Buhari’s Anti- Corruption War Has Been Corrupted – Onovo | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari’s Anti- Corruption War Has Been Corrupted – Onovo

Posted: Jun 3, 2016 at 3:57 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Chief Martin Onovo, was the presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) in the 2015 election. In this interview with EJIKEME OMENAZU, spoke on his assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s one year in office and other sundry issues:

What is your assessment of the first year of President Muhammadu Buhari?

Catastrophic! The first year of President Buhari has been catastrophic on all national objectives. Specifically, the economy has been significantly damaged by the clueless flip-flops of the All Progressives Congress (APC) – led government. The flip-flops include: There is no subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), then an outrageous PMS tax. They said ‘we will not devalue the Naira’, then a profound devaluation. Currently all universal macro-economic indices are worse than they were before May 2015. These include, GDP growth, unemployment, inflation, devaluation, poverty rate, national debt, and so on. Insecurity has increased; Boko Haram is still killing our people and even recently attacked the military convoy of the General Officer Commanding the 7th Division and killed one of his soldiers. More persons have been killed by Fulani herdsmen than in the last 12 months before the inauguration of this government. Kidnapping that was previously a regional challenge is now a national challenge. Armed robbery and other violent crimes have become the norm. Security of lives and property has collapsed throughout Nigeria and the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) has grown.

The anti-corruption war has been corrupted to a personal political vendetta and a witch-hunt against members of the opposition, including persons that have never been in public office like one of our National Conscience Party (NCP) lawyers. While suspected members of opposition parties are being investigated perniciously, very corrupt members of the ruling party are being appointed to higher public positions to continue with their corrupt ways on a larger scale. Nigeria now needs a strong, authentic and effective anti-corruption war. The APC is lawlessly subverting national unity by dividing Nigerians along regional, religious and class lines.

The lawless schemes for a northern Muslim Senate President is a clear violation of the constitutional requirement of ‘Federal Character’ and very insensitive to the diversity and heterogeneity of Nigeria. It is also aggravated by the exclusion of a section of the country from high command positions in the national security establishment. The same section is also excluded from key positions in the presidency. The worst is the unconstitutional proclamation by Mr. President, that, “The constituents that gave me ninety-seven per cent cannot in all honesty be treated on same issues with constituencies that gave me five per cent”. This clearly violates the constitution of Nigeria and the Oath of Office that President Buhari swore to on the Islamic Quran. We do not think that a good Muslim will swear falsely on the Islamic Koran.

The APC is destroying public morality by making deceit and false propaganda the policy of their government and encouraging our young and impressionable citizens to celebrate deceitfulness. The violations of very clear constitutional provisions, court orders and the human rights of so many Nigerians like the Shiites and their leader, Sheikh El Zakzaky, and the intimidation of the judiciary are intolerable in a democracy. The APC federal government may be the greatest threat that has confronted Nigeria since independence. It appears that the APC government is completely committed to the destruction of Nigeria in line with the previous prediction of some foreign security analysts that Nigeria would break up in 2015.

What do you think are the major challenges of the President Buhari administration so far?

The major challenges may include a lack of integrity which started with false campaign promises and continued with the elaborate deceit and propaganda machine of the APC. Another challenge is the visionless and plan less position of the ruling party and their candidates which the Minister of Information recently confirmed to Governor Ganduje in Kano that their government spent the first one year planning. Another challenge is the clueless incompetence of the economic management team. Other major challenges include the divisive sectional agenda of the government and the dictatorial lawlessness of the regime.

Don’t you see the administration’s successes in its anti-corruption crusade within the first year of the administration as a major achievement?

What success? Corruption of the anti-corruption war cannot be counted as success by any patriot. Selective prosecution of personal enemies and political opponents is a very corrupt violation of the Constitution and the oath of allegiance. Out of the ‘United Nations Office for Drugs and Crimes’ (UNODC) estimated $400 billion stolen from Nigeria by public office holders, how much has been recovered? Out of the long list of suspects, how many have been convicted? The Nollywood arrest, media trial and mob conviction of political opponents with lawless violation of court orders cannot be called success. They are a very destruction of the foundation of our democracy. We want an anti-corruption war that is not selective and that is guided by the ‘Rule of law’. Nigeria cannot be returned to a one-man dictatorship. The alternatives to the ‘Rule of law’ include anarchy and one-man dictatorship.

A Lagos court recently ordered the Federal Government and former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to investigate the alleged missing N30 trillion. How possible do you think this order could be executed?

Current information is that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala initiated plans to appeal against the judgment. So, the matter remains subjudice. Whatever is the final outcome of the judicial process must be executed in line with the ‘Rule of law’.

A cross section of Nigerians see the failure of the recent national workers’ strike over the fuel price hike as the emasculation of the Labour Movement in the country. Would you agree with this assertion?

The Labour Movement must be truly democratised and freed from the stranglehold of the treacherous labour aristocracy that has had a stranglehold on the Labour Movement for over two decades. Nigerians are well aware of the tricks of some labour leaders and cannot trust them.

Do you think the removal of subsidy on fuel was necessary considering the implications on the common man?

It was not a removal of subsidy. It was not deregulation. It was simply an imposition of a Petrol tax of about N40 per litre; a senseless economic decision that subverts the national economy. It is causing hyper-inflation, further devaluation of the Naira, more unemployment, macro-economic instability, declining productivity, increasing poverty and rising crime.

Do you see the new N145 per litre of petro as being on a very high side?

It is intolerable. Currently in Venezuela, our fellow OPEC country, it is only about N20 per litre. Prior to this year 2016, the price was about N6 per litre.

What is your take on the N56, 000 National Minimum Wage being demanded by Labour? Some say it is unimplementable as some state governments cannot pay their workers’ salaries even with the current N18,000. Do you think the government should accept the demand?

The issue of the minimum wage is constitutional. The Constitution requires a minimum living wage. We must comply with our Constitution. Labour demanded N90, 000.00. The federal government must offer what it can afford in line with the Nigerian Constitution. The facts show that state governors that owe salaries are incompetent, ineffective and most probably very corrupt. With all the federal allocations and internally generated revenues, every state government can easily pay the salaries of its workers if it is ethical and competent. The EFCC or ICPC can commence the investigation of such governors now, to send the reports to their State Houses of Assembly for impeachment and also prosecute them later after they leave office, when they would have lost their legitimate constitutional immunity.

What is your view on the return of militancy in the Niger Delta? What would you say gave rise to the current situation whereby oil pipelines are being destroyed and how could the current crisis could be resolved?

It is unfortunate that militancy is returning to the Niger Delta after the administration of President Umar Musa Yar’ Adua had very effectively controlled the situation. It is very obvious that President Buhari instigated the Niger Delta militancy and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) protests with his discriminatory proclamations, appointments and policies.

Do you think military action is solution to the new development? If not, how do you think the government should resolve this crisis?

Military action is not a good solution. This is a simple internal political problem and a simple political solution will be more effective. The example of the Umar Musa Yar Adua administration can be reviewed. The Niger Delta Avengers have now threatened to attack law enforcement agents and oil workers. We don’t want an escalation. It will lead to loss of human lives and destruction of very expensive facilities. Anthony Cardinal Okogie has advised against military action and proposed the use of dialogue.

What should be done to prevent further violent clashes between law enforcement agents and Biafran agitators?

Nobody is above the law. The Nigerian Police, the EFCC, the Armed Forces and their Commander-in-Chief are all established by our laws. They must comply with our laws. The rights of all Nigerians to life, freedom of expression, peaceful protests must be respected. All protesters must be peaceful. The National Conscience Party (NCP) will take political and legal actions to defend the rights of all Nigerians.

What is your view on the recent return of two of the Chibok girls?

There is a controversy that the girls are not Chibok girls. We must confirm that the girls are Chibok girls. If they are, then, we can see if we can get more information that can lead to the rescue of our Chibok girls.

Recently the police paraded five suspects said to be involved in the Nimbo, Anambra State killings by the Hausa/Fulani herdsmen. Do you see this as a major achievement by security agencies considering the level of damage they have caused in the nation?

It is a major achievement by Nigerian security standards. The Nigerian Police must be strongly commended for this professional performance. We must also ensure that this becomes the new standard of professional performance for the Nigerian Police.