Former presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Martin Onovo, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for the recurring killings Southern Kaduna.
In this interview, he spoke on a wide-range of issues.
What is your take on this $400-$500 million loan agreement the Ministry of Finance signed on behalf of the Federal Government with China, and which purportedly ceded Nigeria’s sovereignty to China in the event of default in payback?
According to President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, ‘Lending to keeping Africa and her future in debt is a big business that helps those who want to keep Africans in unending slavery’. It is very devastating that in the incompetence and corruption of the Gen. Muhammadu Buhari-led regime, it has continued to borrow recklessly and unpatriotically from all sources. In 2016, the Movement for Fundamental Change and other patriotic groups jointly wrote to the Nigerian Senate and the House of Representatives to check the reckless and unpatriotic borrowing of the Buhari regime. We saw how the National Assembly then led by Senator Bukola Saraki and the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara resisted some of the requests for approval to borrow.
With this rubber-stamp National Assembly led by Senator Ahmed Lawan and Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, every request no matter how absurd gets approved without proper scrutiny. When Gen. Buhari took over power in 2015, the total public debt of Nigeria was N12.1 trillion. Today, it is over N27.8 trillion. Also, in the 2015 budget, we had N0.94trillion for debt obligations but in this 2020 budget, it is N2.3trillion. We must note that this regime has spent over N35trillion since it took over power and has no significant achievement.
A national chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Timi Frank has published that the loans are borrowed and looted. It appears that he is very right. While countries like Norway have accumulated $1trillion for their children in sovereign wealth funds, Gen. Buhari has accumulated debts for our children.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says that without taking loans that the government cannot continue with its infrastructural projects and that China is a choice destination for these loans because they have cheaper interest rate?
Mr Rotimi Amaechi forgot to add that, ‘the borrower is a slave to the lender.’ He also forgot to add that, ‘He who goes borrowing, goes sorrowing.’ We wish to ask him why we are not lending to other countries instead of borrowing from them. He claimed that we will repay the loans as agreed but he did not show how we will do so since we are presently borrowing more to service existing loans.
Mr Amaechi is clearly wrong in his claim that infrastructural projects cannot continue without Chinese loans. We will definitely have funds to finance infrastructural projects if we check corruption, ensure fiscal discipline, minimise waste, promote prudence and control the cost of governance. There is a credible published position that some African rulers prefer loans from China because they receive bribes from the Chinese. Please, tell Mr Rotimi Amaechi that, the funds currently being wasted by the ruling party for election campaigns in Edo State can be applied to infrastructural development.
How concerned should Nigerians be over the debt to China which is about $3.1 billion?
Nigerians should be very worried. The Chinese are very smart, shrewd, cold and calculating. And we know that the Gen. Buhari regime is incompetent and celebrates mediocrity. China – Nigeria relations are skewed heavily against Nigeria and the desperation of the Gen. Buhari regime to borrow unpatriotically and recklessly is being fully exploited by China. We have seen the Chinese loan agreement that required Nigeria to waive its sovereign immunity in any arbitration. We have also seen Chinese actions against other countries that defaulted like Zambia. Nigerians should be very worried.
How well do you think the Buhari administration has tackled infrastructure development?
We think that the Gen. Buhari regime has managed infrastructural development very poorly. In the six years of the Gen. Buhari regime, there is no new electric power station, there is no new refinery, there is no new significant road, the few road contracts awarded are at outrageous costs and the projects are failing, The median cost of African Development Bank (AfDP) roads is about N58 million per kilometre but some of the Sukkuk funded roads awarded by the Gen. Buhari regime are over N5.8 billion per kilometre, that is over 100 times more expensive. This confirms that the government is wasting national funds in a ruinous routine. We must immediately ask the Gen. Buhari regime to account for the over N35 trillion it has spent since 2015 without any significant achievement.
Southern Kaduna has continued to be in the news in recent times over recurring killing, curiously, this is happening after Gov. Nasir El Rufai admitted that the Kaduna State Government paid ‘aggrieved Fulani’ to stop the killings and destruction of communities. Why do you think killings persist?
If you can recall, Gen. T. Y. Danjuma had said that members of the armed forces are conniving with the killers. Please note that Gen. Buhari is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces that are conniving with the killers. Gen. Buhari is a Muslim, the killers are Muslims. Gen. Buhari is a Fulani, the killers are Fulani. Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has lamented about, government-sponsored genocide against Southern Kaduna Peoples.
The Movement for Fundamental Change; the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Katsina State protesters have all at different times called on Buhari to resign over these killings and we agree with them.
What should be done to stop these killings is to remove Gen. Buhari and Mallam El-Rufai from office immediately since they have refused to resign. The ‘Centre for Inclusive Governance’ has indicted both Gen. Buhari and Mallam El-Rufai for promoting the killings in Southern Kaduna. They must leave office immediately. Further, in a restructured Nigeria, we can create a new state for the Southern Kaduna people.
Arguments are on that competence should be placed over zoning, what do you think?
Zoning does not exclude competence. It is very clear that the South-East should produce the next President of Nigeria based on integrity, equity, justice and democratic considerations. However, the ruling Fulani cabal that is extremely sectional has confessed its plan to frustrate this democratic imperative. They have insisted that they would hold on to power forever as proclaimed by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) Chairman and supported by the Late Alhaji Isa Funtua and Alhaji Mamman Daura. The communication is very clear to us. We have heard the position of the cabal and the Presidency. We will decide how to respond appropriately to their gluttonous, imperial and unpatriotic plan.
The COVID -19 induced lock-down across the country is gradually being relaxed, how do you assess the response of the Federal Government to the pandemic?
Do you mean pandemic or plan-demic? The deep connection of Mr Bill Gates and Dr Fauci in this matter suggests that it was a plan-demic. Published reports show that in 2017, Dr Fauci unlawfully backed the funding of the research that led to the development and release of the coronavirus responsible for COVID 19 by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Wuhan, China, with $3.7 million of United States funds. Same 2017, same Dr Fauci had announced at Georgetown University, that the current President Donald Trump term will witness a pandemic! Dr Fauci is a member of the Leadership Council of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Mr Bill Gates is a major financier of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and a global champion for population control and global vaccination. Mr Bill Gates is currently campaigning for vaccination of every human being on earth against COVID 19. In October 2019, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-sponsored “Event 201” in New York. “Event 201” was a pandemic simulation exercise with facilitated discussions. Then, two months after, in December 2019, the pandemic earlier predicted by Dr Fauci brakes out. If you back funding for research on a coronavirus, then predict a pandemic, thereafter you conduct a simulation of a pandemic and subsequently, your coronavirus causes a pandemic, we will insist earnestly that it is a plan-demic and not a pandemic.
The response of the Federal Government to the COVID 19 plan-demic was incompetent, sluggish and as usual destructive. The damaging response of the Federal Government led to the loss of lives, lawlessness, loss of livelihoods, ruination of many businesses, increase in crime, increase in unemployment and the impairment of the health of many Nigerians. Till date, the government does not have a comprehensive COVID 19 Management System and has continued with a ruinous combination of ‘copy and paste’ with ‘trial and error’. The blind cannot lead the clear-sighted.