By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Bimbo Daramola is a vocal member of the House of Representatives on the platform of All Progressive Congress (APC). He represents Ekiti North Federal Constituency 1 in Ekiti State. In this interview with Vanguard, says that former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his letter raised salient issues that shouldn’t be ignored. Excerpts:
Nigerians appear divided over Obasanjo’s letter to President Jonathan. Some prefer the message to the messenger while some talk down on both. How may you react to this?
Well, a lot of things are happening. I think Nigerians shouldn’t also perpetually be a bunch of people who do not live by history. Before you can ascribe value and integrity to whatever anybody says and you go the town with it, you should also check the character of the man who is saying it.
I say this thing in a jocular manner. If a mad man tells you that your house is burning, would you say, O! He is a mad man and just go? Will you not double check to know whether your house is actually burning? So, whatever former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said may not be talking about the messenger. As a person, he is tainted. He has an albatross on his neck that is sufficient enough for Nigerians to say, hey, no more.
Will you just leave us in peace? Or it’s about time that you shut your trap and let us just be having our own time. After all, Yar’Adua was you protege and then President Jonathan? But you see, in trying to say that we should also be mindful of the fact that the kind of things that Obasanjo raised in his letter also are very germane. I don’t want to bother myself with the aspect that deals with the PDP.
The earlier the PDP’s self destruct, the better. I have also reminded people that the size of Dinosaurs did not prevent them from facing extinction. And if you want to remind yourself of Dinosaurs today, you can go and look at fossils. So, I believe that there are some germane things: 1000 people are being penciled down for elimination, the economy is grinding to a halt, you can’t deny that.
You can’t fault those things. So, what we need to do is to look at that, identify those that are very germane, those things that the man said and then we can deal with those issues. We can discountenance the integrity of the man who has said that. Don’t forget that if a mad man tells you that your house is burning, you will not say he is a mad man. You will turn around and say, just in case, let me check if my house is really on fire.
APC called for the impeachment of Mr. President and incidentally, you are member of the party. Are you in support of that?
Well, that coming from a respected personality like the interim national publicity secretary of the party who is also an avowed democrat, I am not too sure if that is the position of the party.
I want to be guided about it. The best of power is appreciated when you are guided and the deployment of same. But what I think we should do at this time; there is no doubt that this President has so many constitutional infractions against him enough to get him out of his feet like yesterday.
They are there. But are we going to actually say that because a woman has fibroid, and after the first to prognosis, the next thing we can do is to take away her womb out? But I am going say; but one thing I am clear about is that there are plethora of constitutional infractions against this President but we must also be very, very courteous about how we deployed it.
Are you perchance divorcing yourself from the position of the party?
No, no, no, I cannot dissociate myself from what the party has said. I am not sure that was the position of the party but that coming from a respected personality like Uncle Lai Mohammed, I know too well and expect that he would have actually done some consultations, but for me, speaking for myself as Bimbo Daramola, I have been one of the advocates of trying to let the President know that there is a constitutional provision to put him in check. He did not become the President of Nigeria because he woke up one morning or he has a Ph.D.
He became President of Nigeria as a result of the mandate of the people, expectedly so. But I think we should do is to now push it and OK, against the backdrop of the constitutional provisions. But the truth of the matter is that we need to also be very, very careful. These are interesting times.
We are trying to get two strong parties to see how we can take power democratically from government that has failed us for 14 years. And I am not saying this guidedly.
This government has failed us. The government of PDP has failed. We only got the kids back to school from a 6 month forced holiday. Where is that done? And somebody cites example of schools in Ghana being closed for one year.
Is Nigeria Ghana? And on the heels of that, medical doctors are threatening. On the heels of that PENGASSAN has also given ultimatum. There is a systemic challenge.
We need to go right now. We have scratched the space for too long. Now, the thing is that if you impeach a President Jonathan, who becomes the next President? The beneficiary of that same process is still going to emerge from this same party that has held Nigeria down after 14 years of being in the saddle. So, it takes a little bit of strategy to know which of the options is best.
Even on the floor, the remnant of the PDP members, in their single digit are already convinced that the game is up. And I hope that this President will see the signals on the wall and do the wish of Nigerians. Let no body push Nigerians to the woods anymore.
We went to South Africa to celebrate Mandela. Mandela got celebrated not on the basis of the fact that he left government after 4 years, no, but necessarily because that was the mood of time. And people feel that it’s about time that we take this country to the next level. These guys have held us down for too long. It’s about time to leave the PDP that has failed this country.
Well, the Presidency said you are toying with treason on the issue?
What’s treasonable about something that is constitutionally provided for? It’s in the constitution. No body is taking a hard one against government.
Listen, treason is not removing Jonathan. Anything that is treasonable is about forcibly taking over the government of the federation. It’s not removing Jonathan.
There is a difference between the seat of power of the Presidency and Jonathan. President Jonathan is an individual and the presidency is an institution. That should be clear to them and I know too well that if that constitutional provision is not relevant, the drafters of that constitution wouldn’t put it there.
It’s just in order to ensure checks and balances; to ensure that government is run and run properly so that the interest and welfare of Nigerians is secure. That’s why they put it there. You can’t have a president running riot and somebody says you cannot put him in check.
Most people say it’s all a gang up against the President’s second term ambition in 2015…
I don’t think so. Look at Amaechi. Rivers state is not the same now. Even in Bayelsa, did you see the guys who decamped in Bayelsa? So, don’t ethnicise it.
What I know is that we have asked and demanded that this party, having been in government for 14 years, if you had a child 14 years ago, it would be getting ready for College now. It’s about time for us to know where we are headed. And it’s not about me. I can get sorted anyway.
It’s about the corperate texture. If this country goes down, President Jonathan is not gonna be immune. Go and ask Morsi in Egypt.