Mr Osaheni Uzamere, a pioneering journalist with the Nigerian Observer in 1968, became famous when barely seven years old at the bar, defended the armed robbery kingpin, Lawrence Anini (aka the Law), who terrorised the defunct Bendel State in 1987 before the late Justice Omo-Agege military tribunal.
In this interview, he said that Nigeria as a nation, was sinking under President Muhammadu Buhari, warning that any attempt by the FG to force the Ruga settlement on Nigerians will spell doom for the country. Excerpt:
By Gabriel Enogholase
What is your take on the failure of the Supreme Court to put to rest the power of INEC in declaring elections inconclusive as witnessed in the recent Osun State judgment?
The Supreme Court held that INEC has no power to declare an election inconclusive. If the Supreme Court said that INEC has no power to declare an election inconclusive, then how would they go ahead to uphold such an election? That it was concluded after the election? As a standard measure in legalism, whatever the Supreme Court of the country said is the final position.
So, whatever the Supreme Court has said is the final. But the statutory position is that there is power in the court to declare an election inconclusive. Only the court can do that and not INEC; that is what the Electoral Law says. INEC cannot just say that an election is inconclusive.
When you now ascribe that to INEC, that is dangerous because INEC can be manipulated. Since 1999 when the so-called present democratic dispensation started, INEC has been manipulated throughout. It is a euphemism in Nigeria to say Independent National Electoral Commission. There is nothing independent about an institution that is an agent of the Federal Government. Nothing! The framers and the operatives of the Nigerian Constitution are taking advantage of the stupidity of Nigerians, which is the truth. And because Nigerians are an idiotic people, they have the tendency to elect idiotic/ wrong leaders.
You cannot say that an agency of government is independent because it is the president that has the right to appoint the chairman and other members of INEC. When you have a democrat at the head of a government, like Goodluck Jonathan and Umaru Shehu Yar’Adua, they did to some extent, concede some certain levels of independence to INEC.
What I am saying is that when you have a democrat as a president, he can allow INEC to have some measure of independence because he is a democrat. But when you have a Military General, who does not understand anything about democracy, he would muzzle INEC as Buhari has been doing and Nigerians do not realise that they are still under military regime after the so-called 20 years of democracy. It is a farce. The first president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was a Military General. But when he was leaving after failing to secure tenure elongation, brought in Yar’Adua, his own man and attached to him, Jonathan. So, for all intent and purposes, both Yar’Adua and Jonathan were military presidents because they were the creators of Obasanjo, the General.
We are now in this quagmire because Buhari, being a Military General and a so-called warlord, does not understand anything at all about democracy. In fact, when Jonathan conceded to him, he said: “having been a Deputy Governor, a governor, Vice- President and President, you still willingly conceded an election.” Buhari said that but Nigerians were not listening to him. What he was saying was that if he found himself in such a position, he will not concede power. But you cannot be a democrat because there is nothing in his antecedent or ancestry that suggested that. That is why we are sinking. Nigeria is sinking because we have military leaders posturing as democrats and they are not.
What is your comment on President Buhari’s selective obedience to court orders as was seen in his government’s refusal to release the Shiite leader, El Zakzaky and Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), the former National Security Adviser while the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen was removed based on an order from the CCT?
It simply portends that Nigeria is still under military dictatorship. President Buhari went before lawyers last year August during the NBA Annual Conference in Abuja, and said that National Security was superior to rule of law. That is Buhari’s signature tune. The man is a dictator, he is an autocrat and we now know his agenda because of the way he has made sure that almost everybody in the nation’s security architecture is Fulani and Muslim.
We didn’t know that they were arranging to Islamize and fulanize Nigeria because if he had acted as president of a federation of 250 tribes, as heterogeneous as that is, he would realise that it was wrong for everybody to be from that small tribe. He was not bothered because his ambition was to install the Fulanis on top of every Nigerian. And that is what is going to make Nigeria continue to burn. And Obasanjo, who has held that position twice as president for about 20 years, had warned that if Buhari is not stopped or he doesn’t stop himself, Nigeria will be going into another civil war.
He doesn’t need to say that, because a lot of Nigerians are idiots. You now decide to create small, small haven for Fulani herdsmen in every state of the federation to rear their cattle. You believe that the people who own the land will keep quiet. Why should Buhari nationalise cattle husbandry? From what he has done, he is using Federal Government resources to make herding a national business. Luckily for Nigerians and the world, Nigerians are kicking. So, we are very far away from democracy and until all the political parties learn not to field ex-soldiers as leaders, we will continue to be in this quagmire.
What is your take on RUGA settlement controversy?
They are trying to make RUGA a Federal Government business. It is unconstitutional. Before the Federal Government can take over anything, it has to approach the National Assembly because you have three arms of government, i.e., the Legislative, the Executive and the Judicature, what you people call the Judiciary.
You go to the National Assembly or the State House of Assembly and say: “We want to make cattle husbandry a business, we want to take it over.
The National Assembly members will debate it, there will be input from the general citizenry. No, they are just allocating money for all these things without reference to the National Assembly. You cannot spend Nigeria’s money without authorisation from the Senate.
He is not doing that. Everybody knows that he is a dictator and we know this, yet we want to bring him. The ACN collapsed into APC because the Yorubas were promised that Buhari will handover power to them. But I am telling you and quote me: I am a 77-year-old Nigerian, the Fulanis will never handover power to the Yorubas. They have done this several times. First, Abubakar Balewa assured Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the afternoon that he will not declare a state of emergency in the old Western Region. He assured Awolowo when Awolowo went to meet him that he was hearing rumours that ‘you want to declare a state of emergency in the Western Region.’ And Balewa assured him, saying ‘ah Awolowo, you are a very experienced lawyer, you know that declaring a state of emergency in a region is a tall order constitutionally. This was about 2p.m, to 3p.m., in the afternoon, but by 7p.m., he declared it. That was in 1963.
Secondly, they went to the late Chief Anthony Enahoro, they said that the North is more pleasant with you as president as against Awolowo. The old man was deceived and joined the National Party of Nigeria, NPN. They made sure that at the end, they pulled the rug off his feet.
Thirdly, they went to Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, when he was in exile in Ivory Coast and said to him, “Come home, we will grant you pardon, come and contest as a senator, we will make you the Senate President. As brilliant as Ojuwku was, he fell for it. And he came to Nnewi and contested as a Senator. A night or two before, the same NPN, headed by the Fulanis and the Hausas, made sure that they saturated the whole scene with money.
The Ikemba himself did not even win his constituency. Then lastly, to tell you how this people behave, they had promised Bola Tinubu that Buhari will hand over to him. But 2023 is still far and we are now hearing from El-Rufai that that is not going to happen. We are hearing too that they are saying Nuhu Rubadu, the former EFCC Chairman will succeed Buhari.
And when that happens, the eyes of the Yorubas will be very clear. Chief Awolowo of blessed memory used to warn Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of blessed memory that ‘you cannot negotiate with people whose positions are already fixed.’ Lord Frederick Lugard did not amalgamate Nigeria, he annexed Southern Nigeria to Northern Nigeria and the South is now trying to wriggle free from that annexation. We are annexed today even though Lugard announced in colonial dispatches that the South is the beautiful bride even without the oil and with oil now made us the beautiful bride.
And before the English people left, they were more in love with the Hausa/Fulanis, who were ready for us to concede everything to them. So, it was not amalgamation, that was where people made the mistake. I read History and Politics at the University of Ibadan and left there 50 years ago i.e. 1968. So, I have grown with Nigeria’s political history. The Fulani/Hausa man will not give power to Bola Tinubu. They would want to retain the power to concretize what they are all putting out. That is when Nigeria will go up in flames(RUGA will break Nigeria). Apart from the arrangement between the Hausa/Fulani and the Yorubas, how about the Igbos who are about 1/3 of the country? We the historians know how this is going to work out. When men like me talk, it is not the Holy Spirit that is talking through me, but history.
We know that Nigeria is already at war, because there is no way you can suppress a people for too long; they will react. According to Obasanjo in his last letter to President Buhari, he said Nigeria is already at the precipice and we are going to fall over the cliff.