Dr Chris Ekiyor is currently the Commissioner of Commerce and Industry in Delta State. In this interview he gives a critical appraisal of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, describing him as the second war time President the nation has ever had because of the challenges of terrorism in north eastern part of the country Excerpts:
By Jimitota Onoyume
Perspective of the opposition in the country?
Nigeria needs an opposition party that is big and it is good the APC is providing it. The opposition provides the check and balance for sustaining democracy. In the last 16 years we did not have one. But there is one now.
Nigerians want change, infrastructural development. But is our party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP providing these things? My answer is yes. But no government can address all these problems in twenty years. It’s a gradual thing.
The military with their decrees, created more states, local governments, thus expounded our burden of recurrent expenditure. Infrastructure did not expand with the burden of expenditure. The hospital system failed. I am a medical doctor, the hospitals were nothing to write about then.
During the military the value of our naira dropped, naira was devalued. Obasanjo came as a civilian president, noting much was done to redress the problems, YarAdua came set the template for rule of law. Then came President Goodluck Jonathan under challenging circumstances. It was a struggle to confirm him as president even when the constitution was there.
President Jonathan and the PDP have done so much in terms of transforming Nigeria. And nothing much has been said on these things but there is still a lot to be done. You see roads, the East West road is almost completed, universities established in six years, the railway transport system has come back.
Jonathan is the second war time president of the country. He is a civilian, never trained in the military but he is fighting terrorism which is the most difficult war because you don’t know your enemies. Under this war situation he is still performing, design for Niger bridge is on, same with the Coastal road in the Niger Delta
I have listened to the policy of government on corruption. Under Jonathan we see a vigorous effort to fight corruption. We are running a cashless economy already. Once money move under questionable circumstance you are questioned. Most state governments are doing this now. I am a Commissioner, gone are the days cashier pay contractors and bring the rest to the office of the boss. Everything is cashless now. Investigation takes processes to ensure nobody is jailed wrongly.
Health sector, was bad. But under Jonathan the sector is getting attention. We saw the last strike, how Jonathan handled it. The President insisted that a technical committee be set up to resolve the rot in the education sector. The money was paid to a special account to resolve the challenges in the education sector. The APC is not an alternative to the PDP.