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Falae: Buhari enemy of change

Elder statesman and National Chairman of the Social Demo­cratic Party (SDP), Chief Samuel Oluyemisi Falae pulled no punch­es on Sunday while reacting to a statement credited to the presi­dential candidate of the All Pro­gressives Congress (APC), Major General Muhammadu Buhari that last year’s national conference was a waste of time and money.

The statement, according to Falae, is clear proof that Buhari and the APC do not represent the change that Nigerians yearn for.

In reaction, the spokesman of the APC, Chief Lai Mohammed, fired back at Falae, saying that the position of the former Secretary to the Federal Government was fi­nancially induced.

General Buhari had, while speaking with a group of youths at a meeting in Lagos State, de­clared that the Federal Govern­ment spent over N7 billion on the conference which he described as a waste.

Buhari said that the sum should have been spent in developing the country, particularly the educa­tional sector, adding that there was no need for a national conference since the two chambers of the Na­tional Assembly could make laws for the country.

Speaking in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Sunday Falae who was a delegate to the conference, said that Buhari’s statement was an indication that the APC and its candidates have nothing to offer the country.

Falae is a leader of the pan-Yo­ruba socio-political association, the Afenifere Committee, which not only endorsed the conference but also hinged its support for the continuation in office of President Goodluck Jonathan on the imple­mentation of the resolutions of the talkshop.

Speaking through his media officer, Remi Olayiwola while dis­tributing 20 bundles of Iron sheets and nails to displaced residents of Ifira Akoko whose houses were re­cently destroyed by thunderstorm, Falae declared that the opposition party does not truly represent the change it has been preaching.

He insisted that the implementa­tion of the report of the National Conference is the change Nigeria desired.

He said: “The statement of Gen. Buhari is a glaring evidence that APC is an enemy of the progress of Nigeria and Nigerians. For over 100 years, Nigeria has remained static. And for over 20 years, prom­inent Nigerians including the APC leadership have been clamouring for National Conference.

“Lagos State has 20 local govern­ments areas while Kano has 44. The two states were created same time. Don’t forget that Jigawa has been created out of Kano and the population of Lagos is higher than the two states combined together.”

Chief Falae continued: “They are looking at the monetary aspect without the effect it has on the gen­erality of the people. This again shows them as the enemies of the people. How many of their leaders were as rich as this in 1999?

“Look at the report, it gives control over solid minerals to the states. Some will score 250 in Join Admission Matriculation Board examination, yet they will not get admission, while those who score less than 200 will get admission simply because they come from ed­ucationally disadvantaged states.

“The APC and those who are beneficiaries of the corrupt sys­tem don’t want change in the status quo. They want to change personalities at the helm of affairs without changing the system so that they would continue to cor­ruptly enrich themselves.”

Falae added that such “reckless statement” from Buhari would affect the chances of his party in the forthcoming general elections, adding that Nigeria only deserved structural change.

The SDP national chairman, who directed that the roofing sheets and nails be given to over 200 people who were affected by the rainstorm in the community, said the focus of his party was the welfare of the masses.

In reaction, the National Public­ity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, declared that Fa­lae’s position was induced by the money given to the conferees by the Jonathan government.

He said: “The likes of Falae are only working for the money they have collected from the ruling par­ty. The National Conference was a sheer waste of time and resources and it was a time-buying mecha­nism on the part of the President and his party.”

The APC spokesman continued: “Every Nigerian knows that the process of amending the constitu­tion as it is today is very cumber­some as it has to go through the two chambers of the National As­sembly and all 36 states of the fed­eration before any amendment to it could be passed.

“The APC as a party decided that we will not attend the confab because of these things since we realised that the conference alone could not bring about the desired restructuring that we have always stood for.”

Mohammed, who noted that the APC allowed its governors to peo­ple from their states to participate in the confab, added that it was after postponing the elections that the President began to move round the country, promising to imple­ment the report of the confab.

He said: “The question is: what has been done to this report since the confab ended? They have not done anything to the report since then.”

Mohammed continued: “The process for constitution change is very clear. Let me tell you, if the President wins this election, God forbids, that is the end of the con­fab report. They have not imple­mented one thing there since then and they cannot do it. They know that. They are only selling dum­mies to people of the South West that they would implement the confab report.”

He said further: “I say here that their efforts to trick South West people will fail. People of South West are a proud people; they are not for sale. Bribing traditional rulers of the region will not solve the problem. Take an APC-controlled state and compare it to a PDP-controlled state and see the difference. South West people are too sophisticated politically than to be bought over by dollar rains. Their conscience cannot be bought.

“The truth of the matter is that the President convoked the confab because of tenure elongation and that did not happen. That is why we say that the N7 billion spent on the confab was a waste of nation’s resources.

“As for us in the APC, we will restructure the country genuinely, but not the way they have gone about theirs. Let me ask you: was any member of the confab elected by the people? No. they were all nominees. The confab was not a sovereign one. With this, it is clear that they cannot restructure the country. They are only dangling the carrot of confab report im­plementation before the Yoruba people. They cannot do it. The con­stitution does not allow it. Yoruba people are too sophisticated to be bought over. Falae has collected money and he is simply working for the money he collected.”

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Ihesiulo Grace

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