Why opposition forces must be united – Chinda, Reps Minority leader

MINORITY leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Kingsley Chinda in this
interview, emphasised that the much talked.
about palliatives by the Tinubu administra- tion is yet to be felt by the people.
What are your reflections about?
Tinubu’s government so far since
he came into power.
President Tinubu’s administration is less.
than six months old and a good dance starts
with the first step. You will recall that the
same APC administration in the past, took.
about six months to constitute its cabinet.
Realistically, Tinubu started with a good beat.
and made far reaching pronouncements.
The government hit the ground running.
all most immediately. However, it is yet to
run far. Though, it is still early to judge but
I pray it is not going to be a motion without
Very tough policies have been taken at the
commencement of this administration like

the removal of fuel subsidy and harmonisa-
tion of exchange rate. Though these policies

are biting hard on Nigerians but they are in
the interest of the country.
My quarrel is with the form and nature of
implementation. The nature of the pro- nouncement is undemocratic. There was no
consultation and as such no preparation for
the consequences. We moved from answer.

to question. The issues of living wage, pal-
liatives, fxing of refneries etc would have

been in place before the removal.
I will therefore say that there appears to be.
a vision and political will but the implemen- tation of the vision is not very satisfactory to
Nigerians. The much talked about palliatives.
is yet to be felt by the people.
You recall that application for loan was.
tendered before the National assembly and
even those of us on the opposition did not
oppose that application because we are.
told that it would palliate the sufferings.
of Nigerians but go to the streets of this
country, people are still suffering gnashing.
their teeth. There is urgent need for the
government to look inwards at the strategy.
of implementation of some of these very
good policies to ensure that Nigerians feel.
the impact of whatever the government is.
putting into the system.

The other issue is the N8,000 peanuts for
Nigerians. This with respect cannot ame- liorate poverty but will increase same as it.
could trigger inflation. No doubt this is an
IMF or World Bank policy. Our social setting
is not same with advanced countries. We
lack records and as such, this will be highly.
If we decide to invest eighty million dol- lars in each zone in this country to develop
an ICT or AI (artificial intelligence) hub in
each of the 6 geo-political zones in the country, we are going to train youths to become.
useful to themselves and the society, as
against giving eight thousand naira to some

citizens of this country which of course can-
not go round to everybody.

I will advise the Federal Government to
look inwards again, recheck her implementation method but for the policies that she
has come up with, we think that clearly.
there is a vision in it, but we are not satisfied
with the implementation of the policies.
What are your concerns on the

increasing doubts on the integrity of the judiciary?

It’s really unfortunate, particularly when.
it comes to political trials. Then says that election petitions are ‘sue generis’ (one of its kind). I feel very bad. We appear not to be making much improvements.

You know that it is said that
“the judiciary is the last hope of
the common man”, but the ques- tion you ask yourself in Nigeria
today is can the common man
hope on the judiciary for justice?
In legal practice, we know precedents as
being sacrosanct. The policy of stare decises
( stay or abode by your decisions) is an age
long principle of law. That makes it possible
to postulate in law that if this happens, this
ought to be the outcome because there is
actually a precedent.
All that is gradually being eroded there ap- pears to be no precedent. You will see courts
of equal jurisdiction arriving at different
decisions even in an area where the law is
settled by superior courts. This shouldn’t be.
I will also urge that we look inwards again,
call the very few Justices involved.
The NJC should also begin to sit up and
ensure that our judiciary’s image is being

The insecurity in the South east

is not abating, what is your reac-
tion to this?

Well, the function of every responsible

government is security of lives and proper-
ties and so what it means is that the govern- ment of the federal republic of Nigeria and

the Commander in-Chief Of the Armed
Forces needs as a matter of duty and urgency
improve security not just in the South east
but the entire country.
The insecurity has lasted for too long; we
have had promises where presidents in the
pasts had assured us that within two or three
months the situation will be taken care of
but it has continued to linger and so some- thing is not right; you don’t expect to feed
the system with the same thing and get a

different result; we need to do things differ-
ently, we need to approach the security chal-
lenges from a different angle and a different

perspective for us to get something different
from the unsatisfactory state we are in now.
I am not satisfed as a citizen of this
country with the level of insecurity; gone are
the days when you can travel from the North
to the South or from the East to the North
without challenges; we remember those
days when traveling on the road and you
see wears/ goods being advertised along the
road and the owners are not there. They run
from a distance to attend to travelers that
want to buy their goods. Those goods are
left outside overnight. That underscores the
level of security then.
Today, you can’t even on your own drive
from Port-Harcourt to Abuja without your
family being consistently on fasting and
prayer until you arrive.

For South East, we can’t shy away from
the issue of detention of Nnamdi Kanu. I
sincerely suggest a political solution than
being legalistic. We have recorded too many
avoidable deaths.
What is your reaction to the
removal of fuel subsidy?
I completely agree that we need to remove
fuel subsidy. However, the timing and
the method appears not to be democratic
enough but some have argued that we have
tried to go the democratic route; that is by

engaging in wide consultation and carry-
ing every body along and it didn’t work. An

example is under former President Good- luck Jonathan who attempted to remove
fuel subsidy having seen the monster in it
but Nigerians then reacted. Today, Presi- dent Bola Tinubu has taken a bold step and
shown strong political will by removing that
fuel subsidy.
Nigerians were not prepared, sensitised and conscientized to accommodate the
backlash of the removal of subsidy and so
government is still struggling and battling
to stabilize the policy.
Something needs be done to ensure that
we ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians
to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy in the
interim. I know that at the long run, it will
be better for us as a country.

Again, whatever savings that we get
from the removal of fuel subsidy should be
publicly declared and the utilization should
also be made known; let it not just end like
all other policies that we have implemented
in the past and then we fnd ourselves back
to stage one where the monies that we have
recouped from removal of fuel subsidy will
still go into the pockets of a few Nigerians.
It is still against the interest of the majority
of the citizens of this country.

The electoral Act needs some re-
jigging again. What areas should

the 10th national assembly look at.
The Electoral Act and indeed legislation is
work in progress; the Electoral Act has im- proved our electoral system clearly. The last
election was not as violent as we had experi- enced in the past and that is because of the
new Electoral Act. Yes, we have tried it for
the frst time but laws, rules and regulations
are always work in progress; they are never
perfect and that is why we have room for
amendments. I think that we should look at
electronic voting a little bit more seriously;

now we have got the frst stage where ac-
creditation is done electronically, we should

also go further to ensure that voting and
uploading of results from the units will also
be provided for in the statute.
Let the laws recognize the fact that results
should be uploaded from the units and let
people be allowed to engage in electronic
voting; I think it is possible. Those who
argue that we don’t have a network to cover
all the polling boots have been proved to be
wrong because you can have a network in
every part of this country that has a polling
unit. INEC says they are capable of doing it
and I believe so.

So we should be looking at amending our
laws and to make it compulsory for elec- tronic voting to be in place in our country;
Electronic transmission of results from
the units; provide for Electoral offences
There are fears that Nigeria can
become a one -party state under
president Tinubu; do you agree?
It is not possible that Nigeria will become

a one-party state under the present govern-
ment. Yes, today it might appear that APC is

not being hit hard enough but I can assure
you that if they falter, they will get harder
knocks and then more persons will become
critical of the APC government and people
will look for alternatives.

So anybody who thinks Nigeria will be-
come a one-party state is still dreaming. In

fact, I believe that the polity will continue
to be divided into smaller groups. We have
labour that was not strong before today.
Now labour is picking up and I believe that
other parties will also come up because
Nigerians are yearning for a change in the
method and strategy of public governance.

Nigerians are looking for more transparent
persons. Nigerians are looking for people
they can trust, so if Tinubu’s administration
builds that trust and confdence, yes she
could win elections but she can never get
the trust and confdence of everybody as
to say that we will be a one-party state; it is
not possible.


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