A former Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, has sternly criticised the state of affairs in Nigeria, under President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the country is in a very sorry state.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) spoke in Yenagoa during a courtesy visit to the Bayelsa State Governor, Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, in continuation of his presidential consultation tour across the country.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Affairs, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted Turaki as saying that, under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government of President Buhari, Nigerians are beginning to doubt whether the country would survive.
“Today, this country is in a sorry state. Nothing seems to be working in Nigeria. Nigerians are hungry and there is poverty everywhere. There is a lot of nepotism in the land. We are living in times where Nigerians are doubting, if we can survive. I challenge the government of APC to pinpoint one single project that they implemented from the beginning and they have been able to conclude.”
Turaki also berated Buhari for not fulfilling his election campaign promises and that the global standard is for younger persons to assume leadership positions, including the presidency.
“We have seen leaders who said if they get elected there will no more be medical tourism in Nigeria. But, today if they have headache, they go to London. If they have leg or ear pain, they go to London.
“The international best practice is for younger persons to be voted to lead their countries. We have seen in other countries where individuals in their late 30s and 40s were given the opportunity to lead their countries. We want leaders that can sit in the global arena and be able to speak great things with other leaders.”
The presidential hopeful commended the educational and health policies of the Governor Dickson administration, saying they are second to none in the country.
“Today, the system is working in Bayelsa State because Nigerians living here can see what the government is doing to better their lives. In the education sector, you have been able to start from the scratch to have one of the best universities in Africa, which is indeed the pride of every African. This is not political talk because I have been privileged to tour round the facilities in the university.
“In the health sector, the Bayelsa Diagnostic Centre is one of the best in Africa and the state’s health insurance scheme is the first in Nigeria. Every indigene of Bayelsa has the confidence to go to the diagnostic centre to get the best treatment that is second to none because that is the beginning of proper and effective treatment and you will be informed what is wrong with you. There is no state that has been able to give their citizens what you have done.”
Turaki noted that, an informed and educated citizenry is important for the growth and development of any country.
“We need educated leaders and not those that do not have school certificate or NYSC certificate. Bayelsa is moving well because you have a vision. You have the dynamics to realise that vision and because you are relatively young. We are tired of old cargoes that are analogue leaders.”
Turaki promised that, if he gets the party’s mandate and eventually elected to rule Nigeria, he would restructure the country.
“The greatest inhibition to restructuring is our laws, including our constitution.
Stumbling blocks have been deliberately placed to prevent devolution of power. I will ensure that our constitution is amended and speedily too if I get our party’s mandate.”
In his remarks, Governor Dickson commended Turaki for visiting the state again after his recent condolence visit to his country home of Toru-Orua, over the passing of his mother, Mrs. Goldcoast Dickson.
He said the Niger Delta has over the years borne the brunt for supporting the economic survival of Nigeria, noting that, the environment and livelihoods of people of the region were gone and their dreams cut short because of their belief in a united Nigeria.
“A time has come for us to work and identify with people who have a pan-Nigeria and cosmopolitan worldview; that understand that irrespective of where you come from, what unites us are two key things: our common humanity and our shared nationality.
“We say No to those who limit this big Nigerian dream by way of religion, their ethnic enclaves, states and even geo-political zones. For anyone to be president of this country, we should be talking of capacity, competence and a range of vision. To continue to have a Nigeria that is riotous is not a country that will achieve its potential.”
Dickson reasoned that, Nigeria needed to be restructured on the basis of equity and fairness and that the issue of restructuring is not a political slogan meant for campaigns.
“For us, restructuring is a life and death situation we have been living with. People have died and are still dying as we speak on account of Nigeria’s lopsided structure that is destroying our livelihood, environment and stunting our growth. Restructuring is therefore more than a political slogan that aspirants continue to mouth only during their campaigns.”