■ We can’t restructure Nigeria without tackling tribalism, nepotism — Jonathan
■ 1999 Constitution, fraudulent — Ayo Adebanjo
■ How Nigeria can be restructured — Nnia Nwodo
■ Nigeria has worst model of federalism globally — Jega
By Henry Umoru & Luminous Jannamike
Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday differed with immediate past President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nwodo, Afenifere chieftain Ayo Adebanjo and former chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, over the restructuring of the country.
While Jonathan said Nigeria can’t be restructured without first tackling challenges that polarise the country, such as tribalism and nepotism, Nwodo, Adebanjo, Jega insisted it remained the only way out of the country’s myriad social, economic and political problems.
Jonathan, in his opening remarks as chairman of Daily Trust 18th Dialogue in Abuja yesterday, said the restructuring of Nigeria into 12 states by Yakubu Gowon at the outset of the civil war was to protect it from disintegration.
He said Nigerians have intensified the calls for restructuring because the federal system of governance handed to the country by the British could no longer accommodate the complexities of the nation.
The former president said he believes that the amalgamation of northern and southern Nigeria was not the problem but the divisive politics that had greatly affected the nation’s unity.
Jonathan, who asked Nigerians to first restructure their minds, noted that restructuring alone might not address all the challenges in the system.
He said: “Within these six decades, our political space has assumed many colourations. We have gone from 12 regions to 36 states and 774 local government councils and moved away from when the different regions had different arrangements to manage the local government level to a unified local government system across the country.
“Yet, all that do not seem to have provided the answer to the questions of the administrative structure of our country and how best it should be governed. As president, I had the privilege of celebrating our nation’s golden jubilee in 2010 and the centenary of our amalgamation in 2014.
“When we were to celebrate these milestones, some Nigerians saw our intention, arguing that the amalgamation was faulty. They insisted there were no reasons to celebrate because they believe the amalgamation has not helped the growth of our country.
“My belief is that all nations have their unique history; the amalgamation is not the problem in my belief, rather, there was too much emphasis on divisive politics and this has greatly affected our nation’s unity.
“As a country, we have our peculiar challenges and should devise means of solving them but we should not continue to tilt our spleen on the amalgamation. My conviction is that discussion on restructuring will not help except we restructure our minds because some of the challenging issues at the national level still exist at the state and local levels.
“How do we restructure to make sure that those things don’t happen again? This shows restructuring alone may not solve all the anomalies in our system. I believe that restructuring for a better nation is good but there are other fundamental issues we should also address.
“We cannot restructure in isolation without tackling the challenges that polarise our nation. These include nepotism, ethnic and religious differences as well as lack of patriotism. The issues of tribe and religion have continued to limit our unity and progress as a nation.”
1999 Constitution, fraudulent — Adebanjo
Disagreeing with the former president at the Dialouge, with the theme, ‘’Restructuring: Why? When? How?’’, Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said restructuring was the only way the country could get out of its present quagmire.
He said the 1999 constitution was fraudulent and did not articulate the collective will of the people, having been imposed on the nation by the military, stressing that the country must return to the 1960 Independence Constitution when the regions had autonomy.
He said: “My view is that 1960 and 1963 constitutions gave us more freedom and autonomy which we are all agitating for. Why we are emphasizing restructuring now? Because the 1999 constitution is fraudulent; it does not represent the choice of the people.
“Interestingly, when we talk of restructuring, some of our friends from the North will say ‘they want to break the country’. But, anyone opposed to true federalism which is restructuring is the one who wants to break the country.
“The question of insecurity the country is facing now is because the governors do not have control over the security agencies in their states. That is what we need to address now.
“Where should the Presidency go in 2023? That is not the question now. The key question is to first keep the country together. Then, let us make the question of presidency constitutional, not gentleman’s agreement.
“Anybody talking about the election without changing this constitution does not love this country. It is the 1999 constitution that has made Northern Nigerians believe if they don’t support anybody, he or she cannot be president.
“All the agitation about Biafran separation is because they (Igbos) feel excluded under the constitution. I only hope the progressive elements in the North will persuade President Buhari to restructure the country now before everything burns to blazes.
“The Constitution we have now is a fraudulent constitution, it is not our constitution. Most importantly, it has failed, and everybody testified to this fact. It is simply not working.
“To save us from this situation, we must impress upon President Buhari to change the constitution to one that everybody agrees to.”
How Nigeria can be restructured — Nwodo
Aligning with Adebanjo, immediate past President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, made a strong case for restructuring, adding that the 1999 Constitution overthrew the sovereignty of the regions over their natural resources and domestic security and brought about a fall of education standards, economic well being, and a rise in insecurity nationwide.
He said: “We should restructure because the constitutional history of Nigeria shows that the only constitutions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made by all the ethnic groups in Nigeria, were the 1960 and 1963 Constitutions.
“The 1999 Constitution overthrew the sovereignty of the regions over their natural resources and domestic security unleashing in the process an unprecedented fall of education standards, domestic security, and economic well being.
“We must do all we can to restructure before the next election in 2023 because the level of dissatisfaction in the country as evidenced by the last ENDSARS protest gives one the impression that any delay may lead to a mass boycott or disruption of the next elections to the point that we may have a more serious constitutional crisis of a nation without a government.
“To restructure Nigeria, we need a constitutional conference of all the ethnic groups in Nigeria. To use the current National Assembly as the forum for constitutional amendment grants a tacit recognition of the overthrow of our democratic norms by the enthronement of a military constitution by which they are composed.
“The outcome of the constitutional conference must be subjected to a public plebiscite in which all adult Nigerians should have the right to vote. This process should be open, it should be supervised by international agencies to validate its transparency and thereafter usher new elections based on its provisions and structure.
“This process, in my view will ultimately refocus our country breed a democratic culture that emphasizes more on selfless service rather than individual enrichment, promote genuine unity instead of ethnic bigotry and challenge our capacity to exploit our abundant potentialities to make life more abundant for our people.
“In a restructured Nigeria, northern Nigeria will earn more from food production than other regions. So, must do all we can to restructure before the next civilian election in 2023.”
Nigeria has worst model of federalism globally — Jega
In his remarks, former chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, also made case for restructuring, noting, however, that restructuring without a corresponding improvement in good governance would not work.
He said: “Across the world, about 25 countries, which represents 40 percent of the global population practice the federal system of government. What is clear is that when you look at the Nigerian context, not only has there been a long military rule but in the 20 years of civilian rule, we have not made significant progress.
“Nigeria is one of the worst models of political accommodation of diversities, power as well as resource sharing. What account for the difference between Nigeria and other countries with more effective management of their diversity are elite consensus and good governance.
“Bad governance and over concentration of power at the centre is a recipe for disaster. For its stability, progress, and development as a modern nation-state, Nigeria’s current federal structure needs refinement and improvement or some form of what can be called restructuring.
Earlier in his address, Alhaji Kabiru Yusuf, Chairman of Media Trust Ltd, organizers of the event, recalled that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, while campaigning in 2015, pledged widespread constitutional reforms in the form of true federalism.
Noting that the party even set up a committee, headed by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna Stateto look into the matter, Yusuf said the el-Rufai Committee accepted the idea of restructuring, such as state police, revision of revenue sharing formula and abolition of the third tier of government.
He said the recommendations of the Elrufai-committee were accepted by all the organs of the APC but expressed regret that not much had been heard about the issue since the party won a second term two years ago. (Vanguard News)
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, has hailed Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for saving Nigeria democracy in 2015.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, has hailed Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for saving Nigeria democracy in 2015..
He said Jega’s refusal to deny President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the 2015 presidential election has saved the nation’s democracy from collapsing.
Shehu, stated this while appearing on a special end of the year programme ‘2019 End Of A Decade’ on Channels Television.
Shehu maintained that there was a move by the then ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to seize power.
He said: “We thank God for Jega and the civil society activism at that time because if Jega had caved in, this democracy would have collapsed at that time.
“So, it is an interesting time that we had lived through and then, it tells a story of the resilience of our democracy and that we shouldn’t just toy with it. It didn’t come cheap, it didn’t come easy.”
The Presidential spokesman disclosed that the All Progressives Congress, APC, officials had monitored the election exercise closely.
“For us in the situation room at that time, it was an attempt to grab power or to hold on to power by regime elements or beneficiaries of the system who saw defeat staring them in the face.
“Before those results got to the INEC chairman and he announced them, you are aware that parties had representatives at the lowest of the point; the polling units and the local councils, and the states.
“They did a collation of their own and they had a sense of how or which direction things were going. So, it was obvious to those regime elements at that time that the regime was falling,” he said.
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The Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode in this explosive interview with The Nigerian Express touched on very touchy past, present and future political issues in Nigeria.
He discussed about Buhari, Tinubu, Osinbajo, Awolowo, Obasanjo, Jonathan, IPOB, Biafra-Nigerian civil war, the North, The South and more.
Below is the interview.
Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister is a lawyer, essayist, poet and a political activist. He spoke to AKANI ALAKA on the contemporary political developments in Nigeria, relations among the ethnic groups in the country, the civil war, agitations for self-determination, the need to restructure the country, as well as the jostling for the 2023 presidency among politicians from the South, among other issues.
QUESTION: Just recently, Nigeria celebrated its 59 Independence anniversary. You also celebrated your 59th birthday some days ago. As an historian and somebody whose father also played a significant role in ensuring that Nigeria became an independent nation, would you say the country’s founding fathers will be proud of the position the country is in now 59 years after?
ANSWER: I think we ought to have gone much farther than we have gone. And if I am to be frank, I will tell you that those that fought for Independence of Nigeria, including my father and many generations before them, will not be too pleased with the situation we are in today.
We were meant to have gone much further, become much stronger, much more united. We were meant to be the greatest asset of the Black man on planet Earth. But we have failed in all these respects. And consequently, I will have to say that I am rather disappointed.
We are like a giant that has shrunk into the position of a dwarf. We have been dwarfed in many ways – even by countries that are far smaller, with less potential than us, even in the African continent. And that’s not good enough. And I think it all boils down to one thing – the fact that we have had leadership that has not been the best for much of the past 59 years.
And of course, the other part of the problem is that we have not been able to answer the fundamental questions like, for example, the national question and the outstanding issues concerning the Nigerian civil war and so many other things.
And I think this is why our development has been stagnated and in many ways, has become retrogressive.
QUESTION: You talked about the national question – what is that national question and do you think there have been sincere efforts to address it?
ANSWER: I don’t even think most political leaders or politicians in Nigeria even know what the national question is. And that is really, really worrying because as long as you don’t answer that national question or address that issue, we will continue to go round in circles.
Of course, it starts with one fundamental question, which was asked in 1947 by the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his book, The Path To Nigerian Freedom. And the question was simply this – “Is Nigeria really a nation?” He (Awolowo) concluded by saying, No, that it’s a geographical expression.
He added that there is as much difference as between a German and a Turk as there is between a Fulani man and an Igbo man and everybody ought to be able to develop at his or her pace within his or her own region or zone. That was essentially Awolowo’s contention in 1947. And many decades later, I still think he was right.
We pretend to be one nation, we tell ourselves that we are one, but deep down, we know how much we resent one another for various reasons. We continue to act as if this is a marriage that is eternal, even though we don’t want it. That’s the reality of Nigeria’s situation today.
Most politicians will not say this to you because they are interested in getting votes from all over the country and so, they prostitute their principles and compromise on so many issues. But the new type of politicians that I think will deliver this country will not think like that. I don’t think like that.
I will rather tread the path of truth and justice than to say things that are politically correct in order to gain favour with Northerners or anybody from any other part of the country.
The path of truth is the path that will deliver this country into the light of God and the greatness that she deserves and we must not shy away from treading that path. We are not a nation; we are a union of ethnic nationalities that are yet to resolve our fundamental differences and fundamental issues.
The questions that were raised before the Nigerian civil war and in the course of that war are still being raised today. And my prayer is that it does not take another war or civil conflict in this country for us to resolve those issues.
We can resolve them in amicable and peaceful way, so that everybody will feel equal before God and everybody will feel they have equal opportunity to aspire and to excel in this country as citizens and not that we have some that are born to rule and some that are destined to serve.
QUESTION: How can we, as a country resolve this question – because some like the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, want every tribe in the country to go their separate ways as independent entities while others think restructuring of the polity will give every Nigerian a sense of belonging. On which side of the divide are you?
ANSWER: The battle for restructuring is dead and buried. Restructuring is not discussed in the National Assembly. It’s not discussed even in the main political parties. As long as they are concerned, restructuring is a dirty word.
To me, it is a way out of the mess that we have put ourselves in. But to most politically correct politicians, who are mostly insincere and cowardly, they won’t even talk about it. The leadership of the two main political parties – the PDP and APC – will not talk about it as a matter of policy and neither will most of the small political parties.
But this is something so obvious, that ought to have been done long ago, not now. And the problem now is that it may well be too late for that. The sentiment is so strong now for ethnic nationalism – it is happening all over the world. Look at what is happening in Germany, in the US with Trump, in the UK with Brexit, the right wing political parties in Europe like in Holland and Germany.
The rise of ethnic nationalism is going on all over the world and Nigeria cannot be isolated from that. In this country, we have major ethnic nationalities that see themselves as members of that nationality before seeing themselves as Nigerians.
There is nothing wrong with that. It’s the perfectly natural order of things and that is the conflict we have in Nigeria. This globalized hybrid state, that we must all become one, to my mind, is not natural. Yes, we can become one if we share common values, common vision, a common understanding about how life should be and common worldview.
But if we don’t have that, and if one believes that he is king and the others are slaves and must be slaves forever, then, on what basis can we continue to stay together? And why should we remain together, just because a rather misguided man in 1914 by the name of Lord Lugard, with his wife, decided that we should be together? I resent and reject that.
I am a proud Omo Kaaro o o jiire, I refused to use the word Yoruba. I am a proud son of Oduduwa and I believe proudly and passionately in the rights of the people of the South-west to self-determination, if that’s what they choose to do. I believe that the people of the East, the Igbo, have that right as well, if that’s what they choose to do.
And I believe in the power of referendum, self-determination and I think it is absolutely wrong for anybody to say I don’t have a right to exercise that right, provided I do it in a peaceful, logical and rational way.
QUESTION: Are you calling for the dissolution of Nigeria as a country then, because that is what this right to self-determination will amount to…
ANSWER: I’m calling for the self determination of any ethnic nationality that chooses to be self-determined based on referendum. This happens all over the world, international law backs it and it’s something that should be done, provided it’s what the people want and it is done peacefully. And that’s my view.
Even if I don’t believe in it, I don’t think it will be right for me to impose my will on others and deny them the right to believe in self-determination or the right to referendum to decide whether or not we should remain as one.
The UK that brought us together and declared our marriage one – between the poor husband of the North and the rich wife of the South – and said that we must remain one forever is doing that today.
They are brexit-ing, based on referendum, from Europe, and they are also doing it internally within the United Kingdom. Scotland had a referendum recently. They narrowly agreed to stay in the United Kingdom. If they hold another referendum in the next few years, definitely, Scotland is leaving United Kingdom.
All the polls suggest that, and they will be allowed to leave. It is on that basis of expression of freewill that you can say you will create and establish a nation. Now, if you don’t want that part to be taken by the people, the only way is to treat them with respect, love and apologise to them when you got it wrong. I will cite the case of the Igbo people and I have said it over and over again.
A situation where three million people -civilians- were killed during the civil war, the greatest act of genocide in the history of African continent -black on black, not white on black- because King Leopold ll killed 10 million Congolese.
But we killed three million Igbo -civilians, men, women and children- in a space of three years and we have not apologized for that. This is a crime against humanity. It is a war crime. And for that kind of thing, the Nigerian commanders in the field, the Nigerian Head of State at that time, all should be at ICC. But I haven’t called for that.
All I am saying is that, at least, we should have the decency to apologise and also apologise for the fact that between 30,000 and 100,000 of them were killed just before the civil war by mobs in the North. These are the fundamental issues.
Every country that has indulged in such barbarity in the past has apologised, including the Belgians. The only country that has refused to do so and has committed genocide is Turkey. And I don’t think we should be in the same bracket as Turkey.
They killed one million Christian Armenians and they haven’t acknowledged it. We don’t want to be in that category. Everybody else, including the Germans, what they did in the Second World War, 50 million people died, six million Jews gassed to death, they apologised.
Everybody at some time recognizes the power of apology, reconciliation and restitution but we haven’t done that. Instead, we are still killing Igbo people till today. Is that how a nation is built? And when they say they want to go because they are tired of being killed even now, we are still killing them.
It is unacceptable. Sadly, it is not just the Igbo now that are being killed; if you go to the Middle Belt, Niger Delta, the West, Mid-West you will find slaughter. All these slaughterings are being carried out by Fulani herdsmen and, of course, you have Boko Haram in the North-east. It is so bad that Fulani herdsmen are even killing the local Hausa in the North itself.
The ethnic group carrying out this havoc, seven per cent of the population, that’s what they are, and we will sit here and say we are one nation. We don’t have the right to retaliate, we don’t have the right to cry, we don’t have the right aspire to be leaders in this country because we are second class citizens, even, when we are the indigenous people of Nigeria.
And you are saying we must accept that? I will never do that. Unless they change and these things stop, Nigeria’s unity can never be something that will be accepted by all of us.
QUESTION: Some critics, especially from the North had always faulted the call for apology to the Igbo people over the civil war with the argument that the war was a reaction to the killings carried out in the first coup of 1966, led by officers who hailed mostly from the then Eastern region…
ANSWER: I am very conversant with the history; I am part of it. They came to my father’s house in January 1966; I was conversant with what they did. And my father was the only person that was taken away from home that night who was not killed. About 20 people -key leaders in the military and the government of that era- were killed.
My father only escaped by divine providence because the federal troops saved him at Dodan Barracks and I appreciate that. And I appreciate the pains that were caused that night because I felt the pains too. I will never forget it. I witnessed it. I saw it. And I suffered the consequences of that for many, many years because it traumatized me.
The killing of all those people was barbaric and unacceptable. I have said so. Definitely, the majority of the participants were Igbo, I am not disputing that. But the question that you have to first answer is did those Igbo officers conduct a referendum in the East before embarking on the coup? Did they do it on behalf of the Igbo people?
Because if you say you want to punish a whole ethnic nationality because of the action of a few people -barbaric action in terms of the slaughter. They killed 20 people. You now say you want to wipe out entire nationality, I think that’s an unacceptable behavior. The reaction is even more barbaric and quite unacceptable in my view.
QUESTION; The argument was that the killings took place during a war situation…
ANSWER: It was not a war, because there was a coup in January 1966, 20 leaders were killed from all over the country and only one leader was killed in the South-east. It was a tragedy. It was a wicked act. I accept that. But there was no war at the time, there was a coup, an attempted coup. The coup failed.
And what happened next? The Northerners now decided to do a counter coup. Again, there was no war. It was what they called a Northern revenge coup to avenge those that were killed in the first coup. And what did they do? Here is what they did.
They killed 300 Igbo officers in one night. They killed an Igbo Head of State – Ironsi. They killed a Yoruba Governor of the Western Region, Fajuyi and they killed a number of other people – all in one night. Now, look at it in numbers – 20 of yours were killed, you killed 300 of theirs, plus the Head of State and Yoruba Army officers six months later.
And there was no war declared. You didn’t stop there, but went a step further few months later and you slaughtered in the North -the official figure is 30,000, the real figure is close to 100,000- Igbo civilians who knew nothing about coup plotting, who did not participate in it, who are equally victims and were still mourning that their people were killed.
Those killings took place in few pogroms in a space of two months and again, no war had been declared at that time. But you didn’t stop there. When the Igbos said it’s enough, let’s go back to the East, as they were going back, you were killing them at train stations, firing bows and arrows at them.
And when they got to the East, they now said ‘look, if you want to wipe us all out, it is perfectly natural for us to say we want to leave’ and they now said they want to go. First, you agreed that they will go based on terms agreed to at Aburi, then, you now change your mind that even Aburi, which you have signed and agree on, you are not going to accept.
They must stay by force and the war started. And what did you do during the civil war? You killed three million Igbo civilians. The number of Biafran soldiers that were killed was not more than between 30,000 and 40,000. But you killed three million Biafran civilians. One million of them were starved to death with the policy of starvation that you put in place.
And you justified that policy before the world when you, Nigeria, said starvation is a legitimate weapon of war. Have you ever heard anything as inhuman as that? I know who said that. I don’t want to mention the man’s name.
Another government official, a minister in Gowon’s government, went to America and when Americans were crying that we were committing genocides against the Igbo people, he said ‘no, we are simply defending ourselves, we will starve them to death.’ The people that said these were politicians, civilian leaders, but military commanders executed that policy.
Then, at the end of the war, you said ‘no victor, no vanquished,’ but that was the biggest lie from the pit of hell. You gave them 20 pounds and then, you took all their properties.
It is only in the South-west that their properties were not taken and you turned them into not second, but third class citizens. And today, one of those who participated in that war and all those atrocities is now our President.
Now, we have killed many in the last four years. You killed many IPOB people. And now, they are saying they want to go and you are saying they have no right to go. Is that just or right?
QUESTION: The civil war was followed by a succession of military regimes and in 1999, Nigeria returned to democracy. How well would you say we have done as a democratic nation since 1999?
ANSWER: I don’t think we have a real democracy and I will tell you why. In a real democracy, political parties can be formed based on whatever criteria you choose. Anybody can literally get up and say, this is my party, register it, I’m going to run as an independent, as whatever in my local government area.
But here, INEC, which is essentially a tool for government of the day controls everything in terms of elections. And if you have a man who is the chairman of INEC working against you as the president, which is what happened in 2015. (Attahiru) Jega worked against Jonathan at that time.
I’m accusing him of that right in this interview. And I’m also saying that there was time he was asked to resign and the evidence was clear on why he has to …. but, in my view, very naively, (former President Goodluck) Jonathan decided to keep him there. If you can control the INEC and the chairman of INEC as an opposition party or if you can put your man there to run INEC as this government has done since 2015, then, you know you have no democracy.
Yes, they can let you win some states as they did in 2019, but they can rig you out wherever they like. If you control the courts and you can remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria just like that or you can raid the houses of judges at night with the DSS and you have, more or less, captured the judiciary and intimidated the judges, you don’t have a democracy and neither do you have rule of law.
If you can send DSS officers to the National Assembly to go and raid the place and lock out legislators because you cannot control the place as happened some months ago, then you don’t have a democracy. Today, the APC, by design, controls the National Assembly.
They control it because they control virtually all the elections and so, they returned as many people as possible through INEC – mostly unfairly. They control the elections tribunals, in my view.
They control the courts, in my view, and they control the media, in my view, because this kind of interview, I will be surprised if you publish what I am saying. You may publish it online, but if you publish it in your paper, you may get into trouble.
They control the television. If you go there and you say anything against them that is strong, factual, the NBC will come down on the television station. And you called that democracy? It is tyranny. It’s a dictatorship. And everything that I, FFK, said in 2015 during the course of the election that would happen if Buhari became the President has happened.
And everybody that insulted me then, laughed at me then, and said I was talking rubbish, even from within the PDP itself, are now being prosecuted. All of them are now calling to say I was right.
And everybody that stood with them (APC) then, including Atiku, Obasanjo, Kwankwaso, Tambuwal, Dino Melaye, Saraki has come back now. And now, they are all victims of this monster that they helped to create in 2015.
Now, we fought them in 2015 and we are still fighting them up till today. And until the end of time, we will continue to fight them, not as individuals, because I have nothing against anybody personally. If anything, I have more friends in APC than in PDP.
That’s the truth. But in terms of ideology, politics and what I think is best for my country, I see them as immortal enemies; I see them as nothing but darkness. And I see those that seek to liberate this country from their shackles as the light and the vessels and the tools of God to fight that darkness. That’s my position.
So, if you asked me that do I believe that we have a democracy? My answer is, no. They have corrupted it, they have abused it and I knew this was going to happen. And let me tell you that it is going to get worse.
QUESTION: What has APC done to our democracy since they took power in 2015 that made you to arrive at this conclusion?
Since 2015, what have they done? First, they introduced religion and ethnicity into government. Every security agency in this country – whether the military, the one that have to do with external or internal security – 17 agencies in all – they are all in the hands of Northern Muslims, except for one, which is the Navy.
And that’s unacceptable in a multi-religious, multi-cultural society. A situation where the whole of the judiciary from the Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court has just changed now – but the three tiers of the judiciary were being headed by Northern Muslims.
It is just now that we have only one being headed by Northern Christian, that’s the Federal High Court. A situation whereby in the National Assembly, the Senate is headed by a Northern Muslim, House of Representatives headed by a Southern Muslim – Femi Gbajabiamila, he is a good friend of mine, I have known him for over 40 years – but he is a Muslim as well. So, you have Muslims heading both wings of the National Assembly.
And you know what they have done with Femi Gbajabiamila? They have surrounded him with Muslims – his deputy is also a Muslim and the four principal officers around him are also Muslims. So, what is there for us in that place?
In the executive, apart from the security agencies, look at all the key appointments – nine times out of 10, they go Northern Muslims. Go to the Villa today – the official language is Hausa, 90 per cent of the people that are working in the Villa are Northern Muslims.
Look at the appointment of chief executives for the key agencies – they were Northern Muslims, look at the ministerial appointments in terms of substance – the North-west where the President comes from, the Hausa-Fulani catchment area, you have 10 substantive ministries, those are full ministries, not Ministers of state, 10 in the North-west.
Next is the South-west where I come from, we have five substantive Ministers and everywhere else – the South-east, the North-central and North-east have three substantive ministers each.
That means the North-west where Buhari comes from, which is the Fulani heartland has over three times the number of substantive ministers that all the other zones have, except for the South-west. And south-west has only half the number the North-west have. Is that fair? (Nigeria Express)
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If you say Omoyele Sowore is a liar, I will agree. He tells deliberate lies to destroy the reputation of those he‘s against, using his Sahara Reporters website. He did it to me personally and my boss, GOODLUCK JONATHAN. Ironically neither Jonathan, nor I ever contemplated his arrest.
I sympathise with Sowore, but that’s not my point here. I can’t help but feel that his travails are self inflicted. I know his nature. He will come out of jail, read this, and use Sahara Reporters to try to savage my reputation. If you have followed the Buhari wave, you know the role Sowore and his Sahara Reporters played to create the Frankenstein monster named Buhari.
What is happening between Sowore and Buhari is just a romance gone sour. Sowore is not some innocent activist that General Buhari is persecuting. He was an ally of Buhari. He sold Buhari to Nigeria. We must not rewrite history or we will repeat it.
Using saharareporters, Sowore dishonestly “DEMARKETED” President Jonathan as a “DRUNKARD,” _a “SLOW POKE,_” “CLUELESS…” and MARKETED Buhari as “INCORRUPTIBLE.” He marketed Buhari as a man who would not only “CRUSH” Jonathan, but the “messiah” who would “SOLVE” all of Nigeria’s problems.
In 2014, when Jonathan said “I am the most INSULTED president in the world but when I leave office, you will all remember me for the total freedom you enjoyed”, he was referring to Sowore and saharareporters.
Nigerians mistook his TOLERANCE AND ZEAL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS FOR WEAKNESS.
Today, General Buhari is trying Sowore, his former partner in propaganda, for insulting him. If insulting a President is a crime, both Buhari and Sowore are guilty due to what they did to ex-President Jonathan. But it is NOT a crime.
Sowore should be freed!
Yet, Sowore is not the victim here. The victim, who refused to be a victim, is former President Jonathan, who Sowore accused of thievery, yet ALL his children schooled in Nigeria while he was President. 5 years after leaving office, no one has found GEJ wanting.
It is possible that people around Jonathan made money, just as people around General Buhari are making money and people around Obasanjo and YarAdua made money. _It is the sad reality of a corruption plagued country that we must all aspire to fix._ But Jonathan was NOT the THIEF, DRUNKARD or WEAKLING Sowore painted him to be. He is God fearing. To fear God is weakness to men like Sowore.
Then President Jonathan is MEEK. MEEKNESS is not WEAKNESS. MEEKNESS means you have POWER, but you RESTRAIN yourself from ABUSING it because you want to BUILD, not DESTROY. Moses was MEEK. Nigerians don’t deserve a MEEK leader. We deserve a General Buhari!
On 4 occasions, Sowore visited Nigeria while Jonathan was President. We knew his whereabouts. He met then CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, and was in contact with Buhari and El-rufai. But Jonathan NEVER ARRESTED him because _he believed in PRESS FREEDOM._
Sowore marketed Jonathan as corrupt and weak. GEJ would never make a man indicted by the army for theft, as reported by PremiumTimesng, a minister. GEJ deported South Africans in retaliation when SA deported Nigerians. It is Buhari who is WEAK & CORRUPT.
The problem with the average Nigerian, is that we CRY over CONSEQUENCES, and _LAUGH over ACTIONS,_ not realising that _CONSEQUENCE follows ACTIONS_ as DAY follows NIGHT. Sowore and Saharareporters are the ACTION. Buhari is the CONSEQUENCE.
I look at those shedding tears for Sowore and I remember when Jonathan’s son was crying after his classmates laughed at him *because they read on saharareporters that his father is a drunkard. Even children believe the lies they read on saharareporters!
I am not stretching facts if I say that without Sowore, General Buhari wont be President. It‘s an indisputable FACT. He and Saharareporters poisoned the mind of Nigerians against then President Jonathan. As Christ said “offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!” – Luke 17:1
It is a different matter if Sowore and saharareporters used the TRUTH to turn Nigerians against then President Jonathan, but they used LIES. Deliberate and malignant LIES. You cannot DESTROY another man and expect Providence to BUILD you up!
_Ko le work!_
What Gen Buhari has done to Sowore is a common Northern tactic. I lived in the North. I know. Abacha used it on Abiola. He used Abiola to destroy Shonekan. After Abiola destroyed Shonekan’s government, he was of no use to Abacha anymore, so Abacha threw him in jail.
General Buhari and Elrufai know what they used Sowore to achieve in destroying Jonathan. They are not fools. These guys are more politically sophisticated *than even Sowore/Tinubu know. It is brinksmanship. They won’t sit and watch them do the same to Buhari.
All of you were FOOLED when General Buhari rubbed mentholatum on his handkerchief and used it to induce crocodile tears. You are now seeing the genuine Buhari now? *Who is crying now? _Buhari or you? When we told you did you listen?_ Enjoy Buhari!
Gen Buhari used Sowore & saharareporters against Jonathan and he will NEVER let them be used against him. Sowore should have known that the first person a feudal king kills is the kingmaker that got him the throne. So he can’t remove him from the same throne.
What an irony! Sowore cannot use the same saharareporters to remove himself from jail.
Don’t dig your enemy’s hole too deep so that when you fall into it, you can also escape.
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Timi Frank, the former deputy national secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC)? called on imams, pastors and traditional rulers to beg former President Goodluck Jonathan for forgiveness as he revealed how he alongside others fabricated lies to sabotage his government.
Lamenting over the insecurity witnessed across the country, the former APC spokesperson disclosed that he has personally asked the former Nigerian leader for forgiveness.
“I call on Nigerians that we should beg former President Goodluck Jonathan for wrongly voted him out and sabotaged his government. I must confess that as an APC figure in 2015, we fabricated many lies against Jonathan, though I have publicly apologised to him but other Nigerians, especially the pastors, Imams, traditional rulers and other opinion leaders should beg for forgiveness too,” he said.
“It is obvious now that insecurity in our nation has gone out of hand. The challenge was limited to a zone under Goodluck Jonathan but presently no state, including General Buhari’s home state is secured.”
Questioning the Buhari-led government on the whereabouts of the $1 billion dollars withdrawn from the excess crude account (ECA) to fight insecurity, Timi Frank admitted the entrenchment of democracy and rule of law in Jonathan’s administration.
“Under Jonathan, Nigerians abroad were relocating back home but under Buhari Nigerians are running away. Under Jonathan Nigerians are respected all over the world but that has since gone under Buhari.
“Under Jonathan Nigerians were crying in tears but now Nigerians are crying in blood. Under Jonathan, there was freedom of speech but that has long gone under the APC administration.
“Under Jonathan, poverty, hunger and unemployment were not as bad as it is today. Under Jonathan Nigeria was a unitedunited Nation but sentiments have taken over now. “As it is now, all the institutions of government that were working well under Jonathan have all been blackmailed and politicised.
“So, I call on others who betrayed Jonathan to come out publicly and apologise to him. I also use this opportunity to appeal to former President Jonathan to forgive Nigerians and bless the Nation against the evils that have pervaded the land” he added.
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In a Facebook write up, the founder and CEO of Ovation Magazine, Mr Dele Momodu has regretted supporting Buhari over Jonathan.
In a very confessional write up, Momodu regretted the fact that they should have listened to voices of reasons like those of former Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose and others but perhaps fooled by the fact that Buhari chose Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as vice president.
This actually depicts that Momodu and his ilks voted and supported Buhari due to Osinbajo, which simply translates to tribal sentiments.
His write up is below.
“I must confess that at the height of our stupidity and naivety, in retrospect, we threw caution to the winds.
We wrote off Jonathan despite occasional flashes of genius and inspiration by some members of his team.
In the meantime, former Nigerian Head of State, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (RTD.) was repackaged to smell like roses and we all fell for the promise of Eldorado he seemed to hold at the time.
I was one of those who jumped on the bandwagon to describe him as a born-again Democrat, despite some strident and persistent warnings by then Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose and others. Perhaps we were fooled by the fact in quick succession he had picked Pentecostal pastors in his running mate in Pastor Tunde Bakare in 2011 and Professor Yemi Osinbajo in 2015.
Those who told us that our Hallelujah Choruses were premature and that a leopard can never change its spots were castigated and hounded by those of us who had been converted to what we believed was the new Buhari.
We sang in unison that anyone but Jonathan. The rest is history.”
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Former President Goodluck Jonathan says he laughs anytime people try to run down his administration as a clueless one.
The former President said this in his recently published book titled, ‘My Transition Hours’.
He said, “Sometimes I laugh when certain propagandists attempt to stand logic on its head by maligning my administration as one bereft of ideas and clueless. In assessing my administration, it is best to focus on facts.
“I cannot assess myself. I leave that to history and I make bold to say that never in the history of Nigeria till date has the nation had such a star-studded cabinet full of achievers and people who got to the top of their chosen fields by merit.”
Jonathan said the only thing that saddened him was the hounding of his former ministers by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He, however, said he was happy that many of his ministers and former appointees had become leading world figures today like Adewunmi Adesina and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Jonathan added, “Most painful has been the attacks on my ministers, aides, associates and even members of my family. There is an attempt to erase our legacy from history. The good thing is that the unending barrage of attacks, deliberate misinformation, and programmed media smear campaigns have failed to sway the opinions of those with the clear view of our beliefs, efforts, and achievements.
“There are millions of Nigerians and others around the world who are still impressed with our modest achievements in consolidating democracy and growing the nation’s economy. They will continue to serve as my strength and encouragement.” (Punch)
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said some governors elected under the banner of the PDP worked against him in 2015.
Jonathan in his new book, ‘My Transition Hour’ which he publicly presented in Abuja on Tuesday, also said he was confident of winning the election based on his achievements.
“We were confident that victory was ours. We were sure of the states where we would certainly have a clear lead. We knew the states which we had a 50-50 chance and finally the states we would have the required 25 per cent to satisfy the provisions of law,” he said in the book.
He added, “Obviously and with the benefit of hindsight, I have come to be aware of the intrigue that played a significant role in costing my party and I the election.
“For instance, there were governors elected under the banner of my party, the Peoples Democratic Party, who did not wholeheartedly campaign for me and adamantly refused to allow campaign posters with my picture and theirs to be printed and circulated.
“In fact, a particular first-term governor in the North had openly said his ideal scenario was to have him re-elected and my opponent elected President.
“This same governor told his aides that I would be removed in a coup. Unfortunately for him, his wishes did not come to pass and he ended up not being elected.”
Jonathan also said that there was a tremendous measure of religious pressure on members of the party in the north.
While saying it was not a fresh factor, he, however, warned that “it is one militating against entrenching the ethos of democracy. For as long as people could be persuaded or harassed into falling in line by deploying religious as an instrument of politics, our goals for promoting democracy pull prove difficult.” (Punch)
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja hailed his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, for voluntarily conceding defeat in the 2015 general elections, describing him as a true democrat.
Buhari said this at the unveiling of a book titled “My Transition Hours” by Jonathan. The book launch was attended by hundreds of guests from outside and across the country.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the president said Jonathan’s act of courage had made him a patriotic leader and earned him popularity among Africans and other leaders.
“You are a leader of the past, of now and of the future; you will rise again; I wish you the best you wish yourself, ” Buhari said.
He called on Nigerians to see elections as contests, which should be done in a free, fair and peaceful environment.
He said Nigerians should eschew bitterness, bigotry, hate speech and “promote Nigeria for us and generation yet unborn.”
Jonathan in reaction condemned any act of inducement of voters and vote buying during elections in the country, adding that the act was contrary to democratic norms and therefore, wrong.
The event was graced by hundreds of prominent Nigerians, including former Heads of state Abdulsalam Abubakar, Yakubu Gowon, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The All Progressives Congress National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, former Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, ex-PDP governors and many members of the political class, traditional rulers and members of the diplomatic corps also graced the event.
Former President, Dr Goodluck Ebelechukwu Jonathan
Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
A former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has said there are indications that the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, is under stress.
He explained that the stress could be as a result of workload and that he (Oshiomhole) was also working for what he called a floundering government.
Jonathan said these in a statement in Abuja, on Wednesday, while reacting to a claim by Oshiomhole that vote-buying started under the former president.
The former president, whose statement was signed by his media aide, Mr Ikechukwu Eze, also described Oshiomhole as a man of double identity.
The statement was titled, “Oshiomhole: The burden of blame game and tumultuous leadership.”
Oshiomhole, while being featured on a Channels Television programme, Roadmap, was quoted to have said, “President Jonathan started this massive vote buying in Nigeria and the media must play back and do a proper interview and proper investigation to discover the origin of vote- buying.”
Jonathan said he did not know why Oshiomhole decided to engage in what he described as misleading falsehood.
But he said the former governor could be under pressure.
He said, “We can only guess that Mr Oshiomhole, who is currently operating under tremendous stress in the bid to steady the already floundering ship of his administration as the new leader of his party, may have got himself entangled in a voyage of tactless desperation.
“His recent flip-flops where he praised Governor Samuel Ortom and Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso one day only to denounce them the very next day, is enough evidence of his fragile psychological state.
“Not only is he content on squabbling with members of the opposition, we note the self-destructive tendencies of Oshiomhole, who is locked in a feud with members of his own party, including the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, and a host of APC governors.
“It appears that Mr Oshiomhole’s psychological strain may have reached boiling point.”
The statement noted that vote-buying became known during the 2016 governorship election, more than a year after Jonathan left office.
According to the statement, “On the vexatious issue of ‘vote-buying’, which has unfortunately found its way into our election lexicon, this is what we know: It is obvious that the shameful development in our democratic experience became very glaring during the 2016 governorship election in Edo State; an exercise that took place more than one year after President Jonathan had left office.
“It is, therefore, disingenuous for any politician or group to link the former president with the anomaly, no matter how they want to stretch the now-failing blame game.
“While in office as president between 2010 and 2015, Jonathan conducted many elections including the 2011 and 2015 general elections, and many off-season governorship and parliamentary elections in some states like Anambra, Ekiti, Ondo and Edo; and not for once did the issue of vote-buying come up in the assessment of those elections.
“It is instructive that in each case, the former President was given a clean bill, with both local and international observers commending him for having supervised a credible and transparent process.”
Eze said one of those who gave the former President a clean bill of health was Oshiomhole.
According to him, Oshiomhole was quoted to have said on July 16, 2012, that “What the Edo election has confirmed is that when the President and Commander-in-Chief puts the country first and he conducts himself as a statesman not just as a party leader, credible elections are possible.”
He said when the above statement is juxtaposed with Oshiomhole’s current statement, “it becomes obvious that the APC chairman is suffering from multiple personality syndrome and has Jekyll and Hyde schizophrenia.”
Eze added that the wave of commendation for Jonathan’s electoral conduct had continued, long after he had left office.
For example, he said in November 2017, a United Nations delegation led by Ambassador Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, and Chairman of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, had commended Jonathan for the positive outcome of the electoral reforms he initiated during his tenure, and prayed that the institutions he had built and the high standards he had set in organising credible and peaceful elections were maintained and sustained by his successors. (Punch)