Politics

State Governors Are The Enemies Of The Nigerian Growth – Benson Enikuomehin

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Dr. Benson Enikuomehin Fcpa-Lawyer/Politician

With the one year anniversary of President Tinubu in mind , Lanre Ijaola and Toba Ilori spoke with a former board member of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Bar. (Dr.) Benson Enikuomehin, to get a topnotch perspective on the state of the nation.

Dr Benson Enikuomehin Fcpa-Lawyer/Politician stressed that insecurity and a lack of full attention to agriculture are affecting the country’s food growth , adding that state governors are the the one affecting the growth of Nigeria

What do you make of the Fuel Subsisdy removal , the people are suffering ,almost everything is now expensive ?

I have known Nigerians to be hardworking people .They are people who are industrious in their own right,
and I think that the government and the leadership of this country will set the pace and lead by example. The situation in the country will be ameoratd .
presently we don’t need dollars to be able to plant yams , maize, bananas, or cassava. These don’t require getting an IMF loan to get these things done .
What does this require ? The government needs to be purposeful in saying I want food security for my people. The challenge of these heardmen and the likes of bandits and all that does not require an IMF loan .It requires strong will ,strong determination, and for the people to decide to say “enough is enough”
If farmers have access to go to farm , the fishermen can go fishing , and labourers can do their work, there will be food security and once you remove the challenge of food from any man, the man sustainable ,he can sustain himself,

so it is a luxury to say we are exchanging dollars. Dollars do not make the soil sprout and bring forth goodness. It is not dollars that does that .yes we need fertiliser as it we are but without as it may we can still plant foods that we can eat . But when our farmers can not make it to farm, when they go ,they either get killed or taken hostage and their family are made to cough out a huge amount of money that they did not have, ,they won’t go to the farm, hence there would be scarcity and this would lead to challenge. Therefore,
every nation has a reason to look inward inaddressing its own problems. – NIgeria should look inward
Yes, I have always been an advocate for the removal of fuel subsidy but when you remove the subsidy , you must plough the money back to the the people. Don’t remove the subsidy and take it on capital flight somewhere else .

If some bigwigs are the ones benefiting from the fuel subsidy and now you have removed it, go ahead and plan it, make back to the economy, ,the economy will become stable, put it back into electricity, into water ,into agriculture, and your people will be happy.
We don’t need to go everywhere , An average Nigerian wants rice, beans, yam , cassava hat else ? It is a luxury to say that you are eating food that is made in a BRISTOl Hotel – A common man needs Average things to make him comfortable .IMF may say whatever they care about, except if our leaders are slave to IMF

Take for instance , a young man has just taken over Senegal and he told France to stay clear .Are we so brainwashed that we will say until when IMF says it before we act? You can imagine that?

You can imagine the redidcle the Americans were saying that we won’t give you aids until you pass law that forbid this same sex marriage ,you can imagine that such statement. The Jonathan led administration, ,of which David Mark was the chairman of the Senate, told them “to hell with you.” And they made the law – 14 years in prison once you are caught doing the act. Have you not been surfing?

For people to survive , the facilities that they require are within their domain .I am told that there is a mineral resource called lithium that is available in Zamfara – We must be focused .

A few days ago , I took time to go and rest. I did not travel out of Lagos; I looked for a small hotel around Ikeja, and I went there. I could relax, light was regular. By the time I came back to the office, I knew I was so refreshed. Why must I travel 8 hours or so to go to someone’s country where the people will be harassing me. It is because of the colonial mentality. Once some people are colonised, it takes the grace of God for that mentality to leave their heads.

IMF is not the issue; subsidy is not the issue; it is the determination of our leaders. Let President Bola Ahmed Tinubu hear this now and then. We trusted him and believed him; he must go there to do the things he was saying in 1992 and 1993 . Age shouldn’t distract him from that; let him do the will of the people and Nigeria shall be great again.

Okay, so we’ve had consistent democracy for over twenty four years and it’s been consistent. You are a member of the APC and the APC has been saddled for the last eight years. Will you want to tell me that people are enjoying the dividends of democracy? With the state of the nation now, people are fleeing to go abroad.

When the former president of America, Abraham Lincoln, defined democracy as the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The question we’ll ask ourselves is What is transpiring in Nigeria. Is it a government of the people, by the people, and for the people? If the answer is positive, we can move forward; if the answer is negative, what we have been getting so far is to defend that we are having civil administration, And if it is civilian administration and it is not the government of the people by the people and for the benefit of the people, then we are not. We are only dancing around democratic norms .

Do you think democracy is good for this country or is it a borrowed system or form of government?

Of course it is good, it is the will of the people must prevail at all times in an election, in debates and that’s why some of us still go back to 1986 when Babangida decided to devalue the naira. The likes of Chief Olu Falaye was then the secretary to government and others and they were hammering ” if we devalue, if we devalue naira, will go” structural adjustment programme.

Sir, SAP has served us enough. You see, we cannot be borrowing the lives of our neighbours to live your lives. Look at everytime, you must discover who you are. One of the philosophers said an unexamined life is not worth living. Nigerians must examine themselves; this is government for Nigerians, by Nigerians for the benefit of Nigerians. If you remove the subsidy, for whose benefit? If it’s for the benefit of a few, then it is not in our own interest. So, there must be a sitting down to say, this country the way it’s going, let’s do what is fair, what is just, and what is equitable.

We’ve been talking about restructuring all this while and the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has been one of the proponents of restructuring. Now that it is your turn, you must do it, if not, we will only know that the good number of you are paying leave service so that you can get to power. Now it is time to do so. I heard him say the state police and all that must be put in place.

Yes, you must work in that direction when there has been a devolution of power. This going to Abuja to share money must be reduced to the bearest minimum so that each state of the federation can go down down deep into the mineral resources available within the state, because of a truth, government exists for the benefit of the people.

So, democracy, government of the people, by the people, for the people, should become applicable in the way we manage the resources of the country.

The resources of the country pull together distributed among the component units, which are the state must tickle down and the state government in Nigeria. I want to be cautious of the words I use. The governors in Nigeria have not been fair. In fact, if there are people to hold responsible for the ills of this country, the governors since this democracy should be held responsible. For what reason? They have stuffed and killed the local government administration. Money comes from the federal allocation, you take your own money, the money that go the local government, where the people should feel the impact. You appropriate it and pull it to be part of your own.

So the local government chairmen are more or less P.A.s, or Special Assistants to the Governor on Local Government Affairs. They cannot award this pin now for people to get benefit. So, people cannot go to the state of go to the federal should be able to say this is where my hand can get to – Local Government let me go and get something. I can supply this when the Governors have taken all the money.

Okay, let’s look at the issues of corruption in Nigeria, This has been endemic in the system for a very long time. The agencies of the government that are supposed to act on corruption issues are not strong enough and we have worked hard on this consistently for a very long time. We have not seen an action from the President, who will stand and say, Enough is enough. If you are in the mind of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, what advice would you give to him? Because inflation rate is so high that people can hardly afford three square meal per day

The point is made, corruption appears to be one of the family members that we have in Nigeria. It is not extended; it is a nuclear member of the family. We have not done much to be able to tell corruption to go away but I believe that if armed robbers go to rob and they have successfully robbed, coming back to share the bounty. In their own room, they will make rules that you don’t rob your colleague that you went to rub together. My statement is if they have acquired this, then among themselves they should not steal among themselves.

The people have made money illegally or whatever means and now they are in power. I Am Not Referring To The President, You can Get Me Clearly and now these people are now in power, they should be able to say in what I am looking for, I have already got it, let us do it right for these four or eight years. I am going to make it right.

My dear brother , I drive on the third mainland bridge. About a year or two ago, driving on third mainland bridge was an issue because there are port holes and if you are not careful and you enter any of the port holes, your tyre can go off but now, that place is the jolly place to ride. The people will rejoice

The holy scripture says that when the righteousness rules, the people will rejoice so, those who are power, somebody was there yesterday, and you will also become the yesterday, do what is right so that we can remember you. Why are we remembering late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. What did he do? He made life simple for us? People like us went to teachers training college where we had free foods, free accommodation because we couldn’t afford going to secondary school and today we are here and we are grateful.

You see, you’ll be remembered for what you’ve done.

Those who are in power governors going about “global-throating”, You will soon be remembered by what you have done; therefore, I urge this administration to take that into heart

So if I have to be in the heart of the president Bola Ahmed Tinubu , what will be the ringing bell is this : what shall I do for this four years and possibly God grants me another fours years, what shall I do that I will be immotalize in the in the mind of the people – provide them with lights, provide them with food.

And let stop the nonsense of people jumping here and there and ,going about the whole world.

When I was the Federal Commissioner in the NDDC, one of my friends told me that, “oh Benson you need the come to America, you need to go this, that”… I told him come, is that the Kingdom of God ?

I am a comfortable Nigerian, I am here to stay but; event that happens thereafter began to make me think.. Wow, was this not this country in 1983 /84 That you go to America Embassy and be telling you to come over to our country, come and take take visa. 1979, i remembered that one of my brother bought a volkwagens for 1500. I think our leaders needs to be thinking now and for those of them that have left their thinking cap some where else , they should go pick it and dust it up and put up their thinking cap.

When your productive youths are flying away from the country and you are left with the aged ones, these aged ones will fade away and there will not be youths to replace them. We should do all within our power to ensure that the environment is conducive. The insecurity in the country is internally generated;

How Come sir?

who are the people that take the ransome? These miscreant in the forest, they demand for 100 million and you pay 50 million, do they have banks to keep this money? Some persons are the one that got this money and benefitting from these and government seems to look other way round.

You must take a decision at any point; whoever is involved in this must be brought to book and when we do this, we don’t care whether you win second term or not Slink it on everyone that is involved and there could peace

I was a student at the University of Jos, whenever I travel in those days, and I pass Lokoja or cross Jeba, I will be calm and thank God ,because the environment was peaceful. Can I say that now?

In another couple of weeks, we are going to have the one year anniversary of this government. The APC are known to be progressive party and judging from decisions and government policies from inception since last year, people are not enjoying the government,a lot if people are complaining, and things are so bad that people are feeling the heat. what do you think this government could do to change all this wrong to right?

Sad enough, The reality now is that many persons are discouraged about this country because the ostentatious life that some people who has got to political position are exhibiting are nearly putting them at the surge at a thinking level in which they will say there is no hope in Nigeria. I believe this phase will phase out. I believe so there was a time in the scripture when Abraham came to the land where God promised him there was famine and after that Abraham went to Egypt and God told him to go back home. When Isaac also married, in his own time, there was also famine Isaac asked if he should go or stay and God said “stay here and plant” I will bless you yad Isaac has children, one of them Jacob.

So at every generation, there would be one challenges or the other, it depends on the leaders that you have. When the period of plenty came to Nigeria, General Gowon would say the problem we have is not about money, it is how to spend it. We didn’t plan for rainy days. There was a time, the windfall came, oil windfall, when Gen Ibrahim Babangida was there, what did we do with it? Money fissled away.

President Bola Tinubu has seen all these and I plead with him not to add his name to ignominity. He should know that when it is over, it is going to be said that it is his administration, you will bear your father’s name. Therfore, know his humble background knowing how far he has gone he should say I will do what is right to all manners of persons at all times

Assuming that the security of the nation is so sure, then you can say oh yes, you got to the forest, go the farm. May God bless the soul of late governor of Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, he came with Amotekun In Ondo state, it has relived all, the number of issues has gone down. There should be so many such Corps in Nigeria

Our forest should be guided, so that when I go with my family, we be there, plant our yams, maize and all that and when a man stomach is satisfied, he leaves behind majority of the you’re talking about. Agriculture number one, agriculture up the twenty times. Let us go back to farming. When we go back to the farms, you don’t need to buy garri for forty thousand naira per cup, because if you are producing garri, I am also producing too, I can feed myself.

The lack of opportunity to go to the farm by reason of insecurity is what has escalated to the challenges we are having now. I think if President Bola Ahmed Tinubu listens to this interview, he should take note that there is a younger brother of his, who believes in him and trusts him. Do IT RIGHT NOw , and don’t give a dam to whoever is involved. Do the right thing, let the insecurity go down, once it goes down we can travel and do what we like

The japa-ranians who have gone would come back, like in the Holy Scripture, there was a time a called Ekana and his family went from Israel to Moab because there was a challenge in Israel. In Smaria, people were eating themselves but at a times leadership took over, good decision. Did what was right, that was what led Ruth and Naomi, the mother, to return to Israel.

Let’s tell the young ones that have gone out. Let us put insecurity away, they don’t get to the airport and the taxi man carries the man to an unknown destination to slutter him. Once that is addressed, and government plough the resources into the lives of the people. We would now be talking about democracy, being the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And Nigeria will be great again. These are not rocket science, this is a decision that a man must take. Only one man must take that decision and say enough is enough.

President Bola Tinubu, you have that opportunity to do that, please do it right.

Sir, I want to be categorically with you because a lot of people hear your voice in the Diaspora and they so much believe in your objectives. If the APC were to go to the election now, do you think your party can win the election with all these things that are playing up within the country now?

As a lawyer I know, that a man must be deemed to have intended the probable and natural consequences of the actions he embarked upon, the question will be what are the natural consequences of the actions we are embarking upon, if the actions are antithetical to the people, if we fail, we’ll fail woefully. If the actions are for the benefit of the people, if we would pass, we will pass successfully well. My counsel to my party and even to the PDP is that the PDP must put the APC on its toes and that is why I love PDP In Ondo State, my home state, they conducted a very clean, free, and fair election.

The APC might be wondering if I am a member of the PDP that I am praising them? If your enemies do well, say it. We didn’t do well in our primary. Our primary was charm. In fact, one of my brothers said it was a “mega fraud.”. If we did well, the people would praise us, where we have not done well, we have the opportunity to look inward to do better. When we do it well, the people would praise us , if we do badly, the people would decide and say, “hey men, you didn’t do well, get out! “

Okay.. you are a stakeholder in Ondo State; you have been a consistent voice in the desert and off course you’re outspoken in your words and actions within the government cycles within Ondo state, if you’re to rate the regime of Late Akeredolu and the continuation of the deputy who is now the incumbent, how would you rate the government so far? So bad or so good?

Akeredolu did so many things that I may not necessarily praise him for—

–you are part of the government-

I resigned very early, I was appointed on the 18th of April, 2017, and when I saw things that were going on, I wasn’t pleased with it and on the 30th of November, 2018, I resigned. And that was not the first time, when Agagu was in the saddle and I wasn’t feeling too comfortable with his second term on the 7th of February, 2008. I resigned and left. So it is not new, I have a second address and the second address is a very big address – that is my law firm address.

A good number of them don’t have addresses. For whatever things that Akeredolu may have done, I am bound to give him kudos for the Amotekun Corps he introduced. He stood his ground, even when his election was at the Supreme court and people were saying he could loose. He instead said, he would stand with his people.

For whatever sins he may committed, from my own part, the gentleman is forgiven absolutely. Because government exist for security of the people and their property. You asked if I can give them a pass and I have just told you that whatever evils.. He didn’t do well, especially for people like us from the oil producing areas. I fear that the money of OSOPADEC was mismanaged

Do you think you are marginalise? I mean the ilaje People

Not only marginalise but moron by the reason of government activities. You were with me during the NDDC , you saw what I did. Those things should have been complemented .Up till now, the ugbo people the Roads terminate at Igbo nla, you saw what we did at Igbo nla ,it has not grown more than that ; it is how i left it and yet, you hear humongous amount of money, That was not fair but you see at every point in time ,it is good to be at the other side sometimes.

Whatever things he has done, from my own heart, I forgive him because for the security of life and property, he stood firmly for it and today Amotekun is a household name and I think the present governor should not pay lease service to it; he should do more and whoever comes on board tomorrow should go ahead and employ more of the Amotekun Corps.

They shouldn’t be seen in the town, they are meant to be in the forest. When farmers go to farm, there should be a Barack for the Amotekun People ; so that when the farmers are done, they are there with you,so that this miscreants can’t come to molest our people

Can you say the NDDC has been fair to Ondo State? You were a board member in the days

You get what you ask for and not what you feel they should give to you. I was on the board, I met the project on ground which was the Ugbo Road, I fought for that project to be awarded, those who cake after me have a reason to let the project go further. The world is a struggle, the people in the core Niger Delta, they don’t want us there and that is the truth.

They keep asking “What is Ondo state doing in the NDDC?” It is was not our fault that God puts crude oil under our soils, so you can’t take that away from us and that, has made us part of it but when you sent a representative to that particular place, you should demand for your right, so you won’t sit down there and be jumpcating and going about drinking and eating pepper soup and you think that people would come to say “yes we are working for you” , whereas you are supposed to be shouting.

I recall when a project was to be awarded to me and they are about to mess it up. at the board meeting, I put a call to the then governor, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, and “I said your excellency, the board members in NDDC wants to truncate our desires and I think it is proper to go and ask for our NDDC” The Chairman of the board was surprised and he ask if it has got to that level because of my calls and shout. He quickly awarded the ugbo role Project.Therefore what you ask is what you’ll be given

Let us go a bit out of Nigeria. There have been calls by Northern elders that the Americans want to have a base somewhere around the Northern area or Sambisa Forest thereabout . Do you think this could help our current security situation in the county or will it add to our problem?

The answer can not be straightforward but it depends on the intention what the government has in mind . I recall one of the situation when an American was adopted at the at the Sambisa forest, when government was dilly dally at all that, they came and took their own from the Sambisa forest and went away. How did they do it?

You see in this world, you need assistance, There is a saying in my language that only one hand may not be able to carry heavy load to the head, that is big wood you are to carry needs the support of two hands to support you. Those who are shouting, it could be because of they come, they could find out their shenanigans.

The Northern Elders, I challenge them to raise up their hands clean to God that they don’t know what is happening about the Boko Haram. At least some people know their address and go to visit them. When you talk, they say there are our people. They know them. They make money by killing people.

So one side. If this America comes and then they assist, the wind will blow and the rumptles of the foul will expose, that could the fear; so that they can continue in their evil . On the other hand, when you give honey to a small baby, it keeps licking and not stopping. Americans do things exgracia, they are not Mr. Free World; they do things because they must also protect their own interests. What is wrong to find out if their coming won’t harm us, when they would have helped us, they would now turn to oliver twist asking for more, if not we’ll raid you down because we are already here. But if it is to help us in our insecurity, Amen. We need help, we can’t continue in these shenanigans.

Government is all about teamwork, you are as good as your team members.How would you rate the present Ministers because they are pretty much compared to previous administrations, yet we have not seen much from them, especially in the lives of Nigeria. If you are the president as you are marking your one year in office, what would you do to this minister?

When we are to cook food at the village, we call some firewood vibrant firewood, that is because they glow. Some would refer to as dead wood; you put fire, you just noticed that only smokes are coming, there is nothing you can do to them. what did you do to those firewoods? For the dead ones, you take some out, replace them, and that is going to be the beauty of it, and that is how your food can be well cooked

I don’t know the Minister of Works as a person but the few things the gentleman is doing show that he is truly is an engineer. I mean the former governor of Eboyi State. I did not know all of them but some of them have corruption issues on their necks. For instance, Beta Edu, the humanitarian Minister, who was not doing humanitarian work but pocket-tarians and so many names are involved

Mt President . He owns no body except his conscience and his God. The secret security police must bring facts about all these ministers. Those who do well, allow them to do more and those who didn’t do well, tell them to go home and that is how the system will be rejigged .

As the tyre rolls and moves forward, the vehicle moves faster, and as we accelerate, the tyre begins to move faster and faster. He needs to move fast, although it is just one year. I pray for him, and I wish him well. I wish he doesn’t allow anything to hamper him.

You know, Aso Rock is like a place that the president is in a cage. If you are not the type that can break through, they will tell you things that are not true and you’ll just be inside the cage. He must find out beyond his Ministers, let him have all other Ministers that are not on the pay roll, who will give him day to day information. From this background check, he, the President can ask situational reports. There will be a situation room where this information will be divulged, people will be feeding him. If he stays on Minister of Information, he will telling him “oh king, live forever “ until you know that nobody lives forever after four years or eight years you would have left the place. President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, I have huge respect for you, do it, don’t let anybody fool you, it is name that will be mentioned at the end of the day.

To a lot of Nigerians who are reading from diaspora, who lived there but are not happy staying there and they are really doing so much Job to make sure people back home feed and have a living, the government can’t do much. Can you give them just a world of hope?

I believe in Nigeria, I am a Nigerian and I have travelled to many limited countries, not because I can’t afford it but because I don’t want anyone to mess me up. I won’t be going to country and you are saying “hey man, can and open your anus or those nonsense” I am not a drug addict and then you just submate me to redidcle, No.

In this Nigeria, we will pull it together, but for those who couldn’t stand heat in the kitchen, we will be talking to powers that be. For those of us that you have left in the country, we will be talking to power that be. I’m calling on the president now, some of this younger ones are outside the country, make this country comfortable, make a place to be. There was a time when, when we were in teacher’s training college in the early 80s, late 70s and 80s,Ghanaians flooded Nigeria. There were teachers doing so many all things. One person came and said enough is enough, today, Ghana has moved on.

I traveled to Ghana in 2011 for three four days, I was there, the light did not blink. How did they do it? They took their ground. President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Stand in your ground. These younger ones will come back home and put Nigeria is on the high pedestral.
Everywhere in the world, Nigerians are doing well. If we encourage them, they can do better in our country. It is not just telling them to come home and when they come home, they will be kidnapped. Put your house in order, take care of the security, ensure that this insecurity comes to a minimum.. Whoever is in involved is dealt with appropriately and accordingly.

When that has been done. Our people can come home. And then we say, “OK let us come together, let us use the right hand to wash the other hand.so that the hand can be clean”. Nigerians are fantastic individuals.

I watched a film when one of the Kenyans said that if he were to be born again, he’d like to be a Nigerian. He said in film industry, in law, and in education, Nigerians excel.

I went to the University of Benin, not all these oklahoma or western university. Go and confirm, I actually know some of my lecturers. Recently, I spoke to professor Asegboha and as soon he heard me, he said that “Ondo man,” because they know me, so we’ll put our house together, develop it, Nigeria is a fantastic place to live but make it livable, Let the insecurity be addressed, and when it addressed, you will see the country glowing

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