Tuesday 27th September, 2016
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You're a despot, Cardinal Okogie tells Buhari

You're a despot, Cardinal Okogie tells Buhari

· Accuses President of waging shoddy corruption war
 
Eight months into his presi­dency, President Muham­madu Buhari has been ac­cused of questionable leadership, oppressing Nigerians and waging a shoddy anti-corrup­tion crusade.
This position was expressed by Archbishop Emeritus of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Anthony Car­dinal Olubunmi Okogie, yesterday.
Okogie urged the president to re­tool and lead by example on all fronts or risk plunging Nigeria into a state of despondency.
A statement issued yesterday in Lagos, by the Director of Social Com­munications of the Diocese, Monsig­nor Gabriel Osu, Okogie, obtained by The AUTHORITY, accused the pres­ident of acting disdainfully towards the judicial authorities while millions of Nigerians are abandoned to face unimaginable social problems.
According to the miffed senior cleric, “He (Buhari) must retool, re­focus and aggressively face the so­cial, economic (fiscal and monetary) problems we have head-on, without letting the anti-corruption drive look like a political distraction.”
The eminent clergyman, who ex­pressed disenchantment with Pres­ident Buhari’s style of government, said: “A snail-paced and disordered methodology in governance, his ap­parent disdain for judicial authorities and decisions, a lost today and found tomorrow 2016 Budget debacle, and a rather rudderless and confused Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with an unclear monetary policy strategy (inevitably increasing the economic uncertainties being faced by Nigeri­ans), have set alarm bells ringing in my mind and in the minds of many discerning Nigerians.
“Indeed, his perceived discord­ant relationship with the leadership of the Legislature has many naysayers chuckling and remarking that Pres­ident Buhari’s government is head­ing into his comfort zone, a one man show.”
Okogie also noted that “a lot of Nigerians are beginning to feel that Buhari is fast transforming this na­tion into a police state where the president, the Economic and Finan­cial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Secu­rity (DSS) rule the day.”
Okogie continued: “What they say is given lurid headlines in the me­dia, and it seems to all that some of the defendants cum accused persons are being tried in the press with in­formation conveniently slipping into the hands of the press, presumably from the security agencies, even be­fore such people have been charged to court.”
The Cardinal also frowned at the President’s refusal to heed the court pronouncements on the bail grant­ed to the Director of Radio Biafra, NnamdiKanu and former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sam­bo Dasuki (rtd).
He said: “The pro-Biafran activ­ist, Nnamdi Kanu and the erstwhile NSA, Sambo Dasuki, were granted bail by the courts but such bails were disregarded by the security agents under Buhari’s watch.
“Unfortunately, democracy is difficult and this government must realise that democracy pervasive­ly coloured with impunity, arbitrar­iness and highhandedness, cannot be used to fight and correct the finan­cial impunity and reckless abandon of the previous administration, even if it is more difficult to do so; the rule of law must be obeyed and be the or­der of the day.
“If Buhari wants to leave a cred­itable legacy come 2019, he should retool the bureaucracy. For instance, the roof of the Central Bank is leak­ing water.
“Governors, who arm-twisted Okonjo-Iweala into signing out our reserves held by Central Bank, are today ministers in the All Progres­sives Congress (APC) government.
“We are still talking about change and corruption when old things refuse to pass away! These political gimmicks can only car­ry away gullible or naive Nigeri­ans. President Buhari should beam his flashlight on policies and pro­grammes that will lift up the masses.
“Existing industries are almost dead and they call for urgent revital­isation. The budget ought to aid so­lutions to the mass unemployment, rural-urban migration, skewedness in the distribution of income, abject rural poverty and industrialisation of rural economy.
“The 774 local government cap­itals should be linked to their state capitals. Even the mindboggling in­frastructure deficits can take the en­tire tenure to address.”
“The weakness in the bureau­cracy has not been addressed. The problem the APC government is trying to solve is bound to re-occur because it is treatment of effect rath­er than the cause,” he said, adding that causative factors are being to­tally ignored or glossed-over while institutional weakness pervades the Ministries Departments and Agen­cies (MDAs), offices of the Account­ant-General, Auditor-General and the Central Bank itself.”
Okogie further observed that leakages in the economy had re­mained unnoticed and unplugged over the last 16 years of uninterrupt­ed democracy.
“Our Change must change something. How could we continue to talk of change in a static system? How could we be talking of change when the same crew are governors, ministers, senators, and members of the House of Representatives? This is a cyclical devolution of power to the same people who are never out of power!
“What sort of change is the Pres­ident talking about? When will the youth take over when even a gov­ernor does not take a bow and go? When shall we plan for the replace­ment of delinquent leadership? This is what constitutes change. Change is not changing from Jonathan to Buhari.”
He also stated: “Change is be­havioural and pervades all levels of society including the family, the church, the mosque, schools, market women and business men. When we talk of change, we talk of positive-salutary, healthy growth and devel­opment oriented change that cuts across the entire gamut of the so­ciety.
“What sort of change is this that ignores the glaring unequal distribu­tion of national income? It is absurd that the same government that is un­able to pay N18,000 per month to the lowest grade of labour can afford to pay N1.8 million per month to anyone in the economy. Why must tax payers’ money be used to feed Mr. President and his family?
“Why must the tax payers’ mon­ey be used to buy brand new exotic vehicles for the legislature, judges, ministers and governors when they are heavily paid?
“Why don’t they use loan fi­nance and mortgage finance to buy their cars and houses? This is also a form of looting and it is the cause of grounding the economy and calling in an IMF spin-doctor all the time.
“Precisely two years ago this same President Buhari rejected off-hand this use of a spin doctor to heal the ailing economy. He pre­ferred the use of counter-trade and inward looking policies like cutting down costs and flamboyant exotic life styles.
“Today, I am not so sure we have the same Buhari. I do hope he has not changed all the colours of the rainbow. The ruling elites are living a luxurious lifestyle while the mass­es are in abject poverty and yet we are all Nigerians. Enough of this change-conundrum,” the Cardinal warned.

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