.Gives reason for cabinet formation delay, wants an immediate review of the PIA
.Says PDP can win 2023
.Recommends arms bearing for FRSC
By Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY – MR Adaze Emwanta is a law teacher, constitutional lawyer, a Justice of Peace and until recently the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Public Affairs. He spoke on several national and local issues.
How would you describe the security situation in Nigeria from the attack on NDA?
It is quite unfortunate that we have found ourselves in this kind of situation where a place as important as the Nigerian Defense Academy would be attacked. Since that institution was established over 50 years ago, it is quite unfortunate these so-called armed men could gain access. It shows that if a place like that could be infiltrated then nowhere is safe including the presidential villa so it calls for serious scrutiny. I think the time has come for the president as Commander in Chief to be in charge.
It is also worrisome to note that the current security situation in Plateau State is very shameful and not very different from what we are hearing in Afghanistan, a situation which stems from the inability of the central Government to protect the lives and property of citizens. various State governments have been sending vehicles and security personnel to move their indigenes, especially students of the University of Jos from that State. Sadly, the APC-led Federal Government is yet to address Nigerians on the efforts that are being made to end the present killings in Plateau State.
READ ALSO:PIA evil, oppressive —Gov Diri
The security situation in Edo state is not different with cases of kidnapping, what would you say on this?
Just recently the governor of Edo state hosted the Chief of Army Staff and here he is now trying to see how he can collaborate with the military because the issue of security should not be left only in the hands of the police. the Benin – Auchi road which until recently became kidnappers hangout, that is why you see the Edo state government thinking of how it can collaborate with all security agencies particularly the army to secure that road because people have even argued that some of these herdsmen are not Nigerians so it is threat on the territorial integrity of Nigeria and that is why I think the federal must rise to the occasion to avoid situations like this and I am happy that the Edo State government is already collaborating with the army so that within Edo South and Edo north, we will have the military so that they can support the police in protecting our highways.
In my candid opinion, for our Federal roads to be truly safe and free from the present insecurity, there is a need for the Act establishing the Federal Roads Safety Commission to be amended, to enable its officers to bear arms like officers of the Customs, Immigration and NDLEA. With the re-introduction of toll gates to our Federal roads, there is a need for the government at the centre to reorganise and further strengthen the hands of Federal law enforcement agencies. A well armed Federal Road Safety body like ours will no doubt help to reduce the insecurity on our federal highways.
What is your take on the recently signed PIA?
That law is a slap on the face of all the people that over the years have called for an amendment of the Petroleum Act of 1969. The Niger Delta region is the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg and then you now talk of 30 per cent for frontier explorations in parts of the Chad basin and other parts of the north where you don’t have oil then the people who are the ones that should benefit; you will give the three per cent? People have argued for it to be restructured and that is why I believe that if this country is restructured, some of these issues will be addressed. I am happy that the government of Rivers State has won a case recently that now places VAT under the control of the states so I think there is need for more state governments to explore some of the lacunae in our constitution because once this is done just the way Rivers State has done, we can gradually address this issue of restructuring.
On the PIA, I think members of the National Assembly from this region should call for an amendment, I think that is the first step they should take. It will not be too long if they start the process before the end of this year so that by next year, the law can be amended.
How do you see the crisis in the PDP ahead of 2023?
When PDP came on board in 1998, by the grace of God I was one of the founding members from the youths flank. The PDP remains the most consistent political party in our country unlike the ruling party which as we speak don’t have a National Working Committee (NWC) ; what they have is a convention planning committee which is just a mere committee. They don’t have a BoT. You see that when we had this crisis in the PDP, it was the BoT and other organs that came to say let us have our NEC meeting where Secondus was given the marching orders. Until he was suspended from his ward which was the basis for some people going to court to remove him. That was the same scenario that played out in the case of Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the APC.
The PDP will win 2023 because irrespective of the crisis, Uche Secondus did not create any tension unlike the case of Oshiomhole which dragged on and has even affected the fortunes of the party that has left it without party organs but PDP will be able to manage its crisis like it is already doing and as an opposition party, we must not go the way of the APC on how they managed their crisis, we must not allow the way of APC crisis to be replicated in our party. We must get it right in our party and I can assure you that the kind of governors we have in the PDP the issues will be resolved.
Governor Obaseki is yet to constitute a cabinet and it is generating concern, what is responsible for this?
Remember that in the first term of the governor, he had this running battle with the former National Chairman of the APC and other persons so much of the reforms that would have been done in the first term could not be done. There is this dysfunctional system we have always had in Edo. They call Edo state a public service state because we have been known for having one of the best of public and civil service in Nigeria and as a whole, Nigeria had the best set of public servants between the time we had independence in 1960 and 1975. Unfortunately as we speak, most states now have the political class dominating everywhere, the governor’s MEGA agenda is to give the civil service its pride of place. We had a situation whereby in the past, the Permanent Secretary could tll a commissioner, this is the right thing to do, a public servant could tell the commissioner, this is the right thing to do but now we have a system where the public service have been subsumed in the political class so the governor is now trying to demarcate the two and for you to achieve that, you must set the public service and the civil service on their own trajectory.
The governor saw that there was a need to provide a good working environment and we now have new public buildings dedicated to public service and the civil service, these were buildings that were abandoned but the governor had to infuse life into them. We had a situation where the civil servants had to go to the street to make photocopies but now, the facilities have been provided for them.
They are being trained with facilities at the John Oyegun Training Institute which is even attracting people from other parts of the country. The governor needs to reform which is what he is doing. The rot in the system was such that it required time and luckily for us that process is almost over. There was a recruitment process that started and the plan is to feel the current 1,592 vacancies in the system and as I speak to you, the first batch of these new recruits are undergoing training, in October, another batch will be engaged to bring them into the civil service and we will now have a new arrangement that even when the governor leaves tomorrow you will have a public service that is professionalized because that is the engine room of the government. The government has an Edo State 30 years master plan and if we don’t get it right now, we cannot get it right. That is why the governor has decided to set the machineries in place.
Remember we have our Edo Power plant which supplies 24 hours electricity to the various government agents and departments. With that our e-governance platform known as Edogov has started, we now have a paperless system. This is the first state in Nigeria that has introduced e-governance, that way you encourage efficiency and it is an environmentally friendly pattern.
It will help Edo people to know what is happening in government because you can find them online. The screening of commissioners that was recently done was also first of its kind because first at the local government level applicants were told to submit their CVs and the governor