Buhari won’t derail from development plan —Tijani
Honourable Kayode Ismail Tijani is the member representing Ifelodun/Oyun/Offa Federal Constituency of Kwara State in the House of Representatives. In this interview with STEPHEN GBADAMOSI, he speaks on political developments in Kwara State and the country.
THE administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has only spent four months out of the second term in office, but Nigerians are still complaining about the styl of governance. How would you assess the president’s administration?
It was President Buhari’s brilliant performance in the first four years that earned him the victory during the 2019 presidential election. Talk about any sector, Buhari has really done well. Is it in the area of education that you want to talk about or agriculture. Is it job creation or provision of infrastructure or improvement of the health sector, security and human development? To be honest, the president has performed well in all these areas.
So, Mr. President deserves kudos for the first four years and I want to believe that in these next four years, he is equally going to perform beyond Nigerians’ expectation.
Some people see things differently; they are of the opinion that Nigerians have been subjected to hardship and more poverty under the current administration. Why is that?
If not for President Buhari’s intervention in the governance of this nation, Nigeria possibly would have gone bankrupt by now. So, if anyone talks about hardship, I don’t know what they would have said if the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 presidential election, which halted Nigeria’s descent into the abyss and reversed its fortunes for good did not happen. For example, look at the outcomes of President Buhari’s war against corruption; a policy that has led to the retrieval of billions of naira stolen by officials of the immediate past administration in this country.
Let us talk about security again; do the people you said are complaining remember the high level of insecurity in the country before President Buhari took office in 2015? It is easy to forget things; but immediately President Buhari took office, he swung into action on how the 200 Chibok school girls would be released from captivity and today, more than half of the girls have been released to their families. Aside that, he has not relented in his efforts at waging war against Boko-Haram, kidnappers, armed killers and other forms of criminalities in the country so that Nigeria can be safe for everybody to live and as well remain as one entity.
Nigerians have also been lamenting over the hardship brought about by several policies of the Federal Government, the closure of borders and ban on importation of rice, for instance. How do you see that?
No matter what Nigerians are saying, I can assure you that the hardship will be temporary. With the Next Level agenda of Mr. President in this next four years, I believe Nigerians are going to enjoy prosperity, good road networks, employment opportunities for the teeming youths and diversification of the economy from oil by way of encouraging agricultural activities. I am confident that the Federal Government will succeed in making the nation safe for everyone to live in, provide easy access to health facilities for Nigerians, and create greater access to education.
On the closure of borders, President Buhari doesn’t meant bad for the citizens of the country by closing our borders against the importation of foreign goods. His major aim of doing so was to encourage local production and reduce over-reliance on oil economy. You see, in this country, we need to develop our local materials and even make them more attractive than the foreign products. Take for example, the country is now generating billions daily through Customs, from revenues that we are generating from goods coming into Nigeria as a result of the taxes being collected on each of this foreign goods. This was against the illegal way of smuggling the goods into the country through the porous borders before.
Second, the border closure and ban on importation of these goods will encourage the diversification of our economy from oil economy to other areas such as agriculture, transportation and mining, among others. Aside that, it will also encourage our young graduates to develop their potential and use it to make themselves se-reliant, thereby reducing unemployment and criminalities that are attached to idleness in our societies.
So, to me, the idea of the Federal Government closing the border will not cripple our economy. I want to believe that whatever thing that will be good in this life must have a sacrifice attached to it. I know the prices of all these goods we are talking about will soon come down by the time we have enough productions. Honestly speaking, the president should be commended for the good initiative, as it will also discourage illegal entry into our country by the foreigners who do not have all the necessary documents, while foreign hoodlums from other countries will not use the opportunity of our porous borders to enter Nigeria and start perpetrating evils.
Another area I think President Buhari should be commended is on the way he handled the xenophobic attack issue with South Africa, where many Nigerians living in that country were physically assaulted. Some were killed, while many had their properties worth over one hundreds of millions in naira and pounds destroyed. The president personally travelled to South Africa to meet with the South African president and they both signed a peace agreement. He should be commended for the maturity he displayed in the face of provocation and the amicable resolution of the issues, which demonstrated Nigeria’s position as giant of Africa.
You are four months old in the National Assembly as a member of the House of Representatives. What has been your experience so far?
It has been very interesting and I am using this medium to assure my people that as I promised during the electioneering, I am going to represent them well. They will not regret having me as their representative in the lower chamber of the National Assembly. I also pledge that I will fulfill all my campaign promises, which is what they are all looking forward to.
So far, within these few months, I have assisted a lot of youths to secure paid employments while some have also been assisted in other ways and plans are ongoing to sponsor meaningful bills that will bring rapid development to my federal constituency by way of making federal presence felt there.
You see, our major assignment is to ensure quality and effective representation, but aside that, I will make sure I use my constituency project allowance to complement the efforts of Governor AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman of Kwara State in the area of provision of infrastructural. I have also assured my people that I would be accessible to them by being at home as and when due, so that I can inform them about my activities and also discuss and listen to their suggestions on the way forward.
Thank God, Governor AbdurRahman has very good set of legislators around him to make his government very successful. For example, all the 26 members of the Kwara State House of Assembly are of the same party with the governor and this will assist in no small measure at making sure that the people of Kwara State enjoy good governance.
Having said that, I want to urge my people in Kwara State to cooperate maximally with the government of Governor AbdulRahaman, because he has the good intention of developing the state. If they do this, they should expect positive change in the state. I thank God that our state is now in the mainstream with the ruling party at the federal level and this is going to help us, because it will be very easy for the governor to attract federal presence to Kwara State.