The National Chairman of Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA, Chief Peter Ojonugwa Ameh in this interview with Vanguard, bared his mind on burning national issues, especially as they affect the present administration. Ameh, who is also the Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, in this interview calls on President Buhari to turn Nigeria into a huge construction site saying that in putting people to work the government would in part be solving the economic problems of all. Excerpts:
After a very long wait, we now have a new Federal Executive Council, FEC in place. What are your expectations?
We are waiting for when they will take off and start to actually deliver to Nigerians the promises made because a lot of promises were made from N5,000 monthly allowance. A lot of unnecessary promises that are not attainable with the current economic challenges facing the world globally and most especially our system of operations. So these are the facts. Even not being in government as a political party, I know this.
So that is why we want to advice politicians when you make promises when you want to get to power, do it at the moderate level , so that the expectations on you will not be too high when you get into power. So that is the current crisis that APC is facing. There is serious pressure on them to deliver on the promises made. But how did they go about it being that there was no blue print to deliver these things that have been issued. So we will wait and see. But for us for now, nothing is happening.
You mean they made bogus promises?
Very bogus! Nigerians were too hungry for so many things, so they felt with the kind of bogus nature of the promises that this is achievable within the tenure of four years. These are not achievable things within four years.
So, the APC deceived Nigerians?
Nigerians were deceived by the promises of change, it is not a lie. Yes you could have character, a good character, you could be purposeful, you could be ready to help Nigerians but when deceit comes into play you would lose some level of credibility, because the kind of things on ground now, I don’t think Nigerians bargained for it. Nigerians didn’t bargain to stay for six months without ministers, Nigerians didn’t bargain by now there won’t be an economic blueprint and policy direction for the government, Nigerians didn’t bargain for all these.
There are agitations, they have started agitations. Even those who voted for APC, they are already agitated, sincerely. It is just that because we always have government that doesn’t do surveys.
But those of us not in power, we are more objective, we can see, we are more objective to see that government has not taken off. So we will say it without fear or favour. If the APC can make Nigeria good today, my generation and the one unborn will benefit. But if they make it bad it will also affect us, so we must speak. So whichever way it goes, we are in-between the line so there is no way we can just shut up and say, no we are not going to talk because we want to be in good books. It is not about being in good books, it is about this country, project Nigeria, how does it affect me, how does it affect Nigeria, how does it affect my family, how does it affect my friend, how does it affect my relatives and even my party members most especially.
So we must continue to speak that President Buhari must put things together, gather resources and turn Nigeria into a huge construction site so that the artisans and the people on the street can have work and be gainfully employed because all these agitations you are seeing is as a result of no jobs, nothing to do.
What is your assessment of the administration’s twin battle against insecurity and corruption?
Corruption is one of the major problems in our country. It is one of the major things that are keeping us behind. So everybody wants corruption to be tackled. But in the case of insecurity the matter is high. If you go to the south-east, they have their agitation there; if you to the south-south they are kidnapping people there, the kidnapping is going on everywhere.
So these things we shouldn’t say because we want to score political points; let’s have a new architectural design for our security operations, let’s have a new architectural design for how we manage layout of our security procedures so that at every point in time people can be intercepted for committing one crime or the other.
What advice do you offer this government in handling treasurer looters, given that taking them to court would require spending more money?
Let’s do something that would be beneficial to the future of our generation, let’s encourage people to come back with the money that they have stolen and then stop the process of people stealing money.
So if you lay this foundation we would go far, Nigeria will be out of the corruption index at no time.
Do you see that December deadline to eradicate Boko Haram as feasible?
In any part of the world, no deadline has worked, it takes time because this people can want to disgrace you, they will go and hide and maybe by January they will throw one bomb and say the deadline has not been met. Let’s not give ourselves stress by giving ourselves artificial deadlines, let us work towards eradicating them no matter how long it takes because I know this deadline is almost impossible.