In this interview the national coordinator of Atiku Presidential View, Chief Chris Sodje, warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Federal Government not to subvert the will of Nigerians in the coming presidential election in 2019, saying such attempt may lead to revolution. He also harps on other sundry issue relation to electioneering. Excerpts.
There have been various critics on INEC’s credibility to conduct a free, fair and credible election in 2019. What is the view of Atiku’s camp on this?
Whether I believe they can do it or not is a bit immature. If the people come out in support of His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, INEC will have no choice but to announce the true winner.
Moreover, I believe that If Jonathan can step down for Buhari, why will Buhari not step down for Atiku if he wins the election?
Once you are defeated in the contest you have to step down. Of course if we look at the trends of INEC’s works over few years we will express doubt on their capacity.
For instance, look at Ekiti State election and others, you will realise it was a rip on our democracy. What happened in Odon state was the highest level of infringement I have ever seen.
Also, what happened in Kwara state is another one. But those ones are what I call isolated cases. I believe that in the coming general election they will not have the kind of man power they deployed to those states to rob the oppositions.
I don’t see how they will do that. I do not see how they can use the federal might to manipulate the voice of the people in 2019. INEC and Buhari should be warned today, there is a limit to human endurance, when you take people for too long they will revoke.
If he doesn’t want to see the biggest revolution after the Nigeria civil war of 1967 he should think of doing what is right. Do not subvert the will of the people.
Make sure INEC does what it does best. Once you see the result is not favourable be honourable like Goodluck did and take a bow.
Moreso, the man is even too old for the position, we are hearing today that he is 77 or so.
He cannot tell us his real age. On papers he is 77 but we know he is 80 years and above. We cannot continue like that. Atiku is 72, at the end of his first tenure he won’t be 80 yet still. Out of two evil you choose a lesser evil.
We expect Atiku to give way after the first tenure to somebody younger. We are not saying he will run for two terms.
He even said he will run for one term. By 2023, we will be looking towards a younger person to take over.
But do you think Nigeria’s problem can be solved in 4 years by Atiku?
We are not looking at solving problems immediately. We are looking at ameliorating the situation. It takes a long time to solve the problem of this country.
Nigeria’s problem is not small. With the right person we will move things forward. We did not see anything good in this government.
Tell me one positive thing that has been done by Buhari. If you call him here now, he would say he wants to fight corruption. What happens to health care, education?
At the last count we have lost over nine million jobs, and they keep promising to give us three million jobs every year.
Everything Buhari promised is the reverse. He promised to reduce fuel price but it became 145 per liter.
We do not know how to move from here yet they are making promises. They say they want to move us to the next level of poverty, next level of no education, look, ASUU is on strike, there are more children out of school now than Jonathan’s term. Is this what we will voted back for continuity?
On the corruption fight you just mention. Won’t Atiku fight corruption during his own time?
Well, you see People do not understand what it means to fight corruption, perhaps Buhari does not understand what it means to fight Corruption.
To fight corruption doesn’t mean you hold them into jail. Where is Ganduje? Is Buhari is fighting corruption, where is Akpabio? Tinubu, Amaechi?
These are people who have questions to answer but are being covered by the same government. APC is the heaven of the Nigerian corrupt politicians all of a sudden.
When you have sin and you move to APC your sins are cleaned all of a sudden. It has failed! Nigerians are wiser now.
They believe Buhari is not fighting corruption but building a political empire which has crumbled. APC will go into oblivion come 2019, it will stop existing. It’s not because I wish it, it is what will happen.
They are doing institutional framework. They cannot bring policies that will help our sectors.
We are in a war, never in the history of this country have we had the kind of IDPs we have now. This Is where Alhaji Atiku Abubakar comes in.
He has told us how he will fight corruption. He will provide jobs and the likes. These are the things Waziri of Adamawa will look into. In a year and the half you will see the turn-around Nigeria will record. He has done it before so he will do.
It seems PDP in its plans have sidelined the Southwest. Don’t you think this will affect support from the geopolitical zone?
South West and other geopolitical zones in the country are the same thing in the hand of PDP and Atiku.
The fact that the current regime gave them Vice President doesn’t mean anything. Look at it so far, what has the region benefitted from this government?
Is it the N10, 000 they are sharing few months to election that you want to call an achievement? This will never happen in Atiku’s time.
He understands the whole thing very well and he knows every region in the country is very important and for this they are all in his plans.
His wife is from this region and definitely he wouldn’t want to back it. Atiku believe in Nigeria as a country not a region or geopolitical zones.
On Saraki’s return to PDP, don’t you think what befell APC may befall PDP later in future?
People always talk about individuality and individualism where people look at their individual interest above that of the general public. I don’t think the PDP does that.
PDP institutionalize things judging from the past years, in the last primaries, APC have not woken up from their problems but PDP had theirs seem less because they understood the ethics of democracy.
Look at the way Atiku and Saraki were treated in APC, they didn’t go for their personal interest, they went for the betterment of Nigeria.
They do not come into this race to make money because they have already it. But they want to make a name And make wealth for Nigeria.
They have realized that no matter how wealthy they are, they will not be saved during the revolution because it is going to be a revolution between the poor and the rich so they want to bridge the gap.
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We have even killed the middle class in Nigeria. Atiku has What it takes to revive this country. Saraki knows what it takes.
These are the people who understands what it takes to take us from where we are now to where we supposed to be. Nigerians will become prosperous and Atiku will lay that foundation very soon.
What is Atiku’s plans on women’s involvement in his government if he wins in 2019?
Atiku is a people’s person. A man who came out to tell you his wife belongs to the Kitchen and the other room.
A man whose wife belongs to the kitchen, how will he see other people’s wife? He even ban his wife from talking to the press, how can the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria not talk to the press?
Since then we have not heard the woman speak. Charity they say begins at home. I don’t want to believe President Buhari is a wicked person but I believe that he is now so old.
Diminishing returns happens to everyone. He has gotten to the level that he is diminishing.
The best thing for Buhari is to chicken out, for him to rest, monitor his home and all. To be in the thick of things at over 80 years I don’t think is the best, if Federal civil servants are retiring at 60 and Buhari at 76 on paper but 80 real life is saying he wants to continue, I think it is an aberration.
It is not something we should look forward to. Then where is that place of youths, they say Nigeria youths are lazy therefore it’s only old people that should Place of position.
The Kogi state governor is a youthful one but the people are not better for it.
What is the cooperation between PDP, CUPP and other parties that are pledging allegiance from the party, what should we be expecting?
Atiku lives people so they will love him back. The coalition of the United people’s party do not just see Atiku, President Buhari Is the richest man, he has all the connection but CUPP decided to pick Atiku.
They said they cannot continue to Be with someone who loves Cows more than the armies that died.
It’s not because Atiku gave them so much money but because they want the future of the country to be bright.
Still is going to offer more, the youths, market women, working class and everyone will see what Atiku will do.
He will say a good foundation. Look at the minimum wage, they are passing it to governors, the IDPs they say they don’t know, the President is an absentee ruler, it appears that there is a cabal running the house else I see no reason why he doesn’t always know.
This is the best time for Buhari to retire, Atiku and Obi are industrialist. We don’t want Buhari not because he is a bad person but because he has done his best and unfortunately his best is not good enough.