Nigerians have been advised to be hopeful under the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, despite the hard economic challenges faced in the year 2016. An opinion leader and a former special adviser to Governor Tanko Almakura on National Integration, who is also the current National Coordinator, Igbo in Diaspora Initiative, Mr. Ifeanyi D.Nonso, expressed optimism that 2017 will be a year for national recovery. In this interview with our Lafia Correspondent, FRANCIS NANSAK, he bares his mind on some of the steps so far taken by the APC-led administration of the president, that indicate that the country’s stability by 2017 is a sure deal.
The country and its citizens went through a very hard economic challenges in the year 2016,do you at all foresee a way out of the recession, what do you forecast 2017 will look like under the present administration?
An1Thank you for this first question where in every community and society has become an issue of discussed. First and foremost, I will like to begin by attributing all the glory to God Almighty for seeing us all through the year 2016 in spite of what we individually must have gone through. There is no doubt that we as a Nation have had our own share of the global recession, which today Nigerians are complaining about the hardship that comes with it. but then, I don’t want us to loss hope, because we have a capable hand at the helm of affairs, talking about Muhammadu Buhari the president who has demonstrated his genuine commitment to ensure good governance in the management of the country so far. So considering this fact that he is a capable hand, I am confident that there is hope for Nigeria, couple with the plans which have been set on motion, like in the Agricultural sector already picking up well, as a lot of the Nigerian farmers are today smiling home after harvest which was never the case since 16 years ago, this also goes to show that there is hope in that direction. Similarly, the prizes of the crude oil have started rising, that today it is going for 55 dollar per barrel signifying that there is also assurance that the international economy will be boosted with the emergence of Donald Trump, of America when sworn in.
And again, tremendous achievements in the area of insecurity have been recorded in the recently captured Sambisa forest, the terrorist hide out, with the usual bombing in the north eastern region brought to it lowest ape, which can be counted as a plus for the present administration of Mr Buhari’s government.
You will also agree with me that the president have adopted dialogue with the Niger Delta Militias, so when all this indices are put together, you will arrived on the fact that 2017 will be a year of hope for the citizenry of this country, all that is expected of us as a people is to pray and my advised or message to people of Nasarawa state and Nigerians is to be focus, be supportive of the present administrations to achieve the needed good governance and if new do this collectively, the result in 2017 will be recovery of whatever losses recorded in 2016 and other previous years, which I am optimistic will be for the better for all.
Sir,at the moment, some groups and individuals are clamoring to have governor Almakura interest to contest election into senate after his exit from office as governor, do you see him in that light too?
An2,Well,in my little time of work and with the relationship I had with the governor, though one can not explicitly say, but the Almakura I know too well may not want to be distracted by some political permutations or have his attention being diverted over an election for now, as he is a man that love being focus and committed to a course, which is all about ensuring that the work at hand remains the top on his agenda. So I want to belief that those people are only expressing their personal opinions and one can not go to them to ask them to stop, but I tell you the governor I know would for now not heed at such calls rather he will concentrate on the development he has started. so let those who are clamoring for his interest to contest continue to do so ,time will tell.
Your immediate constituency, I mean the Igbo’s are under the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, asking for fairness in federal appointments, which they said Igbo’s are marginalized, don’t you share same view?
An3That is dependent on how one want to qualify the word Marginalization, because it is a relative term, which also depends on how one applies it, so to shade light on your question, if Igbo’s are saying they are being marginalized in this dispensation I will not totally agree to that because and as I talk to you now the federal government have recently release the sum of 52.4 billion which was earmarked for development in the east to include road networks for both the south east and south- south geographical regions. Again one of the reasons for our peoples agitation boils down on infrastructures and if under this administration such an amount was said to have been released, where do the cry over marginalization comes in? I can beat you that this government is ready to bring all agitations to end. We ve seen a situation in this country where the person we held in high esteem as our own, yet we do not benefit from him.
The issues like I earlier told you is about development, provision of security for the people and the rest. So anybody today clamoring for change or an Igbo who is singing marginalization, honestly that person is doing that for a peculiar interest and not in the interest of the country. let me advised here that those who are in the habit of agitations, I think it is time we call for the unity of the country and consider best options at developing one another as a united family. We as Igbo’s should use our complimentary potentials for the development of the northern agricultural resources and the north too in exchange of the potentials of the east, make their produce access able .this is the way God has made us to be of use to each other and unless we realized that, we will continue to see our difference which always leads to the feel of superiority while the other is inferior.
Governor Almakura and the state civil servants are all faced with a challenge in the area of wages, as a stakeholder, how best can you wide into the matter, for the parties to come to terms in the staking issue?
An4,Thank you very much for another question every stakeholder in Nasarawa state might have been charged with, God so kind and the fact that Almakura is so committed to rendering services to the good people of the state, he has been able to find solution to this heartburning problem and that is why since November to December, civil servants were seen smiling to the banks, in that for the month of December, they were able to received two different payments .that is ,the arrears of July was paid to them in December and not in percentage but each one got 100% salary, so I can tell you that the salaries issues has gradually been put to rest and there is every assurance that workers in the state from now to the end of the first quarter of 2017,the governor will clear all outstanding salaries arrears, which goes to prove how committed the governor is on the welfare of the civil servants .And whatever that might have happened in the past can be term as a family affair which is normal for a family to have misunderstanding.
And apart from the issue of just paying salaries to workers, Almakura is working hard for the comfort and future of the state that I also can tell you, which will benefit the entire people of the state.
You will agree with me that before the economic recession set in, Nasarawa state was rank one of the first among the three that implemented the National Minimum Wage to it workers, so I advised that people should exercise restraint while making discordant tunes on the abilities of the governor.