The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in this interview by PUNCH Newspaper, he says the Federal Government will tell Nigerians the truth and not how they take it
Read Excerpts of the interview..
In less than three years time, there will be another presidential election and the APC could be voted out, considering the situation in the country. How does that make you feel?
If our intention was to secure eight years without working for the people and laying a foundation for a better tomorrow, then we would be the most unfortunate government to come to power. We have come to government to bring that change. That change will come and people will judge us by our commitment and honesty and by the time they start seeing the results of our efforts, I have no doubt that all the pessimists would be proven wrong. Then again, a government cannot achieve everything in 15 months but you are already judging us as if we have been there for three years. Nobody is even giving us credit for being able to keep the ship of the state afloat. In Venezuela, which has a similar story like ours and has one of the world’s largest deposits of oil reserve, their leaders squandered all the money. Today, people are queuing up to buy soaps there. We are not saying people should start singing our praise for no reason, no, we are aware of the enormity of the challenges but we are up to the task.
What about nepotism in this government, which Dr. Junaid Mohammed even described as the worst in Nigeria’s history?
I have just given you the breakdown of the appointees. Are you saying the President has relations also in the South-East and the South-West? Or in the North-Central? If he has relations, it would be in the North-West. He might have friends across Nigeria. I am from Kwara State and I am not his relation. Audu Ogbeh (Minister of Agriculture) is not his relation. He has 36 ministers; he could only pick one from Katsina State. It is not as if there are five appointments and all five are from Katsina. There are some appointments that might be from the President’s state and they are not even his appointees.
Why did this government use and dump the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group? The APC supported the group before it came to government but now prevents it from protesting peacefully.
This government has the same objective with the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign group and we will work with it. If there is any communication gap, we are going to ensure that it is restored, but clearly, we have not abandoned them and we are not dumping them. This is not a case of use and dump.
President Buhari may have integrity and other virtues but former President Olusegun Obasanjo said he could not vouch for him in the area of managing the economy. Is that not reflective of our economic situation now?
That is Obasanjo’s opinion and he is entitled to it. Like I said, I have worked with President Buhari and he does not micromanage any ministry. Yes, the President will have an influence on the economic direction of a country, but I think he has largely left this matter in the hands on those who know best and he has never imposed his own economic world view on us.