Thursday, 26 June 2014

Ita Enang Speaks on Democracy

Nigeria has enjoyed fifteen years of democracy under the PDP led government. In this interview with journalists in Uyo, Otuekong Ita Enang, senator representing Akwa Ibom North East bares his mind on the journey so far. Excerpts,

How would you rate fifteen years of democracy under the PDP led government?
I believe that there is a lot to celebrate in democracy after 15 years, we are getting to 16th year is only that we are having security challenges, but the security challenges.  I want Nigerians to appreciate that the security challenges we are going through were not invented and it is not originating at the time of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, this is a product of the failure of yesteryears. That is a situation where we have children who are now 18, 20, 25, 30 years old getting into and being the architects of this security challenges, they were not born during the time of President Jonathan administration, they were born during the military era and some were born during the handing- over  years.  Some went to school during the early years of f Obasanjo's administration,  some went to school during the early years of Yar' dua administration, and It is the failure to plan for a generation by a particular administration, and I believe that if we don't sit down consciously to plan for future generations, we will be breeding more Boko Haram, because there is Boko Haram in unemployment and if we do not consciously create and work towards creating employment we will be endangering and worsening the security situation.

I want us to generally encourage the Goodluck Jonathan's administration, we have been able to established that the Boko Haram insurgency and Security challenges we are having now is not only a Nigerian Problem, that it is insurgency in East and Central African which we are now peculiar victims, I want to say that but for the serious efforts of the Military let by the Commander in Chief Goodluck Jonathan, the urgency would have spread beyond, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and perhaps it will have gotten down to Nasarawa and Benue and  will be coming down.

I am sure everybody will agree that the situation in Benue have been contained, that in Nasarawa is being contained, it was an internal insurgency and we have cleared the insurgents from a lot of the areas in the Adamawa state and perhaps located it only in one local government as at today, and with the effort of the military and the air assault now in the suspicious forest we are sure that we are making progress in the area of security.

I want to say that today, the educational system in Nigeria is almost the best in Africa, I want to say in Africa because if some of you have had the experience that I have had who had to send children to  schools in Ghana and the products of those schools, and the situation the education is in those countries, then you will come to treasure the position of education we have in our country now In the area of social development, I think am not very satisfied and in area of employment, I am not at all satisfied. I am not at all satisfied  because there is a message I have been carrying, that is the West told us to close our industries and privatize, they came, bought our industries, packed it, and they are not producing, those industries and factories are not producing, and yet they went to activate the industries in their own countries, they manufacture in their own countries and send for us to buy, they have been creating employment, they are paying taxes in their own countries, even small thing like refineries, they have being telling us that more modular refineries are bad we should wait for big refineries Meanwhile the petrol and diesel we are importing from those other countries are made from small refineries, and only sell to us in big tanks, so am not happy at the area of unemployment, manufacturing and local capacity utilizing, these are one areas we need to strengthen as we celebrate 15 years of democracy.

Sir, what do you say about the area of agriculture?

In the area of Agriculture, I think we have done 5 per cent bad, and I say that this is the greatest area that we have failed. I want to submit that we should scrap the Federal Ministry of Agriculture because  Federal Government has no land and if we have been spending the money in Agriculture and also spending in the Ministry of Agriculture in actual planting of crops and trees we would have made serious impact, we should get agriculture to the downstream, to the
farmers themselves, encourage the farmers, feed them and give them improve seedlings and not do agriculture in Hilton, Sheraton and agriculture in conferences at the Le meridian.

Sir, what's your take on the recent pension bill sent to the House of Assembly?

That is a matter within the legislative competence of the House of Assembly of the state and is the matter that the law has vested in the House of Assembly to do, they are to exercise their discretion judiciously and with best of judgment. I am a member of the National Assembly, we have the pension rights for Presidents, Chief Judges and chief justices and that one is in existence. There is also what is
statutorily to be paid under that law and that is at the federal level and even at the constitution there is a level we are trying to even insert, some of them which were not there which is for the Presidents of the Senate, Deputy President, Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the National Assembly.

Why did it take so long for the President to sign the 2014 budget into law? 
The President is the president of the country and when he has a budget, he has to look at the budget.  But one thing I don't agree is what the Minister of Finance does, the Minister of Finance sometimes behaves as if the National Assembly are pupils, and she is the headmistress which she must open what the National Assembly has passed and mark for the National Assembly as if we are her pupils, and as if we are her students.  She creates a picture of a headmistress, she creates a picture of a larger than life minister and creates a picture of all knowing nothing, and it is her attitude that is causing tension between the legislature and the executive and is bringing down the economy of this country. I wish Mr. President could take another look because I am personally not satisfied at the way the Minister of Finance is handling the matter relating to the economy of this country and in particularly the relationship between the National Assembly and the President in terms of budget and budgeting.

No comments:

Post a Comment