the allocation of the state for several months. Today Lagos is more economically viable than many countries and that clearly shows that Tinubu has the antecedents to succeed even at a higher level because Lagos state is a real example of the complexity and heterogeneity of the Nigerian State.