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9th Assembly will correct anomalies of last dispensationJohnson

Published by The Nation on Sun, 21 Jul 2019


Ganiyu Johnson, a member of All Progressives Congress, is the member representing Oshodi Isolo Federal Constituency 2 in the House of Representatives. In this interview with Emmanuel Udodinma, he spoke on the ninth Assembly and other national issues. ExcerptsYou were inaugurated for the first term at the lower chamber of the National Assembly. What does it feel like'It is good to have people from different parts of the federation come together for a single purpose of national development through representation of our various constituencies. We also had the honour of electing our Speaker in the person of Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila. We hope we would be able to carry out a lot of reforms different from the eighth Assembly, and to also improve on its work. The Speaker has assured Nigerians that there would be a lot of reforms and we are ready to cooperate with him.Can you respond to the insinuation in some quarters that the ninth Assembly would be a stooge of the Executive since their leaders were handpicked by that arm of government'There must be synergy if we want to progress in this country. That my party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has preference for these people did not mean that they were handpicked. The Speaker happened to be the most competent lawmaker in the House. If you had seen the pattern of the election you would also notice that he was voted for en-mass, even the opposition voted for him. The Speaker was a popular candidate. Talking about handpicking, I do not agree. If we want progress in the country, there must be synergy between the executive and the legislature; that is the only way we can develop in this country. Nation building starts from somewhere. If we had made mistakes in the past, this is the time to correct it. We cannot continue to have an executive and legislature that would be at logger heads all the time. If some of the blueprints that the executive wants to drive are frustrated because of executivelegislature imbroglio, it is the electorate that would suffer and that is why this time around we would like to get it right.What is your view about the speculation in some quarters that the eighth Assembly in terms of independence was adjudged to be the best, so far'I dont agree with that. If it was the best when was the 2019 budget passed' It was passed just before it winded up. The budget was presented in October. There was a lot of friction between the executive and the legislature. Mr. President could not even execute most of his programmes. The ninth Assembly will correct most of the anomalies so that we can move forward.People feel President Muhammadu Buhari has failed Nigerians in the area of security. What is your view'There has always been insecurity in this country, during the time of successive governments, Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Yar Adua, Goodluck Jonathan; there had always been insecurity. Security is a very sensitive issue. It is not something that can be eradicated overnight. If you go to London today, Heathrow Airport, you would see armed police officers, soldiers around the airport. There is no way you can eliminate insecurity 100 percent; it is an ongoing process. Government would try to minimize and curtail the occurrence of the menace. You cannot wipe it out totally.Recently, we saw the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, trying to give the impression that insecurity in the country had overwhelmed him and his troupe and Nigerians saw that comment as a way of discouraging the soldiers and also implying he wanted to quit. What can you say to that'You can always have bad eggs everywhere and they were the ones escalating issues. Even in the Bible, out of the twelve disciples, there was one bad egg. Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ, not to talk of an organisation. It is normal. People tend to escalate issues. Our party is in firm control and Mr. President also is in firm control. The country is safe and people are free to go about their duties without fear. The Chief of Army Staff has been working to fight insurgency and we have some of the impressive result he and his men have made. We should try to encourage them so they would continue to give their best.Dont you think the President should consider changing the service chiefs'I have told you that the issue of security is not something anyone can just dabble into. Mr. President knows the best, and he knows why he has not deemed it necessary to change them and I cannot even comment on that. He is the Commander-in- Chief and he knows what is good for the country.Some Nigerians frowned at the comment of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, that the insecurity in the country had been blown out of proportion or exaggerated. Can you comment on that'I collaborated that when I said that there are bad eggs in every institution and organisation. The insecurity started before Obasanjo, when the military was in power. Insecurity has always been there during previous administrations of Obasanjo, Yar Adua and Jonathan and you cannot start escalating it now. It has always been there. We have pockets of insecurity here and there and the government is trying to manage it. It is wrong to go about escalating it; the truth is that it is not as bad as some people are trying to paint it. This administration is trying so much to curtail the activities of insurgency and other criminalities across the country.Your party and government planned to implement Ruga settlement and the southern regions in particular, which is your constituency, opposed the project. The government made a turn around to suspend it few days ago. What can you say to that'I would commend Mr. President for taking the initiative. He has listened to Nigerians and that is good. I think it is something that dialogue can settle. If various regions can talk, they can come to an understanding and probably buy the idea, especially looking at the inherent benefits of the project, which is meant to tackle herders/farmers clashes across the country and create employment. I think with consultation or dialogue we would achieve so much in the country.People sometimes accuse President Buhari of being sectional, and that is why bandits in a state in the North would demand that government negotiated with them before they would stop their nefarious activities. What is your opinion'Do you want to believe some of those things' There is freedom of speech and anybody can say anything.President Buhari has not named his cabinet yet, two months after inauguration and people are worried that what happened in 2015 would not repeat. It took him six months to name his cabinet then. Can you react to that'National Assembly would need to be inaugurated because it is the National Assembly that would clear the ministerial nominees, remember also that these nominees would also need to be cleared by Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies. Those are some of the background checks that would need to be done. He would do the right thing and I dont think it would take as long as six months to name them. I can assure you that very soon he would send the list to the National Assembly.
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