Rule of law still lacking in our democracy -Kalu
Former Abia State governor and frontline chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, believes that obeisance to the rule of law is what Nigeria needs to deepen its democracy.
He assessed the performance level of President Muhammadu Buhari’s two years in office, saying progress has been made, while citing internal security as his major achievement.
Kalu also speaks, in this interview aired on national televisions recently, on measures to tackle youth restiveness and education, among others.
What is your assessment of Nigeria under this administration in the last two years?
This administration has done well in some areas, whereas some sides have not been touched. I think in fighting looters of the economy, they have been trying, but they must work within the ambit of the rule of law. You must fight corruption with absolute rule of law, which I support. You don’t fight people because they are political enemies. You don’t fight people because you hate them or because they are individuals you want to fight. Any government in Nigeria that does not fight corruption with the rule of law can never succeed.
The administration, on the other hand, has done very well on the part of internal security, they are not yet there, but I think they are on the right path towards getting there. They have fought Boko Haram and North East is liberated now. No one knows what could have happened in these two years, maybe Boko Haram may have even advanced to Abuja. So on that premise, the administration has done very well in the area of internal security.
On the economy, the administration has not done very well because a lot of Nigerians are still hungry, which is not good and a lot of things are stagnant. It is this same period that naira skyrocketed from N197 to N500, dangled through N400 to N300. I feel that both the fiscal and monetary policies have not been well handled; so the administration needs to go back to handle these policies. When you don’t handle monetary and fiscal policies very well it goes for worse, not even recession. What we have in recession is that capacity utilisation goes back.
Currently, the industrial capacity utilisation in Nigeria is below three to four percent, which is unacceptable in any part of the world. This means we are not doing well in manufacturing, agriculture and in other non-oil sectors. The economy can be selected from different angles, not only oil. So to me we have not done well economically and that is where the problem lies.
Do you think democracy has had an onward train from the past year to now?
Well, I would go beyond your question. Since democracy started in 1999, we have not performed up to expectation. Democracy has done very well, in terms of space; we have not done very well in terms of adhering to the rule of law, which is very important. If you want to talk about democracy, you must talk about rule of law, which means you must obey court orders. You must obey decision of any committee set up, like boards of enquiry. You must obey traffic laws; you must obey the laws of primary elections. The laws surrounding declaration of winners must be obeyed, not re-writing the result somewhere else; we must obey the INEC laws of going to vote and making sure that the winner is announced, not having inconclusive elections and later announcing the result of such an election at odd times, like 2am when it has already been doctored. These are not democratic processes. In any democratic setting, people must be seen to obey the rule of law.
Considering that it is said that there’s no smoke without fire, don’t you think the Nigerian democracy is being threatened by the recent coup rumour, which the Army has debunked?
We have been in a democracy for almost 18 years, and I don’t see any military man engagin