The incident occurred during the second public lecture organised by the Kukah Centre for Faith, Leadership and Public Policy, which had the theme, ‘From activism to political power: The challenges of democratic governance in Nigeria’.
At the programme, moderated by the founder of the centre and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Fr. Mathew Hassan Kukah, Oshiomhole condemned the previous Peoples Democratic Party government.He said crass corruption and looting, which characterised the PDP 16 years in power, were responsible for Nigeria’s current economic crisis.
Oshiomhole said, “We have to change the society where all you need to do is to get your brother elected and get him around the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and he turns to an oil marketer, do some papers and become a billionaire in the name of subsidy.
“We have to change that; and that is what this change is all about. There is always a time between decisions and consequences. What politicians did in the past; that is the consequences we are facing now.
“There is always a timeline between massive looting of the treasury, transfer of defence budget to private pockets, taking money meant for infrastructure and spending $16bn on light (power). The more money you spend, the more darkness.”
Duke, who was the chairman of the occasion, had earlier criticised the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government and its change mantra, adding that the change campaign was nothing but fake propaganda.
He said, “Sadly, politicians in our society today are mostly jobbers and budget padders advocating for themselves and not the society. They cleverly and surreptitiously apply the word change. I, of course, won’t use that word because as a member of the PDP or what is left of it that word change ‘dey do me one kind.”
Duke also questioned the sincerity of Oshiomole as a labour leader during his days as President of the Nigerian Labour Congress.
He said idealism then contradicted some of the programmes championed by the Edo State governor.
Similarly, Niger State former Governor, Aliyu tackled the Federal Government, APC governors and their economic policies, warning that such economic policies had increased the suffering of Nigerians.
Aliyu confronted Oshiomole, who he said benefited tremendously from the PDP government but only turned around to ridicule the party.
“During my time we paid salaries. In the North, apart from Kano State, the rest 18 states are civil service states. Payment of salary is very crucial in sustaining the economy. This time around, they don’t understand anything about the essence of salary.”
Speaking on the policies of the APC government, Aliyu said, “Please Governor Oshiomole, talk to Governor Rochas Okorocha; tell him that civil servants were not employed to be farmers.”
He said although the governor can defend the government, the prevailing economic circumstance was biting the masses severely.
“Go to the market, go to the streets, you will hear cry. I don’t understand this silence when some people are messing up,” Aliyu said.
The Director of the Kukah Centre, Dr. Arthur-Martins Aginam, said the forum among others was to elevate the quality of political discourse in the country by generating ideas through robust and informed engagement between public officials and citizens and in the processes deepen the nation’s democracy.