From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

Former Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani has noted that as President Bola Tinubu celebrates one year anniversary in office, many Nigerians have lost patience over insecurity, hardship and poverty in the country.

Sani called on the Federal Government to act fast and salvage the situation, even as he added that no government is perfect in the administration of the country.

As President Tinubu marks  one year in office,  some Nigerians have scored him a pass mark, while others scored him zero in view of socio-economic hardship in the country. What is your position about his one year in office?

Every government loses some old friends and gain some new ones.This may be an odd thing to say, especially when regard is paid to the fact that no government is ever perfect.That is why it is often said that nation building is work in progress. Given the fact that governance is a process and development which cannot be turned ON and OFF like a TV, maybe, I should give the president A for effort and C for results. This is because the president has demonstrated patriotic courage in many of his policies which gestation periods may be long. Hence, the positive results are slow in coming and some people have run out of patience. That may explain the topsy turvy being observed.

What do you want President Tinubu to do for Nigerians in his second year in office which he could not achieve in the first one year in office?

I want President Bola Tinubu to direct government’s attention from management of palliatives bordering on consumption to productivity. It is only productivity that can turn the economy around. To that end, I insist that any savings from removal of fuel subsidies should be put in a Trust Fund and be committed to improving the volume and quality of education and health sectors.The reason is because education and health are empowering agents which bring about socioeconomic development of human capital and improved Human Development Index needed for development. I make this suggestion because if we do not do something about out of school children who are now in millions, we are siring Boko Haram, bandits and kidnappers of tomorrow.

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) of which you are an active member and one time top official of the Forum has recently warned the Federal Government of civil chaos in the country by the masses if urgent steps are not taken to address insecurity, poverty and hunger across the country. What is your reaction on this?

There is nothing exotic or quixotic in what ACF said. This is precisely because hardship that comes with poverty is powder keg waiting to be ignited by indifference of leaders. If we consider the fact that Nigeria is a third world country which is not matter of choice but of capacity, it would be helpful not to stop at lamentations and warning but for critics to go further and suggest the best methods of overcoming the challenges in the shortest possible time.

Up till now, both the NLC and the Federal Government are yet to reach a compromise on the actual amount for the minimum wage. What is your advice here?

Both the government and the organized Labour should be realistic about their offers and demands. While government must be empathetic and consider cost of living in their offers, the Labour must consider the capacity of the economy and, thus, of government’s capacity to pay. This is because there is no point forcing government to sign what it cannot pay. Labour should make a clear distinction between power of government and claims they make on behalf of such power.

Do you think this is the right time for politicians to start scheming for 2027 general elections when they have not even done first tenure in office?

I do not support political activities to start soon after inauguration. This is because such early start ignores the place of performance of those on seat which should be considered in political campaigns. Early politics for next cycle of elections tends to distract attention away from governance.

The Central Bank of Nigeria was reported to have sacked over 200 staff recently. Don’t you think this is too ridiculous considering the level of unemployment in the country?

To sack without clear criteria can be counter productive.We pray CBN knows its seminal roles in management of the economy.

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The inflation is still high in the country with most Nigerians going to the market to do purchasing with plenty money only to return home with few goods. What is the way out of this situation?

There are many factors driving up the inflation. These include removal of fuel subsidies which have increased cost of transportation that affects prices of goods and services. Other factors include floating of the Naira and wars in Ukraine and now in Gaza. The solution is to improve local production of goods and services. No two way about it. And it needs sacrifices by both leaders and the led.

Some Nigerians are still wondering why prominent Citizens went on protest against the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan when petrol went to N120 per litre and the same people are today praising President Tinubu for implementing hard economic policies.  What is your reaction?

You have asked this question several times. The prominent Nigerians that were against the removal of fuel subsidy include Bola Tinubu and some of us. We did so because we believed the government could afford it. But now that the production level and prices of oil are half of what obtained in 2012, the subsidy is not sustainable. More so that Nigerians are opposed to debt and printing of the Naira called ways and means. We must live within our means which our leaders in government should demonstrate through their life styles.

Again Kano State is in the news over Emirate crisis following the return of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Emir of Kano four years after he was deposed. What is your advice here?.

What is happening in Kano is not new. You recall Governor Abubakar Rimi split the Kano emirate into seven emirates. Governor Sabo Bakin Zuwo came in and reversed it without much ado. What we all pray for is everything being done in Kano should be in peace.Without peace, the state would not develop.

ACF used to oppose state police out of fear that state police would be abused by governors, and state police personnel could be part of conflicts in states which are diverse. What has informed endorsement of state police in the latest submissions by ACF for constitutional amendments?

ACF still stands by its fear. But because state governments are operating state police through the back door by using civilian vigilantes and task forces, the forum thought it wise to enlist state police in concurrent legislative list for those states which may wish to do so without hindrance.

What are your reactions about the presidential directives that the appointments of governing councils of tertiary educational institutions be reviewed comprehensively in order to reflect federal character provisions?

The presidential directive does not pay tributes to those who compiled the list. This is because those who compiled it are expected to know the import of federal character provisions on the unity of Nigeria. Governance is not more than art of balancing competing demands among constituent parts and socioeconomic sectors.This is because the resources are always in short supply.

How worried are you that the Federal Government is yet to arrive at a Minimum wage for workers amidst socio-economic hardship in the country.

I am not worried because both the Federal Government and the organized labour know the financial profile of the government and the capacity of economy as well as the fact that Nigeria being among Third world country is not a matter of choice but of capacity.

It is no use forcing the government to sign for an amount which the governments cannot pay.

Both the governments and the labour should be realistic enough on an amount that can meet basic needs of the workers while the labor should demand what the governments can pay.


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