So I think morally, if you have got another job, you should give up the pension until when you are truly a pensioner. I think most of those who get the pension it is not as if they really need it, it is just an oversight. Maybe the states should go and amend their laws to say that if you have an appointment then you are not entitled to pension as a former governor.
There are special banks – such as Bank of Industry, agriculture, infrastructure, yet we have deficit in virtually all aspects of the economy. Is there any interface with these banks, especially that of infrastructure, to spur them to granting loans or doing their jobs.
Well, not interface per se. We are engaging with them. I think the infrastructure bank is part of those involved in the Lagos-Ibadan road.
Because of the importance of such banks, there are bills we have passed to encourage private sector participation in infrastructure. I have this strong view and I feel very strongly about it that government cannot; nowhere in the world that government can fund infrastructure projects; and even if government can fund infrastructure projects, other social sector will suffer – health will suffer and education will suffer. You are seeing it. You are seeing a lot of complaints that percentage of allocation, budget allocation to health and education is too low, it’s because we are pushing all our money toward infrastructure. What should happen is that we should try and get private sector to take over some of these infrastructure so that the money can go into education and health. By doing that, that is where Banks like infrastructure will come in. That is why you would have heard in the National Assembly, we are really pushing the idea of Lagos-Ibadan road, being a private secor project. Trying to appropriate that project in the budget. This is a road that is very viable that is centre of the commercial activity and we should see how private sector can participate for example now even if you go by the budgetary allocation on that road, last year was N30 billion and this year after back and forth we took it back to N20 billion so that if they don’t find private funding we will take it up. Even if you provide N30 billion, it will not be sufficient, it will probably needs about N100 billion to complete. So if you go by the releases for the last couple of years, that road minimum 3-5 years, you are still at it. There is a lot of private –sector money there that can go immediately, they can put the N100 billion down in infrastructure bank, private sector people, pension money andput the money on the table day one, which will make the contractors move. So the point I’m making which I want to emphasis is that it is the kind of laws and policies that we pass that will encourage private sector that will make the infrastructure deficit reduced. Government alone cannot solve the problem of infrastructure deficit.
APC has been going through some problems since the take-off of the government. Aside allegations of former Vice President Atiku on the rejection of devolution of power is against APC’s manifesto, there has been no NEC meeting for a long time. Are you not concerned?
I think there is no APC member that will tell you he is happy with the state of affairs of the party. There is a lot of work that we need to do. Luckily despite the lack of meetings here and there, if you go round the 36 states, not many states but just a few states where I see internal party crisis. It is not that party at the grassroots has a lot of crisis here and there. It is just for the administrative aspect and the national to provide leadership in driving the party. The party needs to do that, I mean there is no doubt that we are running out of time. But luckily for us there are no many major crises in the party per se. It is just that the party is drifting, it is not becoming a rallying point, no activity, a ruling party definitely should be seeing more activities those in charge of the party need to get that going.
You are number three among those in charge of the party.
I can’t call a meeting of the party. I have expressed my view and the responsibility of calling a party for a meeting is that of those who we elected as party officials.
The drift you talk about is giving room for insinuations that Senate President is physically a member of the party, but his spirit is not there; that your spirit is in PDP.
You are just using that to do propaganda for PDP; where is the spirit, where are they judging the spirit from, where are they seeing the spirit from? That is just trying to sell the PDP and trying to give hope that people like us are still there. Look the issue that there are speculations because the party is docile, because the party is dormant. If the party goes back to what we all know it to be, holding NEC, and having caucus meetings, spirit and no spirit things will stop.
It is not that they have called; let us say that party calls you for a meeting and you don’t see me at the meeting then you can say that yes my spirit is not there.
Your emergence as senate president somehow contributed to disobedience and weakening of the party’s leadership.
Go and look at the party records. The last meeting the party held with regard to the zoning of the national officers, senate president was zoned to north central. It was after that the party started to do different things, shifting its position. The point I’m making is that that’s over two years.
ago, two years now, is that the reason why the party cannot move ahead? My own point is that the executive of party just needs to wake up and start managing the party.
As President of the senate and number three citizen, you have a stake in the party and you can call some of them to order and influence some activities.
We are doing that. It’s because you have asked me the question, there is no day when I see the party chairman and tell him, Mr chairman we must put the party in focus. And we want to do it in the right way it’s done. The rules of the party also gives you room by which you can call a meeting, but I think we have not got to that point yet, I think we should do it in a smooth manner. But what I want to assure you is that the foundation is still strong. There were crisis all over the place, that’s a different matter. What I’m saying is that it is because of the inactivity that is giving room for speculations. The moment we start to see activity, you would see overnight, things will change. And that is why the party, hopefully will hold a mini convention, now we have done our congresses, they picked delegates on Saturday. You will see that after you the mini convention. All those speculations will be put to rest.