Tinubu’s 1yr Of Grace Has Elapsed Says Bode George

Date: 10-06-2024 9:30 am (1 month ago) | Author: onuigbo felicia
- at 10-06-2024 09:30 AM (1 month ago)

Chief Bode George is a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview, he speaks on the first anniversary of President Bola Tinubu’s administration, why Nigerians should give him time to deliver on his electoral promises and the need for the Federal Government to implement the 2014 Confab Report, among others. ANAYO EZUGWU reports

What is your assessment of one year of President Bola Tinubu in office and also the performance of his ministers?

I need to be fair because at this age, getting to the eighth floor of the age ladder, we must tell the truth to power. The performance of any government in the first year, you can forgive because as an engineer, we look at that as a learning curve. Tinubu wasn’t in government before and he has never been in government before.

I told a lot of my friends and my colleagues on the political side that President Muhammadu Buhari was there for eight years and we saw the mess and the complete collapse of this nation but Tinubu is fresh and new in power, so let’s give him time. That one year of grace has passed. Therefore, I said to other people that in the second year of his administration, we must feel the impact and we must see those terrible areas being addressed.

By this time next year, partisan politics will start and that is when we would do an X-ray of every sector because so far people are hungry, people are angry and things are not going right. They tell us it is a result of the poor performance of their party managers and the government managers in the last eight years. He has just spent one year, so I want to excuse him for now, Whether it is in the economic sector, the agricultural sector, the infrastructural sector and even income to our nation, the debt portfolio that this nation now has, it is annoying that Nigeria is performing so badly and poor.

They created a Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs but it is a shame that they were collecting humongous amount of money every 30 days to be distributed to the people. Where is the data that they used? Have they called the lady who was the minister to come and explain? So many of the sectors are like that and we have forgotten everything called management of resources for the betterment of the people.

I have said to my close friends and others that we should give him one year of grace and that one year of grace has ended. By this time next year, politics will start and that is when we will do an in-depth analysis of the management style of his administration because he wasn’t the one who had been there for the past eight years.

But the President did say he was aware of the situation on ground; are you not giving him an easy pass because he has made some policies?

If you have been in national government, you will know how long it takes to get your policy direction moving forward. He has never served at that level. Well, you would say they were all part of the same party that formed the government in 2015 but there is a difference between taking over and now leading the team.

I’m being fair to my conscience and to my creator. I want to be fair and he has had that one-year holiday of trying to study and what happened in different sectors. I have given him that one year of grace because now he has seen it and he has lived there.

So, I expect all his ministers to have come back with report on those areas there are lapses. Even when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo became president in 1999; the first year, he was still grappling and trying to find out what happened in different sectors.

So, by now, Tinubu should have collated data all those areas because we can’t see any serious impact in any sector. Look at fuel subsidy; some people in government will say there is no subsidy, while others will tell you that there is subsidy. Some said they have mortgaged the sale of our crude oil for 15 years, while some say it was for five years.

We don’t know where we are. I’m not bringing a political attack now, I want to give him that chance because there is a saying that ‘let those of us at this age give our best today, so that there can be a much better time tomorrow.’ I have given him the grace and we will see which direction he is going. I told you that people are still hungry, people are angry, so nothing has changed.

But this was the Tinubu you have criticized in the past; is it because the All Progressives Congress (APC) sent some people to come and meet you before inauguration day?

What I’m saying is let us be fair. Somebody ran this nation for eight years; eight years of absolute mismanagement. The former president was my boss in the military and we respect our seniors but what his administration caused this nation in eight years, you can’t expect somebody to correct it in one year. Even if we had won the election, it would have been near impossible to fix the country in one year. First of all, you have to find out what

By this time next year… we will do an in-depth analysis of the management style of his administration because he wasn’t the one who had been there for the past eight years

they did and how did they it and that is why I said we must give our best today so that tomorrow will be better. I’m giving them that opportunity to correct the mistakes but we haven’t seen any impact of what they are doing. So, I call it the learning curve because if he was part of that administration, he would have no excuse not to immediately start changing certain policies. I’m not begging for him but let us be fair. There are so many things that must be revisited.

Our constitution is not the right type of constitution this nation should have. We have kept on saying that it is not working. The economic indices are frightening. Look at the inflation rate; what exactly is our debt portfolio and we are still borrowing? I want to be very fair, yes we have had discussions and they said give us time, so we are all waiting for them.

I said before Tinubu became president that Abuja is not Lagos. The experience he has had in his life is Lagos and Lagos is not Abuja because Abuja is a different ball game. So, by this time next year, you will hear from our party because we have given him enough time to make amends for us to move forward.

The Northern Elders Forum is saying something different; they are saying that the Tinubu administration has not even shown that it is interested in running Nigeria. Iis it because he is a Yoruba man that you are making excuses for him?

Let me be frank; you know that I am a Christian and I thank God Almighty that I was brought up in that direction. I also have members of my family who are Muslims, so it doesn’t matter but I thank God that I went through that training. When I was talking about him in Lagos, I meant it because he served for eight years. The first few years, we were watching him but after some time, we knew what became his mode of operation and that was why we went out and showed people the failures in his government.

I’m saying that he never played at the national and I think the best he came close to government at the national was when he had one year in the Senate. Abuja is not Lagos because in staying one hour on that seat, you will see people from different ethnic groups coming with their problems and they are completely different.

So, you need the grace of God and your brain to be able to manage this nation. The system of governance in this country and the constitution we operate are not acceptable. They are not working. It is like a military organisation that only one man at the apex would make decisions on everything you are doing. It is not possible, and we have been shouting, let us revisit the report of the 2014 National Conference convened by President Goodluck Jonathan.

We sat for six months and there was a report on the best way to move our nation forward but the report is still swimming in this polluted waters. For God’s sake, we need to restructure because the power comes from the base. Lagos for example is the largest in population in this country and it is also the largest in the electoral register but we have only 20 local governments. Ogun State, which is not even one-quarter of the population of Lagos, also has 20 local governments.

We are more populated than Kano but Kano has 44 local governments and Jigawa, which was created out of Kano has 26 local governments. The imbalance is so depressing and the representation at the National Assembly is the same. So, there is a need to revisit the report. President Jonathan presented the report of that conference to President Buhari. I want to be fair because I have served in so many places and the first few months you will know if you have not been there.

But now, Tinubu has been on that seat for one year, there will be no excuses again. He has accepted that all is not well, which is how we are going to take him on. We as politicians will give him the second year and by this time next year, politics will start and he will have no excuse to cover up anything.

Some people are saying that they are happy that you are no longer planning to relocate to Ghana because you have given the government another year. If Tinubu fails to perform next year, will you relocate?

You know why? There was a discussion and they came to me and you know that the Almighty God forgives us. They came to him including the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila came to me and I asked if there was any problem and he said he wanted to see me. I said sit down and what is it.

He said it is political and that his boss sent him, and I said if it is political, let me get some of our people to be seated. He said let’s calm down and that I should forgive that they knew that they offended me. What was my crime in Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA)? It is not only their party that created it; even members of our party out of jealousy said we inflated the contract. The man who even wrote that judgement to be read was my senior in secondary school.

But I have seen the glory of the Almighty. Everybody asked how that case came to Lagos judiciary. So, it is a learning process for me and if you have gone through that tunnel of tribulation and still trust in your God, you will get out on the useful and peaceful highway. So, this question of trying to go to Ghana, I will say that I meant it but I didn’t do that with Papa Tajudeen Olusi and Justice Ishola Olorunnimbe wading into the matter. Am I God not to forgive?

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