By Remi Adefulu

Emmanuel Umohinyang, Convener of the defunct Re-elect Buhari Movement (RBM) was in the vanguard of organizations of groups that ensured the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the last general elections. In this interview, he speaks on the administration, its challenges and what the future holds for Nigerians.

The Tinubu Administration is facing a lot of heat on different fronts; do you think the administration has the capacity to weather the storm?
I think if you knew Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a senator in 1992, you will know that he is used to turbulent weather, inclement weather. He had a fantastic record in Lagos. Nigeria is a bigger stage, though, but the indices are the same. The only thing that has changed are nomenclatures. Don’t also forget that as governor, he suffered the same turbulence. The only thing that has changed are nomenclatures; don’t also forget that as governor, he suffered the same turbulence, thereby facing attacks, criticisms. A lot of people felt when he came in, he would wave the magic wand and the city would become sparkling clean, dead bodies would be removed from the roads and more but it doesn’t work like that. Where he is, is a familiar terrain because the man is a thinker. He is a man who puts his brain to work. A lot of Nigerians don’t know that Asiwaju rarely sleeps at night. He spends the night solving problems that have come and futuristic problems that may arise. I do not think he is a novice in government. He is a man with sufficient credibility, a man with sufficient capacity for the task. He has started well, and I am not surprised about those criticizing him, but that is coming too early. Most of those criticizing him were at one time or the other in government, what is their score card? It is like the case of a bricklayer trying to teach a medical doctor his work. That is the problem we have. I don’t see any problem with government so far. There may be one or two indices and we have raised it with him, telling him so and so wont work. Your predecessor tried it. The President is a good listener. He is somebody who is receptive to ideas from others. That is why you have seen him reverse policies that Nigerians have kicked against. That is what leadership is all about. Forget about these political mercenaries masquerading as politicians.

Don’t you think the recent wave of protests across the country is a vote of no confidence in this administration?
I really feel pained that Nigerians are going through what they are going through. I also feel pained that those who ought to rise to the occasion are not doing so. Whenever there is hardship in the land, the focus is highly on the Federal Government forgetting that we have three tiers of government. Remember that the Federal Government released N2billion out of N5billion to state governors late last year as a way of assuring the states. Have you asked the governors what they did with the amount? Between May 2023 and now, many states of the federation who were earning peanuts are now earning billions, how come things have not changed in those states? What are the governors doing with excess amount from the removal of subsidy shared by the three tiers of government? Nigerians should begin to interrogate what their state governors and the local government chairmen are doing. The Bola Tinubu administration places a high premium on transparency and accountability. Figures of monies going to the governors and Local governments must be published on a monthly basis. This will help Nigerians to have an idea of what is going out to these people. It our collective wealth.

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But Critics have also accused the Tinubu Administration of not being transparent on earning from Subsidy?
It will be unfair to say that the Tinubu Administration is not transparent. President Tinubu, from his days as governor of Lagos State has been as straight as the ruler and in the few months he has been there. I do not expect anything less. I am not saying Bola Tinubu is an angel; I am not separating an angel from a human being. He is prone to errors, he is prone to mistakes. You know for some months under the Buhari administration, NNPC was not remitting money into the federation account; the current president has changed that dynamics. SERAP has been doing a lot in that regard by being the voice of the civil society. This President has told all agencies and ministries to be as transparent as possible because the mandate on which the president is sitting is that of the people.

Is the plan to probe the ways and means of the Buhari administration which you strongly supported not an indictment of the APC?
I think it was it was the Senate president, Godswill Akpabio who made what some may consider a funny remark in Port Harcourt, Rivers State recently, when he said the Federal Government is at a loss on what charges to press against former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele. I do not think people should be blaming the Buhari administration. The CBN, by its laws regulates itself. Most of the laws governing the CBN insulate the institution from interference by the president. The CBN was created and made to be self –regulatory. The aim was to make the CBN carry out monetary polices unhindered. But as beautiful as the laws are, the moment you have a CBN Governor of Emefiele’s nature, then you may be driving the ship of the CBN into the ocean. We had a CBN Governor who was more interested in how his friends in and out of government could benefit from the CBN.

Don’t you think critics have a point when they say Ex-President Buhari should carry a larger share of the blame?
That is not new. Even the former president never hid the fact that the buck stopped on his table. That does not mean the former president could not have done better with sufficient supervision. But Muhammadu is one that gives you a job and gives you the latitude to carry out the job. We had president who appointed Ministers and continued to harass them, not allowing them to do the job. Muhammadu Buhari was a president who never teleguided his appointees. He allowed you to do your job. One of those appointed who excelled is Babatunde Raji Fashola. We also had some funny characters who because of the free hand of the President abused the privileges of their office.

Are you not perturbed about the free fall of the Naira to the Dollar under this administration?
The free fall of the naira to dollar is not an issue you can link to the Tinubu administration alone. The polices of this administration had been to synchronise the windows of exchange to be one. President Tinubu believes we should know the correct value, so he decided to close the unofficial windows, so that the naira can take a position. Luckily in the last few days, we have seen the appreciation of the naira on a daily basis. Even the Finance Minister and the CBN governor have told me that the Naira will stabilise. The government will ensure the correct value of the Naira and ensure that going forward, we are not back to an era where we will have two exchange rates. The fall may not also be divorced from the activities of some governors who are reported to be exchanging their monthly allocation into dollars at Zone 4 in Abuja. Remember that allocation of the three tiers of government have hit the rooftops since the coming of the administration. It is to the credit of this administration that part of the inherited liabilities, including monies owed Airlines, including Emirates have been paid up to 90 percent, running into millions of dollars. That is the uniqueness of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. How do you talk to new investors when those in your country cannot repatriate their monies?