Nigerians are tired of excuses from President Buhari- Hon. Cheshi

Nigerians are tired of excuses from President Buhari- Hon. Cheshi
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The Executive Director of Gbagyi Indigenous Peoples Initiative (GIPI), Nuhu Danladi Cheshi, is an entrepreneur who aspires to represent the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and Bwari Area councils of the federal capital territory. In this interview with AljazirahNigeria, he said Nigerians are yearning for dividends of democracy from the present administration.

Excerpts:

 

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By Lubem Gena, Abuja

 

As a Nigerian who is an entrepreneur and a politician, what fundamental thing would you say has changed in the country since President Muhammadu Buhari took over mantle of leadership?

 

So much change has been made but the people are saying there are two types of change which are positive and negative. To me, I am a positivist. I see things from the positive perspective. Besides, I still believe that Buhari means well for Nigeria. And I have no reason to doubt him yet. For now, I believe he is working towards bringing those positive things we as a people want to see.

Particularly, as regards security, we have seen the victory of the army over the Boko Haram insurgents. I must tell you that this government has done well in terms of security because it was almost getting overwhelming.

Every part of this country had a security challenge before they came. Some or most of these challenges are human challenges. Sometimes, I marvel at the way we as a people think. People wake up and decide to be disastrous. People would decide to frustrate a system that is supposed to work in their favour and turn around and blame it on the system again.

Look at what is happening everywhere; everybody is agitating for something. Of course, people would always want a better lifestyle and enjoy all benefits. But we cannot all be in government at the same time. I am not particular about who is there or not. What I care about is the result.

First of all, some people don’t even believe in anything good. They only believe that nothing good will come out and if anything good comes out, it is not good.

Just imagine when people said that no Chibok girl was abducted! When you say this, what about the parents? How do you expect them to feel? That is insensitive. They know very well that these girls have gone through a process. They registered for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and were properly documented before the incident took place. The school is there. We have the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaigners who are still going around and are speaking in clear terms about the issue.

For me, it is the responsibility of the government to secure lives and properties but you should encourage the government because people are losing their lives every day for no just fault of theirs. People should at least encourage the government. They should not try to frustrate what those in authorities are doing. We should celebrate even the signs. In this administration, we have more than 21 girls returned to their parents. And every now and then, they pick up one or two of them. If they say ‘bring back our girls, where are the girls? And if you are so insistent, why don’t you lead us to where they are? You have to allow the security people to do their work. It is not every information that they have to make public.

Let us go to the economy. This is where many people have come to have problem with the problem administration. The economy is on the downward slope. But basically, do you have the confidence that this administration will successfully navigate us out of the recession?

 

I choose to stay positive all the time. However, I have my concerns. The economic situation in Nigeria appears to be getting worse. It’s not the fault of this administration. I am at peace because I am an Economist myself. I can tell that when I see the news, I reconcile it with my study, and knowledge of Economics, I can tell you that we can have a better country very soon. But a common man doesn’t know about economics, all he cares about is food on his table and he wants to meet basic needs and his lifestyle.

So, we are faced with situations in this country where I can tell you that people have bought over farms not to eat or sell but to frustrate and halt the food supply in the system. And these are done with stolen funds and some people are still saying the government should leave these people alone.

People have bought tomatoes and even pepper farms. There is plenty in the land that could have gone round, yet there is scarcity. Those people just want to frustrate the system. Economic sabotage is a crime. It is worse than financial crime. When you try to sabotage an economy, even in America that we keep talking about, when you are engaged in this, you are presumed guilty until you prove your innocence. In other climes, you have the right to keep silent because anything you say could be used against you but in economic crimes, you have to prove that you are innocent. The don’t joke with it. It’s a big war. I have no sympathy for anybody who believes that he wants to jeopardise the economy; the future of our nation to prove a point or score any political goal. Shame on such people!

Let’s move to the war against corruption. Most people are of the opinion that we are making good progress. Yet, a certain majority is also of the opinion that we are progressing in error. They base their argument on the premise that, there are some corrupt elements in the administration who are shielded. How would you put these two views side by side?

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First of all, when you form a government, you necessarily don’t do that with angels. You form government with your team. You don’t win an election alone. You win an election with your people. When you want to form a government, there are many interests that you consider. And in those considerations, some of those people you will have to work with them, you may not even know them. Some of them are appointed into positions based on recommendations and the report you have about them. But people change. Just like you may give birth to a child but not give birth to his habit or way of thinking. That same way, the government can decide that at the time they make an appointment, with the fact that they have available to them, believe that a man can perform a certain duty or responsibility. But the man may change. It is also for the government to change. I would not want to rush into conclusions because every person has to be given a chance to prove his innocence or otherwise. However, we don’t have time. We have to work. We have run out of time. This government barely has two years. And these two years are not political years, I mean live years. I tell you, by the end of next year, people will start working towards the next election. But you can achieve so much even in a day, week, months and a year not to talk about two years. I can tell you this government still has an opportunity to make Nigerians believe in it. This to me is because, the depth and the burden it inherited is not a minor one. So, if anybody thought he could just come and ride and it will be a smooth sail, the person is wrong.

The question begging for answer however is, are we taking the right steps? Something has to be done. You see, we need young minds in the government. We cannot continue the way we are going. We need innovations and new ways of thinking to be injected into the government. I don’t know how but still strongly believe that the president still means well for the country. Meaning well is not enough. What we want is results and that is what we want from the president. And anybody who is not willing to support him should be kicked out of the system. There are many willing minds who believe in this country genuinely that want the best for this country and they should be given the opportunity to serve.

The government has commenced the implementation of social safety programmes across the country in terms of the N-Power project and payment of a stipend to the poor and vulnerable in the country. How do you look at these especially in the viewpoint of the problems they are expected to solve? Do you think this could solve any problem?

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Definitely, it will do something and make an impact because if you look at the number of people that are going to be reached through these programmes, you will discover that it will certainly create a long-lasting impact. Is it the best programme? It can be better. However, if it is a campaign promise that was made and the government deems it fit to redeem the promise, people should appreciate it. And I like the way it is been done. They are working with development partners. So, it is not that it is been done the way people would want it. They want it to look like a bazaar where money will be brought and shared. No. These development partners already have a system that they are working with. And I tell you, it may look small to you who is an elite; a city man who is working here. But I tell you, for someone who is in the village, that money means so much to him. They can use it to start a small or medium business. They can also work in partnership and create cooperatives and hence all this is being worked out with the development partners, I believe at the end of the day, Nigerians will feel the impact of these programmes.

And like the people said when the president mentioned that ‘change begins with me’, people argued that it is even too late. People have been seeking to know where the change is. And it is in response to such question that, (in my opinion) the president said the change begins with you. If you change and I change, the society will be better and all of us will feel the change. That campaign is timely. It couldn’t have come at a better time. It is for us to key into it as a people by believing in this country and doing our bit. Once everyone does this, everything will take a good shape.

 

Let’s take a look at the relationship between the Executive and the National Assembly. To say the least, the relationship is not cordial and it is affecting the ordinary man because there is no synergy between the two arms of government…

 

(…Cuts in) You have hit me where it pinches most. You will realise that I have a lot of sympathy for Bukola Saraki, the Senate President. Sometimes when I go somewhere, people say I look like him. I wrote on his page at a point and told him my opinion about all these. But I tell you, the president made one mistake: there is no government that is not interested in the legislature. If the President had taken the right step from the beginning, we wouldn’t have been where we are now. Nigeria has not grown to the level of politics of neutrality. You need to stand with someone. You need to have a team that will go with you all the way. However, where we are now, let us make the best out of it. The legislature too needs to realize that all of us are Nigerians. They have to work for us as a people. If the president has positive ideas, they should not just sabotage it. They should be supportive of it and the president should also give them a chance. Now, elections are over, it is time for governance.

Posterity will judge them not by the amount of people they were able to outwit or who was able to gain advantage over the other. What we should do is to ensure that, as a system, is to measure what have we been able to achieve.

How many policies were the legislature able to proffer as legislative proposal to the executive. And the executive should not be a rubber stamp one. They need to work together. Can you say this is an APC or PDP legislature? No. But the PDP should have respected the fact that the election was won. They should have allowed the APC to form its leadership in the national assembly so that we can blame them squarely. But as it is now, the deputy Senate President is a PDP man. And we have seen that the Senate has their own rules which states that as a first timer, you cannot hold certain positions. But we have seen Godswill Akpabio become a key official even as a first timer in the senate. This is not the kind of change we want. We want a system where we can hold somebody responsible.

Now, they are sharing positions in government. This will make us not to see anything good in each other. At the end of the day, they may want to think we are fools. But we are definitely not. We have gone past the election of PDP and APC. We are talking about results and individuals, if you do not deliver, as a people, we will mobilise and do everything possible to ensure that you did not return to whichever position you are occupying now. You can’t take us for granted because we have children whose future we can longer continue to mortgage. The message should sink into them. It is a privilege for them to be there and any one of us could be there. The constitution makes it abundantly clear on who can be where. Many people have that qualification. Those who are privileged to be appointed into positions should not take anybody for a ride.

To the ordinary man on the street, what would be your advice to him at this critical point of our national history?

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The ordinary man should persevere. He should not lose hope in the country. We should believe in Nigeria. We should look out for the opportunities that have been offered for us and key into them. That is the way to go.

Aljazirahnews