Chief Martin Onovo, the 2015 presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), is currently the Head, Policy Positions, Movement for Fundamental Change (MFC). He spoke to EJIKEME OMENAZU on the nation’s state of insecurity among other crucial issues: Excerpts:
With the recent massacre of rice farmers in Zabamari community in Borno State and other such activities across the country, how do you see the insecurity situation in the country?
We see it as the clearly predicted catastrophic failure of the Muhammadu Buhari government. We predicted it since 2015. In 2017, we stated in a publication that “APC, the greatest threat to national security and unity.” Even APC chieftain, Mr. Festus Odimegwu, had proclaimed in February that, “Buhari is an unmitigated disaster, complete failure and a security risk to Nigeria.” So, the facts are clearly obvious. Only incompetents and hypocrites are surprised at the current state of insecurity. Authority and responsibility go together. Buhari is the Commander-in-Chief. He appointed and controls the Armed Services Chiefs.
He is primarily responsible for security in Nigeria and he must accept full responsibility for the insecurity in the country. You can simply compare Buhari with President Idris Derby of Chad. President Derby led his troops to decimate Boko Haram and clear the Lake Chad region of Boko Haram terrorists. Then, President Derby invited Nigeria to occupy the cleared area and Nigeria failed as usual. In two weeks, the Chadian Army achieved results that the much larger and richer Nigerian Army under Buhari cannot achieve in six years. When in 2014 he promised to expel Boko Haram from Nigerian territory if elected in 2015, some corrupt mediocre individuals saw it as political talk, but President Idris Derby of Chad has proved us right.
Today, the Nigerian Army is a disgrace with Buhari, a General, as Commander-in-Chief. The Northern Elders Forum has advised Buhari to resign. We insist that Buhari must go.
The Senate has called for the sack of the Service Chiefs, while the House of Representatives invited the President to brief them on the state of insecurity. At the same time, the Northern Elders called on President Buhari to resign for failure to tackle insecurity in the North. What is your take on all these?
We agree with the Northern Elders Forum. We do not agree with the position of the slavish rubber stamp Senate that is deliberately avoiding the real issue, which is the failure of Buhari as the Commander-in-Chief. The House of Representatives’ position is clearly superior to that of the Senate, but we have gone past that stage. Addressing the House on insecurity at this stage is too late. We must take immediate actions to guarantee the security and welfare of our people. Authority and responsibility go together. Good leaders do not blame others, they take responsibility. Buhari lacks leadership capacity and has failed woefully. He must apologise and resign immediately. The longer he stays as Commander-in-Chief, the worse the insecurity situation will become.
How do you see the recent defection of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and Chairman, South East Governors Forum from the PDP to the ruling APC?
I am neither a member of the ruling party nor the PDP that he left. He has a legal right to belong to any political party of his choice, but the move seems very selfish and unpopular with Ebonyi people. He is on his own.
What would you make out from Governor Umahi’s reasons for his defection?
The reason seems clearly false, selfish and unreasonable. To say that the ruling party has treated the people of the South East better is clearly false and offensive to the people of the region.
Do you think the APC will allow the presidential ticket to go to South East?
I am not a member of the ruling party. Also, I think that it is too early to discuss elections. In addition, it is unproductive for Nigerians to go from elections to elections. According to the constitution, ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.’ We should focus on good governance now. Elections are simply to choose the political leadership. We must focus on the security and welfare of the people. Zoning is an established political culture in Nigeria. In all wards, all local government areas, all states and nationally, zoning is practiced. Based on zoning, it is the turn of the South East. Federal Character is also required by the constitution of Nigeria. Based on Federal Character, it is the turn of the South East.
Based on democratic representation, it is the turn of the South East. Based on democracy, it is the turn of the South East as most Nigerians agree to that. Based on justice, it is the turn of the South East. It is unpatriotic and unjust to think otherwise. If the presidency does not go to the South East in 2023, there will be very serious national consequences.
How do you see the recent threat by the Federal Government to control the social media and continued threat to sanction the CNN?
The younger people may not know, but we know Buhari with his Decree 2 and Decree 4 of 1984. As a stone-age dictator, Buhari has never tolerated independent minded people. He does not respect constitutional rights. He cannot control social media and he lacks the moral authority to sanction CNN. Also, if he dares it, the consequences may overwhelm him.
A cross section of Nigerians believes that the #EndSARS protest was a vote of no confidence on both the APC and PDP. Do you think so, sir?
Clearly! Majority of Nigerians have rejected both parties and the #EndSARS protesters proclaimed that clearly. We pray it will be sustained strategically.
How do you think the youths could harness the gains of the #EndSARS protest for the 2023 general elections?
Simple. Review the #EndSARS network and the protests, then clarify its agenda and reach out nationally to other patriots to ensure that we get the majority on our side.
Are you impressed by the way the National Assembly has been handling the 2021 budget?
A National Assembly that is led by self-confessed puppets and acts as a rubber stamp will not impress any patriot. This is the very worst National Assembly leadership since independence.
Do you think that based on his performance, Prof Mahmood Yakubu deserved his reappointment for a second term as INEC Chairman?
INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu is the greatest enemy of democracy in Nigeria. His re-appointment in total disregard of his iniquitous performance and the allegation that he bribed Senators with N3billion is consistent with the lawlessness and impunity of this government. Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has been rewarded for the iniquitous charade he conducted in 2019. At every step, this government shows that those of us that insist that it is the worst government ever in Nigeria are right. The results also show we are right.
How do you think Nigeria can pull itself out of the current economic recession?
Technically, the current Nigerian economic situation is not just an economic recession. It is worse. What we have in Nigeria now is an economic depression because in addition to the conditions for a recession, we have the complications of rising poverty, rising national debt, rising hyper-inflation and rising unemployment. We should not be in this recession. The only reason we are in this recession is that the Buhari government is incompetent and corrupt. To get out of this recession, simply and practically, the government must first apologise to its citizens for all its unpatriotic actions and reverse all its unpatriotic policies and then move effectively and sustainably to boost productivity in all sectors particularly, the oil and gas sector, agricultural sector and the manufacturing sector. In addition, we must diversify the economy. These are the routine responsibilities of a government that it must continuously drive but the irresponsibility, mediocrity, incompetence and corruption that this government promotes is completely against all productive activities and so, we see the worsening economic situation on all macro-economic indices. It is very correct to state that this government is horrendously destructive. It has destroyed public morality with its senseless false propaganda and deceit. It has destroyed justice with its disregard of court orders, lawlessness and impunity. It has destroyed peace with its violation of rights and massacres of citizens. Also, it has destroyed national unity with its sectionalism and divisiveness. It has destroyed democracy with its stone-age dictatorship. It has destroyed national cohesion and synergy with its exclusion of the majority. It has destroyed national security with its mediocrity and crass nepotism. It has destroyed the economy with its incompetence and corruption. This Buhari government has destroyed Nigeria
Source:- Independent ng