Chief Uche Secondus, a former Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), spoke in this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI on the reports that Nigeria has exited recession, anti-corruption war and other issues of national interests. Excerpts:
The Federal Government is celebrating the report by the NBS that Nigeria is out of recession but many Nigerians are saying the reality on ground is not support of that claim. What is your perspective on that?
The issue of recession is not a political issue and that is where APC got it wrong. It is an economic issue. Nigerian exiting from recession should be a combination of the Economic team and the private sector. Both should lead I informing Nigerians what has happened but in this case, it was handled by the political class in a political manner and this has generated lots of comments. The feeling on the streets is that Nigeria is going deeper. The government should realise that coming out of recession is not something you just sleep, wake up and make an announcement.
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There should be improvements in the way of lives, there should be improvement in accommodation and payment of salaries should be regular. Some states are still owing several months of salaries without civil servants getting their money as at when due. You also know that insecurity is a big challenge, whether in the Niger Delta or in the North. So, I don’t see how we have exited from recession. Government’s pronouncement does not grant us exit from recession.
The ruling APC came to power with the promise to deliver change to Nigerians; have they been able to deliver that change since mounting since it became the ruling party over two years ago?
It is holistic failure. They promised that the exchange rate will be better, but today, it is worse. They promised that they will make lives comfortable for Nigerians and food will be cheaper, but today, things are very expensive. They did promised that the insecurity challenges will be tackled and Boko Haram insurgency will be brought to an end, today, you can see all what is going on around the country.
It used to be kidnappings in the Niger Delta alone, but today in Kaduna, many senior people, ambassadors are being kidnapped. The Nigerian Police are helpless because they have no equipment and material to work with. Salaries are being owed across the country. In fact, if there is change at all, this change that is currently operating in Nigeria today is a change to suffering. The masses are suffering. There is hunger in the land of Nigeria and the federal government is carrying on as if they are clueless about what to do.
The current APC government is broken. There is rulership by cabal. They have turned the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to a joke, a child’s play. They wake up today and tell us ‘FEC meeting is not holding because there is rat in the president’s office’. The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed makes a caricature of the entire system. Their change to me has been a failure and Nigerians can attest to that.
What is your perspective on the Buhari administration’s anti- corruption war?
The previous government of PDP led by Olusegun Obasanjo established the structure to fight corruption in this country. Anti-corruption agencies that we have today such as EFCC, ICPC were established by the PDP Government. It is the method of approach that matters. The PDP government fought corruption, it may be right, it may be wrong or they didn’t fight it well as Nigerians or the international community expected.
But the structures were put in place by the government of PDP. Now, APC took over the government and their change is all about fighting corruption. The PDP is not against the fight against corruption but we believe that it must be fought legally and in accordance with the laws of the land. You can’t carry out revenge mission or vendetta and claim you are fighting corruption. All those who are indicted should be prosecuted.
We believe it should not be a one-sided affair. What we have seen so far is that former governors who left PDP to APC who will know and who some of their states have come out with white papers, white paper from the judicial enquiry indicting them, the matters are in court yet the EFCC and APC government don’t want to investigate because of these indicted people are Ministers in Buhari’s cabinet. But time will tell. Government is temporary and everybody one day will answer for his or her deeds.
My own take is that they should stop going about the anti- corruption war as if they are the ones who established these institutions. These institutions were established by us but APC is using it to carry out revenge missions on PDP members. They are more interested in media trial and running people down instead of going to courts to obtain judgments which is the proper thing to do. If you say a man has stolen, take him to court. The government has realised some money from alleged looters, what have they done with the money? Nigerians want to know what they are doing with the money. This government is highly corrupt because nepotism too is corruption.
You will soon be electing a new national chairman. As a former national chairman of the party, what qualities are you looking for in who occupies the position?
The convention will be coming up in December. The position of national chairman has been zoned to the South. We believe the national chairman should not only be able to lead, he should be able to keep everyone together in order to be able to win election. I believe that anyone who will be elected must possess the ability to keep everyone together as one family.
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Rivers PDP had three senators in 2015, today you have just one while two belongs to APC. Are you not worried by this development?
They took two from us. We won the three in 2015 but they came up with cancellations, sat down and wrote the results. The rest is now history. They know what happened. We don’t want to accuse the judges but the fact is that it is clear to all Nigerians that we won the elections but the courts took it from us.
Do you see PDP retaining Rivers in 2019?
APC was in government in Rivers under Amaechi, yet we won. PDP was in government at the federal level, yet APC won. We are in control of the National Assembly over 80 percent. We are in control of the House of Representatives. We control the local governments and the governor also belongs to our party.
The governor, Nyesom Wike is doing very well and that is what the people needs. He is providing good reads, quality education and other essential services. He is a man of the people. Today, PDP is the biggest political party in Rivers state. We have been there for more than 16 years so, I don’t see how APC wants to do any magic. The APC knows they cannot win election in Rivers. They are relying on INEC as they did in the case of the South East constituency. They will stay in a house or hotel and write up results. If they try that in 2019, it will be counter-productive.
The post APC’s Promise Of Change Has Been A Failure – Secondus appeared first on Independent Newspapers.
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Author: Temidayo Akinsuyi