The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs,
The minister made the comments during an interview with The Sun.
“You can be sure that I belong to a political party that promised change which has installed the government and that party has a responsibility to talk about the nature of change demanded,” he said.
“I can tell you that as a member of the party and a functionary in government, whoever says they are not being given the change promised has made a mistake. Sometimes you never know what you have until you lose it. If we had not taken the reins of government, by now Nigerians would have been seen crawling to feed from waste bins, you may not understand, but that is the reality.
“The change we promised is that we will no longer depend on oil again, and presently, diversification is taking place. You have seen Lake Rice flooding the market in December that means tending towards food security and agriculture also as a foreign income earner.
“The change we promised is to see a government functionary being probed and probably prosecuted which hitherto was not the case. The change we promised is, as Nigerians are experiencing hardship, people are also refunding to government what was derived from corrupt practices and you have heard the government say that the budget will be funded in part by these funds that are being refunded.
“Also, when the President was campaigning as a candidate then, he said the economy, anti-corruption and security were going to be his focus. If it doesn’t mean change, to experience that today you can hold league matches in Maiduguri and people will enter the stadium and watch, then, what else can change be? “That, 14 local governments were taken as a territory of a sect and now recovered as a sovereign part of a country, is not change? Even if it is only one of the Chibok girls that was rescued, it means an attempt has been made and is yielding results. But you hear many people tell you ‘stop complaining, give us this or that.’
“There are consolations to that kind of demand, nobody enjoys hardship, but I tell you that, ‘the change begins with us’ is functioning in government. As ministers, find out how we fare. A lot of us do not have official cars; a lot of us are managing to pay our rents.
“A lot of us make official trips from our meager private earnings and so what else can change be when we are being exemplary in what we have preached? Nigeria I repeat is being exhumed from its economic grave and it can be nothing better in our present circumstance.
“Nigerians should just be patient, wait and see, I can assure you that before 2019, things will begin to improve. In the petroleum sector, in the past, you have heard percentage increases in fuel and after a while scarcity will necessitate another increase because deregulation was being done in selective manner, but today, proper deregulation has taken place. In December, did you hear about any fuel scarcity? No. This is genuineness in policy and the outcome is price stability,” he added.
The APC took over from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which had been Nigeria’s ruling party for 16 years, in 2015.
President Muhammadu Buhari won the March 2015 general elections by 2.57 million votes to defeat PDP candidate and then incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan.