Estranged ally of President Buhari, Buba Galadima has described national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole and other leaders of the ruling party as impostors who would soon be sacked. Speaking with TUNDE THOMAS on the telephone, the controversial politician warned the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC not to toy with the idea of deregistering of any of the country’s 72 political parties. He spoke further on this and more.
What’s your reaction to the conduct of the 2019 general election?
The election was a national embarrassment. It was far from being free and fair. Not only that it was clear to everybody that INEC, the military, and the police all colluded to work for APC.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar won the presidential election but INEC chose to declare President Muhammadu Buhari the winner. The whole world knows that Atiku defeated Buhari hands down but the election was heavily rigged in Buhari’s favour.
Buhari and the APC leadership knew they were going to rig the elections, and that was why Buhari refused to sign the Electoral Act , and that was why he also suspended the former Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen, and replaced him with Tanko Muhammed. The election was not free and fair at all. I boldly challenge Buhari and other APC leaders to swear with the Holy Quran, and the Bible if they were sure that Buhari won that election. If they are sure that Buhari defeated Atiku , Buhari ,and APC leaders should take up my challenge. I’m throwing this challenge openly, I’m making it public, and I’m waiting for any of them who is bold and sure of himself to take up this challenge.
The election was a big fraud. Buhari and APC intimidated INEC, and unfortunately instead of asserting itself INEC succumbed to the pressure from Buhari, and the APC. 2019 general election was a big setback for our democracy because Buhari , and APC hijacked both the INEC, and the whole electoral process. It’s good Atiku had gone to court, and I believe that all hope is not lost for him.
Are you indicting INEC……….
Cuts in…… It was obvious that INEC compromised. There was nothing to show that INEC was truly independent during the elections. INEC was only independent in name during the elections as it surrendered its mandate to the whims and caprices of Buhari and APC. With the way it conducted the election, INEC will enter the Guiness Book of Records as having organized the worst election in Nigeria’s history. The INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood and his officials didn’t live up to expectations.
Very unfortunately, INEC didn’t conceal its bias towards the opposition as elections were being cancelled or being declared inconclusive in places where the opposition especially PDP was leading APC. Some of the states where this evil practice was carried out include Rivers, Benue, Bauchi, Ogun, Plateau and others. INEC’s action was very shameful. It was as if INEC was working for APC.
What all these clearly show again is that Buhari is not fighting corruption. Corruption is not only about stealing money. There are other things that you do that amounts to corruption. Rigging election is another form of corruption. This is why I challenged them earlier to swear by the Holy Quran and the Bible if they were not involved in rigging the election. All APC leaders including Buhari, their hands are not clean over these elections. Then if you know that somebody is corrupt ,and you protect such a person that means that you are also corrupt. APC is a nest of corrupt elements.
Again, I don’t have respect for Nigerian professors with the way they performed as Returning Officers during the elections. Their performance was nothing to write home about. You wonder whether these people are from the ivory towers with the way they conducted themselves during the elections.
Some Nigerians are commending the anti-corruption war by the present government but are you saying that the anti-graft war by this government is a fluke?
Sincerely speaking Buhari is not fighting corruption. Many Ministers in Buhari’s cabinet have mansions all over Abuja and he has been shielding them. Do these people think Nigerians are fools? Look at what Oshiomhole himself publicly said sometime ago that any looter or corrupt element that joins APC will be automatically protected in the party ,and you are saying that these people are fighting corruption. The government’s so called anti-corruption war is a deceit. It is a propaganda to deceive Nigerians.
There was a general expectation that you and others that pulled out of APC were going to provide a tough challenge to President Buhari and APC during the 2019 general elections but the ruling party still won, why couldn’t you deliver?
The election was not free and fair as I said earlier. APC ,and Buhari lost the election but INEC, the military and the police were used to declare APC the winner. Knowing fully well their plans to rig the elections, some months before the polls Buhari deployed the military to some states like Rivers, Benue, Plateau, and others under the guise of tackling insecurity and armed banditry but the actual plan was to use the military rig the elections and this is what they did eventually. The military was used to help APC manipulate the elections. But legally, this is wrong. It is also immoral.
Since 2003,the apex court, the Supreme Court had ruled that the military should not be drafted for elections but in defiance of the court ruling, APC deployed the military for this election .Military personnel were visible all over the country at polling centres.
But what is even annoying is that while the government was deploying the military for the election, armed robbers and bandits were having a field day killing Nigerians from Abuja to Kaduna to Zamfara. In Zamfara state alone the bandits have killed over 1000 people. Why can’t government deploy the military to these places? Why can’t they deploy the military to tackle these hoodlums, bandits ,and armed robbers? But they didn’t do so. They find it more convenient to deploy soldiers for election duty, diverting them away from where their attention and energy is required, all because of their personal interests.
The military should have no role to play in the electoral process at all. If the election has been free and fair, there is no way Buhari would have won the election. To me Buhari is an usurper. He imposed himself on Nigerians. He took power by force, and not through the free will of Nigerians.
Some Nigerians are saying that it would be better for you to work with President Buhari in the overall interest of Nigeria, more so when nothing has been heard about R-APC which you formed at a time when you and others pulled out of the mainstream APC, what’s your take on that?
I can never work with Buhari. I can never work with him or any of these APC people including Oshiomhole. How can I work with Buhari? Is Nigeria making progress under him? No. Nigeria is going back to the stone age under Buhari. He doesn’t know anything about governance. He has become part of Nigeria’s problem and the solution is to vote him out of power with his party. These people are impostors.
Our case is still in court, and I believe R-APC will get justice and all these people including Buhari and Oshiomhole will be removed and then those of us that are legitimate leaders of APC will take over. I still remain the national chairman of R-APC but I have been deliberately keeping quiet because I don’t want to be making unnecessary noise but I believe that at the end of the day we will get justice over these people. We are coming back to take over APC and all these impostors will be sent packing. More so, talking on our court case will amount to contempt and that’s why I have not been talking about it.
What’s your reaction to the statements by a prominent northern leader, Dr Junaid Muhammed in a recent interview with Saturday Sun that the North is not ready to relinquish power to the South come 2023? What do you think is the implication of his statement on national unity?
Junaid is entitled to his own opinion. I believe that power belongs to the people but for now I don’t want to talk further on that. I believe that time is not yet ripe to be talking about 2023. However, when the time comes, it is Nigerians that will decide, and not Muhammed.
INEC was reported to have signified its intention to reduce the number of political parties in Nigeria from the present figure of 72 ,what’s your reaction to that?
It is not possible. Legally, INEC can’t do that. To do so will amount to a violation of the constitution. The Nigerian constitution stipulates that we shall be running a multi-party system , and in a multi-party system the number of political parties we can have is not limited. INEC can’t de-register political parties. To do so, or for it to make any attempt to do that is a violation of the Nigerian constitution.
Even on this issue, the Supreme Court had ruled on it when late Chief Gani Fawehimi acting on behalf of Alhaji Balarabe Musa dragged INEC to court when INEC threatened to deregister Balarabe Musa’s Peoples Redemption Party, PRP. In its ruling, the court declared INEC’s action illegal. What this means is that in a multi-party system you can’t deregister a political party. The formation of as many political parties as possible is allowed.
In the neighbouring Niger Republic, they have over 370 political parties. Any attempt to restrict the number of political parties in a multi-party system is a breach of the constitution. INEC should not overstep its bounds. In Nigeria ,we can have 1000 political parties if we so wish. What matters most is honesty. It is the level of honesty that we exhibit or display in managing the parties that matters . It is sad and very unfortunate that the present INEC has compromised. Nigerians no longer have confidence in INEC.