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‘We’re Handling Security Issues With Levity’
When you consider the response of activists to national ills in the past when the likes of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, were around, are you comfortable with the attitude of many activists to major undemocratic developments lately in the country and why?
Well, I don’t think there is any activist, who just wants to take to the street to protest, just for the sake of it. When we were fighting the cabals that wanted to hold the nation hostage at the time Yar’Adua was sick, there were many Nigerians that held aloof and only came out to watch those who are involved in the rally. Some were saying many things about Pastor Tunde Bakare (of the Latter Rain Assembly) and Mr. Femi Falana and all others. I believe that those who had taken it upon themselves to fight on behalf of Nigerians have not relented, but every Nigerian has to do the same .The people that are complaining they (the activists) are not doing anything, what are they doing themselves? It is a combined effort; it should not be seen that some people have taken the assignment to fight on their behalf. If it is only those who are fighting alone that champion the cause, those in government will continue to stamp their feet until they see that masses are saying enough is enough! That is it!.
How should we tackle the seemingly intractable insecurity challenge in the country?
I think both the Boko Haram panel and the Lemu panel set up to probe the political crisis has done a big piece of job. In those documents that they submitted to the authorities, you will find areas of interest there. Those panels have highlighted the problem, and after they finished their report, they handed everything to the president. But because the authorities did not get what they wanted in the reports, they wanted those panel to blackmail individuals. They gave the exact dossier of what is wrong with Nigeria; they talked about socio and economic deprivation. In any country where we have a large number of people living below poverty line, it is a breeding ground for crime, social unrest and insecurity . When you have people living on less than one dollar a day, then there is trouble. There is so much poverty in the land. When you have about 60 million youths who are unemployed, you have a breeding ground for people to follow Boko Haram, to go into maiming ,robbery and all kinds of social vices. The committee also said that the excessive monetisation of politics, where the easiest means to solve poverty problem is politics .The kind of ridiculous allowance and salaries being taken by public officers turn politics to a do or die affair and that is why the politicians import all kinds of guns, do all kinds of things to get to power .
The belief of some Nigerians is that , rather than forging ahead with the petition challenging the victory of President Goodluck Jonathan , the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) should abide by the ruling of the Court of Appeal, going by past records. Why is CPC sticking to the gun on this matter?
Well, I think the case was dismissed at the appellate court for lack of merit, because the presidency was able to armtwist the judiciary to remove merit from the case. The original petition we filed was headed by a former court of Appeal President, Justice Isa Salami, while the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) tried to suspend him, and the President who was the litigant acceded the request to suspend him on a Sunday.
This is the president who claim to be interested in rule of law, when the Bauchi state governor, Isa Yuguda removed his deputy illegally, and the court said he should go back; when nine members of Ogun state Assembly sacked 15 members for eight months, the president didn’t lift a finger. But because he has an interest in the removal of the president of court of Appeal , within a short time, he has put somebody to replace him. When Salami was removed, the panel was re-jigged.
The same court has nullified elections in Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo based on forensic examinations, and of course these people that nullified it have said what happened in April election cannot stand forensic test. They knew that if forensic examination was made, they could not come out of it free. They made good bargain, the first thing they did was that more forensic examination were not allowed. Immediately they said no more forensic, Justice Ebun Sofunde (SAN) a decent and wonderful man, said that these people were propagating evil, and that this time, we should not allow them to complete this hollow ritual, and said that was invalid.
The party is taking record of these things. Let it be on record that the judiciary is part of this packaging that there was free and fair election, at that stage Ebun Sofunde bowed out. After the forensic, there was a subpoena on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, to come and defend the verdict. They removed all that the appellant needed and destroyed them. I think that was a shameful moment for the administration of justice in the country. So, our going to the Supreme Court is not that we believe we will win, or that things will change. Moammar Gaddafi ruled Libya for 42 years. All the things he did were put together and a day will come when everybody will have to defend their action. So, it is necessary to go through the whole gamut and put everything on record.
Don’t you think that your going ahead with the case could amount to a colossal waste of precious time and resources?
What we are doing is for prosterity. So, having come this far, even before the election, it was clear that the PDP was going to rig the election and that didn’t stop them from conducting the election. So, once you concede all these things to them, you are giving licence to impunity; they will do whatever they like and nothing will happen. Therefore, we will continue to challenge them at every moment. Like someone said if you fight, you will win; if you don’t, you have lost.Share