Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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Senator Francis Fadahunsi served in the Nigeria Custom Service and rose to the position of Assistant Comptroller of Custom. Now a senator, representing Osun East Senatorial District, Fadahunsi, in this interview, bares his mind on failed expectations as Nigeria turns 59. Fadahunshi NIGERIA is 59 today. How would you assess the implementation of the National Development Plans and various Visions by the various administrations? Olukoya blames spiritual laziness for current challenges(Opens in a new browser tab) We are far from maximizing our potentials. We are such a blessed nation with great human and other resources. We seemed to be getting it right but digressed when we lost focus. Our priority has been our problem. Maybe because we don’t have a more collective agenda or a national growth policy, hence the divergent views and reviews by every administration. Even a governor who served under past government throws away his predecessor’s programmes. The plans, on paper, are the best anywhere in the world but our problem is application, turning our policies into tangible output. All governments have tried their best but sentiments have been our albatross. No mater how good the policies are, implementation is always the problem. We are too selfish and sentimental. Look at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, a well merited establishment. Now every zone is using available opportunity to agitate and seek for similar agencies. Every zone now needs a commission. I am a practical person, I believe it is time for us to begin to walk the talk. How well did the country perform with vision 2010? Which of the vision did we pursue? Honestly speaking, the Federal Government is doing better on those set goals than our state governors. A lot of them have become too powerful to listen to anybody. From education to health, from housing to transportation, we have not done well with those set out goals. In the days of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, we were all conversant with the goals, NEPAD, etc. A vision must be communicated, it is when people hear it and see what you are doing about it that they are motivated to join and assist the leadership to succeed. Trade relations, compensation for victims, top agenda as Nigeria, South Africa meet(Opens in a new browser tab) The late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua came with seven point agenda and the administration that succeeded him, Goodluck Jonathan drew the Transformation Agenda. How well did the administrations carry out their implementations? Again those agenda are usually for formality purpose. However, Yar’ Adua started well until the hijackers came in, same was with the Transformation Agenda, at least that agenda left us with a rail system that is being built on. For every government, the agric sector also got a boost that earned the then minister (Akinwunmi Adesina) his present office. By and large, the visions were good but the will and political power to drive the vision is always the issue. In view of the above, how and where did we get it wrong? I think it is more about planning. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. We always have an unwilling President, we go to beg them to contest, we provide everything including vision for them, hence the lack of the needed drive. Once they get into office some family members and associates capture them and deceive them to deviate from the agreed programmes thereby encouraging nepotism. This is a major reason we are moving at the pace we are. Our leaders fail basically because they lack vision. Once there is no vision there can’t be passion and once there is no passion, there wouldn’t be motivation to grow the economy and improve the peoples’ lives. So we got it wrong by begging reluctant people to come and lead us. If we must grow, we need to encourage people with vision and passion, people with track record of outstanding achievement. I will never fail the youths of this country – Sen Abbo(Opens in a new browser tab) Also, the present administration came with the change agenda and now the next level, do you think it can correct the ills of the past? I have refrained for a while from talking so that they don’t tag me as a pessimist or hater. The change mantra was a slogan to remove a President, besides that I don’t see what the change brought. For the next level, you are a journalist please judge the next level so far. How do you think Nigeria can get it right? First is to jettison nepotism and sentiment in appointments. Put the right people in office, stop all this nephew,cousin and in-law things. Fight corruption by growing the economy. When Obasanjo wanted to fight corruption in NNPC and diversion of PMS, he started building NNPC mega stations, he was fighting corruption in that regard yet creating jobs. Encourage agriculture, proper agriculture, cash crop farming will help us. All these rice things can only do a bit, we need to look into how to return to the old days where each region was doing well in certain products. Fighting  corruption Again, we must reduce cost of governance. The focus is so much on the legislators’ earnings while that of the executive remains shrouded in secrecy. A minister could go around in four vehicles and maintains retinue of aides, he will still appoint consultants. We must minimize waste and plough money into things that can create jobs. We also need to make our security work, motivate them by paying them well and promoting them as when due. Resources meant for everybody in the pockets of individuals – former Buhari’s aide(Opens in a new browser tab) Let’s get serious with fixing power. Why didn’t the IPP continue at the pace it started? Let government make power work, it will affect other sectors. Also, there must be good reforms in our electoral process, once you lack legitimacy in the people’s sight, you will drive your policies alone. Several bodies have rated the country high in the corruption index and Nigerians being among the most unhappy people in the world. How can we redirect our value system? Leadership must show impartiality. As long as the leadership have perception problem, nothing will change. Again, we must do what is right at the right time. Once unemployment is tackled properly every other thing will begin to fall in place. But for us to match on, leadership must earn the trust of the people. Vanguard



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