Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Nigeria Not Broke! – Former Minister To Buhari

Ebenezer Babatope, a former minister of transport and aviation, has criticized President Muhammadu Buhari for declaring that Nigeria is broke.
Speaking with the Daily Sun on Tuesday, November 3, Babatope, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, said that the opposition party and Nigerians want to see how the president would handle the economy with all the “noise” the All Progressives Congress (APC) made during the general elections.

“Well, as a product of Obafemi Awolowo school of politics, I can never agree that Nigeria is broke because my leader said no country can go broke, unless the country is not able to channel its resources towards direction of development and progress.

“Since Buhari is the one managing the affairs of this country now, if he says the country is broke, it is too bad,” he said.

Commenting on Buhari’s intention to have ministers without portfolios, Babatope said:

“We, in the opposition are looking at the different appointments he is making. We are watching to see who will function in what portfolio. If he succeeds, good luck. But let’s give him a chance and let him prove himself.”

On Buhari’s plan to merge some ministries, Babatope said that the PDP is watching to see the miracle the president wants to perform, and if it works, they will congratulate him. However, he warned Buhari and his administration that if the plan does not work, they will call the attention of Nigerians to it.

The former minister noted that he did not blame the president for the delay in choosing his ministers and forming a cabinet.

“It is his time, let him use it. I don’t want to blame him at all; but Nigerians are watching very critically. Nigeria doesn’t take it lightly for any leader who takes them for granted,” he said.

Speaking further, Babatope advised the new chairperson of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to serve Nigeria, shunning every selfish or ethnic interest.

The PDP chairman noted that the fact that Yakubu is from the north and was appointed by a president from the north does not mean he should do Buhari’s bidding when it is time for the election in 2019.

After receiving the list of screened ministers from the Senate president, Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, November 3, Buhari reiterated his earlier statement that some ministers would be without portfolios.

According to the president, some ministers who had been earlier screened will be without portfolios because Nigeria cannot afford to pay all of them.

During the brief ceremony to mark the presentation of the screened ministers, Saraki noted that not having portfolios for ministers is not a new practice in the country.