… Says Buhari saved Nigeria from catastrophe by not signing the electoral bill
… Anybody who contests against Lawan in APC should face severe sanctions
By Olayinka Ajayi
CHAIRMAN of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, and legal icon, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, was literally shooting from his hips in a chat with Vanguard on the state of the nation, the 2019 general polls, and battle for Ninth National Assembly leadership. He also dissected and described as hogwash the allegations of a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Buba Galadima against President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, for militarising and manipulating the 2019 elections among others.
On Galadima’s allegations that President Buhari used the military to rig the polls in his favour
Sincerely, I don’t seem to understand what befell Buba Galadima at his old age that made him to continually talk recklessly and becoming irresponsible. You know it is a shame that he has become totally irresponsible and indisciplined in his language. It is very sad. I don’t know what he lost or didn’t get in APC that affected him mentally that he is talking childishly and embarrassingly. What Galadima said is pure nonsense.
Militarisation of the election, was it the military that was voting? The military didn’t stop anybody from going to vote. So what does he mean by militarisation? I wish he could go to Rivers State to vote without the military, and see if he would come back alive. The military saved us from bloodshed, especially in Rivers and Akwa-Ibom where no election has ever been free. Rivers particularly, they always write results. In 2015, Governor Nysome Wike’s result was just written by hand. The card reader read total votes cast as 229,000, and Wike claimed to have 1.2 million votes. There has never been an election in that place and if the military had not been involved, there would be no election. So, without the military in many parts of this country like Zamfara and most parts of the North-East and volatile areas, there would be no election. Let us be grateful to the military and thank them because if we annoy them and they withdraw, the bloodshed in our elections will cause a civil war. So, let Galadima stop talking nonsense, let him respect himself, withdraw from the public and just disappear.
On Galadima’s comment that his daughter, is one of the most qualified in President Buhari’s cabinet
We thank God because for me that implies that Buhari’s administration goes for quality and merit. Let us face it, President Buhari is a broad-minded man, a good human being because if he were to behave like the ordinary Nigerian, he will be so bitter, sarcastic and acidic and in fact so caustic in his language and attitude. However, Buhari is still accommodating the young lady despite his father. That means he is a righteous man. So if the lady is very good, that confirms that Buhari goes by merit. The lady would be very ashamed of his father for embarrassing her all over the country.
His take on the just concluded general elections
I am definitely not happy about the manner it was handled. Nigerians pretend a lot when they talk about militarization. When they know deep in their hearts that we cannot do without the military. Without the military, you cannot hold elections that would be peaceful. Unless they would kill everybody as they did in 2015. That is the hypocrisy of Nigerians, which I find very annoying when we know clearly we cannot do without the military.
Second is the tendency of the judiciary to declare a particular party unopposed. That was what they did in Rivers by eliminating the APC while declaring the PDP unopposed. So it was a one-party election. The same thing is about to happen in Zamfara so the PDP that lost the elections can just walk into governance. Those are the things I think that are bedevilling our democracy.
I was offered ministerial appointments three times by Obasanjo, two times by Yar’Adua and I turned them down — Buba Galadinma
Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has been very unpredictable and perverse in some ways. For example, the way it pursued the issue of Zamfara to an unreasonable extent where it turned the right of observation to the right to determine either there were primaries or not. How did INEC come to the conclusion that all the votes in Rivers State were valid except in some few places and therefore you cannot conduct a fresh election? The over 800,000 votes are suspicious because in 2015 what the card reader read in terms of those who actually voted was about 229,000 and it was only the Supreme Court that said anybody who was ticked should be regarded as having voted. The figure jumped from 229,000, in the card reader, to 1.1 million in voters’ register. So, those things that happened then, some of them are happening now. With these, I think INEC has not been fair enough and was a little biased against the APC in order to prove to the PDP and the whole world that he (INEC Chairman) was not afraid of the government.
How would you describe the call in some quarters for de-registration of parties that performed poorly at the polls to the 91 political parties to a smaller number?
I absolutely agree with them, 91 parties are ridiculous. Once there is an opportunity Nigerians tend to abuse it. There are people with the one-man party all over the place. In a federal election, some parties didn’t get up to 1,000 votes when one person was getting about 15 million votes. I feel such parties should be penalized. Just imagine the length of the ballot paper, complicated, causing confusion. I think a law should be promulgated that will have the effect of cutting down the number of parties contesting elections to nothing more than 10.
But some are of the view that the electorate should be the determinant of political party’s lifespan
Unless they are saying if the party does not perform in an election up to a minimum level, they should be removed. I think it is a very good idea. There should be some set parameters of a minimum a political party must attain in all elections. Like scoring five per cent of the general votes. Or if you fail to produce lawmakers at any level both in Senate and the House of Representatives then automatically you are de-registered so that clowns would not be forming political parties to ridicule our electoral system by abusing the opportunities the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi created.
Some people blamed the bogus multi-party system to the electoral act President Buhari refused to sign?
Absolutely not. 91 political parties in the last elections have nothing to do with the electoral act. There was nothing in that electoral act that limited the number of parties. What was in the electoral act that I felt was significant was the electronic transfer of votes. Which in principle is very good provided it is hacker proof. And it wasn’t hacker proof. What was introduced, there were people who were trained in anticipation of the presidential election to hack into it and introduce fake result. So there is a need to put those things into consideration before going ahead to sign the electoral act. President Buhari absolutely saved Nigeria from catastrophe for not signing the electoral act.
How do you see the raging tussle for the leadership of forthcoming Ninth National Assembly?
It’s a shame. Where a party has won an election with a handsome majority, a minority party is shamelessly scheming to take the leadership position of the majority party compromising unreliable and unprincipled members of the majority party. It shows that Nigeria’s political culture as far as the political party is concerned is still at the stone-age level where the propensity of self over principle and what is right is overwhelming. Secondly, there are members of that political party allowing themselves to be used the way the Senate President Bukola Saraki behaved. Reverting the right of their party to personal gain, sabotaging everything and bringing the opposition that lost to a leadership position is a terrible disgrace. This time, something has to be done about such people. Anybody who goes to contest against Senator Ahmad Lawan in APC as Senate President should face very severe sanction. So severe that nobody would ever try it in his life again. So, nobody will ever be a traitor and a serpent within a majority party and think he can ever get away with it.
But is that not the beauty of Democracy
No. That is the ugly face of abuse of democracy. In fact, it is a great abuse, it is lack of culture, lack of discipline, and making democracy look ugly.