Buhari’s Mandate Belongs To The People, Not APC – Nwosu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari’s Mandate Belongs To The People, Not APC – Nwosu

Posted: May 10, 2015 at 2:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Public Affairs Commentator and cleric, Rev. Dr Felix Nwosu, is happy that the American prediction that Nigeria would scatter as a nation in 2015 did not come true during the last general elections. Nwosu, the General Overseer of Christ Foundation Sabbath Mission, also said the President-elect, Muahammadu Buhari, as the winner of the presidential election, will usher the real change Nigerians have been clamouring for. He spoke to EJIKEME OMENAZU. 

There were several predictions hat the general elections would be bloody. But,it did not go that way. What would you say accounted for the peaceful elections Nigerians witnessed?

Rev Felix Nwosu

Rev Felix Nwosu

The elections were peaceful. But it was not generally peaceful. Before the elections proper, there were reports of killings, thuggry and explosions in some states. But, people were praying. Christian and Muslim leaders were praying. It was common for different groups to call out people for prayers for peaceful elections. People were also condemning the acts of violence that took place before the elections. At a stage, the presidential candidates enter into several accords. This was repeated at the state levels, especially at the identified flashpoints.

In fact, people’s prayers made the American prediction that Nigeria would break up in 2015 not to come to pass. I commend the politicians for their wisdom. They were conceding defeats here and there. President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat when he found out that he was losing. Also, the PDP candidate in Lagos, Jimi Agbaje conceded defeat when it became clear that he was losing to Akinwunmi Ambode. All these acts of humility on the part of the candidates reduced tension in the land during the elections. We are grateful to God for answering Nigerian’s prayers. God indeed is a Nigerian.

People had been commending President Goodluck Jonathan conceding defeat by his telephone call to his opponent, Muhammadu Buhari, before the final announcement of the election. What is your reaction to this bearing in mind that Buhari had already given Jonathan a wide margin by the time he made the call?

Before now, in Africa mentality, there must be power tussle. Evening this election, it is reported that a governor stopped the announcement of election results in one of the states. Recall that Jonathan promised Nigerians free and fair elections and that is what he has given Nigerians. It is true that some of his coordinators ganged up under Peter Godsday Orubebe to stop the announcement, he did not send them to do so. That is why people love what he did and he suddenly became a star or hero.

Irrespective of the campaign, people are impressed with his humility. He displayed the spirit of a sportsman who does not want to be a bad loser. That is how Nigerians wanted the election to go. The change was a movement of the people. So, he had nothing to do about it.

What would you say accounted for the embarrassing loss of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the election? People expected it to have performed better than it did after ruling the country for 16 years. What do you think really happened?

PDP is supposed to be ‘Power to the people’. But, it turned out to become ‘People Deceiving People’. PDP was no longer a people-oriented party. We thank God for APC, which is the Peoples Movement. So, I now foresee PDP becoming serious after the defeat. Before the elections, people did performance assessment of states under the APC. Even though they were not perfect, they measure up to 75 per cent in service delivery to the people. But, this was not the case with the PDP. In the PDP states, they used power to intimidate the people as they tried to do in Lagos. PDP Senators, House of Representatives members are hardly seen. In their communities, there are no good roads. In the PDP states, nothing was happening in terms of service delivery. What happened to PDP is an eye opener that people are watching what the politicians and the governments are doing. That is how PDP’s 60-year vision ended in 16 years.

In PDP, they not only betray the people, they betray themselves. That is why you have a lot of crises within the party. They asked the ministers to resign and contest the elections. Yet, they could not support them to win the lections. The PDP governors are power drunk. They lack democratic culture. There is a limit power can go. Many of the politicians are far from their people.

How do you see the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since in lost the elections?

That is what I am saying. PDP has been a problematic party. The PDP loss is not just the failure of leadership. It lost to the movement of the people who want a change. The only way PDP can come back is to resolve the crisis within it, show love and forgive themselves. PDP is just a party of glamour. It is just like an investment owned by people. People invest money for positions only to forget the people as they recoup their investment. If the APC is able to put its axe together and deliver democracy dividends and become people-oriented, people will continue to follow it and this will make it difficult for PDP to come up. PDP leaders need to apologise to Nigerians for their misrule and also apologise to their members. Thank God for the media which made the people to monitor what is happening everywhere. In fact, the media saved the Nigerian democracy. PDP should go back to the drawing board. The party at a time had the backing of Nigerians. But, because of its deceit, the small parties came together to push it out of power. Nigerians need a party that will provide infrastructure like good roads, water, electricity, hospitals, education, among others. PDP mismanaged the public money. They gathered and shared Nigerian wealth because they see it as a national cake. But, they forgot the masses. They, their friends and cronies were looting and sharing the people’s wealth. PDP leaders should put their house in order instead of picking on themselves.

Do you think that the All Progressives Congress (APC), by its electoral performance, has established itself as a national party acceptable to all?

Looking at the performance, APC rose from 11 states to about 24 states. There was a massive and global celebration of APC’s victory. Nigerians were looking for an alternative to PDP and APC provided that alternative. Nigerians are wiser now. I don’t think APC will become anti-people after this massive acceptance and support. The mandate Buhari has is not APC’s mandate, but the people’s mandate. Nigeriansgave the same mandate to Jonathan in 2011, but they loved him. But Nigerians became the losers. He was a good coach, with bad team. That is why Nigerians retrieved the mandate and gave it to Buhari. You see APC everywhere in the North, West, North West, North Central, even in the East and South South. Where APC did not win, it came second. Buhari even won in Aso Rock. APS is virtually everywhere. So, it has established itself as a national party.

What would you say is the position of South East in the emerging political dispensation since, apart from Imo State, the zone is clearly a PDP stronghold?

I was one of those who supported Rocha Okorocha’s movement to APC, even thoughmany castigated him for the action. Even Buhari has said that Okorocha is a pride of Ndigbo. Imo State will be a point of contact for APC to reach South East. Igbo leaders are not visionary. They failed to see this movement of the people, which is APC. So, they failed to follow the movement because they were not visionary, but myopic. God will now use Okorocha to heal the wounds of Ndigbo. But for his action and decision, Ndigbo would have lost out completely in the current scheme of things. Lagos, at a time, suffered when they had no federal support, when all other states in South West were under the PDP. Lagos then stood alone. But, God used Ifeanyi Ararume of PDP (also formerly of APC) to help Okorocha to retain Imo for APC to save Ndigbo. People wanted to truncate this movement for change in Imo. Okorocha should use his position to help Ndigbo. Okorocha should work with Chris Ngige, Ogbonnaya Onu, and even Ararume, to ensure that Ndigbo get positions in the new Federal Government and the party. I believe that Chris Anyanwu , with time, may join APC. I see Ararume returning fully to APC. There are many hidden treasures in South East, which I believe Buhari and APC will not ignore. They should bring them to limelight to ensure that APC stands.

What do you think should be Buhari’s priorities as he mounts the saddle as the nation’s President?

First, let him tackle electricity. Let him make power supply his priority. Let there be light. Light was the first thing God created. If there is light, Buhari will see the nation’s problems and do other things. People have been commending former President Olusegun Obasanjo for his effort on Communication. If Buhari will give Nigerians constant light, the people will be happy. Let him also deal with corruption and insecurity. If he can do these things in the next four years, Nigerian will grateful to him. The states should concentrate on other things. For God’s government to stand, God first provided light. Any government that wants to stand should ensure that there is light. Let him tackle unemployment. He should create employment opportunities. Youth restiveness will lessen if they are engaged. Let him provide a good welfare package for workers and Nigerians as a whole. Let there be hope for the citizens. Let him ensure that every Nigerian is insured. Nigeria has a lot of mineral resources. If they are well tapped, Nigerians will be happy and there will be less criminality/ let Nigerians’ lives have value. Buhari should add value to Nigerians’ lives. Everyone should be given his or her worth. Let Nigeria be a better place to live in. Buhari should sustain the achievements and tangible projects of Jonathan, like the improvement of the rails and airports. He should not abandon any ongoing projects. Even those in the pipeline, like the Second Niger Bridge, should be revisited.

At last, with the election of Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagosians will now have a Christian governor. As a Christian leader, what agenda would you proffer for the incoming governor?

Well, Akinwunmi Ambode has predecessors. His predecessors, former Governors Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola, performed well. So, I expect Ambode to follow the footsteps of his predecessors. What we need in Lagos is continuity, a forward movement in development. Like the Mega City project, Ambode has to carry on with it. Ambode’s predecessors, Tinibu and Fashola, carried Christians along. So, I expect Ambode to also carry along Muslims and people of other religions in his plans and programmes.

I commend the executive and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), especially in Lagos for listening to the demands of the Christians for the position of governor this time around. But having won the elections, Ambode now belongs to all Lagosians.

Ambode should therefore empower Local Governments to give the roads the needed facelift. Apart from the major roads, there are still other roads that need urgent attention. He should also provide water to Lagosians. Lagosians have for long been exploited by water vendors. This should stop. Ambode should ensure that all the streets in the city are good.

Now that the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) is being privatised, Ambode should ensure that Lagos generates its own power. He should ensure the Ikeja GENCO operates in such a way to give Lagosians all the light they need. There should be constant light in Lagos. This is important if the state will continue to witness improved economy. God created light first before he embarks on other creations. That shows the important of light.

Ambode should look at the area of double taxation the people are complaining about in such a way that will not endanger the state’s economy. Although there is no way people will not pay tax, Ambode should look at all the areas people are complaining about.

What lessons could Nigerians draw from the 2015 elections?

The main lesson is that change has come to Nigeria. Nothing is ever permanent. This change has come to stay. The devil is no longer in control of Nigeria’s affairs. It is the hand of God at work. He has upheld Nigeria. Nigerians should continue to pray that the incoming government will not derail, but should be articulate. Buhari should extend his hands of fellowship to all, including the good people now in the new opposition party, PDP, and other parties. If possible, they should form Government of Unity and embrace all Nigerians. Christian and Islamic leaders should continue to pray for the new government and be ready to speak out when things are going on well so that they do not derail. We have a brand new Nigeria. Let us nurture it to growth.