Democracy Day: No more excuses, Bode George tells Tinubu

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A chieftain of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Bode George, has said there would no longer be any excuse for President Bola Tinubu to justify failure to address the woes in the country and the attendant hardship after spending one year in office.

The elder statesman said though he had earlier told Nigerians not to knock the president on the tides in the country because he was new on the job, the time of tolerance for any excuse has elapsed after spending one year on the seat as president of the Country.

George who spoke in an exclusive interview with the Punch on the democratic experience of Nigeria following her 25th year democracy day celebration on Wednesday, June 12, mentioned that the country was sliding away with “hunger and anger in the land” and there was nothing to celebrate about.

The PDP chieftain took a similar position as the 2023 presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar on the All Progressives Congress-led government, saying the last nine years of the party in government has seen Nigeria “drowning”.

While the last nine years referred to comprise the eight years of two terms of the immediate past Muhammadu Buhari-led government and one year of President Tinubu, George specifically said the time to tolerate excuses from the Tinubu-led government has elapsed.

George said the president must explain the brain behind every policy of his government and “let the people feel the actual impact of democracy.”

“I told people, I said don’t start firing Bola (President Tinubu) for now because he has just completed one year. He had never served there before. So, give him that one year, that is, May 2023 to May 2024. But it’s over; he cannot pretend now that he doesn’t know the situation on the ground.

“What are we celebrating? There is hunger in the land, and there is anger in the land. Mr. President, from today that he is celebrating democracy day let the people feel the actual impact of democracy. Let us go through the rigours and complete the procedure of normalcy of civilised behaviour.

“Look at Great Britain, the Conservative party has been in power for about 16-18 years, now the people are tired and you see the results of their election. Look at India, 686 million people voted. The total number of voters in Nigeria is not up to 20 million and we can’t manage it.

“We are drowning in the last nine years. From now on, going forward, Bola (President Tinubu) would have no excuse anymore. He must explain every policy that is done.

“We are not playing politics now. We just want to see. I told people to leave him alone (President Tinubu). Last year, he was learning. Now, where do we go? How does he manage the system in a manner to makes life more meaningful for the people?

“I grew up in Lagos Island, I went to my primary school in Lagos Island; there was quality education and discipline. We learnt and this is what has kept us to this level till today. Look at what those schools are doing today. Younger ones are more interested in yahoo yahoo (internet fraud); shortcut to making money and then what do you do with ill-gotten money?” he said.

The PDP chieftain further lamented the level of inflation in the country, saying the increase in the salaries of workers would not necessarily translate into a better economic experience, lamenting that the rise in inflation has negatively eroded the purchasing power of workers in the country.

“The salaries of judges were increased by 300 per cent, but what is the percentage for the common worker? It is not the actual physical cash you take home as salary, the question is what can you buy with that amount? That is the issue. It’s not the cash.

“The basic lesson we learn in an economic class is that where there is too much money chasing too few goods, there would be hyperinflation and where there is hyperinflation interest will be the upshot. I was at the bank and they couldn’t give me more than N20,000 in cash. Was this the Nigeria we all fought for and defended? What on earth is going on?” he queried.

George, who said he would keep speaking truth to power without fear or intimidation, called on political stakeholders in the country to reassess themselves and work together to chart the way forward to redeem the country from her woes.

“We got the amalgamation in 1914, Pa Herbert Macaulay set up the first political party in 1922. Look at us today, I don’t know. We must work together. How many more years am I going to live?

“I will just tell them, I’m not afraid of anybody, I’ve been to the topmost mountain in this country, I’ve seen the bottom of the valley in this country. If you think you are okay in your house, and your neighbour is not okay, you must be a dreamer,” George said.

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