…Defends Executive order 6, says it will combat corruption
By Dapo Akinrefon
Mr. Emmanuel Umohinyang, a legal practitioner, social commentator and political analyst is the Convener of Re–elect Buhari Movement, RBM.
In this interview, he speaks on the controversy surrounding Executive Order 6 and other burning national issues. Excerpts:
FORMER President Obasanjo recently said that Nigeria’s next President must have a good knowledge of economics. Is this not an indictment of President Buhari’s economic policies?
It is a very bad thing if we try to arrogate to ourselves the position of a student and teacher. Obasanjo has no moral capacity to advise the country, because he once had the opportunity to rule the country for eight years. Having said that, I am not aware Obasanjo has any record of performance in the area of economy for him to advise the country that whoever must head us must be superlative in economy.
We have a President who has the best of economic experts around him, and so far so good, he has been able to stabilize the economy, so people should not sit in the comfort of their room in Ota and begin to tell a country of about 200 million Nigerians how to rule their country.
Don’t you think the former President’s position is informed by current statistics about poverty and unemployment rate?
Job creation is not always the job of government. No where on earth that government creates jobs. No government can claim to have created jobs. What government does is creation of an enabling environment for Jobs to be created mostly by the private sector. I do not think the Federal government and even the states have the capacity to employ unemployed youths.
When you also look at government policy on creation of Jobs, it has been tailored towards the ‘you win programme of the last administration. Also, look at the social intervention programme of this administration- N-Power. What government does is to create the enabling environment for investors to come in. In most cases, when the environment is conducive, the artisans will do better in their businesses and by so doing expand their businesses. It is when business grows that you will talk about employment. Remember, we still have a crisis with the labour over the issue of minimum wage.
It is part of the issues we are dealing with. In an environment where the economy runs itself, you don’t need to engage people on job creation, jobs will be created by the private sector. Government cannot put everybody into the civil service. It is not possible. It’s not done anywhere. If you go to other parts of the World, jobs are already waiting for you before you leave the university. I saw it in Holland. Government’s job is to create an enabling environment, so it is not about this government. Unemployment has been one of the issues our country has been facing since 1999.
Why have government policies on this issue not worked?
They have not worked because there is no sincerity of purpose, and I’m happy this President has come to change the narrative. It is under the Buhari Administration that we have seen that agriculture is thriving. There is a massive boom in that sector. That is why Brazil is bringing 1.1 billion dollars into the agricultural sector. The Ambassador said they are also setting up a tractor Assembly plant in Bauchi State. This is a part of the gains been recorded by this administration.
The APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu, has admitted that President Buhari and APC have lost some goodwill, is this not a minus ahead of 2019?
Asiwaju Tinubu may be right in his assessment being national leader of the APC and he has been an influential leader in the country. Having said that, I have always said those who will determine the fate of the current President are the Nigerian electorate, not the elite. I can assure you that most of the elite may not even find their PVCs. They think they are still in the era where elitist advice would tinker the way the people will vote. The people have become wiser, and in 2019, Nigerians will determine their next President, not any other person.
What is your take on the controversy surroundings Executive order 6?
There has been a lot of talk about the Presidential Executive Order 6 now known as EO6. That was not the first Executive order signed into law by the President. If you look at the Nigerian democracy, it is patterned along the American democracy. One thing I have discovered that whenever the government takes steps to deal with the menace of corruption, you always have those who have something to hide raising their voices to high heavens, but I want to assure those without skeletons in their cupboard that the government will not do anything outside the law.
The judgment given by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja has made it very easy for every Nigerian to go about their normal business. No provision of order 6 will be brought to bear without the court. These are just administrative policies of government to strengthen the anti – corruption drive, so those who are talking about the violation of section 43 of the constitution have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide, and I think we should commend this administration, because every President since 1999 has always whittled down the anti–corruption war anytime election approached, but here is a President who says he will continue to push against corruption even until the last day of the ballot.
How do you juxtapose your position with that of legal luminaries who say the order devalues the constitution?
Whatsoever any opinion any lawyer may have given on the issue of EO6, I think those opinions cannot be superior to the position of the Federal High Court. Don’t forget that those lawyers are also entitled to their opinion. It will be very wrong if we think that government policies will be received with joy at all times.
That is why we have diverse opinions on issues like this, and I want to commend those lawyers that went to court to test the legality of the EO6 for taking that bold step, and also to appreciate her lordship for the verdict. I do not want to dwell much because I understand that they have gone to the court of Appeal. I will rather stand by the President on EO6 than dwell on the opinion of senior lawyers.