Why APC lost in Oyo State- Senator Abdulfatai Buhari Why APC lost in Oyo State- Senator Abdulfatai Buhari
Senator Abdulfatai Buhari is representing Oyo North in the Nigerian Senate. In this interview, the chairman, Senate committee on land transport stated that Federal... Why APC lost in Oyo State- Senator Abdulfatai Buhari

Senator Abdulfatai Buhari is representing Oyo North in the Nigerian Senate. In this interview, the chairman, Senate committee on land transport stated that Federal Government should take 5 percent VAT on consumables and 7.2 percent on big companies.

 

Most Nigerians were surprised when the APC lost in Oyo state. What played out?

We worked hard but there was gang up between the PDP and other political parties against the APC in Oyo.

 

So how is the APC faring in Oyo State now?

We agreed among ourselves that we had a problem. There was in-house fighting  within the APC and aggrieved persons now team up with the opposition. But now everybody has come back to his senses. Those that left in anger are being reached out to. Some are beginning to return to the party.

 

How is Oyo state under PDP now?

I don’t discuss the opposition because anything you say will be dismissed as  envy…

                                       

But what are your expectations from the current state government?

My expectation is that they move the state forward more than we have done. I am looking forward to good governance. Its too early to start assessing them.

        

Some parts of the state were also affected by insecurity. What is your take on this?

We have a problem in Nigeria and if we are serious about it, we will resolve it in three weeks. These kidnappers used telephone to negotiate and we have equipment that we can use to pin them down to wherever they are. There is no way you will say they couldn’t track them. Secondly, there is what is called aerial surveillance. You can place drones in flash points, you put a helicopter there and monitor them. If it means, in my opinion, wiping out the whole place to send a strong message to others, then let it be so.  This will save millions of Nigerians because very soon since people have abandoned the roads, they will make an attempt on the train. Nigerians believe in deterrent. The moment you don’t say anything when they are doing something bad, they continue.  Thirdly, when a drastic decision is taken, not sparing some people  because of personal interest. If you take up a dangerous spot, you put drones and other high tech equipment there.  Obasanjo did it with Odi and till date, we have not heard anything like that from there.

 

Does it mean that the Federal Government  is not doing enough to check the  insecurity?

They are trying but they are not doing enough. They need to use modern security equipment. The security agents must interact with the people in these areas.  Because there is no way the people will tell me they didn’t see the kidnappers and criminals. The same thing with Zamfara. The people know these criminals  and where they live. It is the people’s responsibility to give the security agents  information on the  criminals. Look at the case of the five ASUU staff that were kidnapped and the kidnappers asked them to pay 500 million naira. If these people have that kind of money, will they lecture again? Where will they get it from?  If care is not taken, they will waste them. I keep hearing others  suggesting state police. I was once a commissioner for  local government and chieftaincy affairs. You don’t need the law to start your vigilantes, but my fear is during elections, an incumbent could use  it against his opponents. When some of my colleagues are arguing about state police, I laugh because state independent electoral commissions which conduct elections  for  local governments and councillors  always  give the  governor’s party the victory. I know a state where all the federal  lawmakers are from another party yet all the local government chairmen won under the governor’s party. It is only the governor’s party that won. Does that make sense? Does it mean all the federal lawmakers couldn’t win a single ward in   their respective constituencies or senatorial zones? You can now see what state police could be used to do in the hands of governors. The only problem we have in Nigeria today is reorientation.

 

Coming back to the economy, were you surprised when the Federal government increased VAT?

Let me start with the banking sector, the increase made by the banks was rather unfortunate. The Nigerian  banking sector believe they have to kill the common man for them to survive. for example, if you are banking before the latest increase, you will see alert  for withdrawing money, for transfer, for asking for your statement and the rest. If you calculate these charges and the one they charge you at the end of the month,  it becomes inhuman. I worked in the bank in the 1980’s,  it is only at the end of the month that we charge customers and then it was even manual. we use to charge based on transaction. I am not saying they shouldn’t charge money for their services, but it should be a flat rate at the  end of the month. If you are targeting thieves and upper echelon, its understandable but what happens to the local market woman that suffered to save her money? What happens to the Okada rider and the rest? These women make contributions where their funds are saved for them for a long time and once they collect it, they, in most cases, put it in an account. On the VAT issue, in most countries I know, it is 5 percent. If you are adding 2.5 percent  to it with the intention of using it to develop the economy, the people should be properly informed and enlightened. I think they should have separated it into 5 percent  for consumer goods and then 7.2 percent  for big companies. But we are still waiting for the details to come out. You cannot charge the masses 7.2 percent VAT. What are they selling?

 

Can you say that Nigerian economy is Strong?

Recently, I saw the economic team formed by the federal government. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. If they are able to do the needful, the Nigerian economy will bounce back. I did a research on the economic team and I am satisfied that they are people with experience.

 

There have been reports of issues with the Vice President with regards to his influence in the villa. This has led to fears in some quarters that it could effect the economy. What do you think?

Its funny because Nigeria is rife with rumours. There is no administration since 1999 that you won’t hear such rumours. In 2003, I was in House of Reps when the press started spewing out rumours between them. It degenerated to enmity between them. The same thing happened with Jonathan and Yar’Adua to the extent that, some will say, Jonathan does nothing but drink. This almost caused him the Presidency when Yar’Adua died. so these rumours are not new. 2023 is far away yet, the game has started. Is there a place where people gather and they don’t fight? Even siblings fight. Disagreement is normal.  These rumours are heightened by sycophants.  We must stop insinuating things that are not true. I appeal to Nigerians that this country is greater than any man. Let’s pray for our leaders.

 

The issue of 5.5 billion naira cars for senators drew the wrath of Nigerians. What is your take on this?

Nigerians will always talk about the National Assembly. In 1999 when cars were bought for lawmakers, there was a lot of noise. In 2003, it was monetised and Nigerians still complained.  Lawmakers need cars to function properly.

I agree there are the bourgeoisie who have cars at their disposal, but what happens to the lawmaker that just won fresh elections and has no car or that comes from Taraba, Jigawa, Imo and other places to Abuja? What will they use to carry out their functions? Why are they not talking about ministers who have about seven cars at their disposal? They have protocol car, one for chief of staff and other aides, one for their children and others, yet Nigerians don’t complain. If Nigerians are saying, the cars are expensive, then they should give us an alternative, but they should not say, we should not buy cars because we need them. This money is budgeted for. It is only  two percent  of our budget that goes to National Assembly.

 

Coming back to your committee, what should Nigerians expect?

Road transport is the bedrock of any society. With this government’s renewed commitment on road transport, Nigerians will soon have cause to be happy. If we complete our rail project, we would have solved half of our problems. I once told a friend that the problem of Nigeria is power. If we can solve the electrity problem and generate the necessary megawatts, things will begin to work in Nigeria. I wish we can commit our three years budget to electricity and see what will happen. When people say corruption is our bane, I laugh. Let’s fix electricity and you will see the automatic changes that will take place in Nigeria. The government should involve people that have the expertise in policy making.

We agreed among ourselves that we had a problem. There was in-house fighting  within the APC and aggrieved persons now team up with the opposition. But now everybody has come back to his senses. Those that left in anger are being reached out to. Some are beginning to return to the party.

 

How is Oyo state under PDP now?

I don’t discuss the opposition because anything you say will be dismissed as  envy…

 

But what are your expectations from the current state government?

My expectation is that they move the state forward more than we have done. I am looking forward to good governance. Its too early to start assessing them.

 

Some parts of the state were also affected by insecurity. What is your take on this?

We have a problem in Nigeria and if we are serious about it, we will resolve it in three weeks. These kidnappers used telephone to negotiate and we have equipment that we can use to pin them down to wherever they are. There is no way you will say they couldn’t track them. Secondly, there is what is called aerial surveillance. You can place drones in flash points, you put a helicopter there and monitor them. If it means, in my opinion, wiping out the whole place to send a strong message to others, then let it be so.  This will save millions of Nigerians because very soon since people have abandoned the roads, they will make an attempt on the train. Nigerians believe in deterrent. The moment you don’t say anything when they are doing something bad, they continue.  Thirdly, when a drastic decision is taken, not sparing some people  because of personal interest. If you take up a dangerous spot, you put drones and other high tech equipment there.  Obasanjo did it with Odi and till date, we have not heard anything like that from there.

 

Does it mean that the Federal Government  is not doing enough to check the  insecurity?

They are trying but they are not doing enough. They need to use modern security equipment. The security agents must interact with the people in these areas.  Because there is no way the people will tell me they didn’t see the kidnappers and criminals. The same thing with Zamfara. The people know these criminals  and where they live. It is the people’s responsibility to give the security agents  information on the  criminals. Look at the case of the five ASUU staff that were kidnapped and the kidnappers asked them to pay 500 million naira. If these people have that kind of money, will they lecture again? Where will they get it from?  If care is not taken, they will waste them. I keep hearing others  suggesting state police. I was once a commissioner for  local government and chieftaincy affairs. You don’t need the law to start your vigilantes, but my fear is during elections, an incumbent could use  it against his opponents. When some of my colleagues are arguing about state police, I laugh because state independent electoral commissions which conduct elections  for  local governments and councillors  always  give the  governor’s party the victory. I know a state where all the federal  lawmakers are from another party yet all the local government chairmen won under the governor’s party. It is only the governor’s party that won. Does that make sense? Does it mean all the federal lawmakers couldn’t win a single ward in   their respective constituencies or senatorial zones? You can now see what state police could be used to do in the hands of governors. The only problem we have in Nigeria today is reorientation.

 

Coming back to the economy, were you surprised when the Federal government increased VAT?

Let me start with the banking sector, the increase made by the banks was rather unfortunate. The Nigerian  banking sector believe they have to kill the common man for them to survive. for example, if you are banking before the latest increase, you will see alert  for withdrawing money, for transfer, for asking for your statement and the rest. If you calculate these charges and the one they charge you at the end of the month,  it becomes inhuman. I worked in the bank in the 1980’s,  it is only at the end of the month that we charge customers and then it was even manual. we use to charge based on transaction. I am not saying they shouldn’t charge money for their services, but it should be a flat rate at the  end of the month. If you are targeting thieves and upper echelon, its understandable but what happens to the local market woman that suffered to save her money? What happens to the Okada rider and the rest? These women make contributions where their funds are saved for them for a long time and once they collect it, they, in most cases, put it in an account. On the VAT issue, in most countries I know, it is 5 percent. If you are adding 2.5 percent  to it with the intention of using it to develop the economy, the people should be properly informed and enlightened. I think they should have separated it into 5 percent  for consumer goods and then 7.2 percent  for big companies. But we are still waiting for the details to come out. You cannot charge the masses 7.2 percent VAT. What are they selling?

 

Can you say that Nigerian economy is Strong?

Recently, I saw the economic team formed by the federal government. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. If they are able to do the needful, the Nigerian economy will bounce back. I did a research on the economic team and I am satisfied that they are people with experience.

 

There have been reports of issues with the Vice President with regards to his influence in the villa. This has led to fears in some quarters that it could effect the economy. What do you think?

Its funny because Nigeria is rife with rumours. There is no administration since 1999 that you won’t hear such rumours. In 2003, I was in House of Reps when the press started spewing out rumours between them. It degenerated to enmity between them. The same thing happened with Jonathan and Yar’Adua to the extent that, some will say, Jonathan does nothing but drink. This almost caused him the Presidency when Yar’Adua died. so these rumours are not new. 2023 is far away yet, the game has started. Is there a place where people gather and they don’t fight? Even siblings fight. Disagreement is normal.  These rumours are heightened by sycophants.  We must stop insinuating things that are not true. I appeal to Nigerians that this country is greater than any man. Let’s pray for our leaders.

 

The issue of 5.5 billion naira cars for senators drew the wrath of Nigerians. What is your take on this?

Nigerians will always talk about the National Assembly. In 1999 when cars were bought for lawmakers, there was a lot of noise. In 2003, it was monetised and Nigerians still complained.  Lawmakers need cars to function properly.

I agree there are the bourgeoisie who have cars at their disposal, but what happens to the lawmaker that just won fresh elections and has no car or that comes from Taraba, Jigawa, Imo and other places to Abuja? What will they use to carry out their functions? Why are they not talking about ministers who have about seven cars at their disposal? They have protocol car, one for chief of staff and other aides, one for their children and others, yet Nigerians don’t complain. If Nigerians are saying, the cars are expensive, then they should give us an alternative, but they should not say, we should not buy cars because we need them. This money is budgeted for. It is only  two percent  of our budget that goes to National Assembly.

 

Coming back to your committee, what should Nigerians expect?

Road transport is the bedrock of any society. With this government’s renewed commitment on road transport, Nigerians will soon have cause to be happy. If we complete our rail project, we would have solved half of our problems. I once told a friend that the problem of Nigeria is power. If we can solve the electrity problem and generate the necessary megawatts, things will begin to work in Nigeria. I wish we can commit our three years budget to electricity and see what will happen. When people say corruption is our bane, I laugh. Let’s fix electricity and you will see the automatic changes that will take place in Nigeria. The government should involve people that have the expertise in policy making

Culled from Leadership Newspaper.

National Waves

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