By, Uchechukwu Ugboaja – Abuja
A former presidential candidate and a prominent anti-corruption crusader, Dr. Adesina Fagbenro-Byron has stated that only Nigerians can adequately rate President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance so far into his second term in office. He made this statement in an exclusive chat with our correspondent Uchechukwu Ugboaja in Abuja when he visited the National Assembly.
When asked to score the performance of the government in terms of what they promised Nigerians, the former presidential candidate for the KOWA Party declined but stated that; “it is not my style to score an administration that is less than two years into its second tenure, but rather I think only the Nigerian electorate can give the verdict on the performance of the President who received their mandate for a second term in office.”He however, stated that he would continue to play his role as a private citizen in providing technical support to institutions of government through his organization ACORN/ISF, a UKaid supported project.
Dr. Fagbenro-Byron speaking further about his showing at the last general elections, stated that he was proud of his performance but that he never stepped down for any presidential candidate in the run up to the general elections. According to him, despite the choice of the leading opposition party Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) to unilaterally field a candidate for the 2019 general elections without the adequate inclusion of all members of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) in the process. For him, this basically gave the opposition little or no chance going forward despite the yearnings of Nigerians for the desired change at that time.
The former presidential candidate and a well-known anti-corruption crusader stated that the best value that Nigerians can get from this administration is the sincerity of purpose in the government’s fight against corruption especially as there is need for greater collaborative efforts among all stakeholders, agencies and arms of government who have a role to play in the anti-corruption crusade. For him, the National Assembly which possesses the convening powers of government can act as the catalyst to engender this process by convening all the stakeholders in the anti-corruption industry to take a holistic approach towards harmonizing all efforts in the fight against corruption. This he claims will bring about greater development for the Nigerian people in general.
Speaking about the responsibility of the National Assembly in strengthening Nigeria’s democracy, Fagbenro noted that the Parliament’s role in representing the people, making laws and carrying out oversight functions cannot be overemphasized, just as he salutes the courage of the leadership of the 9th Assembly for deciding to restructure the budget cycle of the government so that it fits into the January till December calendar year. This he claimed will ensure that budgetary funds get across to the people on time for effective governance.
When asked of his view on the planned regulation of the social media and other forms of media by the government, the former presidential candidate was suspicious of such intentions especially as he noted that the current government were major beneficiaries of the power of the social media during their days as opposition party, but however cautioned against the rise of hate speech, fake news and other forms of social vices associated with the new media space. He further reiterated that protecting the rights of Nigerians against any form of oppression or tyranny remains one of the cardinal duties of the parliament as the principal voice of the people.