2024 budget’ll move Nigeria deeper into debt trap, poverty, national slavery – Onovo, NCP 2015 presidential candidate

By  Daniel Kanu

Former Presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) in the 2015 elections and Head, Policy Positions, Movement for Fundamental Change (MFC), Martin Onovo, in this interview looks at critical national issues including the off-cycle election in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states, President Tinubu’s leadership, and the 2024 budget. Excerpt:

What is your candid assessment of the off-cycle election that took place in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi states?

It was a lawless charade in Kogi and Imo states. Following the Supreme Court judgment on the presidential election, we expected that impunity and lawlessness will become the norm. Our expectations were confirmed with results written before voting in Kogi State and an SAN moving around in Imo State with security personnel assaulting INEC officers and hijacking election materials. It was a celebration of lawlessness and impunity.

Some Nigerians have accused President Bola Tinubu of policy somersaults in articulation of critical policy issues? Do you agree?

The facts are clear. Jagaban Tinubu is not qualified to participate in the presidential election in the first place. He lacks the minimum academic requirement going by all that have come to the public knowledge. He does not understand security management. He also does not understand the fundamentals of macro-economics. He has always been a failure looking at antecedents. He failed in primary school, he failed in secondary school and failed in Chicago State University after he secured admission with forged documents.  He failed woefully on all counts in less than four weeks after he lawlessly usurped the office. When he was the Lagos State governor, the debt he left behind was huge. Even till date Lagos State remains one of the highest if not the most indebted state in Nigeria despite the billions generated by its IGR (Internally Generated Revenue)

President George Weah without hesitation recently congratulated his opponent in the Liberia presidential election. Any lesson from such act?

Clearly. Liberia is a democracy. Nigeria is a maximum dictatorship. The two pillars of democracy are the rule of law and the integrity of the ballot. Both are present in Liberia. Both are absent in Nigeria. We must take corrective actions to ensure that Nigeria becomes the constructional democracy we want it to be.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party is accusing the APC of masterminding its losses in the governorship Appeal Court judgments. They are accusing the APC of trying to foist one party state in Nigeria. What is your take on this?

It is clear that the ruling party as a maximum dictatorship has taken control of the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary and the military using unlawful means in violation of our constitution. With their control of the judiciary, they write unlawful judgments and give them to the judges to read in open court. The “judgment” of the PEPC was clearly written by the ruling party on the header of the Tinubu legal team. All the scandalous “judgments” that came out of the Supreme Court all came under the dictatorship of the ruling party after they had intimidated the judiciary. The scandalous judgments include, the Imo State 2020 governorship election “judgment” and the Ahmad Lawan senatorial nomination “judgment”. The ruling party has achieved complete control of the judiciary in their maximum dictatorship.  The National Assembly, particularly the Senate is just a rubber stamp. The APC government poses serious threat to Nigeria’s democracy. There is palpable fear in the land that Nigerian’s have entered a one-chance government. The truth is that we should not expect any genuine development. The Nigeria of today, sadly, is the more you look the less you see.

It means you do not see the President Tinubu-led APC government taking the country out of the woods?

Jagaban Tinubu and his unpatriotic cohorts are driving Nigeria deeper into insecurity, inequality, disunity, moral decadence, spiritual iniquities, debt crisis, poverty and national slavery. Nigeria was classified as a “failed state” by the US Council on Foreign Relations. Jagaban Tinubu and his unpatriotic cohorts have hijacked the country and are driving the country to complete collapse.

What are your fears for Nigeria or you don’t have any?

As indicated, the ruling party has severely damaged the foundation of the country with their corruption of public morality, lawlessness, injustice and impunity. The situation is not irredeemable. Afenifere has again proposed restructuring. The Hon. Justice M. D. Muhammed, JSC, has proposed a “hard reset”. Senator (Dr.) Datti Baba-Ahmed has proposed a transitional government led by the Senate President to conduct democratic elections. We can choose any of these proposals or modify one to save the country from complete collapse.

Briefly, let us know your take on the 2024 budget?

The 2024 budget proposal as I have pointed out at many fora  can be called, ‘A budget of “Emi lo kan” prodigality and national slavery. The budget proppsal of N27.5 trillion has a very wasteful N9.9 trillion for recurrent expenditure. The revenue estimate is based on unrealistic averages of 1.78million barrels/day production and $77/barrel price. It has a deficit over N9.1 trillion to be financed from reckless and unpatriotic borrowing. It has N8.25 trillion for debt servicing. We are not surprised. A bad tree bears bad fruits. This is the type of budget that the Tinubu tyranny can propose. It is consistent with the prodigal 2023 supplementary budget that was previously proposed. Please remember that Jagaban Tinubu as the emperor of Lagos State, drove the richest state in Nigeria to become the most indebted state in Nigeria. Now, he has unrepentantly proposed more reckless and unpatriotic borrowing for our Nigeria that is suffocating under a terrible debt burden. In 2022, we used over 96 per cent of total revenue for debt servicing and yet the Tinubu tyranny has proposed more reckless and unpatriotic borrowing. The budget can only move the country deeper into the debt trap, more poverty and national slavery.

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