The Federal Government has been implored to tell Nigerians the true position of things regarding the ongoing war against Boko Haram insurgents. Making the appeal in an interview with TUNDE THOMAS, a leading chieftain of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Senator Femi Okurounmu, lamented that Nigerians are getting confused over the current situation of things regarding the military campaign against insurgency. Okurounmu also spoke on other national issues.
What is Afenifere’s reaction to the APC’s panel report supporting restructuring of the country?
Nigerians should be wary and vigilant about APC’s surprise and pretentious U-turn over restructuring. APC’s new position on restructuring is a big deceit. APC cannot deceive Nigerians. Since 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari got elected into office, he has never hidden his disdain for restructuring. Even on January 1, this year, in his nationwide address, President Buhari openly kicked against restructuring; so why this sudden U-turn by the president and other APC leaders including Governor Nasir el-Rufai who have at every turn lambasted proponents of restructuring including Afenifere leaders? Nigerians should be vigilant, APC leaders including el-Rufai, Buhari, Tinubu and others are now saying they support restructuring because they know that 2019 general election is fast approaching, and having realized that millions of Nigerians who wanted restructuring will not vote for APC and Buhari, this is why APC leaders are suddenly making this u-turn.
APC’s sudden offer and support for restructuring is a big deceit. It is a Greek gift. Nigerians should shine their eyes, APC is not a party to be trusted over its new position on restructuring. APC wants to deceive Nigerians to vote for the party and Buhari in 2019; that’s why they are making this new promise. APC is not a party to be trusted because both the party, and President Buhari have never fulfilled their electoral promises to Nigerians. APC is trying to hoodwink Nigerians. It is a party that can’t be trusted.
No, these APC leaders like I said earlier can’t be trusted. Nigerians should not allow themselves to be deceived. It is because elections are fast approaching, and APC wants Buhari to be reelected; that’s why they are singing this new song, but within their hearts, they know they are lying.
From the inception of Buhari’s administration in 2015, he and other APC leaders had stoutly opposed restructuring until now that they are singing a new song which is a song of deceit. Buhari had on several occasions, and even not only Buhari, but also Tinubu and the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, publicly declared that Buhari’s administration would not have anything to do with restructuring. Not only that, despite appeals by millions of Nigerians, Buhari vowed not to have anything to do with the recommendations of the 2014 national confab. He said the 2014 confab reports will be kept in the archives where it will gather dust. How can Nigerians now trust these set of people? They can’t be trusted.
Even on restructuring that APC has now agreed should be carried out, questions are being asked about the time. The argument is that time is too short before the 2019 general elections, what’s your take on that?
I completely disagree. This is exactly the ploy APC wants to use. APC leaders will promise Nigerians that restructuring will be carried out as soon as Buhari commenced second term in office. This is nothing but deceit.
What I want to assure Nigerians is this, if they should make the mistake of voting Buhari for a second term believing that he will truly carry out restructuring as being promised by his party, APC, during his second term in office, it means Nigerians have entered a one-chance bus. It means Nigerians have forgotten nothing and learnt nothing, APC and Buhari will never fulfil that promise as soon as he gets the second term ticket.
Nigerians should be vigilant. We should not allow the world to call us fools. APC is not serious about restructuring, they just want to deceive us in order to get our votes. Let me say this again, Tinubu should not think he can deceive people of the SouthWest again. The people of the South West are now wiser. They have seen Buhari in his true colour. Buhari is no longer sellable in the South West and most parts of the country, except maybe North West and North East geo-political zones. Tinubu will meet his political waterloo in the South West in 2019 if he tries to sell Buhari to the people. My candid assessment of Tinubu’s principal, Buhari is that he is no longer sellable, and that’s why even the Northern elders and leaders are now shopping for a consensus credible candidate from the North to replace him. The cult following which Buhari enjoyed in the North had vanished.
Now for those apologists who will want to argue that time is too short between now and 2019 to carry out restructuring, I say a big No. Where there is a will, there will always be a way. Buhari can carry out restructuring within three months. To make things easy for him, his party, APC, is the one controlling the majority in the National Assembly, and most state Houses of Assembly are also controlled by the APC.
Since there is no obstacle on Buhari’s way, why the time excuse? It is the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly that will do the necessary constitution amendment to pave way for restructuring, and since it is APC that is controlling the majority in both the National and state assemblies, if Buhari and APC leaders have the will, nothing stops them from carrying out restructuring within three months. There should be no excuse. It is people that are Buhari’s apologists that will give excuses; People like Governor Nasir el-Rufai, Adebayo Shittu, Minister for Communications and other Buhari apologists will be giving excuses. But these Buhari apologists are enemies of Nigeria. They are more concerned with their own personal interests rather than the nation’s interests.
On what condition will Afenifere support Buhari should he seek reelection in 2019 or the possibility of supporting him has been ruled out?
Afenifere has nothing personal against Buhari except his leadership style. If Buhari demonstrates exemplary leadership style which portrays him as a true national leader, why won’t he be supported. If Buhari truly and genuinely carries out genuine restructuring, and not a doctored or tainted one, why would Afenifere oppose him? But with the way Buhari has been running the affairs of this country, there is no way he can get Afenifere’s support. Look at the mindless killings by Fulani herdsmen all over the country. Is Buhari showing sufficient interests in bringing the situation under control? We are almost in a state of war now as a result of Fulani herdsmen killings. A new wave of Fulani imperialism is sweeping across the country under Buhari’s watch, and Buhari seems to be helpless to bring the situation under control. Buhari is behaving as if he doesn’t care about what happens to citizens in other parts of the country as long as his Fulani kinsmen remain untouchable; how can Afenifere now support such a sectional leader? Look at corruption taking place under Buhari’s nose – the Maina saga and the recent reinstatement of the NHIS Executive Secretary, Professor Yusuf Umar, who is being investigated for corruption by the Presidency clearly show that Buhari’s so-called war against corruption is selective. Buhari should not deceive anybody, his war against corruption is against his political foes.
What is your reaction to the recent letters written to President Buhari by two former leaders, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Olusegun Obasanjo?
In his letter to Buhari, Obasanjo spoke the minds of majority of Nigerians. Like Obasanjo said, Buhari has been doing his best, but his best is not good enough for Nigeria. Although Obasanjo spoke the minds of Nigerians but the truth of the matter is that the words spoken by Obasnajo though true and correct, but those words are coming out of a wrong mouth. Obasanjo foisted Buhari on Nigerians. He can’t now come out to disown him. Obasanjo has been imposing leaders who have in some cases not met expectations of Nigerians. What this means is that Obasanjo himself has a poor sense of judgment.
Again, Obasanjo himself didn’t do well when he was in office. Obasanjo is equally guilty of most of what he is accusing Buhari of committing. As for General Babangida, I believe he should have kept quiet considering the way he almost destroyed Nigeria over his infamous role in the June 12 annulment saga. He almost destroyed Nigeria over his personal ambition in perpetuating himself in power.
Not only that, Babangida foisted Obasanjo and General Sani Abacha on Nigerians. Through his poor sense of judgment by foisting Obasanjo and Abacha on Nigeria, this nation was almost destroyed. Both Obasanjo and Babangida should keep quiet. They should stop talking. They were part of others who have brought Nigeria into the mess we found ourselves now. Obasanjo and Babangida are playing to the gallery. They should be ignored. Nobody should give them attention. Obasanjo and Babangida should stop meddling in Nigeria’s affairs. They should stop imposing leaders on this nation, they should let Nigerians decide on their own leaders. Babangida imposed Abacha, and we all knew how Nigeria was turned into a living hell under Abacha. Obasanjo also imposed Buhari, and now he is complaining; both Obasanjo and Babangida should just keep quiet. They are part of Nigeria’s problems.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has equally come up with the idea of a movement, coalition for Nigeria as part of efforts …
Coalition for what? Nigerians should not be deceived. Obasanjo is just looking for another platform to impose another leader on Nigeria. But he and his coalition even if the coalition transforms into a political party, it will fail. Obasanjo’s coalition movement is doomed. Doomed I say because Obasanjo is a selfish individual. Obasanjo is putting up that movement to serve his personal interests, but that movement will fail. It is going nowhere. Obasanjo’s coalition movement is doomed, it is a non-starter. Obasanjo always have this erroneous impression that he is very popular, but what he should realise is that when it comes to politics, he is one of the least popular figures in Nigeria. In 1999 when he was contesting the Presidency, he lost his ward in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Obasanjo has never won any popular election; the few ones that he has won, he won through massive rigging like in 2003 and 2007 general elections. Obasanjo corrupted our electoral system through rigging. He can never win in a free and fair election.
Obasanjo always wants to present himself as the nation’s messiah, but he is not. Obasanjo is never a saint. He is far from being a saint. Although there are some people who worship him, both Obasanjo and his admirers can’t make any headway through the so-called coalition. That coalition will never fly; Obasanjo and his coalition are doomed to fail if their mission is to capture political power.