Secretary General, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Mr. Anthony Sani has said that he has foreseen a situation where the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will become the only political party in Nigeria after the 2023 general elections.
In this exclusive interview, Mr. Sani predicts Nigeria becoming a one party state, saying feelers from different quarters and President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge to APC leaders to strengthen the party even after his tenure are some of the indications that other political parties may not surface in the next elections.
The ACF Scribe also spoke on other national issues.
The hate speech bill before the National Assembly has generated a lot of controversy. What is your view about the bill?
There can be no cavil with the significance of bill to regulate the practices in social media, considering there can be no organised systems that can benefit society without any form of regulation of their activities.That is because it is natural law that any system that is left alone without any form of regulation tends to a state of maximum probability called randomness. Social media is a very veritable platform for interactions,especially by the youth who use the platforms to talk to power in the hope of engendering progress from change. Unfortunately,social media platforms have become platforms for abuses with fake news and hate speeches that contribute in robbing social media of its credibility. As a result, responsible readers do not take social media serious.Many have stopped reading social media because of such abuses. More so, that hate speeches are capable of spurring conflagration in the polity if not monitored effectively. I believe that is what has informed the proponents of the bill on social media.To that extent, I support any regulations which can bring about some form of sanity and common decency in social media but with a proviso that the provision for capital punishment be expunged from the bill.
I hear the provisions for death sentence for those who propagate hate speech have been expunged from the bill.This is a healthy sign that our NASS has sympathetic listening ears.
Some Nigerians are also saying that the ruling APC may fizzle out after President Buhari’s tenure. Do you agree with them?
But I have also heard complaints that Nigeria is tending towards a one party state.In this case,the ruling party. So, it depends on who is saying what. While it may be true that PMB is the dominant personality in APC and his presence is seminal for the party, it is wrong for Nigerians to imagine PMB and APC are one and the same thing. They are not.That was why the president himself warned NEC of APC never to personalize the party around his person. You know nature abhors vacuum. I believe when the time for PMB is up, many personalities will be thrown up to fill the gap. I therefore do not entertain any fear that APC will go with the exit of the president from office.
President Buhari has represented his request for a $30b foreign loan before the NASS. Many Nigerians have expressed reservations on the request. What is your take on this?
There is no harm in seeking loans for infrastructural development. Both governments and private businesses often resort to loans when they are in dire need for funds for their activities and programmes.
You would recall when the VP put up a team of economic experts to advise the government on how best to exit the recent recession in the last tenure, they advised that government should reflate the economy through massive construction of infrastructure; and in order to strengthen the Naira, government should flood the forex with foreign currencies.What was not clear was the statement on the sources of funding.There must be uses and sources of funds for all policies and programmes, be it government or businesses. You may also wish to note that the problems of loans in the past was managerial imperfections that came with unbridled corruption. As a result, the desired results for obtaining the loans did not come to pass.That gave rise to situations where Nigeria was over-burdened by debt repayment for loans that were not applied prudently for the purposes for which they were obtained.That may explain why the thought of any further loans seems revolting for many Nigerians.
But given the dire need to reflate and stimulate the sluggish economy for performance so that employment could be generated and poverty reduced,it would be difficult to reflate and stimulate the economy without loans. Hence, the request by Mr President to the NASS for approval for the loans of $30b. That means the National Assembly may have to approve the loans with a proviso that the loans are tied to the specific inf