Posted By: AYO ESAN
Pastor of Soul Winning Church and President of Ecclectic Network, Rev. Moses Iloh, in this interview with Ayo Esan, assesses President Muhammadu Buhari’s activities in government since May 29 and says he is on the right track.
How would you assess President Muhammadu Buhari’s government since the inauguration on May 29?
He is being constructive and watching his steps, I think his performance since May 29 that he came to power shows high level of wisdom and intelligence. Though Nigerians will like to rush him out but I think he is sufficiently experienced and he is going step by step and I am very impressed with the way he is handling the problems of Nigeria. The problems in the country are enormous and if he tries to run through them, they may run him out. I think the way he is going about it shows maturity and he is making an effort to be near thorough.
He inherited a bad economy as almost 22 states had been unable to pay workers but he has released some bailout money, how do you see such bailout and the economy left behind by former president Goodluck Jonathan?
Jonathan’s regime was a disaster. For people to owe salaries for such a long time is also bad. It is not enough to give them money to pay, it should be investigated. Governors, Permanent Secretaries or whoever are responsible should be punished for people there to know that you can’t get away with things like this. How do you explain that the civil servants worked for you for six months and you didn’t pay them salaries? But the governors have their allowances; I think it should not just be brushed aside. It is not a matter of given them money to pay workers, no. There should be investigation as to why they were not paid. If they were not paid, what happened? Was there no money given to the governors? We should let the public know. This issue should be taken seriously, for families to work for 11 months, some nine months and others six months without pay should not be swept under the carpet at all. We want to know the reason so that the present government would not make the same mistake again.
Buhari has also said he would probe people in the last government, especially the Ministers who he accused of stashing away Nigeria’s money. What is your position on this?
Doing that is very important. But what I will really like to see is that the President should talk less on what he is going to do and begin to do it. Let us get up one morning and hear what he is doing. But giving us information that he is going to do something should stop. Nigeria is a very dangerous place and it must be understood that of all the people who are behind him both in APC and the PDP, only five per cent really approve of him. So it is important for him to begin to do and not give notice of what he intends to do. So far we know that his intentions are right.
Boko Haram insurgency has been on for years now. How do you think we can get out of this problem?
Boko Haram insurgency is becoming a mystery. Now we are hearing that they are being funded from oil money that was stolen. We also hear that to stop them you have to get the people funding them. What it means is that the Boko Haram fighters are Nigerians and that the problem is from Nigeria. It is not going to be easy to find out who the fellows are because the police seem unreliable, the army is now supposed to be also involved in some kind of things with soldiers telling the people the plan of the Nigerian Army. So the whole thing is full of fraud and a mystery. I don’t really know what can be done, only God can solve it. But so far, it is heart-rending when you think of the number of innocent people who have been killed and who are being killed. Let the Nigerian Army get well equipped and let them go out with the support of the neighbouring countries. Let them go out and stop this nonsense. But this is not the time to waste in investigating, we may investigate in future. This is the time to go in full force.
The ruling party, APC, is just coming out of crisis over the election of the principal officers of the national assembly. How do you see such early crisis in the party and don’t you think it would disturb the implementation of the change programme of the Buhari administration?
The most unfortunate thing is that the foundation of this 8th national assembly is fraudulent. The foundation is corrupt, and I know that no corrupt tree can yield a good fruit. I do not see a pleasant tomorrow for the politics of Nigeria with the crop of people who are there now. The way they have put them in the leadership, there is indiscipline, corruption that the police are looking into. The foundation of that house is rotten and I think it portends danger for Nigeria. I can foresee a problem coming. They have a hidden agenda that is dangerous, and I don’t know how the President will handle it but certainly they needed a silent indepth investigation so that they can quickly round up the culprits. There is danger to have the two houses leadership based on corruption and suspicion. I think it is dangerous. For me, they could hinder the President if he is not careful. Something should be done quickly to investigate and deal with the matter quickly.
How do we progress as a nation?
What the President needs to do now, I know he is trying to be careful about appointing Ministers, but he should begin to do certain things that will make Nigeria to feel that there is a tomorrow. He is not God and so he cannot do everything. When we talk about change in Nigeria, Buhari cannot change anything, Nigerians are responsible for the change. Those who call themselves Christians should begin to behave like Christ. Those who call themselves Muslims should behave like Allah want them to do. People should begin to behave appropriately. Let the change start from individuals. So for Nigerians to now take responsibility for change, the President has to begin to do something. One of the things he should be able to do if we have a settled House of Reps and Senate is to quickly pass a bill that if a man wants to get a job, you should remove the question of tribe, religion, state, local government; all you should put there is nationality.
The second is, the President should do something about unemployment. We don’t expect government to employ people as such but there must be something you can establish that would interest investors. I know that finding the best people to be ministers is taking a long time. What he has to do now is to take some people that are better. Whoever he can get as minister, he has to move. Why I support what he is doing is that no dirty water can wash any dirty thing clean. If he gets dirty ministers they would steal. But there must be some people on the borderline. What I recommend for the President to do now is to establish a bureau that will investigate the background of good people. Because in Nigeria no matter how good you are, if you don’t know these big thieves, if you don’t know them to lobby through for you, you cannot get anything good. Whoever thinks he is good, let him send his/her CV to that bureau. Let the bureau secretly or silently investigate such people. If you found them right, call and give them job.
What advice do you have for the electorate?
The media should let Nigerians know that there is a policy or habit of recalling those you voted for. Let the press educate them on this. Can you imagine people fighting and beating themselves up in this assembly already? When you elect people and you find out that they are not doing the right thing, recall them; that is democracy. That would make whoever is elected to be afraid
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