March 9, 2016

Buhari’s war against corruption not targeted at PDP — Kashamu


Buruj Kashamu

Why we must not fight Buhari at all

Senator Buruji Kashamu, PDP Ogun East District was in recent times the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Southwest Mobilisation Committee and a major patron of the party in the region. In this interview, he charges Nigerians to back President Muhammadu Buhari’s change agenda and anti-graft war in the interest of the citizenry because fighting the government to a standstill may lead to political turmoil that the country may not survive.

By Clifford Ndujihe

On how to end the recurring fuel scarcity problem

The fall in the price of oil is a global phenomenon. And for a nation that generates over 80 percent of its revenue from oil, the fall in price was bound to affect us, especially when we failed to save for the rainy day. Nigeria is experiencing the consequences of the destructive tendencies and policies of past administrations that failed to act responsibly by dangerously creating the impression that Nigeria was making progress.

The current attempts to revamp the sector are being sabotaged by remnants of that clique at the NNPC and its depots who are determined to continue selling products above approved official rates. While Mr. President and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources are working hard to reposition the oil sector, there is a clique that is hell-bent on frustrating their efforts. They ask the oil marketers to pay the official rate of N75 per litre into the officially-designated accounts and then pay a difference of between N30 and N35 per litre into a private account or bring it in cash. It is only those who cooperate with them that they allocate products. When the difference is added to the official rate, it shoots the price up to over N100 per litre.

To solve this problem, I think  the allocation of petroleum products should be centralized, and the EFCC should be empowered to investigate transactions between the depots and oil marketers and scrutinize their finances in a bid to fish out unjustifiable funds. Henceforth, there should be a verifiable census of all marketers, who are eligible for allocations and such allocations should be made from the office of the Minister in Abuja. This will be a replication of the BVN in the oil sector.

His take on the foreign exchange crisis



The dollar-naira ratio has global and local dimensions. The global dimension has to do with the drop in our revenue, which brought a lot of pressure on the naira. Thus, we have a lot of naira chasing a few dollars since our foreign earnings have dropped as a result of the glut in the international oil market. Locally, the clique that was manipulating and swinging the value of the dollar has been tamed. The current measures by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to ensure that legitimate demands for the dollar are granted should be encouraged. Hopefully, it would soon be possible to peg the dollar at an official rate, with one or two per cent margin between the official rate and open market as it was in the 70s and 80s.

Do you think the President will deliver on his promise of change?

A new government is usually born on the promise of hope, change and a better future. Ours is not an exception. The United States of America was also on the verge of a debilitating economic crisis in 2008 when a courageous black man, who refused to be intimidated by the onerous task ahead, traversed the length and breadth of the country, convincing the people that change was possible and imminent. Americans gave him the nod with their votes and invested their trust in him.

The initial period was tumultuous as the economy spiralled downwards before it began healing with the policies of the “change” government.

The same can happen with us, if we, as a people, are united and decide to create the enabling environment.

Let us not forget that this government is what we have right now and we have the option of either fighting it to death or supporting it to succeed.

The former is not an option because Nigeria might not survive such a political turmoil.

On comments that the anti-corruption war is targeted against members of the PDP



I am shocked and embarrassed by comments that the trial of the people who  allegedly  misappropriated money that was meant to buy weapons in the war against insurgency is a political witch-hunt of members of my party, the PDP. The masterminds of that crime wanted the war to escalate and if that had happened unchecked, the insurgency would have spread to other regions of the federation. The insurgents were already violating the peace of Abuja with tragic bombings and it would have been just a matter of time for states like Kogi, Edo, Ondo and Ekiti that are just a couple of hours away from Abuja to be affected.. As of today, our security agencies have succeeded in weakening and pushing back the Boko Haram elements.

President Buhari has his work clearly cut out for him because this ongoing fight against corruption must be consistently fought until Nigeria is free from the menace of corruption. This fight must be fought at all cost because it is the fight for the soul and future of our great country.

Political parties continually engage in fund raising and it is difficult to know the difference between money that was raised from such an exercise and money that was stolen from the treasury. Only those in government knew the true sources of the funds that they disbursed.