We Are Yet To See The Change Buhari Promised- Okogie

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The Archbishop Emeritus of the Catholic Archdiocese of
Lagos, Anthony Car­dinal Olubunmi Okogie, yesterday, urged President Muhammadu
Buhari, to re­tool and lead by example on all fronts or risk plunging Nigeria
into a state of despondency.
In a statement by the Director of Social Com­munications of
the Diocese, Monsig­nor Gabriel Osu, Okogie accused the pres­ident of acting
disdainfully towards the judicial authorities while millions of Nigerians are
abandoned to face unimaginable social problems.
Okogie said, “He (Buhari) must retool, re­focus and
aggressively face the so­cial, economic (fiscal and monetary) problems we have
head-on, without letting the anti-corruption drive look like a political
distraction.

“A snail-paced and disordered methodology in governance, his
ap­parent disdain for judicial authorities and decisions, a lost today and
found tomorrow 2016 Budget debacle, and a rather rudderless and confused
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with an unclear monetary policy strategy
(inevitably increasing the economic uncertainties being faced by Nigeri­ans),
have set alarm bells ringing in my mind and in the minds of many discerning
Nigerians.
“Indeed, his perceived discord­ant relationship with the
leadership of the Legislature has many naysayers chuckling and remarking that
Pres­ident Buhari’s government is head­ing into his comfort zone, a one man
show.”
Okogie also noted that “a lot of Nigerians are beginning to
feel that Buhari is fast transforming this na­tion into a police state where
the president, the Economic and Finan­cial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the
Department of State Secu­rity (DSS) rule the day.
“What they say is given lurid headlines in the me­dia, and
it seems to all that some of the defendants cum accused persons are being tried
in the press with in­formation conveniently slipping into the hands of the
press, presumably from the security agencies, even be­fore such people have
been charged to court.”
Frowning at the President’s refusal to heed the court
pronouncements on the bail grant­ed to the Director of Radio Biafra and Leader
of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and former National
Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sam­bo Dasuki (retd) the eminent cleric said: “The
pro-Biafran activ­ist, Nnamdi Kanu and the erstwhile NSA, Sambo Dasuki, were
granted bail by the courts but such bails were disregarded by the security agents
under Buhari’s watch.
“Unfortunately, democracy is difficult and this government
must realise that democracy pervasive­ly coloured with impunity, arbitrar­iness
and highhandedness, cannot be used to fight and correct the finan­cial impunity
and reckless abandon of the previous administration, even if it is more
difficult to do so; the rule of law must be obeyed and be the or­der of the
day.
“If Buhari wants to leave a cred­itable legacy come 2019, he
should retool the bureaucracy. For instance, the roof of the Central Bank is
leak­ing water.
“Governors, who arm-twisted Okonjo-Iweala into signing out
our reserves held by Central Bank, are today ministers in the All Progres­sives
Congress (APC) government.
“We are still talking about change and corruption when old
things refuse to pass away! These political gimmicks can only car­ry away
gullible or naive Nigeri­ans. President Buhari should beam his flashlight on
policies and pro­grammes that will lift up the masses.
“Existing industries are almost dead and they call for
urgent revital­isation. The budget ought to aid so­lutions to the mass
unemployment, rural-urban migration, skewedness in the distribution of income,
abject rural poverty and industrialisation of rural economy.
“The 774 local government cap­itals should be linked to
their state capitals. Even the mindboggling in­frastructure deficits can take
the en­tire tenure to address.”
“The weakness in the bureau­cracy has not been addressed.
The problem the APC government is trying to solve is bound to re-occur because
it is treatment of effect rath­er than the cause,” he said, adding that
causative factors are being to­tally ignored or glossed-over while
institutional weakness pervades the Ministries Departments and Agen­cies
(MDAs), offices of the Account­ant-General, Auditor-General and the Central
Bank.”
Irked by the continuous change mantra, Cardinal Okogie said:
“Our Change must change something. How could we continue to talk of change in a
static system? How could we be talking of change when the same crew are
governors, ministers, senators, and members of the House of Representatives?
This is a cyclical devolution of power to the same people who are never out of
power!
“What sort of change is the Pres­ident talking about? When
will the youth take over when even a gov­ernor does not take a bow and go? When
shall we plan for the replace­ment of delinquent leadership? This is what
constitutes change. Change is not changing from Jonathan to Buhari.”
Continuing, he said: “Change is be­havioural and pervades
all levels of society including the family, the church, the mosque, schools,
market women and business men. When we talk of change, we talk of
positive-salutary, healthy growth and devel­opment oriented change that cuts
across the entire gamut of the so­ciety.
“What sort of change is this that ignores the glaring
unequal distribu­tion of national income? It is absurd that the same government
that is un­able to pay N18,000 per month to the lowest grade of labour can
afford to pay N1.8 million per month to anyone in the economy. Why must tax
payers’ money be used to feed Mr. President and his family?
“Why must the tax payers’ mon­ey be used to buy brand new
exotic vehicles for the legislature, judges, ministers and governors when they
are heavily paid?
“Why don’t they use loan finance or mortgage finance to buy
their cars and houses? This is also a form of looting and it is the cause of
grounding the economy and calling in an IMF spin-doctor all the time.
“Precisely two years ago this same President Buhari rejected
off-hand this use of a spin doctor to heal the ailing economy. He pre­ferred
the use of counter-trade and inward looking policies like cutting down costs
and flamboyant exotic life styles.

“Today, I am not so sure we have the same Buhari. I do hope
he has not changed all the colours of the rainbow. The ruling elites are living
a luxurious lifestyle while the mass­es are in abject poverty and yet we are
all Nigerians. Enough of this change-conundrum,” Okogie warned.

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