Senator Rowland Owie; erstwhile governorship candidate in Edo State and national leader of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) is known for his blunt views on Nigerian democracy and an advocate of peace. He speaks on a number of national issues including the 2019 election, the anti-graft war and killings across the country.
What is your assessment of President Buhari’s government in the last three years?
Before we talk about whether Buhari has performed well or not, we must look at what leadership is all about. Leadership connotes a lot; it entails the spirit of give and take. It is the ability to think for the collective interest rather than your own parochial interest. We have had many leaders in this country; those that had the vision of what they are set out to do, and those that just needed to grab power without planning and knowing what to do with it. I’m certain that by the Grace of God, the APC Federal Government will be voted out in 2019. Apart from APC’s poor performance in governance, elections in the past years – 1979 to 1999 – were transition elections that brought about a new government. APC had become a saint immediately Nigeria became a centre of terrorism by Fulani herdsmen, and APC- Federal Government looks the other way and pursued IPOB. What a government of double standard. Nigerians all over the world should be ready to vote them out in next year’s election.
Since this government came on board in 2015, Nigerians have become poorer under President Buhari. According to records available, the International monitoring Fund (IMF) more poverty has been recorded by Nigerians under this administration. Transparency International says
Nigeria has become more corrupt under the APC government. As a matter of fact, Nigeria under APC is sliding towards banana republic. Nigeria is sliding into total darkness in the hands of President Muhammadu Buhari. I urge all men of goodwill in all political parties in Nigeria including the APC to unit and send PMB packing before he destroys this nation. How can a President of Nigeria look the other way in the face all these killings? APC came in through propaganda by deceiving those Nigerians that care to listen to them. Three years of APC government has brought nothing but chains, pains, sorrow, hunger and division to the land. Three years of President Buhari’s administration took the rule of law to the cleaners. Nigeria constitution is no longer obeyed. APC government made people feel that they are above the laws of the land. APC government has not added anything to the economic growth of the country.
But the government says it has delivered on its promises made to Nigerians?
There is nothing to write home about this present leadership. Millions of Nigerians expected a change, but what they are getting is the opposite. God will deliver us from their hands. Tell me one good project that has be executed by this government since they came on board, is it the health sector, sports, youth developments, Agricultural Sector, Roads, they promised to fix electricity problem, but today what we have is still an epileptic power supply. Then what score card are you talking about when you have bitterness on the faces of our people.
As national Leader of ADP, how does your party intend to give a genuine change to Nigerians in 2019 if your party wins the presidency?
First and foremost, the ADP constitution is very clear on the supremacy of the party. What has destroyed Nigeria democracy is the non adherence to party’s constitution; as such party members have no regard for supremacy of the party. In 1999, when the PDP came on board, with its slogan ‘power to the people,’ it was formed by responsible Nigerians across board. At the time we had great men like Awoniyi who had made sacrifices for this country, unfortunately for PDP, for us then, we had a candidate that did not believe in democracy becoming the president in the first outing, that is Olusegun Obasanjo. But as soon as he came on board, he destroyed democracy, he destroyed party supremacy, handed over the party to governors and to himself, to the extent that the election of principal officers to the National Assembly in 1999, which the party itself had decided, Obasanjo on his own at the senate used AD and APP members to subvert the decision of his own party. While in Agura Hotel, majority of the senators, at their own party caucus supervised by late Chief Solomon Lar, chose the late Chuba Okadigbo as their own senate president, Obasanjo because of greed for power turned this upside down and pushed for late Enwerem of blessed memory may God bless his soul wherever he may be, to be elected as Senate President.
In a democracy, one of the Arms of government you cannot afford to disregard and treat shabbily is the legislative arm.
A former leader of the senate years back, used to tell us that the legislative arm is a war zone, where fathers and mothers might not recognised them when the chips are down. Right from that time dividend of democracy became difficult to achieve. Obasanjo in his first four years in office never implemented any budget approved by the National Assembly. He was implementing his own personal budget. He ruled Nigeria like his own personal empire. He destroyed party supremacy, and ensured that the electoral act as regards the Electoral College did not see the light of day, and our democracy nailed to the cross. Like I have always said, God will deliver us from the hands of those who have destroyed our democracy and those still wanting to destroy it. What you are seeing today as problem in Nigeria will soon be over. The ADP is ready to reposition this country and bring back the tenets of democracy. All those who don’t want this country to move ahead, all those who does not want our generation yet unborn to leave in peace, all those who think that unless you a Muslim this country will not be , okay God would sweep them away.
Don’t you think with the level of poverty in Nigeria, other bigger parties will use money to buy votes?
Well let me tell you, if money could win votes, with the kind of money that was shared in 2015, President Goodluck Jonathan would have won the entire North. If it were for the money that was shared in Edo election in 2016, PDP would have emerged winner. Nigerians are wiser, I can assure you, God will touch their hearts; they will take their money and vote against them.
If they force themselves to power they are looking for trouble. Look, 2019 election is an election that will draw the attention of international communities around the Globe to Nigeria, Clerics have spoken, Lawyers have spoken, Psychologists have spoken, Businessmen have spoken, Politicians with vision have spoken, Market women have spoken and above all, God has spoken, let them try God.
What do you say about the killings by herdsmen?
They are nothing but enemies of God and man, and they will certainly see the wrath of God.
It is no longer news that they have hidden agenda, but God will not allow that evil plan to come through in Nigeria.
Are you satisfied with the anti-graft war of this government?
Do we have a government that is fighting corruption, which government is more corrupt than this APC government? Some of these rich PDP governors that people see as corrupt people, are they not the people calling the shots in Buhari’s government? What corrupting are they fighting when you imposed a non civil servant that does not know anything about the job to come and be head of the Nigeria customs, what corruption is the president fighting when
a legislative arm of government will write to you to tell you that the present EFCC Boss does not have what is takes to pilot the affairs of the commission yet you still left him there? Maybe his idea of corruption is to jail all political opponents before the 2019 election. Nigerians will see how it goes. Let us leave judgment for God.
I’m very happy that the court has told the lawmakers to commence impeachment process of the president. He has done a lot of things that is against the constitution of the country, the legislative arm of government should invoke the law against him. Our democracy is in trouble if nothing is done to save it. St. John Paul II said: ‘Do not be afraid to live in a way contrary to fashionable opinions and ways of life in conflict with Gods law. The courage of faith is costly, but you cannot lose love! Do not let anyone enslave you! Do not let yourselves be deceived by illusions of happiness for which you will have to pay a price that is too high, the price of often incurable wounds or even of a life destroyed.’
What is the method ADP is going to use in nominating candidates for 2019 elections?
ADP will practice what is known as true democracy. Our method of nominating candidates both for party offices and elective offices is by direct primaries, where all registered party members will vote their candidates. There will be no delegate system that is prone to abuse and corruption. Action Democratic Party (ADP) will take over Aso Rock Villa in 2019. Nigerians are tired of deceit; we want a party that will give us a genuine change not the cosmetic change that we have now.