His response to my questions are chatted below:
QUESTION: Is there any difference between PMB as a military Head of State and PMB as a civilian Head of State?
RESPONSE: As a military Head of State years back, PMB ruled by decree and fiat. He got things done without any restriction by the law, the court and the pressure groups. People were arrested, detained or jailed under emergency power given to him by the Supreme Military Council. Things moved very fast but the approach was undemocratic, unconstitutional and harsh. PMB at present is a democratically elected Head of State; he must operate government with the constitution under which he was elected. There steps, due process of the law and regards for the judiciary and the legislative arms of government. Therefore, things are slow, arrest is made with caution, prosecution is done following the process of the law; cabals and anti-State elements cannot be arrested and prosecuted without concrete evidences and they cannot be jailed without going to relevant courts to get judicial pronouncements. But, slow democratic governance with trust is better than fast military governance which trampled on rights of the people.
QUESTION: Some Nigerians are condemning PMB’s one year in office, is this a political propaganda or impatience on the side of Nigerians?
RESPONSE: Personally I would say people are entitled to their own opinions; that is the beauty of democracy, however, not every man on the street is competent to make informed opinion. We wanted change, but we are very much impatient to follow through the sacrifices and disciples of change. As a facilitator of change management, I wish to educate Nigerians that change is a process, not an event or mere announcement of intentions by people and governments. It should be understood that change can be influenced by forces inside and outside of the organisation and the system. When Nigerians welcomed the change slogan of PMB and his party, APC, it was thought that it is very easy for transformation to come. Nigerians perceived change to be as easy as switching on a bulb or lighting a match stick. It was thought that change was an event, or something that government could bring on instantaneously. Whereas, change is not an announcement, but a phenomenon which requires sacrifices, sustained value re-orientation, lots of patience, determination to build strong institutions and, of course, fervent prayers. For those who care to learn, a change mantra has five (5) stages of change. These stages are:
1. Pre-contemplation: This is the stage of decadence and corruption before change is envisaged.
2. Contemplation: This is the stage of awareness and consciousness when people reflect and realise the need for a change of the status quo.
3. Preparation: This is the stage when all the plans, programmes and resources required for change are put together and harmonised by the policy makers.
4. Action: This is stage of implementation when physical, financial and human resources are mobilised for change process.
5. Maintenance: This is the stage of sustenance when the change is nurtured, strengthened and fortified.
I am bold to say that, the reality in Nigeria at present is that, the government of PMB is still at stages 3 and 4. But because Nigerians wanted magical change or miraculous transformation; they are have concluded that the government is a failure. But nobody should be blamed since we are unaware that change has stages and milestones before translating to economic transformation and prosperity.
QUESTION: NLC’s request to government to implement a new minimum wage of N56, 000, is this feasible due to the present economy state of Nigeria?
RESPONSE: I am bold to say that Nigerian workers deserve even better than that. The N56,000 minimum wage is doable, achievable and realistic when viewed against the rate of inflation and exchange rate fluctuation. The three levels of governments need to do the following to sustain the proposed minimum wage;
Governments should increase their capacities for income generation and mobilisation by improving their Internally Generated Revenues (IGR). States and Local Government areas should be wealth creators;
There is the need for immediate blockage of wasteful spending, abolition of security votes, cutting down the lavish lifestyles of political office-holders and payment of realistic salaries to chief executives and legislators;
Diversification of the economies of the States and Local Governments by embracing agriculture, tourism, services, public-private partnership in different businesses, tolling on roads-bridges, property income taxes, inheritance taxes.
Ensuring all workers justified the new minimum salary through productive efficiency, the maxim of ‘’To whom much is given, much is expected”.
QUESTION: Recent fuel price hike and epileptic power supply have become a serious pain on Nigerians, what is your suggested solutions for the government?
RESPONSE: Indeed, the two evils are threat to development and wellness of the people and the society. The government is advised to make concerted effort to rehabilitate the nation’s moribund refineries for optimal performance, encourage private sector refineries through attractive incentives/tax concessions, fight against petroleum sector cabal, curb endemic corruption that caused operational inefficiencies of NNPC by establishing Loot Recovery Fund (LRF) and implement fiscal discipline by cutting down overheads of NNPC, DPR and PPPRC. With regards to power supply, the Minister in charge of power should work with the DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES (DISCO) and GENERATING COMPANIES (GENCO) with realistic plans and targets aimed at stabilizing electricity within the next three months in Nigeria. After all, power supply to homes and offices is not free. Nigerians pay electricity tariffs with pain.
QUESTION: The incidences of insurgency, communal violence, wanton killings by herdsmen and destruction of oil installations/pipelines by the Niger-Delta Avengers still remain incessants, how can these be curbed?
RESPONSE: The incidences of insurgency, communal violence, wanton killings by herdsmen and destruction of oil installations/pipelines by the Niger-Delta Avengers are condemnable development. The solution to whatever economic and political disagreement is not through bombing, killing and destruction of pipelines, but by exploring constructive dialogue. It is suggested that Nigerians irrespective of their religious and ideological inclinations should cooperate with the Federal, State and Local Governments and security agencies to nip insurgency/militancy in the bud by reporting suspicious moves and antics of enemies of Nigeria and Nigerians.
QUESTION: As a religious leader, what are the suggested roles of religious organisations in supporting the present regime?
RESPONSE: Like the press, the religious organisations are like the 4th arm of government. They should sermonize, conscientize and hold government accountable for delivery of the good governance, security, development and enforcement of the basic rights enshrined in the constitution.
QUESTION: Finally, what is your advice for Nigerians on their wailing?
RESPONSE: I re-state that the path of change is long and bitter, but the end is sweet and enduring. Let us live with these two quotes from great Islamic thinkers of old. The first by Ibn al-Qayyim, who said: “Go on the path of truth and do not feel lonely because there are few who take that path, and beware of the path of falsehood and do not be deceived by the vastness of the perishers.” The send illuminating quote is from Imaam Hassan al-Basri, who counselled: “The world is made of three days: yesterday, tomorrow and today. As for yesterday, it has vanished, along with all that was in it. As for tomorrow, you may never see it. As for today, it is yours, so work in it”.
Raheem Hameed Oludamilare