Prof. Itse Sagay, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC). In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, the legal luminary speaks on Nigeria’s journey in the last 59 years after Independence on October 1, 1960. He also spoke on how the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has greatly dealt with corruption in the country. Excerpts:
Nigeria celebrated 59 years of Independence as a sovereign nation on Tuesday. As one of the Nigerians who witnessed our independence on October 1st 1960, how do you think we have fared as a nation?
Well, we certainly have not lived up to our potentials. As I always tell people, our politicians and public officers have engaged in too much self-service at the expense of serving the nation, unlike the first set of politicians and statesmen we had, like Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik), Ahmadu Bello and others. They felt that the greatest honour bestowed on them was to allow them take on governance and serve the people. They shunned all form of materialistic lifestyles and if you research into their lives, you will find out that someone like Awolowo never stayed in Government House. He had a small bungalow in Oke Ado from where he operated as Premier of the Western region. Zik was a little bit lavish but relatively modest compared to the politicians of today. Ahmadu Bello didn’t have any house. He stayed in Government House and when he died, he had no house anywhere. That was the same thing with Tafawa Balewa. When he died, he left nothing for his family. So, those people just sacrificed themselves for the country.
From all you have said now, is there hope for the country going forward?
The only hopeful sign is that this present government is committed to right the wrongs. There is a genuine effort to revive the country. From their various social investment programmes and the way we came out of economic recession that we suffered immediately this present government took over in 2015. Now the government is building up our reserves and you can see a lot of activities going on. The railway system, which was non-existent and had practically died before this government came, has been brought back to life. They have completed Itakpe-Warri, they have completed Abuja–Kaduna. And now, they are now building from Lagos to Kano. Already, there is a plan for Calabar to Lagos.
As chairman of PACAC, can you say there has been improvement in the fight against corruption?
In the area of corruption, all the fraud in the past has greatly reduced. For example, there is no more fuel subsidy fraud. It has gone. Previously, it was costing us about N400 billion a year. That has disappeared under this government. We have recovered over a trillion naira in the last four years from looted funds of the government, which has now been put into the social investment programme.
also recovered over $700 million and more are being recovered. I think
the federal government is going to get another $300 million Abacha loot
from the United States of American government. Unlike the past,
recovered funds are now being put into the budget and used
transparently. Previously, as soon as the money was recovered, it was
shared among government people and it disappeared again. So, we have
some hope ahead of us. We have seriously degenerated but hope is coming.
If we can sustain what the present government is doing for another 10
years, I think Nigeria will be in good shape.
Border Closure: Alomo Bitters Manufacturer Loses $2m
As the raging issues of border Closure by Buhari-led administration continues with Nigeria and even Ami neighbouring Africa nations.
KasaprekoLimited, is the manufacturer of Alomo Bitters, a beverage widely consumed by Nigerians.
The company is also Ghana’s largest local beverage manufacturer. It has lost about $2 million in revenue following the border closure by the Nigeria government.
This was made known in by Francis Holly Adzah, Kasaprekos Head of International Business Development when he stated in an interview with a Ghanaian news website, JoyBusiness that they have lost about $2 million in revenue following the action of the Federal Government of Nigeria to close borders with neighbouring countries.
Buhari Working Hard To Meet Nigerians Need -Oshiomhole
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has expressed President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to accelerate economic growth with a view to meeting the needs of Nigerians in his second term in office.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Simon Ebegbulem, on Tuesday, Oshiomhole said this when a delegation from the Vietnamese Government paid him a courtesy in Abuja. The delegation was led by His Excellency, Nguyen Hai Ninh, the Deputy Chief of Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam.
According to him, to achieve this, the APC led Federal Government is reviving our textile industry. “The idea is to work towards taking advantage of comparative advantage in this sector in order to help provide jobs to the over 200 million of our population,” Oshiomhole said.
According to him, Buhari is in a hurry to provide jobs to unemployed Nigerians as well as accelerate the growth of the economy.
It is as a result of this that the APC led administration is fighting corruption vigorously for our commonwealth not to be concentrated in the hands of a few, but that of the majority.
“With a population of 200 million, we have the advantage of a huge market, but we also have a huge challenge of ensuring an economic growth that will make those 200 million people comfortable. “Before the coming of Buhari, we missed lots of opportunities,” he said.
Oshiomhole said that the country had challenges in power supply and security, adding that the President was fighting corruption to preventing few people from taking the wealth meant for the nation.
“Nigerians voted overwhelmingly for our President, so we are going to take advantage of the second term to ensure that we accelerate economic growth for us to meet the needs of our people.
“Right now, we are focusing on ensuring that we have a power supply. Vietnam has a strong textile industry and you have an international market, so I am glad to know about that.
“I am particularly keen on this because I work in the textile factory before and I think that there are one or two things we can learn from your experience because we are on the verge of reviving our textile industry which will help us create jobs,” he said. Oshiomhole commended the Vietnamese Government for backing Nigeria in its bid for the Presidency of the United Nations General Assembly.
He said that the countries would continue to deepen relationships in areas of trade and investment for the benefit of the two countries. Earlier, Hai Nin said the visit was to establish official relationship between the APC led government and the communist party of Vietnam.
He solicited the assistance of Nigeria in settling the crisis between Vietnam and China over the disputed South China sea, urging Nigeria to insist that the dispute be settled according to the UN established laws. (NAN)
Bayelsa Guber: Jonathan Kinsmen, Others Joins APC
As the gubernatorial polls of Bayelsa is drawing nearer on daily basis, grassroots politicians and kinsmen of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Robert Enogha and Chief Claudius Enegesi have dumped the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Prior to his defection, Enogha was the Chairman, Bayelsa Environmental Sanitation Authority and former two-time member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. Enogha, who was until his defection one of the restoration leaders in Ogbia, was also a former Commissioner for Environment in the state. Enegesi, one of the political associates of Jonathan, was a Speaker in the old Rivers State when Ada George was the governor.
The party stalwart, who was the pioneer Chairman of the PDP in Bayelsa when the party was formed in 1998, was a former national executive member of the party and a former caucus chairman of PDP, Ogbia chapter.
Also in Nembe, Chief Bright Erewari-Igbeta, a former House of Assembly member and presently Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment resigned his appointment from the government and also from the party. In the same council, Chief James Jephthah aka Octopus after series of meeting with leaders and supporters of PDP under the Octopus Umbrella said he and his political associates had decided to withdraw their membership of the PDP. But Enigha while jointing the APC cited dictatorial tendencies in PDP as a reason for his decision to leave the party. He said: “I write to formally inform you of my withdrawal of membership from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
I am doing this with so much pain as a founding member of the party which was truly democratic as at then. “I must acknowledge the immense benefit and experience I have gathered over the years through service as a loyal and faithful member. However I have lost confidence in the party’s ability to accept where the opinion of majority counts, hence my resignation”.
Also in Brass, Chief Beimo Spiff the coordinator of the PDP governorship campaign council in Brass Local Government Area and brother to Senator Inatimi Rufus Spiff, Chairman of the PDP reconciliation committee, dumped the party for the APC.
Spiff and his supporters were received by the Secretary of the party, Alabo Martins. Beimo- Spiff in his letter of resignation addressed to the Chairman of the party said he was resigning from the party due to some “despicable injustices in the party
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