OrderPaperToday – The recent fuel price and electricity tariff hikes have raised a lot dusts unexpectedly. In this interview with OrderPaper Nigeria, Mr. Farah Dagogo, a member of the House of Representatives on the platform of the Peoples Democratic (PDP) representing Degema/Bonny federal constituency of Rivers State, bared his mind on the issue and other sundry matters affecting Nigeria as a country. EXCERPTS:
What is your take on the hike in petrol and electricity prices?
The President Muhammadu Buhari led All Progressives Congress, APC, came into power in 2015, because there was a generally spread misconception that the PDP government as it were then, had taken the country to a cliff; that we were, as a nation, on the precipice. Lots of falsehood were spread and most Nigerians keyed into it, especially as the APC out of sheer desperation to grab power, equally cashed on the gullibility of majority of the populace to also make promises they know they couldn’t keep.
Today, we are all paying for the misadventures of 2015. The pathetic aspect is the Government of the day is still justifying the unbearable hardships it has foisted on Nigerians. Nigerians expected the APC to better the gains and improve on the failings or the shortcomings of the PDP. Nigerians expected that stable foods such as 50kg bag of rice which was sold at N9,000, Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as fuel, which was N87 per litre, electricity, which obviously required improvement, but was available and affordable then, would now have the midas touch of the APC and the ‘change’ slogan of 2015 would actually have a positive bearings on the lives of Nigerians, but all those have turned out to be ruse. Nigerians, apart from the few that are benefiting from the pains of millions, believe that the Nigeria of 2015 and before sure needed development but it was better than the ‘Changed Nigeria’ of 2015 to date. These unfortunate and untimely hike in prices of electricity and petrol have furthered challenged the spirits of many Nigerians, who have zeroed their minds to survive the remaining years of the APC led government. The truth is, Nigerians are just surviving under this government and the various anti-people policies only confirmed this sad reality.
Is the PDP, as a caucus in the House of Representatives, mobilizing against the Water Resources Bill?
I don’t want to talk about the PDP caucus for now because as a House, we are divided against ourselves. Even at this stage where a supposedly serious opposition party in the mold of the PDP, should be facing its role squarely and giving the ruling party superior alternatives to the APC inhuman policies, the party is nowhere to be found and instead mired itself in internal politics. The position of the House of Representatives minority leader has been resolved one way or the other, why don’t all feuding parties let go of their grouse and focus on the goal of making lives better for Nigerians by putting the APC on its toes and propelling them (APC) towards the right path, since misdirection has become a norm for them? When disunity is allowed to grow within a fold as result of the selfish pursuits of few individuals, the result is the temerity that the APC would push for a bill and insist on its passage even when generality of the populace it claimed to care for are against it. Very simple, as a member of the PDP caucus, which also holds the minority seats in the House of Representatives, it is high time we got our acts together. This kind of divisiveness among our ranks is not only affecting Nigerians but playing in favour of the APC. Until the APC-led Federal Government showed superior proof, with incontrovertible enlightenment that would assuage the fears of Nigerians that the Water Resources Bill was actually meant to better the lives of Nigerians, I believe we in the PDP House of Representatives will be forced to toe that path which the people are yearning and clamouring for.
Some Nigerians have kicked against the moves by National Assembly to further amend the Constitution, describing it as wasteful and needless venture. What do you think of such positions?
I beg to disagree with that line of reasoning. Our constitution is not cast in stone, every now and then, it will require some form of amendments to align with current realities. I think, this is an avenue for people to make their inputs through their various representatives at the National and State Assemblies. Those clamouring for state creation, those that want another local government area, those that felt the earlier constitution short changed them, those that have recommendations that would strengthen our constitution and our government, this is an opportunity. The people need to follow it up religiously so their voices, agitations, areas of concern and what have you, can be properly addressed and taken care off. I believe all constitution amendments are in the right direction, and my view on that is still the same with this as well.