By Moshood Adebayo
Johnson Olu Fatoki was a member of the Ogun State House of Assembly between 2007 and 2011 on platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP). He is also a member of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). He speaks on the state of the nation.
How will you assess the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari so far in office and the chances of the party in 2019 elections?
Let me tell you that APC, as a party never promised positive change when they were campaigning in 2015. At that time, Nigerians were so much determined to send President Goodluck Jonathan away than asked to know the type of change APC was talking about. I can tell you that as a typical Nigerian, what we have been experiencing in the past two and a half years in this country is nothing but negative change. As a politician and a member of MAN, I can tell you that there is hardly any sector of the economy that has not experienced negative change occasioned by APC’s misrule.
To an average Nigerian, to feed is difficult, power supply is getting worse, roads are getting bad, and food is no longer on the table of the average Nigerian. Cost of living is increasing. It is quite unfortunate for Nigerians and Nigeria; we never envisaged this down turn. APC promised that within few months of their administration, cost of petroleum will reduce, alas, this is not so. Instead things are getting worse for Nigerians who are getting used to paying more for litres of petroleum. Once beating, twice shy. I don’t think Nigerians will make the mistake of voting APC into power again.
Many Nigerians believe that President Buhari inherited huge debts from his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan which made things difficult for him. What do you think?
As a member of PDP, I may not be happy with the performance of the party particularly during the twilight of President Goodluck Jonathan. As someone who likes to call a spade its real name, I make bold to say that the party failed to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
However, Jonathan’s short comings should not be an excuse for President Buhari, who has been in power for about 30 months not to have made an inroad and make positive change on Nigerians. You can’t say because past government performed woefully and want to continually make Nigerians suffer the more. This administration has recovered huge sums of money from perceived looters in a way that no government in the history of the country has done, yet it has not thought it wise to let Nigerians know how much or what it planned to do with the money.
What’s your own take on President Buhari re-contesting in 2019?
What have been President Buhari’s remarkable achievements in the past two and a half years in office to have warranted being asked to re contest? Sincerely speaking, President Buhari should not listen to those asking him to re-contest. These are political jobbers. Putting into consideration his health condition, he should honourably step aside at the end of his first term. Those individuals and groups, who have been linked with Buhari’s second term, are not only Nigeria’s enemies, but his own enemies too. Anyone, whether president, governor, senator or any political office holder who wants to perform credibly well in office should be sound in health and mind and these two, our president appears to currently lack from all indications. If I were him, I would few months to the end of my tenure address my party’s leadership during which I would tell them of my not being interested in re-election. I would tell them to pick someone who is youthful and strong in both character and credibility to continue wherever I would stop.
What’s your reaction to the presidency’s statement that Nigeria was out of recession?
Yes, they said so, but the indices of recession are still with us. Except the exchange rate which went down in recent times, prices of things in all other sectors are still high. By the way, let me tell you that the recession was caused by the policies and actions of the federal government which later somersaulted. Has standard of living of Nigerians improved? As a manufacturer, I know that things are still hard for Nigerians. The government is also paying lip-service to the sector. What they are interested in is not the progress of members of MAN, but how much tax it will collect from them. The banks with their stringent condition are no longer giving loans to both small and medium industries. The government has a lot to do
How should Nigeria be restructured?
All is not well with us as a country, as a result of this, restructuring is a necessity. My understanding of it is that Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country should discuss the sharing formula of the nation’s resources without any tribe or zone being marginalised.
ßWe should discuss how states will be more productive and not relying on the federal government to finance their projects. As part of my own kind of restructuring, there should be specific and written procedure of making appointments if truly we want to remain a united entity.
How will you assess the administration of Amosun, in Ogun State?
Ordinarily, one may be tempted to say that Governor Amosun has done well, because of the visible infrastructural development in a section of the state, particularly in Abeokuta, the state capital. But he has failed to address the needs of rural dwellers that constitute greater percentage of the populace. As an Egba man, I believe whatever the governor is doing should be extended to other sections of the state. To me his developmental strides are one sided. I believe that if there are good roads in Abeokuta, same should be for Ijebu, Remo and Yewa, who are currently describing the governor as being pro-Abeokuta. Aside from that, I make bold to say that, there are no visible development in the 20 councils of the state.
What are the chances of PDP in the next general elections in Ogun State?
In spite of the perceived crisis in the party, I want to tell you that PDP will win the next governorship election in Ogun State. The crisis in the PDP will be resolved in no distant future and the party will take its rightful position at the Oke Mosan Governor’s Office in 2019. Let me tell you, the crisis we have in PDP is just about ten percent of the total crises within the APC across the country. APC is sitting on a keg of gun powder, by the time it explodes; it will do the entire country no good.