.Says, I’ll cease to be a Nigerian if Tinubu becomes president
By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: Former Military Administrator of Ondo state, Chief Olabode George has lamented the growing wave of insecurity in the country, calling for drastic measures to drag Nigeria from the brinks, saying the country is currently headless and wobbling.
George who was also a former Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA and National Vice Chairman, Southwest zone of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP made his position known in a television interview monitored Friday in Abuja.
His position came as the immediate-past National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC and former Governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole opposed any call for a military take over of government, describing it as irresponsible, senseless and treasonable.
Oshiomhole spoke on Friday when he received the leadership of Law Students Association of Nigeria LAWSAN led by its president, Mr Blessing Agbonmhere.
Aside the former party leader, the Forum of Buhari Support Groups FOBSG also rose in support of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the current wave of insecurity in the country is being fuelled by corrupt elements in the polity.
Oshiomhole who was reacting to a call by a senior lawyer, Chief Robert Clarke to the effect that the military should take over and restructure the federation, the former APC National Chairman said; “Incidentally, I watched on a national television one of your very senior colleagues, Chief Robert Clarke. I was shocked when I saw him calling on the President to handover to the military, I thought that was the height of irresponsibility, given his knowledge, given his age and a very senior member of the bar and what is it that he wanted? He wants a military that will restructure Nigeria? It is again, for me, senseless because the structure as it is today, who put it in place? Who overthrew the parliamentary system?
“The parliamentary system was overthrown by the Nigerian military, that is on record. Who created 12 states from the four regions by decree? It was the military. The current 36 states and FCT who created it by military decree? It was the military. How can anybody who has lived through and who is familiar with our journey as a nation think that the solution to our problems as a nation is to handover to the military? I thought, talking about the rule of law, that is treason.
“You know we have freedom of speech but it does not include the freedom to canvass unlawful means to effect a change. When you canvass unlawful means, then you should be arraigned before a court of law and dealt with according to the law. Ignorance is not even an excuse in law not to talk of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. I think that even in our moment of distress and regardless of what anybody thinks, the world is resolved and Nigeria is part of it that never again shall we be governed by an unelected government, never, we don’t want unelected angels.
“Robert Clarke, I have a lot of respect for him. When I see him on television, I like to watch him because you can’t take it away from him because he has made his own contributions but I was shocked that he could resort to unlawful suggestions as to how to solve our problems.
Even his prescriptions did not benefit from his own experience in life, if the military had solution, Nigeria would have been the greatest country on earth, if dictatorship is the answer.
“I think when it comes to the rule of law, it does not flourish under dictatorship. The first thing that suffers under military is the rule of law because the process of making laws will be appropriated by the military.
The thing that we will be missing is parliament where you can canvass your input to dispute to agree or disagree. So, for anyone who is familiar with this to think that the Nigerian Army should be entrusted, I thought Clarke owns Nigerians an apology.”
Speaking on the breakfast show, George began in pidgin, saying; “I believe we dey, but we no dey kankpe”, adding that; “I believe that for over 75 years that I have lived on this mother earth, I had never experienced or seen my nation in this situation. It is like we are headless.
Nothing is going on and I feel that the insecurity in the land, the lack of employment in the land and so many vagaries of inactivities jumpstarting, encouraging people to move from A to B peacefully to carry out their normal jobs and make their money at the end of the day and keep their families alive. We cannot guarantee that anymore. So, I keep wondering because this is no longer a matter of Party A or Party B. Nigeria is in dire straits. The president must rise to the level where…well, I cannot teach him because he was my boss in the military.
There are so many ways, I believe from my military training, that you can approach the situation. We have what we used to call aid to civil power, that is, if the police action is not working, is not efficient, then the Commander in Chief can get the army out in an operational order that can secure lives and property because the first responsibility of any government is the security of lives and property of its people. Once you don’t get that going, the National Assembly can shout from here to Timbuktu but the country is wobbling and something has to be done and done very quickly. It is our nation.
The heavens are going to fall. Nobody is secure. When you get out of your house whether you are a rich man or poor or middle class, you keep looking left and right and watching your head for security. What is this?
“The platform is wobbling and wobbling so badly. So, what can you do? The lawmakers are talking. There is so much anger in the land. People are displeased and unhappy.
Presidency’s position accusing critics of nursing a coup, a thrash“The statement by the government on coup plot is an absolute trash.
What are you talking about taking over government. An elected government? Are you saying if we feel something is going wrong, we cannot talk? Talking is our birth right and our fundamental human right. Are you saying we are zombies to be quiet and start working around silent? The president must have a feedback and that feedback is the fact that all is not well.
Femi Adesina can be deceiving himself there but all is not well. He must have relations, friends or his own children too who are going from location A to location B. It is heart-wrenching and this talk about trying to take over government, to do what? When Jonathan was there, the current minister of information was the greatest spokesman, talking from all sides of his mouth and head, blasting the government. In fact, I remember one time, Bola Tinubu called Jonathan a drunken Ijaw fisher man.
He didn’t get offended. So, you are now telling people to be quiet because you are planning to do what? You are elected to serve the people and you must ensure that there is security of life. It is non negotiable. Let them move away from this scary and unfathomable statements”.
On the statement by Chief Clarke, the former National official of the PDP said military rule is an aberration.
“Let me advise our people. It is not the responsibility of the military to get involved in governance. I was in the military and I knew what it was when we had the normal civilian governance and what it was when the military took over. The impact it has on the military itself, we are yet to completely get back to normal operations. People who are talking about the military, that is not our responsibility. It has never been and it will never be.
Everybody is designed, trained to do his own function so that the collective responsibility is to make sure that A and B can move in one direction that is reflective of civilised behaviour.
“Please, those who are talking about having the military should dance away from it. It is not acceptable. It will completely roll this country back many centuries. I don’t subscribe to it.
The system we are running is akin to a military organization. You have one man sitting at the top of government and his orders percolate to the bottom. No, in a democratic dispensation, power must come from the bottom up.
The power of the people is what will drive our politicians and our leaders in taking decisions because you were elected based on your promise to manage the resources on behalf of the people. It should not be the other way round.
Devolution of powers
“Another thing is that the system that was handed over since 1999 is not working and you will know that the lack of communal security is what is being transported and it is expanding and completely consuming this country.
It means that the issue of total centralization of the power of the presidency is not working. You have to devolve powers to the states so that the states and local governments will also have their own powers so that from unit to unit the people in such places can hold their immediate leaders to account.
But to leave it that one man will sit and the powers will percolate from top to bottom in this massive nation? That system has not worked. We have tried it, it is not working.
“Let us not deceive ourselves and there has been a national conference. A report was submitted, that report is still there. We have another one year of the grace of God to let us sit down and discuss the report of that conference and let us move forward. It is not a matter of hating anybody. The consequence is that you are now perpetrating the lack of cohesion among tribes.
They are no longer talking to themselves. What is the problem? Why are we having so much tension among ourselves? I think the devil has entered this country. Maybe we have offended God and I think we need a lot of prayers and sincerity of purpose and commitment”.
I’ll cease to be a Nigerian if…
Chief George also slammed a national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC and former Lagos governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his presidential ambition, saying he would cease to be a Nigerian should the APC leader become president.
“Let me say it in very clear language, to me it is an insult to the civilised people of this country, those who are committed to national development that the likes of him will aspire to take over the mantle of this government. I am of the opinion that the system we are running now is completely ineffective. It is so militarized in its structure and nature. We cannot be waiting for the orders of one person. Let the powers be devolved.
To sit down in one place with somebody barking orders like a military organization is not working. So, for this man saying he wants to be president, you should ask him what did he do where he governed before?
“He is junketing all over the place and it is an insult to civilised minds who have worked so hard in this country. Please, this nation must survive. If by whatever yardstick he becomes the Head of State, I will cease to be a Nigerian”, George declared.
On its part the Forum of Buhari Support Groups FOBSG said the president is not sleeping on the wheels, adding that he is on top of the nation’s security challenges.
National Chairman of the forum, Dr. Abiso Kabir stated this at a news conference Friday in Abuja.
He said; “When you consider the relentless fight against corruption, which was at its peak when the Buhari presidency came on board, compared with the present situation, you cannot but give an above average mark to this government in tackling the hydra- headed monster.
“Though, it is true that the current state of security in our country is less than satisfactory, there is a practical demonstration by the government to address it.
“While we do not intend to give excuses for the unfortunate security challenges we are facing as a nation, there are indications that some of it are being contrived and fuelled by bad belly politics of those who don’t wish the country and its people well.
“As support groups for this administration, we are of the firm conviction that these are temporary setbacks, and trying periods for our nation, and we shall overcome”, they added.