The Vice-Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Hon Bimbo Daramola, spoke to Anayo Okolie on the chances of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 elections, amongst other issues. Excerpts:
How would you assess the situation of things in the country so far?
Well, there are so many issues at the heart of this nation, from the serious to the banal to the infamous; there are economic issues, political issues, etc. But if we are looking at these issues, I may begin with first the way the economy is running. As a member of the opposition, I am not just in opposition party because it is inherent in the opposition to criticise, no. I remember that President Goodluck Jonathan believes in his two year score that perhaps he has done well and he asked Nigerians to judge him, that his period in office has been eventful and impactful.
But if you ask me, I see a man struggling to win the trust and confidence of the people again. He met issues on ground and he assured Nigerians that he would address and deal with the issues and now he is returning to Nigerians like saying “go and judge the marking scheme to mark the exam that you set for me”. The teacher cannot tell the students to come and mark the exams he set. That to me is a role reversal.
He made those promises that he would deliver but an average Nigerian knows that his life has not been positively affected with what the government is professing or brandishing as its achievement. There are other issues: power-energy, infrastructural issues, political issues, security etc. there is also the politics of the majority party. We are cruising at a very high speed and I hope somebody calls them to caution. What we are having or getting is disappointing given the wealth of our resources that abound.
Do you think government is winning the war against insecurity with the emergency rule in some states?
Well I do not criticise for the sake of just criticising. The very first motion on the floor of the house was moved by me as a green horn parliamentarian because I was concerned. The Yoruba have a saying that if you don’t prune the branches of an Iroko tree in good time by the time the tree acquires its fullest stature and status, the Iroko tree will demand obeisance from you and you have to now go and pour libation on its feet. What we are seeing today is a reflection of how badly the society has gone down. The truth is that things are not the way they should be regardless of what the likes of Presidential spokesmen, Reuben Abati and Doyin Okupe will want us to believe.
When history will record the roles of individuals, I hope they will find themselves on the right side of history. What Jonathan did on the state of emergency should have been done long time before now. What has happened in the case of state of emergency, I believe it is a right step in the right direction and you will notice that things are a bit under control unlike before when the sect will wake up and go on a killing spree and will cause massive destruction. But now, to a relative extent, the heat is on them. But we should bear in mind that this cannot be a one-cure drug; they have to device other strategies to complement the efforts of the military.
Do you think 2015 provides a chance for the opposition?
2015 provides for us the opportunity to critically take stock and say enough is enough. It is a time to say we have played party loyalty for too long, we have played active politics for too long and it’s about time to now ask ourselves as individuals and as Nigerians whether we are better off than we were in 2011. Is the country better off as it were in 2011? Do we have better roads now than what we had in 2011? Do we have better infrastructure now? Is life better now than what we had in 2011? These are the questions that must bother us.
Nigerians are real people, when you vote a government and put that government in power we expect real impact, real changes. It is amazing that as individuals we do stock taking but as a nation we refuse to take stock. So 2015 provides an opportunity for a turnaround to be able to ask ourselves if are better now. No matter how long you have gone on a wrong direction, you will never get to your destination until you make a turnaround. The destination we are talking about is improved society, improved security, improved social infrastructure, improved life etc. These are the indices that you must look at to begin to assess whether a government is working or not.