*Says APC government destroyed the economy
*Tribalistic in handling issues of insecurity, etc
Former minister for Special Duties, Dr. Tanimu Turaki is among the political juggernauts of the Peoples Democratic Party who has declared interest to be the party’s standard bearer at the forth-coming presidential election. In an interactive with Editors yesterday in Abuja he bared his mind on why he wants to replace President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Rock. MALACHY UZENDU brings the excerpts of that engagement.
What stands you out as the best for this job?
Several eminently qualified aspirants of our party have indicated their aspirations to fly the party’s flag. I believe they all have the pedigree to lead this nation. But I consider myself one among equals and would bring all of them to the table and share from their vault of experiences if given the opportunity.
The offer for service is about integrity; one of service and one of ability to deliver good governance. Over the years, we have been able to display character, integrity and reputation to lead men and positively affect the lives of people.
Since 2015, we have had issues of security, corruption and economy.
On security, people had accused the past PDP administration of ineptitude in handling security issues, especially in the North East. Also that PDP ran a fantastically corrupt government.
I am in this race because we firmly believe that issues of corruption must be tackled head on. That was why the PDP established two anti-corruption agencies. We didn’t want to arbitrarily arrest people so that people don’t say we were hounding people. We believe in due process. Those that are already sentenced to prison, Gov. Joshua Dariye, former Plateau State Governor and Rev. Jolly Nyame, his Taraba counterpart, were all PDP top members. They were charged to court under the PDP administration and today have been convicted.
But you are living witnesses of some APC members accused of corruption. Their cases were not even investigated and we say this government is fighting corruption? Some of them are even campaign managers to President Muhammadu Buhari. But, during the PDP administration, every incident of corruption were investigated and if there is prima facie evidence against the accused, he or she was promptly charged to court, no matter the position he or she occupied. That is not being done in this administration.
What of issues of insecurity. Are the APC’s approach not better?
On the issue of security, the PDP administration pursued insurgents to the farthest fringes of North East which was why we conducted election in every part of the country in 2015. But today, the APC have not only allowed those insurgents to bounce back, what is even more worrisome is that the government of the day would look people in their faces and say insurgency have been defeated, degraded. These are all lies. I served on the presidential committee on dialogue with insurgents which made far-reaching recommendations that would have resolved most of the problems that bedevil us today, but they have all been jettisoned by this administration.
It is true we have issues of insurgency in the North East then, but today, nobody is safe anywhere: in the farms, at homes and even along the road. We are now witnessing bandits killing hundreds of people at a go yet, this government will fold their arms.
The good effort of the late President Umoru Yar’Adua which helped resolve restiveness in the Niger Delta, have been abandoned not to talk of kidnapping, armed robbery and other crimes.
How would you handle issues of abuse of power?
We have seen abuse of power, how in a commando manner, eminent Justices of courts of record were assaulted, their homes broken into and accused of high profile corruption. One of such Justices whose home was damaged and accused of corruption was only accused of having dual passport. The other Judge had his case terminated at no case submission. Or do we speak about the muzzling of other arms of government in abandonment of the principles of separation of powers?
What have happend therefore is that investors are not coming, people fear for their lives; there is general fear and insecurity. Nigerians have never been so divided. Nigerians now lack confidence in themselves and in their government. I am afraid that if we continue this way, Nigeria will collapse, God forbid!
I am in the race therefore because we want somebody who will treat us fairly without issues of ethnicity and division. We need a government that will respect human rights, not a government that will chose which court order to obey and which not to obey. If I become president, every court order must be obeyed and all those under illegal detention will be released. We need a government that fears God and I believe I can bring people who will mend fences and make us proud as citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Are bitter quarrels in PDP not a hindrance?
It is true we had quarrels but all those have been resolved. I assure you that PDP will conduct credible primary to pick a credible candidate. I am a credible candidate, educated, a bridge builder, with sterling credentials, I believe I have bright chances. I performed very well when I served in government. When I was supervisory minister of Labour, all the Labour issues both in the public and private sector, were resolved before the current minister was sworn in.
On Power issues, your party spent over $16billion yet no power?
We have issue in generation, distribution and transmission. Unless we look beyond hydro and embrace nuclear, wind and solar energy sources, we can’t get it right. By the grace of God, if i get into office, I have the capacity to handle all these.
You said the present government is ungodly. What do mean?
This government came up on the platform of 5 per cent and 95 per cent. It is wrong. We have had court judgments and this government says we can never release them. Also treating people accused of corruption on different parameters. Is that not ungodliness?
As much as some people who commit crimes are not treated as criminals, that Is ungodly, a problem and that is what this government is doing and it is not right. If we get into government and one commits a crime, whether one is Fulani, Hausa, Berom, Igbo, Yoruba, Tiv, Beriberi, name it, nobody will be shielded. We must condemn what this government is doing right now, shielding criminals because they are from a particular ethnic group is ungodly.
Are you comfortable with the economy?
We know that people treated us like a parriah nation before PDP came into office. PDP government provided the enabling environment that changed the narrative. But when this government came in, they reversed all the gains through bad economic policies and several investors who had come in ran away. This government has completely wiped off the middle class. We have to once again liberalize our economy. We have to revitalise agriculture, use science and technology to improve agriculture. We must encourage artisans to get back to business. We have to revisit interest rates and other economic issues. A government that allows lenders to charge double digit interest will not grow the economy. We have obnoxious policies from this government which crashed the economy. That is why people removed their money from the system and put under their bed.