Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha
Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, spoke to Chucks Okocha on the controversy surrounding the verdict of the Court of Appeal which ordered the re-instatement of the sacked chairmen and councillors of local government areas in the state. Excerpts...
You were accused of rejecting the Court of Appeal order on the reinstatement of the 27 local government chairmen. What is the true situation of things?
It is not true that I did not obey the court order and I think that it is proper that we put the record straight. After the dissolution of the local governments, which was anchored on a court injunction that was subsisting and for which the former government went ahead and held elections against the court injunction and secondly, the corrupt practices that was evident because most of the funds, over 50 per cent of the funds, were used for that particular election by the former government and all the facts are there for all to see, I came in and I dissolved the local governments on the true basis of issues. But shortly after that, the first set of local government council chairmen went to the state High Court and the judgment was in favour of government, they went to the Court of Appeal and got a judgment. We also went to Supreme Court to appeal but surprisingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeal was implemented when there was an appeal against the judgment at the Supreme Court. This was done by the order of the Attorney-General of the Federation supported by the Inspector General of Police who supplied support for the chairmen to regain office.
This time, I was abroad but I knew that this was capable of creating a crisis in the state so I decided to say let me embrace the path of peace and directed that every transitional chairman should vacate his office for peace to reign. Then, we had informed all the council chairmen who had forced themselves back to office to come for a discussion as their governor and I called them but they turned down my invitation as the governor. Then I pleaded with them again for a second time, after they had come to Abuja, then they came back and decided to answer my call. We had hours of several meetings to arrive at a particular understanding on the basis that there should be peace. My primary concern was peace and not about who was right or wrong. That was exactly what happened but interestingly, the judgment they got from the Court of Appeal guaranteed them two-year tenure, and in their prayers, they also pleaded to be given two years to complete their two years.
So, in other words, there was no dispute about the tenure of their office and their two years ended on August 8 because they were sworn in on August 9, 2010. That was their prayers and that was the judgment they also got. But even at that, I had offered the elected council chairmen to see what ways we could resolve the crisis. I suggested that we work out a way, whether it is through a sole-administrator system or a TC (transition chairmanship) system where they will be allowed to continue before the elections take place, because my goal was to conduct elections as quickly as possible. But to my greatest surprise again, after the gentleman’s agreement that we had arrived at, these men went to court and brought an ex- parte injunction stopping the government from dissolving them on August 8 when the law that brought them into office talked about two years and was signed by the former governor, Ikedi Ohakim. Whether I have the power to dissolve or not, the law has dissolved them. So, it is not a question of whether somebody is dissolving or not but for them to have gone to court asking for an injunction means that those who are sponsoring them are waiting to foment troubles which should not exist. This is where we are in Imo State as far as the local government issues are concerned. My question is now, can I really trust the chairmen again if after having had a peaceful discussion to chart a way forward for us to move as Imolites, they breached our agreement. At a point, I addressed them as my children; I said leave my children alone. These are children of Imo State but for them to have taken this path again and are making all kinds of insinuation in the papers, for me, it is rather a shameful act at this moment.
What is the position of the state House of Assembly on this matter bearing in mind that they passed the law for two years and now the tenure of the chairmen has expired?
The House of Assembly has said that their tenure expired on August 8. So, if their tenure expired on August 8, you cannot go into another person’s tenure. It is a law that has been gazetted. But you can see now they are using all kinds of media campaigns trying to portray the governor as somebody who is not obeying court orders. I have gone beyond obeying court orders to stupidity. One, I have an appeal in the Supreme Court for a stay of execution, that is still pending; it is supposed to be heard in September. Yet, the implementer and these violent people went in against the court proceedings and implemented their judgment at the Court of Appeal level. I said, okay, hold your judgment, let us work together and now offered them an olive branch. I asked, how could we work together before the election is conducted just for peace to reign?
What is their grouse for going to court?
Their grouse for going to court is that they want tenure elongation, they want their tenure to be extended. Their prayer in the case ab initio was that they should be given their two years guaranteed which actually expired on the August 8. But they want tenure extension for one reason, that within the period they were not in office because of dissolution, they want to recover it, so they got an ex parte now stopping the governor from dissolving what has dissolved itself. It is something that requires a serious legal mind to look at whether what stands dissolved can be accepted or can be extended, or whether I have the power to extend it or dissolve it. I cannot dissolve what the law has dissolved.
Have you sought legal opinion on this matter?
Yes, every legal opinion suggested that once a tenure has expired, it has expired, it cannot be changed. But what is annoying, which I think these group of people and their sponsors are working toward is that they want to create the unusual problem and I am not going to allow them achieve that in Imo State, because Imo State is a peaceful state. I cannot deal with chairmen whose tenures have expired by law and there is nowhere it can be changed and the olive branch I offered them, they blew that also by going to court. So, you can see that these people want to create a problem and whoever is sponsoring them should desist because it will take them nowhere.
Let us talk about the community councils. By the community councils, are you creating a new level of government for chairmen?
Community government councils have been a tradition with our people; it is called the town unions. What we are implementing is a modified town union of government, which is in tandem with the culture of our people. We believe in it and we seem to do better with it. It is government of the people by the people and for the people in which INEC or police or security agencies would not interfere. These people come out to choose the leaders they want and it is already an established system. We are only modifying this for the purpose of promoting agricultural practices and to ensure security and also bring back our culture, especially among the Igbo speaking people. It is just for cultural purposes and agriculture. It is not a new local government creation and don’t forget that this existed in the past; many government had created what was called development centres. What I have just done is a modification and I called it the government at the grassroots level where the people can now participate in governance because government in Nigeria is hanging. Government in most parts of Africa is hanging because it does not get down to the grassroots. It is always hang at the federal, state and local government levels and so, you have a government where 90 per cent of the population is not participating in anyway. They are just receivers of instructions and are confused. But now, we are letting them have their own government.
For me, it is painful as a governor that whatever we eat now in the South-east comes from the Northern part of the country; be it tomatoes, cabbage, onions, rice, goats, cows, groundnuts, beans. So, we produce nothing because there is complete disconnect between the rural people and the government. So the fourth tier of government is a way of connecting back rural populace to the mainstream of government and I tagged it Ohashierism and Ofusherism. What we have been practising before in Imo State was Ofusherism; it is an Igbo terminology which I used to describe the fourth tier government. Ohashierism means Ofuenye – one person preparing food for the masses. The masses will remain hungry but Ofusherism means the masses preparing food for one person. No matter how big that state is, they cannot finish it. So we are getting more people, more hands into that. It is agricultural revolution; it is like making every small village a city.
You have been in office for about two years, what has been your greatest challenge as a governor?
I don’t have any challenge because some of these things I thought of them, I saw them, I imagined them and so as they come, I solve them. I don’t call them challenges. I don’t have challenges. I am one person who has never complained about any challenge so to speak. The challenge, which I might call no challenge, is that I realise that in this country, most of our leaders are politicians and not leaders. So everything in Imo State is political. That is the challenge. People do not know when to stop politics and embrace governance. So most of the politicians in Imo State are thinking about the next election but in my own case, I am thinking about the next generation. So all my programmes are geared towards the next generation, be it free education or infrastructure development. I am thinking about the future of Imo State, I am not thinking about the next election. What they are seeing now is a radical change and I challenge anybody to come around and see what Imo State has done in one year in comparison to what has not been done for the past eight to ten years.
You talk about the development, a revolution in the state, where do you get the money from?
We have money. Imo State is one of the richest states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria; I say this because the Bible tells me that where there is no vision, my people will perish, not where there is no money. I am not bragging about money, I am talking about vision. There is adequate vision in Imo State now to transform all the material and human resources into capital. That is what I am talking about and so that is where I am getting the money from, it is vision. Somebody once said to me that it is true that what I collect in 10 months or in six months is what some states in Nigeria collect in one month. I get N3.8 billion, how do you compare me with a state that collects N18 billion, N29 billion or N25 billion from internally generated revenue and sometimes N40 billion. How can you compare my N3.8 billion with only N400 and N500 million internally generated revenue a month compared with somebody who collects N40 billion a month. So, I am not talking about money, I am talking about vision. Secondly, there is prudence in the usage of resources in Imo State. The days of sharing the money of the masses in Imo State is over. So I have blocked all the loopholes and where there were stealing and corruption, we have tied up, so that is why we can have a little to build 305 new primary schools of high standard, I mean 12 classrooms in each of the wards of the state. And all of them are one-storey buildings. I am not talking about bungalows. We are building 27 new general hospitals also. All the roads in Imo State have been opened up and under construction as I am talking to you. We have built a new Imo College of Advanced Professionals Studies. We have the new Ikemba Ojukwu Centre, we have the Hero Square and if you go to Concord Hotel, it is completely renovated; the Imo Palm Plantation is back alive; we even made a profit of N3.2 billion in just one year. If you go to Igodale, construction is going on there, we have built an International Conference Centre. If you go to the Freedom Square where there is a huge development, we are constructing to bring back the Alaba Market. These are developments that everybody can see. These have not been recorded in many years now in Imo State. So I want people to visit Imo and bring me any former governor or government that has done one tenth of whatever I have done in one year.
What about the security challenge in Imo State?
The security challenge in Imo State is under control. The issue we have is the issue of who actually is the chief security officer of the state. In most cases, we have issues of where the police play the role as the chief security officer of the state because you cannot even tell the commissioner of police or any police officer what to do in a particular criminal situations in the state without them getting clearance from the Inspector-General. So that has been the challenge, but what we did in Imo State is that we seek for the cooperation of the army, police and the SSS, we were able to come together, we developed a means and strategy, which has silenced all the kidnappers. There is no more kidnapping in Imo State. In the past three months, it has come down drastically. That is the vision. These are some of the things that need to be fixed right. If I am in charge of security in Imo State, I guarantee you that you will not see any car snatching incident.
In this instance, could it be explained as why some states are championing the creation of state police?
The creation of state police is about the best thing that will happen to this country. My question is which state is not as big as a nation in Europe or some African countries. Some nations have 2 million people yet they are recognised as countries. So we must begin to see the states as fragments of nations in Nigeria because each of them has the population and the size. There are some countries that are 500,000 in population, 700, 000 in population, so how can a state that has 5 million people or 10 million people not have its own police force.
Other than the concern about political pressure being brought to bear, there is the argument that the states may not have the financial resources to run their own state police forces.
There is need to restructure the entire revenue sharing formula and decentralise power. Devolution of power is the solution to this country’s problems and that is what I am doing in my state. The fourth tier of government is decentralisation of power. There is so much concentration of power at the state level and at the federal level. There must be devolution of power in Nigeria if we must make any sense. Tell me why are governors of a state of 5 million people, 10 million people saying they cannot take charge of the security of the state. The fear of most people is the abuse that might creep in. So my advice would be that they should limit the police to criminal cases like armed robberies, assassinations, oil bunkering, kidnapping, and all other related criminal cases. The state police should not be allowed to veer into political matters but if it is to handle the issues of armed robberies, assassinations, oil bunkering, kidnapping in the state, they will be focused. That is why every state has a vigilante group, some carrying AK47s. That is just to tell you that there is a vacuum that needs to be filled by the state police.
‘Impeachment Threat Aimed at Making Jonathan Accountable’
Vice Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Downstream Oil Sector, Hon. Moshood Mustapha, who represents Ilorin West/Asa Federal Constituency of Kwara State spoke with newsmen in Ilorin on state of the nation, among other issues. Hammed Shittu was there
As the Vice Chairman of Downstream Oil Sector Committee in the House, are you satisfied with the trial of the oil culprits so far?
We have not yet concluded on the issue of illegal bunkering as we do call it in the oil sector. It's a big menace. Nigeria loses about 150, 000 barrels per day. The country should be more serious about it. If you go to the oil rigs, you ‘ll see the activities of these people. And the unfortunate aspect of it is that it is not just stealing of the oil alone that is causing problem for Nigeria but there are so many problems associated with oil theft. We have the problem of oil wastage as they burst the pipe. Whenever they take what they want from the burst pipe, they left the oil running and you find out that we waste huge sums of oil money until the system of the particular oil company shows there's a drop in the pressure of oil before they get to know what is happening.
Nigeria must have lost a lot before they close the tap and then go into repairs. And we have a quota of 248 million barrels per day as approved by (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) OPEC. So, if we are unable to meet up, it means we would have a shortfall that will affect revenue that goes into federation account. Also, the issue of environment is another one. When the oil drips into the environment, it kills the aquatic life and people in the area. As a result, people have health problem and drinking water becomes hazardous to them. It is only in Nigeria that we don't take environment matter as anything serious. It's our major problem when we can't breathe in fresh air. All these are problems associated with the issue of oil theft.
Now, we have asked players in the sector some questions about oil thieves. They say they don't know. Who are the buyers? Because somebody must be the buyer of illegal oil, blood oil. But we know some countries are behind this. I don't want to mention names. If we can identify these buyers, we would be able to trace our stashed money. Number two, there are outlets. Our security should block the water way outlets through which they steal. We have challenged (Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency) NIMASA and oil companies on the need for synergy. Air force too should be brought in. The ship they use in stealing oil cannot come to our shores. They stay on the high seas. They use barges to steal. They can view the entire Nigeria's territorial water from their office with latest technology. So, when we see a particular movement on the high seas, we should be able to go after such movement. Normally, it takes approximately two days to load a ship. So, to use barges to fill a ship will take a week or thereabout. So, we should be able to detect oil thieves movement by upgrading our own system to track and arrest them as they were recently caught by NIMASA. And by the time we come up with the report of our findings on the public hearing on illegal oil bunkering, we will not only have the report but we would be able to have solution to the problem.
With the level of insecurity in the country, don't you think it may lead to national disintegration?
Basically, Nigeria as a nation is going through a serious and trying time on security, political and economic matters. We have a lot of things at hand to contend with on security. I believe government has prepared for it based on the content of Appropriation Act of 2012. If you look at how much money was appropriated for security, it means government envisaged there could be problem within the particular financial year. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, a sum of about N1 trillion was appropriated and approved for maintenance of peace and security.
In the course of all these, security chiefs were changed, minister of defence was removed and the appointment of Inspector General of Police was confirmed. It shows all is not well and we need to find out the cause and how to solve it because the fundamental responsibility of any government is the maintenance of peace and security. In a situation that it cannot do this, then it calls for question about that government. The National Assembly believes it is a domestic problem that must be handled domestically; hence the need to know the people behind the menace of insecurity. What are their grievances and how do we sit down to discuss with them? And that's why we say dialogue is the only way out. If not, we might end up breaking up. But will it be good for this country? We all came together based on the design of almighty God. Why should we work towards breaking it? If we as Nigerians, despite tribal diversity, have one thing or the other in common, that binds us together, this shows configuration of God. We should all work towards the unity of this country.
I believe that government and individuals should do more. We should be vigilant in our communities and also help police with useful information on any suspected movements. The situation is not peculiar to Nigeria but this is our own country and we should ensure we live in peace. The situation is foreign to us here. We are fun-loving people who do not want to die unlike what we now have in suicide bombers. We pray that Nigeria will not break up. The president has taken some steps with the appointment of IGP and the new National Security Adviser is going round to work things out. We should all pray for divine intervention in the problem.
What is really the motive behind the face-off between the House and the executive on budget implementation? Are you serious with the impeachment threat against the president?
We are not planning impeachment. We only pointed out that there is a particular clause that can be used if this is not done. We have looked at the budget and it becomes a law the moment it is assented to by the president. We all must abide by it - be it president or anyone else and it is binding. But for one to start selective implementation of the budget is against the law. If the president decides to keep quiet and allows his ministers to run afoul of the law, then the president himself has run afoul of the law.
It's like acting against an act of the parliament. This is an act of illegality. We say the budget bill must be respected. So, if this is not done within this period, there's another provision of the law that says this is how you can be made to do it if you are not ready to comply with it. It's just a pointer to the fact that there is another provision of the law that says something can be done if you do not respect the law. The president must be guided and that's what we are saying.
Will you go ahead to impeach the president if he fails to satisfy to fulfil your intention?
It's one thing to see ourselves as party men and women and it's another thing entirely to see ourselves as legislators in charge of legislative activities of the country. You can have a link on the platform that brought a legislator but I think what is important to everybody is Nigeria as a project. The issue of politicising it is infinitesimal compared to the zeal to ensure that Nigeria excels. We need to be serious to get there in the comity of developed nations. We are not saying ‘get it 100 per cent implemented.’ Nobody wants to rock the boat but to legislate for the good governance of the country and checkmate the executive to have value for our money.
It’s not about party politics but Nigeria's survival. We are not on the same page with the executive on the level of budget implementation. What is the level of recurrent and capital budget? They should come out and tell us. We just came back from oversight visits and found out those agencies and parastatals had not touched the capital projects at all. They either say they have not had a release or that the release is not enough.
‘Opposition Parties are worse than PDP’
Former governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Mr. Kenneth Imansuangbon, in an interview with Anayo Okolie, spoke on the outcome of the July 14 election in the state and the victory of Governor Adams Oshiomhole
Many people were surprised that after protesting the emergence of General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd.) as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the last governorship election, you still supported him when other aspirants who equally lost at the primary opted to support Governor Adams Oshiomhole. What informed that position?
Well, my belief is that anything that happens to a man is ordained by God and it is for his own good one way or the other. So, despite my reservations about how General Airhiavbere emerged as PDP candidate, I have to accept the situation as a party loyalist. For me, my party’s interest is of greater interest than any other consideration. Well, after due consultations with my supporters, coupled with the respect I have for the party leadership and my utmost belief in the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, I made up my mind as a loyal party member to work for the party’s victory in the election.
There is no doubt that I was not happy with the outcome of the primaries but there is no doubt about it also that because of the intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Tony Anenih and other party leaders, I had to fully campaign and back the party’s candidate. It was a party decision and as a loyal party man, I am obliged to back the choice of the party. However, I won’t blame those who left; it is a personal decision. But when you consider the fact that some of us have sacrificed our energy and money to revive the party when it went down, we had to go round everywhere, trying to make the party big again. While many were decamping, we cannot afford to leave the party now when it faces difficulties. No, we will rather stay put and revive the party. I, as a person will stay in PDP and continue to speak the truth and together with other party loyalists, rebrand the party . Edo State belongs to all of us. We must sue for a peaceful and united Edo State. Those who play the card of ethnicity and religion are divisive elements who do not mean well for our beloved state. Edo State needs people with entrepreneurial antecedents; a proven managers of human and material resources to co-operate together so that Edo can be great again.
I will always humbly offer myself for the services of the state. It is possible for Edo State to become a model for other states in job creation, robust economy with solid public private partnership, meeting Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target in health care delivery, becoming a food sufficient state, science-based 21st century education and human capital development, tourism, sports and above all a secured state.
What is your reaction to Oshiomhole’s victory at the last governorship election?
Well, as a democrat and promoter of good sportsmanship, I will congratulate Governor Oshiomhole and the people of Edo State for making their choice. For PDP, I know that this is not the end of the road and that the party will be back again stronger and better. I love my party and I know that this is just a temporary setback. It happens in the life of an organisation. We have learnt our lessons and very soon, you will see a reformed PDP. With the backing of Chief Tony Anenih and other leaders of the party, those of us who are loyal party men have decided to pull energy and resources together and revive the party, build it to a stage where it can regain its lost glory. We still hold our heads high. We have nothing to be ashamed of because we lost an election, after all, there is another time.
But many people are blaming the leaders of your party for the electoral loss, especially Chief Tony Anenih?
Why should they blame Chief Anenih? The man has done his best for the party and Nigeria. You cannot win all the time. I know that history will be kind to him at the end of the day judging from his political achievements. The man is an enigma in politics, a gentleman and very kind. He has not hurt anybody with his politics. Some people may not value the man now which is normal but later they will realise his worth that Chief Tony Anenih is an asset to this country. Come to think of it all PDP members should be blamed for the present state of the party, Anenih is doing his best and posterity will judge him right
What are your views on the present state of insecurity in the country?
Honestly, I can't say the security situation is not very disturbing. The security in our country today is very disturbing and troubling. However, it is not the issue of the President alone. The security of the people in a nation is primarily the responsibility of every Nigerian, every person. In America for example, when a crime is being committed, your neighbour sends a tip off. The bombers are brothers and sisters to every one of us. You know the bombers, I know them. In fact, everybody knows them and the police know them. The bombers are either your brother or my brother; your sister or my sister, your neighbour or my neighbour. The bombers are not Togolese, they are not Palestinians, they are not Afghanistans or Talibans; they are Nigerians.
So, Nigerians are supposed to take their destiny in their hands to secure their homes, their environment, their streets, their neighbourhoods. If you see a suspicious movement, report it to the police. I call on the Inspector General of Police to quickly do what Americans do or I call on the President to quickly create a terrorist department or a terror ministry where we educate every Nigerian. All hands must be on deck for us to quickly as a matter of fact, urgently prepare for the evil of the 21st century.
We see now all over the world that the evil of the 21st century is terrorism. Bomb blast, kidnapping - these were things that were alien and foreign to us as a people. As Nigerians, how did we get into this? Now that we are in this mess, what do we do? Government must quickly rise up to its role as government to either create a special department or ministry against anti-terrorism where men and women of honour will be brought in or create a parastatal. We saw it like the homeland security in the United States.
If you are elected the governor of Edo State in the nearest future, what measure will you put in place to curtail insecurity in the state?
One, I must create jobs; jobs must be created so that the young men and women that are busy loitering on the streets of Benin will be engaged. You must engage men, the young men and the young women. Two, I will create a special department outside the police and the army like the Homeland Security in the United States. I will create the Edo State Homeland Security and I will employ graduates to gather information and partner and return information to me or to my administration and that information will be shared with the police and our intelligent officers. By so doing, you can curtail insecurity.
I will not only create the department, I will empower the department. The security votes that are given to me, what will I use it for? Rather than using security vote for my personal gains, using it to drink and chase women and do evil, I will use the money I will get through my security vote to empower Edo State Homeland Security Department where I will get young men and young women to gather intelligence and such intelligence will be shared by security forces.
What is your view about state police?
That is why our courts, the Nigerian legal system and process must be overhauled. Our process is rotten. It is not about Jonathan. The Nigerian nation is not about the president. People point at the president for nothing. I think it's about us. What we are seeing now is what we deserve, what we want for ourselves. So, in such situations, we put checks and balances. There are always checks and the National Assembly should not put itself first because in 10-20 years along the line now, those who are there as lawmakers will not be there as lawmakers.
So, if you put in place bad laws to benefit you today because you are a lawmaker, remember you will not be there in 20 years time. That law will be there and you will suffer the consequence of your failure not to make good laws. So, if you have local police and state police and federal police, there must be checks, the lawmakers should be able to put in checks.
If the local police know that their money is coming from the Federal Government's purse directly, they will not take instructions from any governor. And not only that, there will be checks, for example, they should be paid well. Many Nigerian policemen are not well paid. We should increase their allowances, and we should give them equipment to function well. If these are done, absolute power should not be given to governors or chairmen of councils. If chairmen of councils and governors do not possess absolute power, the constitution takes away absolute power from them and decentralise power, then there will be an egalitarian society as there will be collective participation and control.
As an educationist do you really have a special programme for education for the state?
Of course, when I become governor, my primary area will be education. In Edo State, what we have or what we ever had were schools. Education was the number one industry in Edo State. So, what I will do is that first, I will empower the schools. In my budget, I will ignore the commissioners. I will give direct budget to all principals. Principals of schools will be in charge of their budget, which is what is done in America. My advice for Governor Oshiomhole is that he should not concentrate budget into the commissioner's hands where it will be "kill and divide." Let him decentralise all the money in the educational industry. He knows the numbers of the schools. Divide the educational budget and give it directly to the principals and see whether the schools will not change.
When they want to take money or steal the people's money, those who are in government, they make you issue the allocation out and give to the ministry or ministers or a commissioner to take. The schools should be renovated; thousands of villages that don't have schools should be given primary and secondary schools. Schools should be made attractive, encouraging and teachers should be paid as at when due. Schools should not be allowed to be closed down. Each time schools are closed down, you are closing the future of a country or the state or the community.
With the way PDP is going, do you still believe that PDP can retain the presidency in 2015?
PDP will beat any party any day any time. So, what makes PDP thick is internal democracy and respect for the rule of law.
But the opposition parties are coming together to stop PDP in 2015 because of what they called PD'P government's lacklustre performance
They are even worse than PDP. Since all these years, they have not been able to come together. You see, it is quite unfortunate. If I had my way, I would have preferred two political parties in Nigeria - PDP and the opposition party. First, it is PDP in Nigeria before any party. I would have propagated that it is in the interest of the country to have a credible opposition against PDP. Fine, yes it's good that it is democracy where I want to see whoever picks up the primaries of my great party, square it up with a credible and organised opposition for example. Let us see debates, how do you want to tar the roads? Where are you going to get the money from?
Last year, what was the budget? This year, what are you expecting? Where are you going to get the money from? How much is the cost of oil? How many millions of barrel do we export in a day? What do we get from taxes? What do we get from customs and excise duties, tariffs? What do we get from there - locally generated revenue? Where do you intend to generate it - international funds, multilateral funds? How do you get them? What do you use them for? The opposition has not told us
So, don't worry. In Nigeria, by the grace of God, I foresee a change, a change is coming. That is why some of us are in politics now so that we can revolutionalise the country. We will reposition the country for a better tomorrow for our children and for our children's children.
At the rate at which people are defecting, don't you foresee problem in the polity?
There is not going to be chaos. The essence of political process is for some people to leave and some people to come in. Some will leave while some will come. Are you not aware that some are also coming in?
So, ultimately, I believe that the country needs just two political parties, so that we can streamline to the left and to the right, like former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida said in those days - a little to the left and a little to the right. Look at America, there are two political parties. In Canada, it is the same. These are people that have tested party politics and they have come with a real and pragmatic solution. That is what I think we need. I want to see two political parties emerge, so that today you are in government, tomorrow you in the other one, that is, in opposition.