President-Elect Buhari spoke exclusively with SaharaTV on how he plans to deal with corruption, the government’s finances, Boko Haram, and Nigeria’s economy. Most notably he blamed Minister Iweala for the financial situation in Nigeria, and that he will make his Ministerial appointees declare their assets to the public.
When asked about statements from Minister of Finance Iweala on the fiscal conditions and government spending in Nigeria, President-Elect Buhari told SaharaTV that “I’m afraid the Finance Minister has no cause to complain because the governors cannot force the central government to act outside the Constitution.”
President-Elect Buhari firmly stated that “all those that were governors, ministers, permanent secretaries, head of foreign staff and all those with political appointments will have to declare their assets on the assumption of their appointment and definitely with the courts. And once they leave they have to re-declare their assets.” He said this would ensure greater accountability among public servants.
However, he did tell SaharaTV that he does not plan to interfere with the judiciary and whatever action it may take pursuing corrupt public officials. He stated that his administration would not “become embroiled in investigation every ministry, then the government will not have time to move forward.”
On the contentious issue of Oil Block ownership in Nigeria, and an equitable distribution of the country’s wealth, he suggested that partisan politics in Nigeria is the cause of inequitability in the oil sector. President-Elect Buhari claimed that he wanted to professionalize the oil sector in Nigeria. He said that the “proliferation of oil fields to people who don’t even know what it is, is one of the messes partisan politics has brought.” Within the equitable distribution of wealth and job creation for youth, the President-Elect pointed to the APC manifesto calling for greater emphasis on mining and agriculture development.
When pressed on rumors that former president Obasanjo was exercising inordinate influence on Buhari’s administration he said, “I think that people have to accept the realities of Nigeria’s political development. General Olusegun Obasanjo is the only living Nigerian that led Nigeria for more than 11 years, so for anybody to think that General Obasanjo is irrelevant or he was trying to push his influence over issues, I think is being uncharitable and not being fair to Nigeria’s political development.”
President-Elect Buhari is now confronted with the challenge of appointing a ministerial and cabinet team, and he has stated publicly that PDP defectors should not expect to receive Minister appointments.