What do you have to say about Buhari’s appointment so far?
Don’t make me laugh because President Buhari’s appointment so far with the look of things, is purely a northern agenda that is to tell you it is anti- south. Can you imagine that out of 10 appointments he has made so far, 9 came from the North, even the so called appointment that is given to the west it is not an appointment. Politicians or leaders of the south did not nominate Femi Adeshina. And I said from day one when Buhari was trying to come on board that he has two missions, the mission is, Northernaisation of Nigeria, northernisation of the politics and the Muslim agenda. Nothing more. If you look at the 9 appointment so far, even from the North, all of them are Muslims.
What do you have to say about the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President and Speaker Dogara, against the wish and of the party?
It is good for our polity, it strengthens the political life and span of Nigeria after 16democratic practice. That is a pass mark for Nigeria. So if APC leaders are now crying that Saraki did something contrary to their instruction now they know that the National Assembly is not the APC secretariat, it is a congregation for winners of all partakers of the election in which Nigerian citizens voted for their representatives as lawmakers. Nigeria is a sovereign state. If they want to write a letter to members of their party, if they want to read a letter, they should go and do that in their secretariat. In the National Assembly , we have PDP, APC, Labour Party, APGA. Imagine if all these parties were to write letters to direct their members on their functions, there would be chaos. This is not done anywhere, even here, right from the first senate to the 7th. And this type of the politics the APC is playing means one thing: They don’t have respect for Nigerians. It’s too early for them to crash at this stage and I am assuring you that they are going to crash forever. If you want to weild your stick at the party level, that is OK. But it should not be extended to the legislative house. The legislative houses have their rules, they have their orders that guides them during plenary. It is a pure intervention of the APC, I give kudos to Dogara and Saraki for ignoring that nonsense from the APC.
So what do you have to say about the ongoing fight at the national assembly?
Well I don’t know, the fight is between APC, APC is fighting APC. It makes this government a premature government. From day one I said it that this presidency is going to be a lame dog presidency. I told you to write it down and it’s about coming to pass. Buhari himself cannot act alone with all the presidential powers in his hand because he is being crippled by the party crisis. Choosing between being leader of the party and President of the country, Buhari should choose the latter the president himself. As president of the federal republic of Nigeria, he has no.
What agenda you think should face the 8th NASS? They have their rules. They have left overs from the 7th assembly, I believe they should start from there : the issue of constitutional amendment is there, the Petroleum Industry Bill is there; the issue of whether state independent electoral commission should be scrapped. There has been argument on this, and I believe these are part of the issues that should task the national assembly. All elections should be conducted by INEC.
What do you say about the President’s delay in appointing ministers?
I told you earlier his presidency is going to be a lame duck one. You see same the Buhari did this some 40 years ago when as the head state he operated within the active support of his second in command. Now he will not do anything without consultation from all the people around him; these are some of thr people that gather together and brought money, there are some people that gather together to talk to the international government, there are some people like…. I don’t want to mention names, they brought money, they brought other things, some from the west, some from the north, little from the east and some other areas like that. So how will he operate with all these interests around him? He has to look at the interest of everybody. He is deceiving Nigerians by telling them that there are something he has to clear before moving in, on the 29th of may he told us that by may 30th he’s going to hit the ground running, up till today, nothing has been done. So they were desperate for that power. If you look at it now, Buhari has become a messenger to UK and America, so they would just wake up one day and say President Buhari we want to see you and he would just check out immediately, Obama is calling me, Cameron calling me. Is that the kind of presidency we want in Nigeria? Some people have said we should intensify prayers for Nigeria, so we are praying for Nigeria and when we do so we also praying for Buhari too. Its very simple, but I know that this government has nothing in focus for Nigeria and I think some Nigerians are seeing it now. Although some have other views that his administration is still young, just two month and we should give him about 6 month, but I say nooooooo. What he told us during campaigns was that under 48 hours he was going to hit the ground running, the ground is yet to run. Ordinary secretary to the government is not there yet. In any new government, aside from you has the head, you must have a secretary that would work with you, it should be the first appointment even before that of the ministers. That means Buhari himself and some of his apointees are sitting down there in Aso Rock feeding on our money now, for five to six months before the government is fully in place, then who is fooling who?
Buhari claims that he met empty treasure left by the former PDP led government. What is your take on it?
This is another clear vindication of the position of the PDP that President Buhari should stop deceiving Nigerians, that he met empty treasury. You met empty treasury within a month, you have shared close to 2.1billion naira and yet it is empty treasury Yet as at the time President Jonathan was leaving, there was 3.12 billion dollars in excess crude account. Only recently the Accountant General of the Federation was telling us that the excess crude account is intact. The Sovereign Wealth Fund account holds 19billion dollars. All those were intact when Jonathan left, so the President was just trying to raise issues where there are none. His aide’s might have been giving wrong information about the financial status of the country. Otherwise, the question to ask is where did he get the close to 2 billion Naira he has distributed? Added to that is how can he claim to be fighting corruption and yet bailing out states that side fund state money in the expense of Nigeria workers and you are bailing them out? It’s a cover up because most of these states that are involved in the financial crisis are mostly APC states. You say Akwa Ibom cried out that penny they did not owe, you saw Kogi too didn’t owe, Ekiti; most of the PDP state didn’t owe. So it is serious cover up for APC states. When it came to campaigns they said many things with sweet and sugar coated mouth, at the end of the day when they get to the government it is a different ball game entirely. They promised meal for school children after inauguration, is it happening now? They promised petrol pump price would be slashed to 50 Naira, is it happening now?
How is the Lagos PDP? A short while ago there was some crisis brewing.
We are in order. Olatunji Shele remains the chairman. Chief Olabode George remains the leader of the party for Lagos and south -west. No argument about that.
How far have you gone for the governorship tribunal?
We have gone far, we were robbed at the lower tribunal and this are the kind of injustice we are talking in Nigeria. How would you dismiss a case at a pre-hearing stage? ,dismissing a petition at a pre-hearing stage, not even a hearing o, a pre-hearing. Look at what transpired in the Ogun tribunal, look at what transpired in the Benue tribunal, Plateau tribunal and so many other states. But we would meet at the appealing court. We have filed our appeal. Lagosians at know very well that Jimi Agbaje won the election. We would challenge it up to Supreme Court and that justice is done. Even Nigerian Judicial Council is not taking it any longer.
There is the pre- election committee that the PDP set up to find out why the party lost. What is the outcome?
The committee is in order, I was part of the committee when they came to south -west and everybody spoke their minds on why they lost. We should leave that and look forward to bringing life to PDP. Accusations should be left aside. The next thing should be the way forward and to bring life back. Going back to what happened would amount to compounding issues and looking like the APC. But now we should be strong and be ready for 2019.
-Paul Yovo, spoke with Chief Taiwo Kuye, the PDP Financial Secretary, Lagos State, on burning topical issues in the country and his party