Professor Chris Nwaokobia Jnr, Director General, Change Ambassadors of Nigeria (CAN), and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in this interview, he says that the fight against corruption is by no means sentimental or selective but passionate and profound.
HOW would you access the present administration? Would you say this was the kind of change the All Progressive Congress (APC) promised Nigerians?
The present administration is effectively on course, particularly, when you juxtapose the present with what obtained before now. A dispassionate assessment of the Buhari administration or the APC-controlled federal government will show a commitment to fixing Nigeria; will show a journey to the isles of responsible and responsive leadership; will show a proactive effort at reworking our collective values and morality; show a determination to perform and redeem our country from the jangling discord of poverty to the amazing place of promise. The change we voted for is a process and we are effectively walking the talk. Sooner than later, you shall proudly salute this administration because the determination of the change regime is to make Nigeria great again. The fight against corruption, as promised, is on course. The effort at job creation is an all time high with about 500,000 about to be engaged by the Federal Government, and the effort at diversifying our economy is profound. I can go on and on.
What’s your candid assessment of Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade?
The anti-corruption crusade of the government is profound and salutary. We can see the much resources being recovered from looters by the day; we can see the re-jigging of the EFCC to prosecute the war without let or hinder. And we can see the boldness of the Magu-led EFCC in purging our space of corruption and corruptive proclivities. Only the unfair and the partisan will fault the renewed fight against corruption and query the sincerity of Mr. President in ensuring that we kill corruption.
Is the approach not being sentimental?
The fight against corruption is by no means sentimental or selective but passionate and profound. It is about saving our country from the ills of sleaze and profligacy, it is about bringing to book all those who raped our country, and it is obvious that this war is being waged irrespective of partisan biases, and indiscriminate of Creed or Clan.
Do you support the call from some political quarters that former president Jonathan should be probed in the ongoing Dasukigate involving diversion of $2.1 billion arms fund?
No Nigerian should be elevated above the Law. If we must move this country forward, all and sundry that has superintended any aspect of our national life should, where necessary, be summoned to answer questions regarding his or her stewardship. I, therefore, align myself with calls for former President Jonathan to tell us all he knows about the Dasukigate and allied corruption laden issues under his watch.
What do you think the present administration is not getting right in the governance of the country?
The present administration is on course. The present administration is steadily reworking Nigeria. All that is needed is the profound support of the people. Governance is not a micro-wave where you chuck-in and chuck-out, it is a programmatic process. It takes sincerity and determination to achieve the set goal of progress and prosperity. And this regime is not lacking in the needed zeal and zest requisite for national growth.
Right now, people are lamenting harsh economy, businesses stagnated, crude oil somersaulting uncontrollably, can this government survive all these before 2019 when another general elections will hold?
The present socio-economic challenges are known and appreciated by government. And like the IMF President, Mrs. Lagarde, admitted upon her visit to Nigeria, this regime is committed and determined to solve the problems that assail us. But like one cannot make omelette without breaking an egg, we must endure and support government in this drive to make real the promises of change. I, personally, think that it is unfair to expect magic in eight months. What the other the party could not achieve in 16 years, they expect Buhari to achieve in eighty months. Such is the nebulous height of our politics. What I know for sure is that in a few months, Nigerians shall be grateful to God that we all voted change. Jobs shall be created and the economy rebuilt because governance has shown an unequal resolve at diversifying our sources of revenue, government is inspiring new home grown economic paradigms, businesses shall sprout and soar yet again. We need naught but patience and support as we make real the promises of democracy.
What’s your take on the crisis bedeviling the 2016 budget?
The details of the budget is being reworked, and I’m principally convinced that the reason the budget raised so much hoopla is because a change regime is in the saddle. The items and projects repeatedly budgeted for in the past which did not raise any noise have become issues of great concern because change is here. Interestingly, to show sincerity of purpose, those responsible for the shame are being sacked; such is the decorum and integrity that this regime brings to governance.
What’s your comment on all the bogus and frivolous provisions in the budget?
Those who prepared the budget were obviously poised at embarrassing the Government. The bogus facts and figures are sordid, shameful and lampoonable. I am happy that the President has distanced himself from it and fired those responsible. Such is the tendency of a great leader and statesman, to usher in transparency and accountability in governance is manifestly the passion of our Dear President.
Does the budget actually reflect the change mantra the APC claims?
Sizeably, the budget is a budget of change because it provides immensely for social securities and for the good of the Nigerian masses. It provides for the feeding of children in schools, it provides for social security pay outs to the unemployed, and for infrastructures development. I’m sure that even the dye in the wool critics of this regime cannot fault the details and intentions of the budget.
Do you support the call for the withdrawal and representation of the budget by some people?
The entire budget may not be withdrawn but the Ministers must ensure that in the defense of the budget, as it pertains the various Ministries, all frivolous details are deleted. Such is the permissible minimum open to the Ministers and the National Assembly.
A lot of people believe it’s because you’re looking for recognition by Buhari, that’s why you are his unrepentant and addicted follower, how true is this?
I have for upward of two decades and half, fought for the good of society. For me, it has always been Country First. I’m an avid Buharist because he evokes profound patriotism and passion to get our country back on track. For this cause was I born, for this cause I contested the Presidential election in 2011. As a 40-year old man, I remain in Nigeria the youngest person to have had his name on the Presidential elections return sheet. So, saying that all I seek is President Buhari’s recognition is pretty unfair. I seek a better Nigeria and I am ready, willing and able to support and work with Mr. President in ensuring that we make real the promises of Change. For me, it is and will always be Country First. God bless Nigeria.