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Bucknor Akerele

The former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor Akerele needs little or no introduction. She is a chieftain of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), and has remained active in national politics till date. In this interview with SRTV, she speaks on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other salient issues.

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When You Critically X-Ray The State Of The Nigerian Nation Today, What Type Of Picture Do You See? 
Well, I see us on the brink of disaster. We are on the precipice. Let us just pray to God that we don't go over the cliff because I don't think any of us imagine that Nigeria will become what it has become today.  We are in a killing field and you cannot be sure that if you step out of your house you will come back home alive. It started in the North East and now it has spread to everywhere within the country. The security situation is dangerous.

Based On Your Vast Political Experience, How Can This Menace Be Addressed? 
The only way this menace can be addressed is to get rid of this APC government. I hope that we (the PDP) will get judgement so that at least, we can try and correct all the ills that the APC government has brought upon the nation, the ills of insecurity, poverty and corruption. They have been crying of corruption but corruption is even worse now.

Are You Saying That The Problems Confronting Nigerians Should Be Put On The Door Step Of The APC Government? 
Yes, of course. Was it like this before 2015? It was not and the people were going about their business. We didn’t have this level of poverty and insecurity. So, we can only put it on the door step of the inept and incompetent government that we have right now.

There Has Been Recurring Clamour That Nigeria Should Be Restructured. Are You On The Same Page With Such People? 
Of course, I am on the same page with such people. It is a ridiculous situation where you have the Federal Government (FG) controlling the revenue of the country and they dish out to the various states what they feel should be given them. You have a cabal which controls almost the entire resources of this country. For instance, take the issue of the Value Added Tax (VAT). 80 percent, if not more of VAT is from Lagos State and what are we getting back? There are some states which have banned alcohol but they are benefiting from the VAT. They should not benefit from the VAT on alcohol if they are not consuming it. These are the things that are wrong. After independence, we had three regions but I am not saying that we should go back to it (three regions). Let us go back to that constitution where everybody was able to look after their own affairs

Beyond The Restructuring Of The Country, Are You Supporting True Federalism?

Yes, of course. We must have true federalism if this country is to survive, otherwise, we will just continue to go down. We are sitting on a keg of gunpowder, which is waiting for explosion.

There are some people who cannot even get one square meal a day any longer. We have our children who come out of the universities but there are no jobs for them. Is that not sitting on a keg of gunpowder? These people will take to armed robbery, banditry and anything so that they can be able to eat.

If you see President Muhammadu Buhari now, what type of agenda can you set for him to move the country forward? 

Well, I am not in any position to set an agenda for Buhari. Truly, I believe that Buhari should resign. Buhari is presiding over a country that is disintegrating. He seems to be incapable of doing anything to save the situation. We are having all sorts of ridiculous laws and things coming out of Aso Rock.

For instance, all our borders have been closed ostensibly to stop the smuggling of rice. Is there enough rice produced in the country for the people to eat? In the meantime, tomatoes are getting rotten on our borders and the prices of foodstuff are skyrocketing.

When you do something like the closure of borders, I think it is going to encourage more smuggling because the rice won’t come through the order anymore. They will find all sorts of devious routes with which to bring the produce into the country. For instance, a bag of rice was selling for N15,000 but I was told recently that a bag of rice is now N22,000.

How is that helping anybody? The people who cannot afford the price of rice are now eating yams. You are buying a tuber of yam for N1,000. Where are we going? If Buhari has no solution, then, he should resign and let those who have the solutions take over the reigns of government.

Don’t you think if Buhari resigns it could create more chaos or vacuum in the country? 

I don't think so at all. Why should it be so? Is he the alpha and omega of everything in Nigeria? Buhari has done his best and his best is just not good enough. I think that the next level is taking us down, certainly, it is not up.

The APC has reportedly said the PDP should be held responsible for the issues facing Nigeria but the PDP refuted that assertion. How will you react to it? 

I think it is the English who says that a poor workman always blames his tools. I will say that a poor workman always blames his predecessors. Instead of getting there and be doing something, they will be blaming other people for their inadequacies and that is what the APC is doing.  They keep on blaming the PDP for their inadequacies. People now realise that the country was more prosperous, secure and Nigerians were less corrupt under the PDP government who they are blaming for everything. The APC has hoodwinked Nigerians. They have made false claims which they have not been able to live up to. They have been deceiving Nigerians all along.

The PDP has gone to court to challenge the results of the 2019 presidential poll.... 

(Cuts in) We will go all the way.

Are you sure the PDP will get a good judgement? 

Well, I am not sure whether we will get a good judgement or not. I am not sure about the judiciary. Before, everybody believed that the judiciary was the hope of the common man, and that they would get justice from the judiciary. Now, I don't think anybody believes that anymore in Nigeria. People believe that the judiciary now dances to the tune of the government in power. I will say that one hopes that the judiciary will still live up to the expectations of Nigerians.

What are your expectations in the 2023 general elections? 

I am hoping that we do get to 2023.We are praying that this country does not burn before 2023.  If we do get to 2023, then we should boot out this incompetent and deceitful government.