Interview

Naira Crunch: Emefiele is on Vendetta Mission- Otunba Benji

INTERVIEW

Otunba Benji Oloye is a community leader, social commentator and ardent supporter of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for president. He speaks with the Political Editor of the PATH NEWS MAGAZINE, Dupson Collins on trending issues ahead of the forthcoming elections.

Nigerians are battling with fuel scarcity in less than three weeks to elections; in your own opinion, what is responsible for the recent scarcity?

It is a political scarcity ochestrated and a deliberate attempt to rumpture presidential candidates ahead of the forthcoming polls. In one of my interviews, I stated that President Buhari wanted to rubbish APC before he leaves office and ensures nobody will be ready to buy the party for a dime, that is exactly what is happening with the latest scarcity and policy somersault that is causing Nigerians more pains.

(… Cut in) Why did you quickly jump to the conclusion that the scarcity has political undertone?

Because we have been watching the trend for sometimes now; you don’t need a soothsayer to tell you that the recent fuel and Naira crisis have political undertone. For God sake, we have less than three weeks to elections, and Nigerians are experiencing serious challenges; what signal is Federal Government sending to the people? It’s common sense that, some people are working against the election that is going to produce Nigeria next president.

Aside blaming the saboteurs within the government; the Independent Marketers too are contributing to people’s woes by not selling Fuel at the regulated price of N195, what is your take on this?

Nobody wants to invest his or her money in business and run at loss. The essence of business is profit making and government don’t expect these Independent Marketers to sell below their cost price. What is the price of diesel before now, how much are they selling it today? From N200 to N800 and government still want them to sell at the regulated price without doing the needful. These marketers will pay Petrol attendants, maintain stations and trucks, pay taxes and other overhead expenses. So, nobody should trade the blame of high price of PMS on the Marketers alone, let our government show commitment to the plight of suffering Nigerians and end this routine scarcity once and for all.

Nigerians are groaning in pains with the shortage of New Naira Notes in circulation; would you say its also politically motivated?

I don’t want to agree that we don’t know where the Naira is, it was a deliberate attempt to punish Nigerians. This is not the first time naira note would be changed but we have not had it so bad like this. If CBN want to change Naira note, swapping the old ones for the new ones shouldn’t be a problem. The new and old notes should run concurrently untill final withdrawal of the old notes. If you look at the numbers of the old notes mopping out of the circulation and compared to the New ones the Apex Bank released, it didn’t tally. Close to 2trillon was mopped out while CBN only printed N500 Billions new notes. How do they want us to survive? It is the CBN policy that is killing Nigerians and made them suffer untold hardship.
If you can recalled, in one of the interviews l granted your platform last year, I said Emefele who wants to become president will fight back and with his New Naira Notes policy, Nigerians can deduce that Emefiele is on vendetta mission. He doesn’t mean well for the country; going by the word of the Ex-Head of State, Emefiele is an evil genius. He is not intelligent but a spoiler. He is not intelligent to run the institution under his care to the benefit of Nigerians but capable of scuttle what would be of use to the citizens. How many of his policies are pro Nigerians?

Do you share the same thoughts with Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai that some cabal in the presidency are working at cross road against the presidential ambition of Tinubu?

When people like us say there are cabals within the presidency, you will say it’s mere speculation but when an insider like Governor El Rufai says it, we need to take him serious because such statement is nothing but real fact. These people we are talking about are more powerful than the president cabinet members. They are the think Tank of the president who he consulted for advise and listen to. They are so powerful that they direct the affairs of Mr President and call the shot at the Villa. So, Governor El Rufai is saying the truth and for this country to move forward, these cabals must either be tamed or dismantled.

In Ogun State, Tinubu accused some elements of hoarding Fuel and New Naira Notes to demarket him and APC ahead of the forthcoming election. Your reaction and why is Asiwaju always voicing out in Ogun State?

I don’t agree with people saying Tinubu always went to Abeokuta to issue a statement that will become of national discuss. He only reacted to issues as it comes. It just a coincident that two statements came while in Ogun State and nothing more. Asiwaju is very intelligent and smart, he can read between the lines and the moment he discovers foul play, you don’t expect him to keep quiet most especially when it has negative effects on his ambition, definitely, Asiwaju that I know will speak out at the right time. The location or place doesn’t matter, what he said in Abeokuta, he can as well say it in Sokoto, Ebonyi and other states. Why are they hoarding Fuel and New Naira Notes? It’s better he speaks out and let Nigerians populace know that, the scarcity of fuel and Naira Notes are the handiwork of certain cabal that doesn’t mean well for the country.

What can you say about the lukewarm attitude of President Buhari to the campaign of Asiwaju?

There are certain things Mr President will do that nobody will raise an eyebrow but when somebody is playing an ostrich, you raise alert. We all know where he belongs to before the primaries that produced Asiwaju. The cabals have a candidate but God proved Himself to be above any cabal which led to the emergence of Tinubu as the presidential candidate of the party. They were not happy with the choice of Tinubu even the National Chairman of APC was not chosen by popular votes but imposed on the party by the same cabals. In my own opinion, these cabals should be exposed and push out.

Would these fuel and Naira scarcity have negative effects on APC and its presidential candidate?

Yes, I agreed with you but any intelligent person and those that wish Nigeria well would have seen the handwriting of these cabals on the wall. It is not the wish of the ruling party to punish over 200 million population but the wish of these cabals which Emefiele is their willing tool.

Could latest challenges in the country force INEC to postpone election?

The Electoral Commission has the power to postpone election but before we get to that point, the House of Representatives and Senate have issued a statement to reconvene and look at the matter. They are the representatives of the people and they hold us duties to protect our interest at all times. I know both the executive and legislative arms will find a lasting solutions in a matter of days.

What is the way out of the acute shortage of the New Naira Notes?
You have said it, shortage of New Naira Notes and the only way out is for the CBN to release New Naira Notes into circulation. The country will return to normalcy once there is availability of fuel and New Naira Notes. They should not push Nigerians to wall. President Buhari should act fast.

Nigerians are looking forward to voting another party come 2023 election; is that the best way to go having seen the best of APC under President Buhari in the last 8 years?

If you are saying Nigerians are considering trying another party, which party? Is it the People’s Democratic party that put us where we are today? A party that squandered our collective resources and sold every Nigeria investment to families and cronies? Privatized every sector and left our youth jobless. Are you talking of the Labour Party that has no structure; no House of Assembly, Representatives, Senate or single governor, so what are they going to build on? Are you talking of Peter Obi, Mr Fact Checker? Virtually all his analysis and figures are lies. Out of the three major contenders in the race, the best out of them is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC. He has been tested and Nigerians can trust him with their votes. At this point, we are looking at him as our incoming messiah and if God willing, he wins, all these cabals will be weeded out of the presidency. Mr President has disappointed Nigerians but we should all know that he has disappointed Tinubu the more as a leading supporter of President Buhari in 2015.

What is your sincere advise and message to groaning Nigerians at this moment?

Firstly, my advice is to the House of Representatives and Senate to do the needful, talk to the President and CBN Governor to look at the policy that has strangled Nigerians. What kind of advise would I give to an average man on the road who can’t access his money or sleep at Petrol Station for days. The National Assembly are our representatives and it falls within their responsibility to talk senses into the initiators of the New Naira Notes that is causing more hardship than the perceived reasons of changing the naira colour in the first place.

Should Nigeria be optimistic of something good after the expiration of seven days promised by the president?

I hope something good should come out from the president. Before the making of automatic vehicle, we have the Manual Shift Stick and if the vehicle refuses to start, we push it to start. What we are expecting the two Chambers to do is to push President Buhari to do the needful. If the president refuses to listen to them, they should not hesitate to begin impeachment process against him; it will at least be on record, that is the beauty of democracy.

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