…Hails Makinde’s giant strides in Oyo
Former Minister of Aviation and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has condemned the increase in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff, calling on the federal government to be sensitive to the plight of the masses.
Fani-Kayode who spoke in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital also revealed the rationale behind his fact-finding tour of some states in Nigeria.
He said the hike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and electricity tariff is not acceptable in a civilized society.
Besides, he described Oyo State governor, Engr Seyi Makinde as a man that has brought the true meaning of governance closer to the people, saying that Makinde is a rising star in the South West and Nigeria as a whole.
Also read: Fani-Kayode inspects ongoing projects in Oyo state, describes Makinde as effective leader
The former Minister said he embarked on the tour of some states in the country to assess the completed and ongoing projects as well as projects that are still in the pipeline initiated by the serving governors.
He added that the tour had earlier taken him to Sokoto, Zamfara, Ebonyi, Enugu, Cross River, Akwa Ibom States, adding that he has been doing the tour on his own and, saying he was glad to do so.
Fani-Kayode stated that he had been in Oyo State for a week and he toured sites of at least 15 projects embarked upon by Governor Makinde, saying: “I have known him (Makinde) for quite some time before he became governor of Oyo State. Before he became governor, I knew he would become governor some years ago because we prayed about it and it was revealed to me. There were reasons and purposes for him to come in at this time. And that is evident in what is going on. He’s transforming the state.
” He has brought joy to his people. He has ensured that the government has true meaning in the state. He has become an example of what many of the other governors ought to be. He has also become a shining example for us in the South West. We are very proud of him. I am proud of him.
“This is not about blowing a trumpet for the media, especially when you have got all the money in the world. Oyo State does not have the kind of money that Lagos State has… When this man finishes, Oyo will be much closer to the Lagos dynamics in terms of commerce, industry, security, agriculture, and infrastructural development. This is just the beginning. There are so many other projects that he has in the pipeline.
“So, when you ask me about him as an individual, we have a few governors in Nigeria across the party lines that are equally doing well, because I know most of them, if not all. We have a few that I can say are really remarkable and have done great work. You can talk about the governor of Zamfara, Enugu, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, and a number of others that have done so well. Makinde is in that league. As far as I am concerned, he is one of the rising stars of the new generation of politicians in this country. In the South West, he is definitely a rising star. And if we have more
leaders like him in the South West, we will certainly be able to impact far more on the affairs of the governance of the country generally.
“One more thing I will say about him is that he has the courage of his convictions. Most politicians, I am sad to say, may not have that. He would stand and argue these points, no matter, whose ox is gored. He doesn’t make a noise. He just gets down to work. His works speak for him, not his words, and the way he carries himself has won a lot of respect for him in the country. I have no doubt whatsoever that he will continue to play a very key role in the affairs of this country in the next few years.”
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to engage those who understand the dynamics of economies to help salvage the Nigerian economy, saying: “It is important to joggle our memory so we know exactly where we are. In 2015, when we had PDP Federal Government in power. That was a bit ahead of the election, fuel cost N87. The Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $2.5 billion. The rate of dollar was N200 to one dollar. A bag of rice was N8,500 and external debt was $9.7 billion. These are facts and verifiable. I will challenge those who will doubt it to go back and check.
“Today, let’s compare, fuel now is N150, let’s even be nice about it. It comes from N87 per litre to N150. The Excess Crude Account which used to have $2.5billion now has $72 million . The exchange rate which used to be N200 to one dollar, today is N471 to one dollar. A bag of rice used to be N8,500, today it is N25,000. Actually, it is more than that. It’s about N28,000. Let’s stick to N25,000. External debt in 2015 was $7billion, today the external debt is $ 27 billion.
“Let me try and be a little bit fair to the Federal Government because President Buhari offered an explanation for this particularly in terms of food prices, electricity price, and so on and so forth. The explanation he offered is the same explanation he offered in 1984 when he was military Head of State. What he said was that the reasons why all these prices are high are because of corrupt middlemen. The important thing for us to know is this: these prices are unacceptable in any civilized society. And the time when COVID-19 just afflicted the nation and our people, governments all over the world are offering palliatives to their people to ensure that the effect of COVID-19, apart from being on health, also the economy and the quality of life of the people, they are trying to ameliorate all that to ensure that their people do not just go down and do not suffer these terrible consequences of the terrible disease. But in Nigeria, I’m sorry to say the opposite has happened.
“Even though we have the consequences of COVID-19 and COVID-19 is still with us, we also have the heavy joke economic depression, complete destruction of our economy, high prices, food prices are high, fuel prices are high, electricity prices are high. Everything has shut up in some cases 100 or 200 percent. How do you explain that? How do you expect an average income earner and those who don’t have work to afford a bag of rice? So, it’s really a sad situation. I will urge the Federal Government to do their best to do far better than they are doing. I’m not going to sit here and attack anybody. This is not about partisan politics now. It’s about our nation. It is about our people and the quality of life of our people. Nigerians were not brought to this world to suffer and to suffer economic degradation.
“We are already being described as the world capital for poverty. This title was conferred on us in the last couple of years. It is so sad. But when you add these statistics to that I asked myself – how on earth will an average Nigerian cope? How can 90 percent of Nigerians cope? Really, our government has to do better. I sincerely hope and pray that they would allow those who understand the dynamics of economies to be able to advise them and ensure that things will change because if we don’t change, I really don’t know where we are heading as a nation.”