The National chairman of Labour Party, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, in this interview with Vanguard criticised the 2016 Budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, describing the N6.08 trillion proposal as unrealisable. Alhaji Abdulsalam also bares his mind on recent happenings in the country. Excerpts:
By Chris Ochayi
What is your reaction to the budget, of N6.08 trillion presented by the President before the National Assembly?
The budget presented by President Buhari to the National Assembly does not make sufficient meaning to people like us. On what basis did the budget of N6.08trillion come about? Buhari told us that he met an empty treasury, so from what is he basing the budget of N6.08 trillion?
Why is Lai Mohammed crying everyday that Jonathan did this, Jonathan did that? We were aware that Jonathan did this, Jonathan did that and that was why when they called for a change. Nigerians voted for change. But today they keep on hammering on Jonathan and PDP. I think if they don’t have anything to do, if their agenda is not strong enough, we need to address certain issues with regards to Buhari and the APC.
I do not see to which extent this budget will not create additional problem, additional suffering to Nigerian people.
But I want to tell you the fact, it is clear that General Buhari who knows nothing about the economy, has no economic team that can address fundamentally the issue of the enormous economic situation in Nigeria.
He has no economic team?
He has no economic team. First he has no knowledge of economy at all and secondly he has no sound economic team that can fundamentally address the economic situation of Nigeria, else they will take us backward and it will be dangerous and it will terrible.
What is your stance on the fight against corruption?
And the corruption, the fighting of corruption by Buhari and the APC is discriminatory, it is sectional, it is selective and it is unguided because what is the difference between the ways Obasanjo fought corruption, Jonathan fought corruption and Buhari is fighting corruption. In Buhari’s own, the situation is worse because he is fighting them either you didn’t support him or you jailed him when he was in the military or you intercepted him when he was in the military.
So the corruption team by Buhari is not guided by any principle, it is just guided by selfishness, by self aggrandizement; they just want to punish people for the sake for punishing them. Did you ever hear anywhere in the world, where you subject security into this kind of disgracing insult. Buhari has no, if he has, he has no advisers or he doesn’t listen to advice.
What do you say about the evidence so far of the money paid through the office of the NSA, the Arms scandal?
The paid money to the NSA man, also the NSA man said he gave Buhari car, so what are they telling us. And you know the man said if he opens up, he will open up canker worms. So leave that aspect of NSA because it is not good for our image, it is not good for our security; no nation ever subjects its security to this kind of thing. And it is not done with sincerity of purpose, it is for selfishness, you want to create something out of the man.
But is that how security fund in other parts of the world is utilized?
We are hearing from one side, we have not heard from the man. Let the judgment commence openly. Let us hear from the other side, that is just the practicality of the situation.
Was security fund in the past used for campaign?
You see, security vote was never subjected to questioning. You can use security vote for media, you can use security vote for whatever but it has never happened in the history of Nigeria that people are questioned on how security votes are spent.
Let me ask you, is it only security votes that is the problem? What is the situation in NNPC? What is the situation with the state governors who carted our money away?
There is a difference between the security vote and money earmarked for arms to fight insurgency.
That is what I said, that is what you heard from the APC people or PDP people, we want to hear from the man both the former president and Dasuki.
Let’s hear from Dasuki himself in court openly. Did they give you $2.1billion dollars? What did you do with it? Who and who touched it?