State governments are the architects of hardship in Nigeria, not FG – Ikedife (jnr)

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State governments receive more federal allocations, hold them accountable for hardship in Nigeria, not FG-Ikedife (jnr)

By May 29, 2024, President Bola Amed Tinubu will be celebrating one year in office. To this end, the All Progressives Congress South East Organizing Secretary, Mr Dozie Ikedife (jnr) has ex-rayed some of the activities of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration with a high score. He spoke with the Nijasun.com and other media houses.

Excerpts:

Don’t you think the subsidy removal by President Bola Tinubu on inauguration is counterproductive given the hardship Nigerians are facing now?

The time President Tinubu’s government removed the subsidy was apt.  If you pay attention, you will discover that subsidy removal started with the previous administration. What happened is that Tinubu’s administration came in and amplified subsidy removal and subsidy removal has yield a lot of fruits, a lot of dividends indeed. Citizens do not hold their state governments accountable for the poor infrastructure in the state.

Look at the allocations from the federal government to the states. The states allocations have doubled since Tinubu came in as President of Nigeria and all that extra money was accrued from the savings of subsidy removal.

So, what the states receive now are quite higher than what they were receiving before and these allocations from the federal government are supposed to be felt by the citizens.  Remember that the states are responsible to their citizens and the LGAs are responsible to people at the grassroots. The State has emasculated the Local Government system and decided to do as they pleased with the federal allocations. So that’s what’s going on. I will say squarely that they should blame the hardship on the state governments. The state Governors have refused to cushion the effect of subsidy removal by the federal government.

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Is Tinubu’s government fight against corruption on course?

Yes, of course. You have to understand that corruption in Nigeria is quite endemic. It’s as though corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of the citizens. So, anybody fighting corruption will have to spend a long time for you to see what the person is doing.

But I want to tell you that this federal government under President Bola Tinubu is very serious about fighting corruption and government is doing anything within its powers to fight corruption and see that it is brought down to the barest minimum. So, I applaud the government of Bola Tinubu in what he has done fighting corruption so far.

Is the fight total and across the judicial system?

You have to understand that the fight against corruption doesn’t start and end with the government.

It has to do with the citizens. How patriotic are we? You can ask yourself that question.  The people running the government, I mean the civil servants, how patriotic are they? You will find out that we have more corruption in rank and file of the civil service than you have at the higher echelon. No corruption can be perpetrated in the ministry if the rank and file of people in the ministry are not part and parcel of it. We need to have total reorientation of our citizens over their mindset towards corruption for the fight to succeed.

APC government promised that refineries in Nigeria would begin production in December 2023. How far?

Government has been busy in that direction. The federal government has continued to encourage the effort of Dangote Refinery. The federal government has given the Dangote refinery maximum co-operation and in the next one month Dangote refinery is going to begin to distribute PMS. And I’m quite optimistic that if it begins to share PMS that the cost of the product will come down a little bit lower just like we have seen in the cost of diesel. And with the effort of this administration, you can see that our refineries in Warri and Port Harcourt are almost ready to start production. Also, a lot of modular refineries are coming up and I’m optimistic that by second quarter of next year Nigeria will begin to export refined petroleum products.

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     Electricity, that’s power sector is not looking better. Why?

I think right now Nigeria is generating more electricity than it is distributing. We as a nation have to hold Nigeria’s electricity distribution companies (Discos) accountable for them to be able to distribute more generated electricity. Discos must be held accountable so that they can find money and invest more on distribution. Remember that the federal government has been bold enough to say that power generation is now out of the exclusive reserve of the FG. What this means is that states can now partner with private companies to generate electricity. We have to be patient and give this policy time to manifest. I’m very optimistic that the federal government is moving in the right direction.

The FG concentrates on palliatives distribution other than reducing the cost of fuel. Is that policy in order?

Well, you have to understand that when government comes up with such a policy, that is meant to ameliorate the sufferings of the people. A responsible government will always come up with palliatives. Palliatives distribution is a temporary measure just like bandage over a wound until you get to the hospital. It is just a temporary measure until the effects of the policy begin to get clear.

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In the oil and gas sector, government has actually deregulated petroleum products like PMS and diesel. And as we get more products refined in Nigeria, the prices will continue to go down. Palliatives are just a measure until these refineries begin to work at optimum capacity and people will begin to appreciate and enjoy the federal government policy in all aspects.

President Tinubu appears to be overwhelmed by the problem he met on ground after inauguration. Is that not true?

I don’t know what you mean by being overwhelmed. I don’t know who is coming up with that perception. Maybe that’s your personal view. 

This is a man who asked for the job, a man who campaigned for the Job. He lobbied Nigerians to give him the Job.

He was sworn in as the Nigerian President and he hit the ground running. And when you look at his economic policies, he has implemented a lot and continues to implement a lot.

Look at the policies he has been implementing across board, just a typical of a man who got the saddle and hit the road. President Tinubu cannot be overwhelmed over the problems facing Nigeria. He is tackling the problems one at a time. His score card is quite high. There is no well-meaning Nigerian that would not score President Tinubu an ‘A’ in his endeavour. Most Nigerians believe in him.

Anambra 2025 governorship battle is fast approaching, how prepared is APC to take over the state?

Everything is by God’s grace. APC is going to take advantage of poor performance of Governor Charles Soludo. Governor Soludo has shown that he is overwhelmed by the problem in Anambra and APC is going to take over to correct all the anomalies.

What are your thoughts?

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