Saturday, April 18, 2015

Buhari's New Nigeria?

Many who frequents this blog will readily remember my oft refrain that the more things change the more they remain the same. Will this continue with the newly elected government in Nigeria? Time will tell. For now let's read excerpts from the interview the press did with our president elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

There has been an influx of defectors from the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to your party, APC, since after your victory at the polls. Many think the development may destabilise the APC. How do you intend to manage the situation?

I think this is a question meant for the party. I wish John Oyegun was here to answer you because we have a system. Just because I am the presidential candidate and the president-elect, I don’t think  the system has allowed me to usurp the power of the party executives. But, certainly, in a multi-party democratic system, fundamentally, it is the number that matters for the people. But for the party, what matters is the ability to manage the number so that the majority will have its way and  there will be justice. No matter what happens to the PDP by May 29, I assure you or I assure them through you that there will be justice in the APC.

A new government, which you will head, will soon be inaugurated. Can you tell us what criteria you will be using in selecting those who you will work with?

It is a difficult time for Nigerians as you all know. I have said it in the past that, in the last 16 years, Nigeria has never realised the amount of revenue it received. The price of a barrel of crude oil rose to
 about 140 dollars and then  crashed to about 50 dollars. During the 16 years, we know what 
happened to some big companies that employ a lot of Nigerians and give them training facilities like the Nigeria Airways, Nigeria  National Shipping Line.
Even Nigeria Railway is managing to be on paper with some refurbished engines moving from Lagos to Ibadan and a few other places. If you go to their stations all over the country, you will realise that they are in a terrible shape. The important thing in a country with a huge population  of youths with more than 60 percent of them under the age of 30 who are unemployed is that you  need these institutions to give jobs and training to them. It is very disappointing that the PDP government virtually failed to use those resources to  grow the economy.
I think the worst thing is the lack of accountability and the terrible budgetary system. Imagine that over 90 percent of Nigerian budget is on recurrent. How can you sustain development in a country like Nigeria with only about 10 percent of your income? Things just have to change. There must be more money available for infrastructure, for investment in getting the factories back, employment and getting goods and services for the population. I think the sins of PDP will be coming out for several years to come.
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