Professor Jim Omatseye is a retired Professor of Philosophy at the University of Benin, Edo State and a visiting professor in Florida and Miami. In this interview, he calls on Nigerians to vote for those who can bring about development, saying it was time Nigerians transcended party lines in choosing their leaders.
BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
On Buhari’s leadership so far
We thought there will be a measure of equity when Buhari came in as president of the country. But this has not been so. For instance, if you look at the administration, who is the deltan, the southerner in this administration that is making impact, speaking for the Urhobo, Itsekiri and all of us in the Niger Delta? It is unfortunate.
We thought the cabal from Daura should have been dismantled even at a time the President’s wife spoke against the excesses of these people who feel Nigeria belongs to them. But the President feels powerless. I have no doubt that he is unable to control what is happening around him.
I am a Professor, a Professor who has been suspended would not go because he said only the president can suspend him. It is unfortunate and non-academic. That the President sits back to tolerate this gives the impression that as a northerner you are untouchable. The Minister of Health is a Professor, he will feel so humiliated. The board in place suspended this man but the cabal in the presidency is working against it.
The sacked DSS boss was succeeded by a southerner and it was not long he was removed and a northerner put in his place. How would the people of Bayelsa see this? We can go on and on to give several instances. The President seems powerless.
On political re-engineering between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
The support of Obasanjo to Atiku seems contradictory. The question is where do we go from here. People talk of parties, we have no parties in Nigeria with ideology. Members of the various parties don’t even know what their parties represent.
The time has come when Nigerians should take the bull by the horn and bring about positive change. My suggestion is that we should vote for those that can drive change regardless of parties. I think the time has come whoever can drive the change whether he is from the small parties or not we should not care, such a person is likely to be better than those that have held positions, helped themselves with corruption.
Let us now focus on individuals rather than parties. APC, PDP, have no ideology. People move from this party to the other not because of the programmes but what they stand to gain. The time has come when we must focus on the individual. Let us ask what difference the politicians have made
I am not supporting anybody. Thank God the primaries have disarmed so many of them, the ones that survived the primaries let us use our votes to remove them
A party should have ideology. Those there cannot tell you the ideology of the APC and PDP. People there don’t know. Since the ones who are there have failed let us try new people.
Do you have faith in the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC?
One would only hope that INEC does a good job. INEC was under former President Goodluck Jonathan and he did not win re-election. The ones in-charge of INEC should do agood job.
You are driving the establishment of Warri university. What is the update?
We don’t have enough universities in the country. So University of Warri is to close the gap in university education for the state.
Thank goodness, we are getting a lot of help. We are also hoping that individuals and agencies will help us materialize it. Koko is a very good place, Obitugbo community where the university is, is also good.
Is it a specialized university?
It is a Liberal Arts university that will encourage scholarship in all areas. We have specialized universities all around us. Federal University of Petroleum, FUPRE is a petroleum university, there is also Maritime University. Delta state university is a liberal arts university but we still need more. So this university will close up the gap.
There are rumours that FUPRE is to be relocated
It will be inappropriate to do that because FUPRE is a petroleum university located in the heart of the petroleum industry. So why will you want to take it away from here? Does it mean that those of us here don’t deserve it? Well, I think it is a rumour.