Senator Femi Okurounmu was the chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee for the 2015 National Conference. In this interview, he predicts a woeful and disgraceful outing for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general elections.
How would you react to President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration for a second term?
My reaction is that the man is deaf to public opinion. He is embarking on a suicide mission, a mission to political death and disgrace. If he contests in 2019, he will suffer the greatest political humiliation and disgrace of his life by the magnitude of his defeat because Nigerians are disenchanted with him. The propaganda of 2015 can no longer work. The Emperor is now naked; he has been exposed and people don’t like what they have seen of him. So, it is better he goes home to retire and look after his health. Nigerians are tired of the way he has been killing them. He is the leader of a gang killing Nigerians. He knows a lot about genocide being committed on Nigerians today. We are tired of his attempt to polarize Nigeria and allow the Fulani to take over the country. Nigerians will not sit by and allow that to happen. We have allowed him to ruin the country enough. He is ruining our economy, ruining everything. So, the earlier he gets out of office, the better for us.
But those in government circle have a number of achievements to parade such as increase in the level of external reserves, stability of electricity supply and development of road and railway infrastructure among others…
I give it to Fashola that electricity has been a bit stable under this government. But does that compensate for the fact that he is killing us? Will those killed enjoy electricity? Is it until we have all been captured and enslaved by the Fulani that we will enjoy electricity? I give it back to them.
You do know, of course, that the issue of Fulani/herdsmen has been on for quite some time. It didn’t start under this government. Did it?
That is not correct. We used to have Fulani herdsmen with sticks not with AK 47 killing people with impunity. Every day you hear of people being killed by the Fulani herdsmen in several states of the country. That has not been with us before this government. In fact, the Fulani herdsmen are just the latest front of the Boko Haram fight. As they granted amnesty to Boko Haram, they armed them to come and masquerade as herdsmen to be killing us. That is their latest strategy.
Are you insinuating that he is the one fueling the killings?
Of course, he is the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces. Isn’t he? Danjuma has said it and nobody can say it better. The military is colluding with the herdsmen to kill people. Do you know how many people the herdsmen have killed with the military on their side? Even when villagers are trying to protect themselves, the military is always on the side of the herdsmen.
Following Danjuma’s outburst, the military has set up a commission to investigate the allegation of military collusion with the bandits. What is your expectation of the committee?
Can a man investigate himself? When charges are leveled against the military, is it the military that should investigate those charges? Doesn’t that show you that they are making fools of the rest of us? They think we are fools? Danjuma made allegations against the military, now the military is investigating itself. What do you expect?
Are you aware that the committee comprises people from civil society as well as members of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA)?
It is the military that is doing the investigation, full stop. No matter who they put there, it is the military that is doing the investigation.
Which other body other than the military do you think is in a better position to do the investigation to really get to the root of this matter?
They can set up a judicial commission of enquiry to look into it. That would have been more credible.
Even when such committee members can also be handpicked by the Federal Government?
If they want it to be credible, the Chief Justice of the Federation can handpick members.
What do you also have to say about the $1 billion authorised for release from the Excess Crude Account for the purchase of military equipment which the Senate is uncomfortable with?
This is the money Buhari has approved for his election. This is the money the APC wants to spend for Buhari’s re-election. Even the market women know that. Nigerians cannot be deceived. Fayose, Ekiti State governor has told them. Even without Fayose telling them, the market woman knows, everybody knows that this is just the money for Buhari’s election.
You mean there is no need to buy equipment that is needed to fight the insurgents that is threatening the existence of the nation?
That is just a pretext. Even now, the so-called Boko Haram is all being stage-managed by the government. Look at the capture of the Dapchi girls; it was all stage-managed by the government itself. Both the capture and the release were stage-managed by the government. The government has told us enough lies. Nigerians don’t believe in those lies any more
You are one of the leaders of thought in Yoruba land and every word you speak carries a lot of weight. I hope you are being mindful of some of these allegations you have raised?
I am; they are not strange allegations.
Can they be proved or substantiated?
What is it you want me to substantiate again? All the circumstantial evidences point to everything I have told you. It is only the gullible that will believe anything to the contrary.
But you are sounding partisan here. Aren’t you?
I am not sounding partisan; I am just telling you the truth. The truth is that Buhari is running a government of the Fulani for the Fulani and to kill the rest of Nigerians.
What is the way forward?
Number one, the way forward is to first of all get rid of Buhari, he has to go. If he doesn’t retire voluntarily, we shall defeat him mercilessly in 2019. He will be humiliated and disgraced. And then we will put up a government that will restructure Nigeria so that we no longer have a people who think they are the ruling class.
Now that the APC has come up with its own restructuring agenda, can they implement it before the next election?
How many times are they going to fool us? If someone has fooled you three times, would you allow him fool you the third time? In 2007, when Buhari was contesting, he promised that he would restructure. It was part of the manifesto of his party. The same thing in 2011, it was in his manifesto to restructure. In 2015, it was in the APC manifesto that they would restructure, if they won. But as soon as he won the election, he said he doesn’t know restructuring. Buhari has told lies for three consecutive times. The first thing he did when he got to office was to say that he would put the report of the national conference in the archive. And all his spokesmen were saying that agitators of restructuring were frustrated men who had lost elections. They used all sorts of derogatory words. Now, a year to the election, they are saying they want restructuring. They can’t keep deceiving us.
Having said all this, where do you see Nigeria in the next four years, if Buhari is elected for another term of office?
If by rigging Buhari wins in 2019, that is the end of Nigeria. Everybody will go his own way. Then Buhari will be the one to bring an end to the contraption called Nigeria. He will be the undertaker.
What do you suggest as the panacea to avert such a doom?
Let him embark on restructuring right away before the next elections. Restructuring can be done within three months. If he wants us to believe him, he can do it within three months. If the committee headed by El-Rufai is serious with their report, they should embark on the implementation of restructuring. Let Buhari send an executive bill to the National Assembly to implement the restructuring, if he believes it. It will be easy for him because his party controls the senate and the House of Representatives. The bill will have an easy passage because he has the number there. All they need to do is just to amend the relevant sections of the Constitution to effect restructuring. Let each state have the autonomy that is required. Let us devolve powers to the states so that each state can have the authority to initiative programmes to develop at its own pace according to the needs of its own people. Let them amend the Constitution to allow all these things to happen. All these can be done within a month. Again, the APC controls the majority of the state and the Governors’ Forum has given consent to this report. So, if they believe it, many of the states will be able to pass all the amendments through the state assembly. Once the state assemblies approve it, it can be sent to the National Assembly. Within three months we can have restructuring. We shall then clap for Buhari and re-elect them.
Is there any possibility of the Third Force providing an alternative government in 2019?
The salvation of this country now depends on the Third Force. I hope all the Third Forces will unite so that we can have a single and powerful force. If all of them can unite and we have a single Third Force, we will defeat APC hands down.
What is the ideological framework by which all of them can come together as one powerful force?
The uniting ideological framework is restructuring. We need to devolve powers to stop having an all-powerful centre so that we will not all depend on one president who is the president of the Cattle Rearers’ Association who calls himself president of Nigeria.