Irrepressible human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, bares his mind on the nation’s 21 years of civilian rule, in an interview with LANRE ADEWOLE.
Expectedly, opinions are divided on the gains and pains of the last 21 years of civil rule. Where do you stand sir?
Opinions are bound to differ. For members of the ruling class, it has been 21 years of unprecedented material gains. In other words, the neoliberal policies of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have enriched a tiny minority of local and foreign economic players. Former President Obasanjo once boasted that his regime produced 25 billionaires. On his own part, President Jonathan proudly announced that dozens of private jets were on his entourage during a state visit to Kenya. Both presidents were celebrating the opulence of a handful of members of the comprador bourgeoisie in the midst of 200 million poverty-stricken people. While such heartless glorification of vanity was ongoing, Nigeria was declared the capital of the poorest people on earth.
For the masses of our oppressed people, it has been 21 years of unmitigated pains and agony because of the excruciating economic policies of the federal and state governments. It is indisputable that the dangerous economic policies of the PDP/APC regimes have promoted job losses, unemployment, poverty and insecurity.
The conditions of the poor and vulnerable people are going to get pretty worse as the economy heads for recession or even depression due to the crash in the price of crude oil in the international market and the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, it has been 21 years of uninterrupted frustration and disenchantment for the majority of citizens.