■ Says at 72, Buhari is weak and cannot perform any magic
FROM: GEOFFREY ANYANWU, AWKA
The Archbishop, Enugu Province and Bishop of Enugu Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma has called for the probe of the outgoing Governors in the country, describing some of them as being careless with their states’ funds.
In an interview with Sunday Sun, the outspoken cleric advised Nigerians not to expect any magic from the incoming President, General Muhammadu Buhari, as he is weak at 72 and would be taking over a country in a serious economic mess.
He said that coupled with the problem of the economy of the country, Buhari has around him greedy and selfish people who might cause his downfall, describing the challenges before the incoming President as enormous.
The general election has come and gone but it seems the politicians are bent on over heating the polity. PDP and APC have engaged in accusations and counter accusations, what is your reaction to this development?
We are grateful to God that we have our peace now after the elections because of the way Jonathan decided to give up the position without any rancor. In as much as we commend him, we also want to say that his subordinates are not toeing the same example. Many of them are afraid of failure or going back to nothing after they have failed and that will be as a result of many of them not having an investment and that is why I have always said that any politician in this country that should be vying for any position must have something to fall back to. They must have business they have established so that when you fail in your political career, you go back to your business career.
Many of them are losers on both sides, no business to go back to and then no political career anymore. Politics should be a sort of service exercise; politics should not be a matter of profession, vocation or what you will take as a job, it should be a voluntary service, to serve the people but Nigerians have taken politics as a means of earning, a means of acquisition of wealth and squandering public funds. Because of that when it comes to losing of election there is always a friction and that’s what we are seeing now. And so as we prepare for the transition now, if you are sincere that you have loss and have nothing to go back to and you have served Nigeria creditably, clearly without any hidden agenda, then be ready to hand over without any rancor. But the problem is that many of them have skeleton in their cupboards and that’s why we have these problems right now. I advise our politicians to be sincere to themselves, this country belongs to all of us, it does not belong to any particular individual, let them not think that this government or offices belong to them personally, it is not. If you don’t release these offices willingly, death will come and they will have to leave by force. So we don’t want any unrest or violence.
It is not an easy task to take over a government that is already in an economic mess. Whether we like it or not, Nigeria is in a serious economic mess, we are in debts and that is why people should not expect any magic from Buhari. As he prepares to take over, he has a very big task ahead of him, a very big challenge ahead of him, but I am sorry for him because people around him are going to make him fail. Buhari’s men and people around him are people who are greedy, people who are selfish will definitely influence his decisions and he may fail and that will be a big disappointment for Nigeria. So what I am saying now is that as far as am concerned, politicians should be very careful and know that this country belongs to all of us and not to them and should hand over peacefully. Is unfortunate that many of them have already acquired a lot of debts and are owning workers, they should make sure that before the end of this month workers and people being owed should be paid, no debt should be transferred to the incoming government otherwise it becomes a problem.
We have just celebrated May Day, I advise politicians that they should pay their workers before the new dispensation and the new dispensation when they come they must make sure they take very serious cognizance of the welfare of Nigerians and the welfare of the workers. Politicians are highly paid while those who work are suffering. This should be looked into, even those who are civil servants are looking for PA or probably SA job in politics, because of the huge amount of money they are paying them. Political appointees which should not be so. If a lot of money are being pushed to politics and people who are SAs and PAs are earning a lot of money, then people who are serving the country in offices should be earning much satisfactory salary and that is what they must look into.
The amounts of money that are going into politics, allowances are getting too much and I think that must be reduced and be regulated. I think that the incoming president will look into it, there are a lot of wastages, and even the security votes should be cut down. The security vote should be cut down; part of the security vote should be sent into the payment of salaries of workers. Many of these Governors are so useless with the security vote that they are not even securing any thing. Apart from security vote, they are still stealing more money, there is confusion everywhere, we are tired of this corruption, selfishness, aggrandizements and materialism in the lives of our politicians, and enough is enough. The young ones are crying and that is the problem we are going to face right now, so many universities are being approved but no employment for the young ones after schooling and the new government must look in to it. You cannot produce graduates without jobs. We creating problem that will be worse than Boko Haram as time goes on because these frustrated youg ones will one day begin to attack the politicians on the way and it will be very dangerous, so we must start to look for a way out of it, these are happening because of selfishness and greed that have eaten deep into our leaders and is a shame.
As per Enugu state here, I think there must be caution in Legislation, the legislature of Enugu state is in disarray now because of family influence and friendship influence and attack, and counter impeachment. I think they should understand that this state belongs to all of us and they should be cautioned. The Governor should be sensible that in going he should not create problem for the incoming Governor. The way the out going Governor has tackled issues is absolutely disgraceful and disappointing, the way they have shared the lands even at the conference centre, it should be revoked. And once a resolution has been passed in the House for that, that should stand, that resolution to revoke the land being shared at the conference centre should stand. Presidential Hotel is there and is dead. Sullivan met Presidential Hotel; Sullivan is leaving Presidential Hotel dead. Many of the roads are not tarred, they are owing a lot of people, salaries are not paid, pensioners are not paid but he has made himself confortable in Bisala Road House 9, go and see what he is building there. Is that how to rule the people? A lot of money has been stolen, in this present government both in Enugu and other states and I feel they should be probed. The outgoing Governors should be probed; EFCC should go after them to render account because they cannot create problem for the incoming government. Enough is enough and if that is not done, then there is partiality and selective evidence in the governance of Nigeria. There must be a sense of cautioning our people not to do things with impunity, there is so much impunity in the outgoing government and that is why what is happening now is happening and that is why people are tired. You see what is happening in the oil industry, the fuel sub-sector, why should we be owing that? Things are becoming so difficult, people can no more get fuel easily, is it a sabotage or what? These are things they must put right and get it right so that the incoming government will have leverage and a very plain playing ground to work and make a change, if not whether you like it or not, the incoming government will find it difficult and things will be worse than it was during Jonathan’s reign.
People feel Buhari has all it takes to turn the country around and deal with the corruption issue, but they are also of the opinion that there are corrupt people in around him and his party that may want to force him into looking the other way. What do you feel about that?
Buhari does not have the capacity to perform any magic at his old age. The Buhari you knew when he was a military man is not the Buhari of the civilian government. Buhari was able to perform and do what he did because of decree, he was ruling with decree, he was also having a backing of a man who was not corrupt, Idiagbon. Right now there is no Idiagbon behind Buhari, there is no magic he can perform and with his old age at 72, Buhari is a weak man now and he can easily be influenced and turn around by the corrupt people around him. Buhari cannot rule this country without abiding by the constitution; Buhari cannot rule this country without passing through the National Assembly. If they give him tough time in passing budget or in passing some bills, he cannot move forward so it is not a matter of Buhari alone, it is a collective responsibility for this incoming government to work and that is why he must make sure that the incoming government must be a collective rule, inclusive rule, all inclusive. If it is not all inclusive, then they will be in trouble.
It is true PDP has lost but PDP has a very reasonable percentage of success in many of the states and the whole country. So it is not a matter of winner takes it all, if not it is going to be a problem for him and that is why APC must be very careful. They must make sure that PDP has a reasonable success percentage in many of the states and it should be all inclusive, so that they can get the cooperation of other parties. Then people who are around him also are selfish, most of them are looking for their own selfish satisfaction and all that, so I don’t believe that probably any serious thing can happen if Buhari does not caution and discipline himself. Unless he allows himself to be ruled by the spirit of God and stand on his known principle, without being influenced or being twisted by those greedy politicians, you will see what will happen as far as appointments are concerned, there is going to be trouble in the house of APC as far as appointments are concerned.
There going to be trouble even in the Senate and House of representatives because of election of officers and appointments. We are only praying for them and all we want to say is that Buhari can only succeed if he is highly principled, stand his feet and work cooperatively with the National Assembly and with all the party members and abiding with the constitution and according to the rule of law.
What kind of opposition would you expect from PDP?
Well, apart from PDP, Ndigbo as a whole should be the beautiful bride. Let me tell you, the Northerners and the Westerners cannot go together easily and that is why PDP and Ndigbo should stand firm and very strong because when the chips are down, they are going to be intermediaries, they are going to be people who are going to be balancers. So PDP should not lose hope or think that all is finished because the house of APC has some internal problems for which PDP will be useful to resolve, so as far as am concerned if PDP is not recognized and given their due respect, then they will make themselves serious opposition to the APC, and when they make themselves serious opposition to the APC, then there will be too much heat in the government to come. So that is why everybody should work together.
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