With Buhari, democracy is on course, says Okechukwu
Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Osita Okechukwu has declared that contrary to the assertion of the opposition, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has taken Nigeria to higher heights in the last three years.Okechukwu who spoke yesterday in Abuja said Nigerians should use today’s celebration of democracy to appreciate Buhari and the APC for pulling the country back from the brink that the last administration had dragged it.
He said, “Contrary to the lies being peddled around, I don’t think that democracy under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is derailing. Rather, what one would say is that Nigeria’s democracy is getting to the peak to the extent that any candidate can go to any political party and make his way.
“Because of the partisan nature of our politics, we can say that our democracy had matured in the sense that the opposition had won election both at the parliamentary, governorship and at the presidential levels. If you recall, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose even boasted that for the two times he became governor, he defeated two incumbent governors and that he would ensure the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) repeat the feat again in the Ekiti governorship poll that is around the corner. So this then means our democracy has matured.
“Recall that President Buhari defeated an incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential poll, which on its own shows the maturity of the system. And the incumbent conceded defeat without even heading to court. Today there is freedom of expression. I don’t know of any journalist today that is under lock and key in spite of all that is being skewed against the administration in different newspapers, radio stations and other media outfits in the country.
“It is mere propaganda that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other security outfits have been unleashed to crack down on the opposition in the country. Propaganda in the sense that pre-2015, you could not probe Maikanti Baru as GMD NNPC. You can only probe those who were there during the glorious years of the oil sales. You cannot try Osita Okechukwu for pre-2015 Voice of Nigeria (VON). But today if there is a new government and you have to investigate VON, you have to bring me into it. “When Mr. President talked about the $16 million spent on power, he was making the reference because it was what was allegedly spent on the watch of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“If you want to investigate the Green Field Refinery that was announced in May 2010 by the President Jonathan regime, it is the President Jonathan regime that you are going to investigate. The party that lost power at the centre on May 29, 2015 was in power for 16 years. They headed almost all the ministries, departments and agencies. So it is a natural flow in the course of event. There is not anything selective about the anti-graft campaign of the Buhari government.
“On the issue of whether insecurity constitutes a threat to the country’s democracy, we must acknowledge that government is not resting on its oars to tackle the problem. The problem is not peculiar to the country. As we speak, they kill more number of people in Chicago in a month far more than what we have here in Nigeria in a month. This is aside from what happens in New York and Texas. There are fault lines from one country to the other on insecurity. Insecurity is not an adjunct to democracy per se.
“People have said the APC is not living up to their expectations going by the outcome of the ward, local government and state congresses. As far as I am concerned, there is no crisis in the APC. In 2011, I led the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) as governorship candidate in Enugu State because the market was very small. We were looking for people at the time but they didn’t come. But under the APC, there is now a large market and everybody wants to deliver his ward to produce the councilor, his local government to produce the chairman or House member and at the state level to have a say on who becomes governor.
“But when we were in CPC we were calling people but they didn’t come. So the larger the market, the more the noise. Those that are complaining are aware there is an APC constitution. Under Section 20 of that constitution, it is expressly stated that the National Working Committee (NWC) and the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party will design the framework, rules and regulations for congresses and primaries and that is exactly what they did.”
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