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Lagos Assembly Purchase Of N2.4bn Vehicles Insensitive, Irresponsible- Banire

…Says Quality Of Elected Lawmakers Worrisome

…Confirms Exit From APC, Doubts Party’ll Survive Beyond 2023

By Augustine Akhilomen

Former National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Muiz Banire has described the purchase of N2.4billion cars by the Lagos House of Assembly as insensitive and irresponsible, especially coming at a time the State is grappling with many challenges.

Banire, in an interview with The Punch, queried the attitude of the lawmakers, noting that progressive-minded politicians would not contemplate such reckless spending when the State has other pressing needs to meet.

“How progressive-minded are they? If they are part of this government and they know what the government is going through, will they buy N2.4bn vehicles? I remember that for a long time when we first came into government during Asiwaju’s period, he refused to buy even official vehicles for us.

“It also happened during Rauf Aregbesola’s tenure as the governor of Osun State, when he didn’t appoint commissioners early, and he said the amount he would use to pay them, he could use it fix a few roads. That is the way progressive-minded people should be thinking. It’s not in the face of this hunger in the land that you would be parading fleet of cars all over the place,” Banire questioned.

The former chairman of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) also questioned the quality of lawmakers elected into the House, noting that he has since lost interest in following the developments as the House now parades politicians not capable of successfully managing businesses but rather choose to remain in the political space all their lives.

“I’m not interested. The quality of some of the people there is worrisome, and I do not agree with the quality of some of the people they are putting forth. For that reason, in order not to continue to injure yourself, it’s better to look away from them.

“The allure of office is part of the problems we have. Political offices are too attractive. That is why people don’t want to do anything than be a politician. That is why they want to die there. Somebody would serve as a councillor and for the rest of his life he wants to remain in the political arena.

“They (many politicians) don’t have jobs; that is why they are not performing because most of them are not even competent. Some have never run a business successfully, yet we are entrusting the affairs of all of us into their hands,” he said.

Speaking on the recent crisis that enmeshed the House leading to the removal of two principal officers and suspension of two other members, Banire said the Speaker may have acted without the knowledge of the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom he said is rarely given to such decisions.

“I have not taken any interest in the Assembly or this issue. If I know Asiwaju very well, it will be extremely difficult for him to say go and remove somebody. What you can accuse him of is that he might not be that categorical or forthcoming in reinstating such persons, but in saying go and remove the person, it’s remote.

“And that’s his (Tinubu) nature; give that to him when it comes to being magnanimous, except he’s spurred by some charlatans to hurt anybody. He’s substantially harmless and generous. That is his nature,” Banire explained

Sharing his thoughts on the crisis engulfing the APC at the centre, Banire who confirmed that he has since officially exited the party, said it was unlikely that the party would survive beyond 2023.

“Honestly, I’m not too sure the party can survive it. And the reason is simple. In recent times, there has been no unity; they do not have a united front; there are so many contending forces, there are many aggrieved persons and the foundation is shaky.

“The party has continuously experienced shocks, particularly poor compliance with the party’s constitution, and when that happens it means you are in a jungle and anything goes. I don’t like to associate with such groups. As far as I’m concerned, I have left the party officially, because I’m a man given to the rule of law. Once I don’t see rule of law exist anywhere, I quickly take my leave because I won’t wait till the house collapses on my head,” he said.

Banire, who noted that he had warned the party in recent times that deviating from rule of law would crumble the party, said that the current leadership of the party had not done enough to salvage the situation, which according to him would have dire consequences.

“I had predicted rightly what is happening to them now. I told them verbally and in writing that this would happen if they didn’t change their style. The only way to sanitise that party is to return to the rule of law, whereby nobody is above the rules and the constitution is followed to the letter. It’s as simple as that. Once you fail to follow the rule of law, you are inviting anarchy, and that was what eventually happened,” he said.

Noting that the two previous chairmen of the party whom he worked with were not authoritarian in nature but carried members of the executive along, Banire said the current chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole had consistently been accused of running a one man show, which has caused more harm than food for the party.

Asked if the solution to the crisis rocking the party would be for Oshiomhole to vacate his position, Banire submitted, “It looks so to me too, but you can’t say conclusively that it will resolve all issues.”

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