In the light of general complaints in the polity over the biting hardship occasioned by a depressed economy, a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola (SAN) has called on Nigerians to endure and give President Muhammadu Buhari time to fix the country. In this interview, he urged Nigerians to desist from antagonising the administration.
He also revealed how some Nigerians took the campaign against his election into the International Court of Justice to the international arena and brought the country to ridicule at that time.
His take on the anti-corruption campaign and whether corruption is fighting back as claimed by some observers Yes, we are in it now and Buhari should not succumb. Nigerians got tired of corruption and voted Buhari to fight it.
Now, the journey to fix the economy has started but the attitude of Nigerians towards him at this time is sad. But I will advise the President not to be tired. He should not succumb to the pressure against the anti-corruption war because Nigerians’ chances of getting out of the long and complex issues of corruption, insecurity and economy reside in his not succumbing to those pressures, forget about whether or not they are patient enough to bear the hardship.
To the Nigerians, I would say that the hardship the nation and the people currently experience are both the consequences of past wrong actions of corrupt people who would do anything to make sure that the President does not succeed in taking away their ill-gotten wealth. President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade is getting so hard on corrupt people so much that it has gone after their bad businesses at home and abroad.
And the hardship thrown upon Nigerians because of their control of some level of the economy is to prove to the world that taming the corruption in which they have thrived in is not an easy job. So, the administration of President Buhari has done well in the fight against corruption and insurgency. All that he should do now is to also jack up performance on the construction of roads and other infrastructure and tackle the causes of current food price hike in the country.
I am enthused by his resilience and hope that he does not succumb to the pressures. I have confidence in his ability to face the challenges but my only worry is that Nigerians are too impatient. They want him to fix everything within a short time. I hope they give him the chance to fix the country for their sake.
How do you mean? When oil is in trouble internationally, automatically our economy would be in trouble in Nigeria. And on the other side, you have some people who call themselves Niger Delta Avengers, who are bombing oil installations knowing that it is the nation’s only means of economic development and sustenance.
They are bombing the gas pipelines, which enabled the President, a few months into his administration, to generate 5,070 megawatts of electricity. How do you want the economy to be all right when all these are going on and there is nobody among the leaders or the people who can say it is enough, stop the bombings? How do we move forward this way? The best way to go is diversification which the government is doing. But will Nigerians give him the chance to do these things successfully? Will the media cooperate with him to succeed? Will the stakeholders in the economy cooperate with him?
These are questions that we must all answer, if truly we realise that we have a problem and that we must get out of it. Everybody is just criticizing. Because you want to be known, you want to be heard, what you think that you need to do is to just wake up everyday and begin to criticize in an attempt to pull down the government. Why don’t you get positive for once about your government and see whether things will not get better for all? It is sad!
All stakeholders must come together, the business class, members of the bar, the media, the civil servants, all the security agencies, the elders and leaders of different regions of this country, let us make up our minds and say, yes, we have a problem, we have put a government that we trust there, what is our own contribution to making this government work?That is the better way to go. It is sad and it has got to stop. Many are linking the impatience to the hardship in the country. What do you make of that? Yes, things are hard.
Even a prominent Nigerian was here yesterday (August 9, 2016) and he told me that things are very hard and I know too that things are very hard. But these are expected, if we must put things in proper perspective. However, it shouldn’t be this so hard but the corrupt people being dealt with by President Muhammadu are blackmailing him.
I hope he doesn’t succumb to pressures. Sometimes you begin to wonder what manner of people Nigerians are if the same people that voted for Buhari to solve the problems of corruption, economy, insecurity, power, and national degradation have become tired of him this early. See what is going on at the National Assembly.
People are padding budget and glorifying themselves over issues bothering on corruption and crimes. Buhari must not be deterred. We were in government and fought corruption and it worked. If you were in his shoes, how would you have felt in the face of accusation that he is responsible for the current hardship? Fighting corruption is vital and it is going to come with many provocations and open show of ungratefulness by the same Nigerians you are working hard to save. But he should stand firm and not be deterred.
What makes you a hero is your ability to stand face-to-face to those provocations and shows of ungratefulness because the same people that vilify you today will call you bravo tomorrow if you eventually succeed. That is the way to go.
When I served as Attorney-General of the Federation for over six years, I did not take salaries; I asked them to use my salaries as part of the fund to run the nation’s affairs. Despite all that, when I was nominated for election into the International Court of Justice (ICJ), eminent Nigerians, lawyers of note (names withheld) were alive then, they travelled all the way from Nigeria to campaign against me that I should not be voted into the ICJ. It took one country member of the UN Security Council that I had once stood my ground in ensuring that it faced charges for flying forbidden drugs into our country, and from whom I refused to take bribe, to say, ‘no, this man is a man that can be trusted with justice, he did so, so and so to our country and we saw his honesty, loyalty, patriotism and he is a man of integrity.’