Mangni:Governance should not be done on sentiments
Chief Emmanuel Mangni is the Coordinator of the newly formed Bridge, Plateau State Chapter. The Bridge is a North Central socio-economic and political interest group comprising Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, created for the purpose of political, cultural and economic emancipation. Mangni, a PDP chieftain was one time factional chairman of the party.He recently spoke with Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi on current issues and the way forward.
What is your view on the current economic situation in the country?
Economically, a lot of things have gone bad. We are now in recession, which we can even feel it in our daily activities. Everywhere, the pinch is being felt. The government is attempting to do what it thinks is best in the situation, which is why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is talking and planning. All the ministries and everybody are talking, including the President, who is also making suggestions.
As it is, however, our over-dependence on oil, as the main source of revenue, is telling on us. The prices of crude oil and its products are dwindling, as well as, the volume of the production. So, the next step now is finding a solution to the problem. For us, the solution, as many people have suggested, is to diversify the economy. Aside militants, a time will come, when the volume of the oil will reduce naturally. The oil can finish because it is an exhaustible commodity, and we have to look elsewhere as a panacea.
Before the advent of oil in the early 70s or so, the economy was buoyant. The agriculture sub-sector was working fine, which was why all the regions then were doing very well. They were prospering. But as soon as we got oil, we forgot about agriculture. So, agriculture is a veritable area that we can look at.
Secondly, there is the other aspect of the mining sector, comprising the solid minerals, which abound in large quantities in Nigeria, and have remained largely untapped. This may be because it is capital intensive. This is another area that is capable of boosting the economy.
But most importantly is the manufacturing sector. Presently, we are importing a lot of things, but the foreign exchange is no longer there. So, what happens then? We can take advantage of the situation, by starting to resuscitate our industries, which would also aid in providing employment for our teeming youths.
What is your take on the Presidential economic team?
The man knows who will work for him. Whether they are working or not is another matter. But I believe that as the President, he is in the best position to pick the best economic brains for the committee and ensure that they work hard to enable the economy bounce back. Before appointing them, he should have known that they are good enough. We have brains. Nigeria has a lot of human resources. So, if they are not performing, then other more capable people should come on board. The economy is in a bad shape. The advisers or Economic team may not be performing well, because if they are, we are yet to see it.
Government must ensure that there is the necessary infrastructure on ground to facilitate such sectors, as the manufacturing, solid mineral and agric, among others. Without this, nothing much can be achieved. Take for instance the manufacturing sector, where the power sector has not helped issues. There should be steady supply of electricity, good roads, rails and other forms of transportation, so that whatever is produced is sold at a competitive price. Some of the imported things are cheaper than those made in Nigeria, which is why people prefer to buy imported goods. Abroad, they have the infrastructure and therefore, production is cheaper.Small-scale farmers should be encouraged, by directly giving them subsidised fertilisers. Government should assist local farmers.
Is the political sector helping the situation?
The instability in the National Assembly was induced from outside. Why do I say so? The APC has caused more problems in the National Assembly than the Assembly itself. Since the inauguration of the National Assembly leadership, there has not been peace. Just because some people had the mindset of putting certain persons in the leadership positions. And up till now, they have not changed that stance, which should not be. This is also the reason why any time there is a little problem in the National Assembly they blow it out of proportion, so that they will have the listening ear of the powers that be in the APC.
Take the case of Dr. Abdulmumin Jibrin of the House of Representatives. If you read clearly what is coming out of that place, you will know that the man wanted to impress some people, but he ended up disgracing himself. As far as I am concerned, the role he is playing is negative. He is not helping in the stability of the National Assembly. Therefore, APC should be blamed for wanting to place certain persons in particular posts, forgetting that all that contested for such posts are also members of the party.
What in your opinion are the major problems of PDP?
I may be sounding immodest, but I see Modu Sheriff, the so-called factional chairman, as playing the script of some external forces, because the man does not appear to have the interest of the party at heart. If you have a group that commands almost 80 to 90 per cent of the party membership, comprising state governors on the platform of the PDP, as well as, members of the National Assembly and the state House of Assembly, who are all on one side and then you say, no, I am the chairman. Whose chairman are you?
So, I see him as playing a script that is not his, and unless he truly shows remorse and demonstrates that he is actually a PDP member, people will continue to see him as a spoiler and a mole.
What do you make of APC and governance?
At a media encounter, I pointed out that it appears the APC was not prepared for governance. They thought they would be playing the opposition role permanently, but God somehow gave them the leadership position. Prior to that, you know how they were boasting. They said the former government was clueless, lacking direction, using all manner of adjectives. Today, however, those adjectives should be multiplied manifold for them. They are more clueless than anybody else.
I advise that they put their acts together. They should return to the drawing board before it is too late and see what can be redeemed in the current situation. As it is, they have glaringly demonstrated that they are not prepared for governance. Nigeria has a lot of human resources, very intelligent and experienced people that they can be used to turn the situation around.
But if they insist on having just a clique, not much will be achieved. But if they become open-minded and include in their government qualified people, irrespective of their religious, ethnic or party affiliation, who are able to turn around the economy, the credit will still go to the President. Governance should not be based on sentiments, as it is just like business. If you are doing business and you are being sentimental or emotional, you will lose.
What do you make of conflicting judgments on the same subject matter by judges?
The judiciary, as a whole constitutes the temple of justice. But you and I are Nigerians. We are all mature enough to know what transpires in the judiciary. By and large, I can tell you that as it is now, justice goes to the highest bidder. It has gone so far that the ordinary Nigerian won’t like to take his case to the court, because he knows he will not get justice.
But the judges have supervisors in the National Judicial Council (NJC). Unless this body is ready to supervise them and call to order any erring judge, even if this means outright dismissal or some punitive measures, they will continue to wallow in this kind of messy situation.
What would you say in a situation, where a court of coordinate jurisdiction has issued a precise and concise judgment on a particular subject matter, and a court that is not of higher jurisdiction goes ahead to contradict it, as if it is an appellate court. This is really ugly. I am made to understand that the JCN is about to investigate the matter. Let us hope that it comes out with something that the public will say yes, now something is happening. The judiciary has substantially gone down, so much so that the respect it used to enjoy, as the last hope of the ordinary man, is waning.So, let the supervisory body at all levels, starting from area courts, magistrate courts to apex court and the Supreme Court supervise and punish erring judges.
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