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Tougher times, ahead, says Fawehinmi Featured

by The Guardian on17 June 2007 5021 times

"WE need a very strong President in our country. We need a man who will do what is right for the nation as an entity and for the people. We need a man who will put programmes and policies that will lift the ordinary man from the doldrums of poverty to happiness. We need a man who will stand against all forms of social injustices; the most paramount is corruption." A few of the powerful new year statements from Gani Fawehinmi about the kind of nation Nigeria should be.

"Those who are at war like the Israelis and Palestinians have more electricity than Nigeria. Israel has 10 times more electricity than Nigeria. Even the Palestinians enjoy more than five times the electricity we have in Nigeria and they are at war. We are not at war. The money is flowing but there is no good manager. " "The government may attempt to increase the price of petroleum products because of the loss it is sustaining from low revenue from oil." 

"We need a man who will deal with corruption with his life. We need a man who will put God first. You put God first when you think of the interest of the man in the street. If you say you are a religious man and you want to put God first, you have to do what Prophet Mohammed did; you have to do what Jesus Christ did. Christ and Mohammed worked for the poor and died for the poor."

"Yar'Adua is far from all those qualities and characteristics I have put forward. He is not putting God first. To put God first, a President should look at how the people are living, how families are dying from the fumes coming out from generators because there is no electricity.

"You should look at God first by ensuring that people don't die of hunger. You look at God first when you come to the hospital and every hospital is equipped with modern equipment that can diagnose problems and the people have access to the most modern treatment on earth. You look at God first when you don't pick dead bodies on the road as a result of accidents caused by potholes on our bad roads.

"You look at God first when people who want education will get education. You look at God first when you go to the universities, secondary schools and so on and you can say 'I am proud of these institutions. You put God first when the wealth of the nation is used to promote the interest and welfare of the people.

"You put God first from the way you behave and how people around you live. Nigerians are dying from poverty. Their children cannot get access to institutions they want to get to. The country is not being run. We are retrogressing; our country is retrogressing daily."

"A year ago, our major source of income, oil, was selling for $147 per barrel. A good President should have harnessed the proceeds to look at areas he can invest them to combat the poverty of our people. Nothing was done.

"Today, the price of oil is below $40 per barrel. When you cannot perform when oil was $147 per barrel, when money was streaming in and pouring in, will you perform when the stream is drying up? When resources are drying up, you cannot. If I did not perform when I was very strong in health, when I was 30, 40 years, what will I be living on now at 70? When we translate it to governance, it is more serious. There is no governance."

"This country has been very bad in terms of corruption and for the first time in many years, one man came, Ribadu came for the first time in the history of Nigeria and dealt with the corrupt people. You could accuse him of anything, but you cannot accuse him of corruption.

"When Ribadu was there, the fear of the EFCC was the beginning of wisdom. Nobody cares about the EFCC now. What is EFCC under Mrs. Farida Waziri? EFCC has lost its custom under Waziri. Ribadu's EFCC should not be treated like Waziri's EFCC. One was focussed, determined, courageous and ready to fight against the big shots. The other, which is Waziri, is prepared to wear the soft gloves: 'well, you know, our position is rule of law.'

"I don't know what they mean by the rule of law. There is something about the rule of law they are parroting. When they get stuck about doing what is right for the people and they don't know what next to do, then they need rule of law.

"Rule of law means the law must rule. The law rules when you have the courts and you have a system, you have the laws that are made, that will give the people hope about solving their problems and so on and so forth.

"But you are talking about rule of law and the President is not giving the workers hope. People have to queue for their pension and some die along the way; people don't have a living wage; people don't have access to good education or good health system. It is provided in sections 16 and 17 of our Constitution that you must give the people these things and you say you are practising rule of law."

"All they do is to try to put you into their circle by offering you what they call Ole Federal Republic (OFR). I don't want to be Ole Federal Republic or take any honour from a government that has no honour. Honestly, we are in deep crisis. We will see the crisis more in 2009."

Last modified on 11 June 2009
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