Buhari’s Campaign For 2019 At This Time Is Political Sacrilege

Senator Shehu Sani, representative of Kaduna Central, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to forget his ambition of running for a second term next year and address the security situation of the nation and other national challenges.

The senator said: “It is wrong to be talking of the re-election of Buhari as President when hundreds of lives are being lost and people are being massacred in different parts of the country.

“In time of bloodshed like this, the issue should be how to come together and address the problem. But those marketing the President at a time of this bloodshed are like people dancing on the graves of Nigerians.

“Campaigning for Buhari for next year’s election when people are being killed, when orphans and widows are being produced as a result of the tragedy of these circumstances and people are being kidnapped, I think amounts to political sacrilege.

“It is an insult on the conscience of Nigerians and it is an insult on the moral integrity of Nigerians for anybody to ignore what is happening and simply walk to the President and tell him that what is important at this material time is his re-election campaign for next year’s election…

“If we allow this trend to continue, it would threaten the peace and unity of this country.

“I advise people advising the President and strategising for him to contest the elections to spare him some time, advise him well and provide a solid strategy to end the carnage and atrocities that is going on in the country today.

“Human life is more important than politics, because you cannot preside over dead people. The images we see in both social and traditional media is heart-rending and despicable.

“I can tell you that over a year ago, the President was in Zamfara State in military fatigue to address the problem of banditry and mass killing. The President should be seen in any part of the country where such violence occurs.

“The President must visit Southern Kaduna, Birnin Gwari, Taraba, Benue, Rivers and Adamawa states. It gives people some hope that their Commander-in-Chief is determined and committed to defend and protect them.”

2019: APC South East Caucus Adopts Buhari

The All Progressives Congress (APC), South East zonal caucus of the party on Sunday at Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi adopted President Muhammadu Buhari for second term.

The adoption was the high point of the outcome of the South East zonal caucus meeting held at the home town of the Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu in Uburu.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was attended by top party chieftains from across the South-East geopolitical zone.

The decision to adopt Buhari for a second term was contained in a five-point communique issued at the end of the caucus meeting.

The communique was jointly signed by National Vice Chairman of the party South East and zonal publicity Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Enukwu and Mr Hyacinth Ngwu respectively.

The document commended the President for infrastructural development of the South East zone, job creation and empowerment programmes.

The communique also lauded Buhari for appointing people from the zone as chairmen and board members of federal boards and parastatals.

“We appreciate the Igbo’s growing support and interest in the ruling All Progressives Congress.

“It is our unshakable belief that the quest of the Igbos for the Presidency is achievable in the shortest time only in APC and that time is 2023.

“We pledge our unalloyed loyalty to APC led Federal Government under Buhari and we hereby unequivocally and unconditionally assure the President of our support for his reelection for a second term in office in the 2019 general elections.

“The party in South-East commends the President for all the projects the government is executing in South-East particularly the abandoned Enugu-Onitsha and Enugu-Port-Harcourt high-ways, modernised second Niger Bridge, coastal and in land rail lines among others,”

The caucus in the communique further commended the leadership of the APC and maintained its unalloyed support and confidence in the leadership.

(NAN)

Buhari/Osinbajo 2019 Endorsement Posters Flood Abuja

Major streets of Abuja were on Thursday adorned with campaign posters endorsing President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for reelection in 2019.

The posters were pasted on structures located on major streets as well as bus shelters.

The posters also has the picture of “Comrade Felix Ubokan”, with the words: “ We endorse you for 2019: Courtesy: Niger Delta Youths, Women and Security Movement For Buhari/Osinbajo”.

The posters are coming less than 24 hours after a former governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, said he had ”absolute confidence and was exceedingly proud of the excellent job, Professor Osinbajo is doing as Vice President of Nigeria.”

Mr. Tinubu’s statement was in reaction to speculation that he may be picked by Mr. Buhari as his running mate in 2019.

The APC national leader said a report to that effect by SUN newspaper is a “classic case of utterly and irredeemably-fake news”.

Mr. Osinbajo has so far not made any comment regarding the 2019 election or his fate if the president chooses to seek re-election.
That, however, is not the case with Mr. Buhari.

He has so far tacitly shown on two occasions that he may be seeking reelection in 2019.

Addressing a group of Nigerians resident in Cote D’ Ivoire two weeks ago, Mr. Buhari said he arrived the meeting late because he had to wait for the two governors in his entourage, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom and Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi states.

“This is why I came along with them so that when we are going to meet you, when you are going to meet the rest of Nigerians, if you tell them that their governors were in the company of the president, I think that will be another vote for me in the future,” Buhari said.

Tinubu also accompanied him on that trip.

Buhari while in Kano last week also revealed that he may re-contest.

At a State Banquet in his honour, the president said, “I know the elections (2019). If they are to be free and fair, if it is a question of numbers, if it is a question of allowing people to make their choice, then I think the people of Kano are in my pocket.”

”I am overwhelmed by the reception the people of Kano offered to me. This has indicated that I can still win an election in Kano. The people of Kano are aware of the tremendous job we did on security and agriculture.”

2019: INEC To Partner Political Parties For Credible Elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will partnership political parties and other stakeholders in Ebonyi to ensure that the state records credible election in 2019.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Prof. Godswill Obioma, stated this while briefing newsmen on Wednesday in Abakaliki on the outcome of a meeting between the commission and Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC).

He said that the collaboration would raise the capacity and awareness of political parties’ members, equip them with knowledge of the electoral process.

Obioma said that the synergy would also enhance understanding of provisions of the nation’s Constitution and the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.

“Our focus, our commitment is on 2019 general elections and the desire to get things done right before and during the elections.

“This is a special IPAC meeting and the aim is to achieve two results,” he said.

According to him, it is to raise capacity ahead of 2019 in terms of equipping members with knowledge of IPAC and the electoral umpire with provisions of the Electoral Act.

Obioma said that it was also to sensitize political parties on the need to adhere to provisions of the Act.

“The meeting also highlighted the legal implications of violating the provisions of the Electoral Law and the need for political parties to conduct their activities within the ambits of the law.

“It is through a strategic partnership with the political parties and key stakeholders that our aim of having credible 2019 elections in the state can be achieved,” Obioma said.

He said that IPAC was set up within the structures of INEC to ensure inclusiveness in policy, transparency and probity in election process.

He pointed out that regular meetings were held to address issues that would benefit the members and electorate.
“IPAC is composed of all the registered political parties and meets with INEC from time to time.

“We chart a way forward, look at challenges, create strategies to combat the challenges and of course, make strategic plans in terms of sensitisation and other issues.

“As I have pointed out earlier, today’s meeting is a special one which was convened to address a particular issue.
“The issue is the provision of 2010 Electoral Law (As amended) with particular reference to section 92 (A) and (B) which deals with campaigns.

“The essence is to alert political parties of the provisions of that Act stipulating the guidelines, time limit, when to start campaigns and when to stop.

“They will know what constitutes a campaign and implications of contravening the provisions of the electoral Act,” the REC said.

He disclosed that the meeting deliberated on the need for violence-free polls in the state, saying that election was not a do-or-die affair.

He said that political parties were reminded to caution members, candidates and their supporters to limit their actions within the provisions of the law and avoid acts that could trigger election violence.

“Election is not a do-or-die affair and we were able to highlight the issue in the meeting and this is why we are calling for the strategic partnership to help build and cement our relationship with political parties.

“We encourage political parties and players to abide by the provisions of the Act to abide by guidelines and also to do all it takes to ensure that elections are credible, fair and free, and that people’s votes count,” Obioma added.

He said that INEC remained an unbiased electoral umpire committed to the discharge of its statutory mandate of conducting impartial and credible elections.

“We in INEC want to assure the public that we are unbiased umpires; we shall do our job, we will carry out our work taking into account our statutory responsibility as provided for in the Act.

“We will not add a vote that doesn’t count nor are we going to subtract a vote that counts.

“We are appealing for cooperation so that at the end of the day, everybody would have seen that we have done the job, people will have been happy to see that their votes have counted.”

Endorsement By Governors, Top Politicians For Buhari Second Term Are Self Driven – Shehu Sani

By Toba Adedeji
The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani has said that the endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari for second term by some governors and top politicians are borne out of selfishness and not patriotism.
The Senator made this known while speaking at the second annual lecture of Rave FM, a private radio station in Osogbo, Osun State.
He maintained that , “None of the APC governors, top chieftains of the party moved for the endorsement of Buhari when he was on medical vacation abroad.
” Their calls were part of agenda to seek second term in office or seek for premeditated cover after vacating their positions of power.
“The endorsement for President Muhammadu Buhari to vie for second term in office were driven by selfish ambitions and not borne out of genuine love and sincerity.
Sani posited that, “The ruling party must know that what destroyed the Peoples Democratic Party was a force from inside and not from outside. Citing Yugoslavia in the old Soviet Union as a relevant example.
“In the ruling party things are not moving fine. What the elite in the ruling class are saying publicly are different from what they are saying privately. Publicly they take flag of endorsement of president second term. The first term serving governor is endorsing president for his second term ticket while the second term serving governor is for him to be protected after office”
“How do you endorse someone who hasn’t expressed interest. This is what can be condemn in politics of PDP.
He argued that, “Lack of internal democracy, imposition detroyed the PDP. The umbrella of the PDP was torn by the internal injustice. The ruling party should be careful. Many people who helped in bringing this administration on board are not being carried along. Now Atiku has left the APC for the PDP. Those that contributed to this government before getting to power were not accorded courtesy”. It is left for Buhari to decide who loves him and who loves the throne.”
He noted that, “For Buhari to be rescued from the claws of cabal, he needs the concerted efforts from all Nigerian regardless of religion, tribe and political parties.
The Senator, who spoke on the topic “Nigeria’s Fight Against Corruption: The Facts, the Fallacies and the Antidote”, contended that, “This government has moved us away from the culture of corruption that was of the past administration but we are not there yet, where we ought to be.”
Their are two political party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Party and People’s Democratic Party, we don’t have a strong opposition in this country because of the moral burden, they carry don’t have a clean hands”.
Also the former president of Nigeria Bar Association, Wole Olanipekun, SAN in interview with journalists after the occasion suggested that government should build institutions economically, as it is he only way to reduce corruption drastically.
According to him, “Let us build institutions economically. Once institutions are built corruption will substantially exercised. We can’t fight corruption when every thing in this country is so centralized. We can’t fight corruption in a system of autocracy because when we look constitution all powers are built around Federal Government. We can’t fight corruption successful in system whereby we have everything in the exclusive legislative list and not on concurrent.
We can’t fight corruption when Federal government is  over weigh and  not ready to share responsibilities. Let us build institutions.

No Automatic Ticket For Buhari In 2019 – Tinubu

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday declared that the party would follow the normal democratic process in choosing its flagbearer in the 2019 Presidential Election.

He said the leadership of the party had not endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari as its sole candidate for the forthcoming presidential election.

His statement was against the recent endorsement of President Muhammadu as the sole candidate of the APC for the 2019 election by the APC governors.

Tinubu held a closed meeting with the leaders of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, the Afenifere, at the residence of the leader of the organisation, Pa. Reuben Fasoranti in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

Tinubu, who was at the meeting with the Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, his deputy, Mr. Agboola Ajayi and the Acting Chairman of the APC in the state, Mr. Ade Ademehin, said Buhari was a man who believed in normal democratic process and the rule of law.

Speaking with journalists after the meeting, he said, “No governors can appropriate the power of endorsement to themselves. Buhari is a believer in the process. The Buhari, I know, believes in the rule of law. We wanted him even before the last convention and primary of the party and Akeredolu is here standing with me, he was not the governor then. He was one of the leading delegates that voted properly and Buhari was a clear winner.

He added, “We followed all the constitutional provision and an individual or group’s opinion does not really matter at this stage, Buhari will want a normal process. Buhari that, I know, who says he will lose at any convention? But if the national body, the NEC (National Executive Committee) and all of us as members endorsed him as our single candidate, we will not be violating INEC regulations, we will not be violating our party constitution.

“What you are hearing is just a campaign by other people who might like to do so. Buhari has not excluded anybody, and he has not infringed on anybody’s ambition if there is. We can not be sycophantic about it.”

In Liberia: Supreme Court Halts Presidential Run-Off Over Alleged Fraud

Liberia’s Supreme Court has stayed the November 7 presidential run-off election until it considers a challenge to first round results by a losing candidate who has alleged fraud.

Third-place finisher, Charles Brumskine’s Liberty Party, challenged the results of the October vote, which set up a November 7 run-off between former soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai.

The election is meant to usher in Liberia’s first democratic transition since 1944 after long periods of military rule and a civil war that ended in 2003.

In a writ issued late on Tuesday, the court instructed Liberty Party and the National Elections Commission to file briefs by Thursday at the latest.

It was unclear if the court would rule before November 7.

“This is a big step in the right direction,” Liberty Party Chairman Benjamin Sanvee said in a statement.

“Thankfully, the Court recognizes the gravity of the issues, and has taken action in defence of the law and democracy.”

On Monday, Mr. Boakai’s ruling Unity Party announced it was backing the legal challenge.

It accused President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, one of its own members, of interfering in the October 10 vote by holding private meetings with election magistrates before the October10 poll.

Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf denied the meeting were inappropriate and international observers like the European Union and the Carter Centre have said that they saw no major problems with the first round vote.

Mr. Weah, a former soccer star in Europe, won the first round with 38.4 per cent of the vote to Boakai’s 28.8 per cent and picked up an important endorsement on Friday from former warlord Prince Johnson, who won eight per cent of the first-round vote.

Morluba Morlu, a senior official from Weah’s CDC party, said on Wednesday that he still expected the run-off to go ahead.

“It is sad for a ruling party that has been in power for 12 years (to) be crying,” he said of Unity Party’s support for the legal challenge.

“We don’t want any mockery of this election.”

(Reuters/NAN)

ICYMI: Buhari Contesting Election In 2019 Will Be A Big Joke — Akinjide

In this interview with FEMI MAKINDE, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in the Second Republic, Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN), suggests that the structures bequeathed to Nigeria by the British colonialists must be altered before the nation can make progress

Nigeria is celebrating its 57th independence anniversary. Are you proud to be a Nigerian?

No, I am not. Nigeria should have done better than what we have now. We should have been the best country in Africa. Some time ago, I went to a university in Cape Town to deliver a lecture, and after the lecture, I answered some questions. It’s a pity, Nigeria should have been like America, Canada or Australia, but we are not. I am not happy about that at all.

Old money: 10 super-rich men of Independence era

Where exactly did Nigeria get it wrong?

One, the British emphasized their own economic interest. Two, our education was very good, and after independence, it continued to be good. But now, it has become a disaster. We also got it wrong in terms of leadership. Unfortunately, the bad ones have been the ones ruling for a long time, and that is another reason Nigeria has not developed the way it should (have) since independence.

Do you consider the amalgamation of the North and the South by the colonialists a blessing or curse?

A disaster! An absolute disaster! There was no need for it at all. Don’t forget that before that time, the North and the South were sovereign states. They had different governor generals. In 1900, they were two different nations. It was only in 1914 that the North and the South were merged purposely for ease of administration. What was managed was the economic interest of the North and the South? We borrowed a lot from Australia at the time. From then till now, it has been a new Nigeria of foreign economic interest and that is the truth.

Are you saying that Nigeria would have been better than it is now if the North and South weren’t amalgamated?

Nigeria would have been much better. The thinking of the North is quite different from that of the South. In any case, the thinking of the western Nigeria is different from the thinking of the eastern Nigeria. The marriage of the North and the South was of foreign economic interest. There was no need for it at all. In any case, we took no part in the marriage, it was a foreign marriage foisted on the people.

Do you think Nigeria still has reasons to celebrate at 57?

(There is) no need at all. What are we celebrating? We are celebrating a bad marriage; we are celebrating disaster. I am not happy about it. I was very proud of independence that things would be better but things are very bad now. If you look at our children now, you will see that they travel abroad for education and they are doing very well. The best Nigerians are now abroad. You find them everywhere, in the US, UK, France, Switzerland and all over and they are doing well. They are not contributing to our own progress but are contributing to the progress of other foreign countries because they are not proud of their own country. That is the truth. Our best are trooping outside the country almost on daily basis.

You also played a role in the struggle for Nigeria’s independence. Do you regret it?

I don’t regret it. In any case, I was in politics before independence and I was also in politics after independence. What I regret are the consequences of independence because there was no need for military intervention. Since then, things have never been the same. In any case, the marriage of various ethnic groups by the colonialists has not worked, no matter how we try to distort things.

Ghana, for instance, was doing fine before the coup which spread to the whole of Africa and caused a mess since then. Even in South Africa, when the foreigners were ruling, it was very good but (since) the natives came, it is now bad. The economy is controlled by the foreigners and politics is controlled by the natives.

The marriage in Africa has been bad. Colonialism has not worked well in Africa. The Americans had to fight, when the capital was in New York, to drive away the British. It was a bloody war and it was supported by the French. But look at things now, America is the best country in the world and China is next to them. India is also moving at an incredibly good speed. They manufacture airplanes, cars and all sorts of good things but Nigeria has not been able to get close to that. Our marriage by the colonialists has been very bad.

Do you support some groups like IPOB agitating to break away to form Biafra?

I don’t believe in Biafra but the truth is that the marriage (of the North and South) has not worked well at all. What is the common denominator between the North and the South? What is the economic denominator between the Yoruba and the Igbo? The people of the Niger Delta are not happy. They believe that if they control their oil, they would have been better off. The consequence of colonialism in Africa is the worst in the world. The colonialists have gone away, yet they still hold our economy, no matter how they try to deceive us and distort the facts. I practice law in a number of West African countries. I go to The Gambia to practise law. I go to Dakar, Senegal to play golf. I go to Ghana and Cameroon. When I go through (countries) like that, I just laugh and say Africa, what have you done wrong? Why is it that America, which fought a bloody war with the British to gain independence, is doing so well and we are doing badly? I don’t see how that can be corrected unless things are properly made.

How do you think it can be corrected?

(Through) Separation!

Are you saying each region should go their separate ways?

Yes. No matter how much we deceive ourselves, the western Nigeria was doing very well before and after independence. But since independence, it has been either a bad marriage or military coup. That is not the way to run a country. Britain is not run like that. America is not run like that. Likewise France.

Are you saying Nigeria would have been better if it fought for independence like the US fought the British?

We fought. There was a very big fight and I doff my hat to Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro, Chief Akintola (Williams), Aminu Kano, Dr. Michael Opara and others. But the truth is that up till today, no matter how much we lie to ourselves when it comes to our economy when America got her independence, they took over control with their hands. There was already a (United States) government in New York, but they moved it to Washington. When America was fighting Britain for independence, France helped them to fight Britain and Britain was driven away. At that time, some people were in the House of Commons in London and at the same time, they were in the parliament in New York; that was ridiculous. Sometimes, it would take six months to travel from London to New York. When it comes to colonialism, Britain has been the worst in the world; they like to lick other people and that is why India had to fight a lot of ways to get independence.

Thanks to the Labour Party. When the Labour Party came to power, it set India free immediately and the gentleman who was just a councilor in London became foreign minister in India and you see great men leading them. Once the arithmetic is wrong, and that was what happened to Nigeria, the mathematics of policy is very wrong. As long as that mathematics is wrong, we cannot get anything right.

Have your contributions to nation building affected your personal life in any way?

My contribution was not as free as that of other great leaders in the country, but I okayed my role and I have no regrets about it. My children went to the University of London, (University of) Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and other universities in the world and they did extremely well. Some of them had first class in London, also at Harvard. I am very proud of that. Later I had the privilege of serving in Geneva, at the United Nations, and I served for five or six years. I was very proud (of that). When there was a problem in Nigeria, I moved to London and continued my legal practice here.

What kind of problem?

There were a lot of coups. The military was taking over power at will. That was the problem. One military ruler went to the University of Ibadan and asked the students there to contribute to the economy of the country. What is the economic strength of students? What money have they got? When those who don’t know are governing those who know, the consequences are poverty and lack of development. That is what we are having until today. Before independence, I went to St. Peter’s School at Aremo, Ibadan, which was one of the best schools in the country. From Standard IV, I went to Oduduwa College and I took my Senior Cambridge and had Grade 1. I had no regrets at the time but what I regret is the way Nigeria is structured, the way Nigeria is led, the way Nigeria is being governed and the way the economy is structured. If you look at the entire world, the countries with the worst set of economic structures are in Africa. People who control the economies of African countries are mostly foreigners. The real power lies in the hands of those who control the economy.

Which of the heroes of Nigerian nationalism do you miss most and why?

Oh, they are many. The best of them was Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe followed by Awolowo, S.L Akintola, Anthony Enahoro, Dr. Opara, Aminu Kano and several others. We produced excellent leaders. They were great leaders. If the economy of Nigerians is in the hands of Nigerians, as the political structures, the story would have been different. That is the truth. Things would have been completely different if Nigerians were the ones controlling nation’s economy. What we got wrong was the structure the British gave us which we have refused to alter ourselves. After independence, India altered everything to suit their own purpose and the country is now one of the best in the world. China which was in abject poverty has become the second best country in the world. That’s amazing and everybody is proud of that. Look at China, USA, Russia, and others. I doff my hat to them. They are very great but it is not the same with Nigeria.

Can you draw any parallel between the struggle for independence and the calls for restructuring now?

People calling for restructuring now are partly right and partly wrong. The struggle for independence was natural. After the two major world wars, colonialism became irrelevant and the people who fought the wars made sure that colonialism was abolished. And that was why we had our independence. I had a privilege of going with (Tafawa) Balewa in 1960 to the United Nations in New York to be a member of the family of nations. But we have political independence on paper; do we have other things in our hands? Your guess is as good as mine on that.

What are your views on the issue of true federalism?

Talking of true federalism or bad federalism is nonsense. What you really need are good leaders in the country and not the third-rate people who have been ruling at local government, state or at the national level. In many parts of Africa, you see Rubin’s leaders, leading the countries and as long as you have those rubbish people as leaders, there can’t be any progress. As long as you have those who should at best be messengers leading, there can’t be any progress.

How do you think Nigeria can get rid of these bad leaders?

I will not answer that question the way you want me to answer it but let us pray to God.

Which system of government do you consider good for Nigeria, presidential or parliamentary?

I prefer the presidential system of government. The presidential system is very good because to be president, you have to campaign all over the country and the people must accept you and vote for you. But in the parliamentary system, all you need to do is win an election in a small constituency and then you will say you would rule the country. That is nonsense and when you do that, it doesn’t really work. That is why Americans took the presidential system of government. The same thing goes for China, France, and Russia. The British system, their evolution, and development are quite different from ours. Britain lives on colonialism. Without colonialism, Britain would never be what it is.

Is presidential system of government not more expensive than parliamentary?

The presidential system of government is not expensive but those running it are the ones making it expensive. They are making it expensive through greed. When they make laws, it is as if they will be in power forever. That is one of the reasons. They should have the aim of being in power for a number of years and leave the place for others to go there. Look at The Gambia. When the small boy, the (former) head of state, wanted to remain in power forever, other countries in West Africa asked him to leave, and when he did not want to go, they threatened him with military action and he ran away.

Some people are advocating a part-time legislature in a bid to cut governing costs. Do you support this?

That is rubbish. If you are in parliament (legislature), you should be able to do your work well. Also, if you are a minister, it is a full-time job.

Do you agree that the salaries and other emoluments of our legislators are outrageous?

Their payments are a disaster. When I entered the parliament, I was earning £800 a year. When I became a minister, I was earning £3,000 a year; that was a lot of money in those days. But today, people want to go into politics and become billionaires overnight. That should not be allowed and if you replace them with the military, that is even worse.

How do you think Nigeria can tackle corruption?

Corruption has to do with leadership and the problem is that those who are ignorant come to power through the military, which is the launching pad for corruption. But if you have the right people contesting elections and staying there for a number of years prescribed by the constitution, like you have in America, there won’t be problems like we are having in Nigeria now.

Are you saying Nigerians should no longer vote for former military men?

They should not. Nigerians used public funds to buy guns and boots for them and those ones should stay out of politics. But some of them are retiring from military and joining politics. I don’t agree with what they are doing. What we have is a military government masquerading as civilian government. That is rubbish.

But what did you do differently in the second republic from what is happening now?

We had a presidential system of government under (Alhaji Shehu) Shagari and it was very good. When Shagari came in for the second term, they used military coup to drive him away, and from then till today, no matter what name you call it, it is still military rule (that has been) masquerading as civilian government(s).

Do you foresee a military coup?

No. I don’t even want them to come back. If they come back, it will only get worse. The consequences of their coming back will be terrible. The richest people in the country today are military men and those who had relationship one way or the other with them. I don’t want to say anything further on that but everybody knows.

How has Nigeria fared since the return to democracy in 1999?

It is 50:50. It is not too bad and it is not good but it could be better.

What do you think we can do as a nation to make the country better?

One, there should be no more military incursion into power again. Two, we should have the best brains in politics. Not messengers or thugs becoming governors and pretending to be governors and wanting power for themselves forever.

How can Nigeria achieve progress?

The best thing is not to follow the British structure. Also, the economy should be run by Nigerians and not foreigners. If you don’t do that, you know the consequences. Do you see the economy of America being run by foreigners? Do you see the economy of Britain run by foreigners? That is what I mean. But if you look at our economic structure now, it is not in our hands. It is being run by foreigners and everybody knows the truth.

How will you rate the performance of President Buhari since 2015?

Your guess is as good as mine. I should have preferred that (since) Buhari has got what he wanted, he should go and rest while others who are real politicians should come to power. But people don’t listen to the truth; they want half-truth and half falsehood.

What is your response to those in support of his return in 2019?

I just laugh at that. If he does that, it will be a big joke.

Are you saying he will not win?

I don’t know but it is going to be a very big joke.

What did you mean when you say Nigerians should go their separate ways?

The West should go their way likewise the East and let the Northerners decide what they want.

Is it through dialogue or by what means?

It should be through dialogue. I don’t believe in a military coup; it has never worked anywhere and it can’t work in this country.

You were a minister of education in the first republic. What do you think Nigeria can do to revamp the education sector?

First, the universities should be adequately funded. I don’t see the best university in Nigeria today like we used to. Secondary schools have also collapsed. When I was doing Senior Cambridge, many of us came out with Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3. And when I finished, I was given the scholarship to study in England and come back to teach. I accepted the letter but I didn’t accept the scholarship because my parents could afford to send me to England.

Can Nigeria learn anything from the report of the 2014 National Conference organized by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan?

The confab report should be implemented. I had the privilege of moving the final adoption of the report because I was part of the conference. The government should implement the report; to ignore it is to ignore the best thing for Nigeria. Former President Jonathan did well and I doff my hat to him.

Is it advisable that Nigeria should amend the 1999 constitution or drop it totally?

We should drop the 1999 constitution totally. I want to see western Nigeria as a sovereign state. Let the North be different and let the East be different. That is the way God created us; any other marriage is rubbish.

 

 

 

Source: Punch