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Nigerian politicians lack morality –PPA chairman

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A healthy workforce is a healthy nation. Those piloting the vehicle of this nation are not those who are in the offices; the workers are the ones doing the work. I agree that the N40,000 per month is high but rejecting it in totality without reviewing it to a certain level to accommodate an increment is totally unacceptable because those at the conference have not led by example. They are leaving the conference with N12 million for staying there for three months when a Nigerian worker will work for 35 years and get less. Where is the justification? It is only in Nigeria that there are no proper working systems for workers. There is no means of transportation for workers to convey them to work and back home. The workers themselves run their own government. When you work and your salary is N80,000 per month, you will have to buy diesel, water and transport yourself and do sundry things. You even have to pay higher when there is fuel scarcity. Government never takes that into consideration because when there is fuel scarcity, a man that lives in Masaka or Mararaba who comes to work in the city of Abuja will have to pay N300 or even more. These are the things the government needs to put into consideration but because the government is distant from the people, they are not aware of this fact. It is now obvious that those at the National Conference are only interested in their own personal interest. None of them said, “No, what you are giving to us is much. We won’t take N12m.” Who says you have to stay in a luxurious hotel because you want to change Nigeria? Where will the change come from?

But people like Pastor Tunde Bakare opted not to collect the money.

In a gathering where the percentage is less than one that does not represent the views of over 300 others. The fact still remains that, if they must reject, it shouldn’t just be one person. We are saying that they are taking too much to stay just for three months while you are asking a Nigerian worker who is staying for 35 years to take less. That is why the progressive minds who are supposed to be there to change things were deliberately locked out by the government. The conference has failed. The National Political Reforms Conference that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo convened was a show; everybody was interested, people were glued to their television sets.

But it is a widely held belief that nothing concrete came out of that.

It is always like that when there are no proper framework. It was because the government at that time lacked the will to make something come out of it. We thought that a proper legal framework would have been laid down for it right before it started, so that it can, on its own, generate laws after the decisions have been taken. Now, it will be dependent on President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to make this thing come back to life. Now, they are saying that the National Assembly should run on part-time basis, will legislators pass such a law?

Do you share the belief that part-time legislature will reduce a the cost of governance in Nigeria?

The National Assembly can be operated on a part-time basis. If you love Nigeria so much that you want to work for the country, you should work for Nigeria from your office on a part-time basis. The National Assembly should also serve in a way that it will lessen the cost of governance on our nation. That is why you see that people are fighting and killing to be members of the National Assembly, to be governors and senators because it is so lucrative that if you go in, you come out 10 times richer than you went in. That is not service. Until we change our idea of service in this country, we will be a giant still crawling on the ground. We will be crawling because that is the decision of those who are leading us now because they have even blocked the gap for new minds to get into governance. Is it rocket science to change Nigeria?

What do you think is responsible for politicians defecting from one party to another especially now that the 2015 election is just by the corner?

These people are making a caricature of our democracy and the freedom which the constitution of Nigeria has given us. How can a man wake up and say I believe in the All Progressives Congress, I am leaving the Peoples Democratic Party for the APC because I want change and then in less than five months you now move to the other party? Is it trading?

Who exactly are you referring to?

I am talking about Femi Fani-Kayode. Look at the history of his Twitter account; he has been blasting the PDP. And he wakes up today that he is moving back to PDP. I think this whole thing is based on moral grounds. Our Nigerian politicians have lost all moral grounds to tell even the younger ones the road to follow. They have never kept to their promise. When we were growing up, they used to tell us that when you get to a certain age, you should not say something and go back to it. But these people have done it over and over again. Within a period of 15 years of our democracy, some people have changed parties more than six times. It is not a fair thing for our democracy.

Would you say the Independent National Electoral Commission is prepared for the 2015 elections?

The current INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has good intentions but Nigeria should go beyond good intentions. They was a lot of fraud in the November 16, 2013 Anambra State governorship election. Even though the ballot papers had serial numbers, people still came in with their fraud. We expect the security agencies to stay away from the elections to allow politicians play their game. They should stay away from the ballot boxes. They could provide security around but don’t stand by the ballot box because staying close to the ballot box intimidates voters. Because they know that those security agencies belong to the government and so, they will want to favour government. And it is an undue advantage over other political parties. For the INEC, they wanted to use Anambra as a litmus test but they lost it there. Ekiti and Osun governorship elections are around the corner. For us to really know how prepared the INEC is ahead of 2015, we must wait for the result of Ekiti and Osun governorship polls. Those elections will increase our level of confidence on INEC but for now, we are not really sure of where we are going. The National Assembly should not have tampered with the budget of the INEC because bad, violent and rigged elections are some of the reasons why we are suffering today. And if we do not get things right, we will continue to suffer; this means that INEC must be on its toes working both day and night to guarantee a free and fair election come 2015.

Do you see politics at play in the abduction of over 200 female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State?

It becomes painful when the government sees everything that happens as being against it. Citizens’ participation in governance is key to the survival of the government in any country. Activism on the part of the citizens will even make the democracy of a country stronger. If the people had not protested the fuel subsidy removal, they will be buying fuel at N141 per litre. It is just that Nigerian citizens have failed to understand that they are the government; that is why the government is taking us for a ride. Concerning the Chibok girls who have been abducted, I praise those who have left their means of livelihood to participate in the protest marches. This is not a protest, it is not violence. Nobody is asking that the government should step down. These people are only asking for the release of their sisters who have been abducted. What government should have done was to commend them and not to go about banning protests and claiming constitutional rights. Citizens have the right to question anyone in government because they put them there and they should be accountable to them. If there is no process for accounting for what we do while in government, then there is no need for government.

Article Credit: Punchng

Updated 4 Years ago

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