By Chinwoke Akoma
Chief Martin Onovo, the presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party, NCP, the party founded by the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, in the 2019 general elections, speaks on how he would have shared portfolios to ministers-designate were he to be in the shoes of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ministerial list: what do you think of it?
We must first ask ourselves whether Gen. Buhari was legitimately elected before he can make ministerial nominations legitimately. In our opinion, falsification of election results is reasonable as it is an overthrow of the sovereignty of the people.
While we wait for the tribunal to determine that, we have followed events at the tribunal and we have seen the contradictions of the positions of Gen. Buhari and INEC on the certificate issue and the election results as collated manually and on the INEC server. We also have the reports of election observers like the EU Observer Mission, the US International Republican Institute and the US National Democratic Institute. It is clear that the “stolen mandate” of 2019 is worse than the “annulment” of June 12, 1993.
The ministerial list has many people battling corruption allegations and many old and recycled people. This confirms our claim that the anti-corruption fight is deceitful. The number of ministers is also unwieldy and the list is dominated by Muslims, consistent with the perceived Islamization agenda in Nigeria.
Do you think the list should have come earlier?
We expect that in a legitimate government, the list should come much earlier but even in President Buhari’s first tenure, the Ministers were sworn-in over five months after he had been inaugurated. So while we expect that the list should come earlier, we also know that Buhari lacks a sense of urgency on serious national issues.
What is your take on the return of old faces in the cabinet?
That was predictable. Buhari insisted publicly on nominating people he knows instead of people that can serve better. This can be interpreted as placing his personal interest above national interest. The old faces reappointed had failed previously but apparently, for Buhari’s personal interest, he prefers to reappoint them against national interest.
Was Gen. Buhari right in not indicating the ministries of his nominees at the Senate screening?
We think that it would have been better if their ministries were indicated so that the Senate screening will be more effective with more specific questions on the challenges in the particular ministries.
How do you rate the screening of the Ministers by the Senate?
Very poorly! It seemed as if the leadership of the Senate was desperate to confirm our allegation that they are puppets of the executive. The Senate screening subverted the objectives of that very important national undertaking.
What are the factors you think can be applied to determine the ministries of the nominees?
Regular human resource management factors of education, experience, energy, competence, federal character, public priorities and, most importantly, integrity.
What do you think of the ‘state of the nation’ especially with respect to insecurity and the economy?
The ‘state of the nation’ is very painful with respect to the economy and insecurity.
On the economy, we have the highest unemployment level ever, the highest total public debt ever, highest price inflation ever, a deeply devalued Naira and the highest number of people living in extreme poverty worldwide. All these catastrophic economic indices were recorded during the tenure of Buhari. The economy has been clearly ruined by the Buhari government.
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On insecurity, the situation has continuously deteriorated throughout Nigeria since Buhari was sworn-in. According to the Shehu of Borno, “nobody can dare move out of Maiduguri by 10 kilometres without being attacked by Boko Haram”. According to Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, “a large area of Borno State is still not accessible to health care workers because of the activities of Boko Haram”. Since the reported government payment of a ransom of two million Euros to Boko Haram for the release of some kidnap victims, Boko Haram has resurged, killed thousands of Nigerian soldiers and overran so many military bases including Gajiram, Mainok, Rann, Geidam, Sasawa, Magumeri, Malam Fatori, Gashigha, Kanama, Mafa, Gamboru-Ngala, Damasak, Gudumbali, Garunda, Kunduga, Kareto, Jili, Arge, Zari, Arege, Metele, BuniGari, etc.
In addition to Boko Haram that operates majorly in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, we have the terrorist herdsmen that operate in almost all states of Nigeria and have killed more Nigerians than Boko Haram in the last 12 months. Government has failed catastrophically on the security of lives and property and in managing the economy. Paradoxically, security and economy are two of the three priority areas of the government.
What is your advice to Buhari on fixing Nigeria?
Our advice to Buhari on fixing Nigeria is that he lacks the vision, vigour and competence required to fix Nigeria. Also, since he knows that he did not win the 2019 election, he should confess and step out of Aso Rock for the authentic choice of Nigerians to lead. Otherwise, he can support the restructuring of the country as demanded by a clear majority of Nigerians.
What is your perspective on RUGA?
The RUGA policy is Islamization and fulanization. It is unlawful and undemocratic. It is simply abusing government authority to steal the lands of indigenous people and give them to terrorist herdsmen as a camp to further their attacks on innocent Nigerians and Islamize and fulanize entire Nigeria. Let us remind you of Buhari’s declaration that “I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria”. RUGA is a violation of the Constitution of Nigeria. We will resist RUGA by all means, moral, legal, political and strategic.
What is your perspective on state police?
We opposed state police for many reasons. Many states owe salaries. They do not pay their teachers. How will they fund and pay their state police? The risk of unpaid teachers is not the same as the risk of unpaid armed police personnel. The risk is too high. We have seen the abuse of state institutions and we know that state police will be abused against political opponents. There is also a high risk of clashes between the police of different states, say in boundary disputes, etc. We have seen the killing of Nigerian policemen by Nigerian soldiers.
However, with our move for restructuring, the federating regions in a restructured Nigeria will have their own regional police. This will reduce the risk of abuse and the risk of unpaid policemen.
What is your perspective on the anti-corruption war?
Do not be deceived. There is no anti-corruption war. What we have is a pro-corruption scheme that is concealed with very elaborate anti-corruption rhetoric. It is clear that this is the most corrupt government ever in Nigeria. Everything about this government is corrupt, with nepotism, sectionalism, fake certificates, false affidavits, false propaganda, falsified election results, unprecedented looting of national resources, etc. This government deliberately promotes corruption in many ways like, the appointment of corruption suspects, shielding corruption suspects that support the ruling party from the law, political deals with corruption suspects to be freed in exchange for political support, blackmail, intimidation and harassment of politicians that oppose the ruling party, etc.
For discerning citizens, this is the most corrupt government ever. This government has spent nearly N30trillion belonging to Nigerians since May 2015 till date. Yet, no new power station, no new refinery, no significant maintenance of the existing refineries, no new Niger bridge, only the false propaganda of a ‘completed’ Ogwashi-uku dam. Send your correspondent to Ogwashi-uku to see the empty site overgrown with weeds. International agencies like Transparency International and the US Department of State have exposed the “massive corruption” in this government.