Full text of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s “state of the nation” address on January 20, 2019
“Points for concern and action” by Obasanjo
I’m involved as a democrat who believes that with trustworthy and diligent follow of democracy, we will recover from most of our political issues and transfer steadfastly and surefootedly on the course of stability, unity of objective, socio-economic progress and progress for all.
Democracy turns into a sham if elections are carried out by individuals who ought to be neutral and impartial umpires, however who present no integrity, appearing with blatant partiality, duplicity and imbecility. For all democrats and people finishing up the course of of elections, there have to be the redline that should not be crossed in techniques and practices of democracy.
I personally have critical doubt about the current INEC’s integrity, impartiality and competence to conduct a good, free and credible election. And if the INEC is prepared, will the ruling celebration and authorities permit it? From what we noticed and knew about Osun State gubernatorial election, what was conclusive was declared inconclusive regardless of all recommendation to the opposite. The pointless rerun, if seen as a test-run for a bigger basic election, would lead individuals to anticipate incidences of intentionally contrived, damaged or non-working voting machines or card readers, confusion of voters as to their voting stations, insufficient provide of voting supplies to designated locations, lengthy line to discourage voters and turning blind eyes to favour the blue-eye political social gathering of INEC as a result of the Fee’s arms might be tied to allow hatchet women and men to carry out their unwholesome task. The transmission and collation of outcomes are topic to interference, manipulation and meddling. If the INEC’s favorite political get together wins with all the above infractions, the outcome might be conclusively declared and if not, there can be a ‘rerun’, the outcome of which is understood earlier than it’s carried out. I do know that I’m not alone in being sceptical about the integrity of INEC and its potential to behave creditably and above board. However we’re open to be satisfied in any other case.
The joke about INEC would appear actual. The INEC was requested if the Fee was prepared for the election and if it expects the election to be free, truthful and credible. The INEC man is reported as saying in response, “we are ready with everything including the results!” God save Nigeria! It’s as much as Nigerians to make sure that the redline isn’t crossed in safeguarding our fledgling democracy. And if crossed, applicable motion have to be taken to not permit our democracy to be derailed.
A good friend of mine who’s extra credulous and who claims to be near the Chair of INEC retains telling me that INEC will retrieve its picture and status by conducting the coming elections with utmost integrity and impartiality. I’m not positive as I consider extra in motion than in phrases and in previous document than in promise. The monitor report of the current INEC is pretty sordid and all women and men of goodwill and believers in democracy have to be ready for the worst from INEC and their encouragers and the right way to get Nigeria out of the electoral morass that the Fee is driving us into. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. A battle lengthy forewarned doesn’t embroil the cripple nor catch him unawares. A phrase is adequate for the sensible. The labour of Nigerian democracy heroes should not be in useless. Some males of God would maintain President Buhari to his phrase on free, truthful, credible and peaceable elections. I’m a realist and I reiterate that I’m going by monitor document. Subsequently, I’m not persuaded by a monitor report of hole phrases, impunity, insensitivity and ‘I-couldn’t-care-less’ angle, or by the sanctimonious claims of any candidate and his marketing campaign employees. I’ll solely consider what I see. This can be a time for vigilance to battle to safeguard our votes and defend our democracy. The worth of liberty and sustenance of our democracy is everlasting vigilance and applicable response to keep off iniquities. We should all be able to pay that worth and never counting on hole phrases of callousness. The derailment of Nigerian democracy will probably be a monumental catastrophe corresponding to the catastrophe of the Nigerian first army coup.
Whereas Nigerians should not permit such a catastrophe to occur nor take such an affront mendacity low, the worldwide group who performed an admirable position in warning INEC, of course, to no avail on the Osun State gubernatorial election and who’ve been warning all political events should on this event give extra critical warning, ship extra individuals to the area to watch and work out punitive measures towards INEC and safety officers particularly the Police and politicians who stand to realize from INEC’s misconduct, which is clearly inspired by the Government Arm of Authorities and who have to be held liable for the violence that may comply with. Such measures can differ from denial and withdrawal of visas from the individuals involved and from their households to different extra stringent measures together with their accounts being frozen and taking them to Worldwide Felony Courtroom, ICC, if violence emanates from their motion or inaction. Nigeria should not be allowed to slide off the democratic path nor go into anarchy and break. No particular person nor group has monopoly of violence or gangsterism. And we should not overlook that in human interplay, reactions are usually higher than motion, although reverse.
It’s no use, at this juncture, to maintain lamenting about the failure, incompetence, divisiveness, nepotism, encouragement and condonation of corruption by Buhari administration as there’s neither redeeming function nor character to salvage the state of affairs inside that hierarchy. You can’t give what you don’t have. Bode George put it bluntly in his assertion of December three, 2018 when he stated:
“The other day, the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo – a learned man, an enlightened person in all parameters – was seen at various markets in Lagos State and Abuja distributing N10,000 each to market women. What an absurdity! It was indeed an obscene display of executive recklessness and abuse of office. Pray, where did the money come from? Was it budgeted for in the appropriation law? In more civilised nations, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for gutting our collective treasury.”
What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria lawyer, quantity 2 man in the Government hierarchy; and what’s extra, a pastor of one of the Christian actions led by a revered, revered and upright church chief, Pastor E. A. Adeboye. Osinbajo should have gone for, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. An amazing pity certainly and which makes individuals ask the questions, “Any hope?” Sure, for me, there’s hope. Osinbajo has proven the human weak spot and proved the saying that the corruption of the greatest is the worst type of corruption. His rationalization that it was their authorities programme can solely be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an outrightly idiotic programme.
Merchants in rural and sub-urban areas of Nigeria are many greater than these in city areas and they’re much poorer than merchants in Lagos, Abuja and different cities. They want extra consideration and higher assist. Are they to be confined to the heap of perpetual poverty? What of those that usually are not merchants? They don’t seem to be entitled to hand-out they usually can languish in penury? And what about hundreds of thousands who’ve misplaced their jobs in the final three and a half years? The timing can also be suspect. Those that criticise the motion are referred to as evil however they don’t seem to be evil as they know what they’re doing and saying, they usually love Nigeria and Nigerians not lower than the likes of Osinbajo. They don’t seem to be devils incarnate; they’re patriots.
What’s the connection between taking the quantity of PVC (Everlasting Voters Card) of the recipient of the N10,000 doled out to ‘traders’ and the forthcoming election? There’s something sinister about it, and Professor Osinbajo, of all individuals, ought to know that. With collusion of the INEC officers and card readers not made to work, anyone quoting the PVC quantity could also be allowed to vote as the revised Electoral Invoice was not signed. And if that occurs throughout the nation, it is going to be large rigging certainly. The Chairman of INEC should stand agency and perform his duties with competence and unbending neutrality. Card readers have to be used with out fail and accreditation have to be accomplished and quantity ascertained and made public earlier than voting commences as was accomplished in 2015.
Amina Zakari has turn into too controversial a determine to have the ability to give assurance of free, truthful and credible election for INEC. President Buhari and her household have declared that there isn’t a blood relationship however there’s relationship via marriage and that’s greater than sufficient for the good woman to step apart. A decide doesn’t sit in judgement over a case as soon as she or he turns into a trigger for controversy or one aspect in the case has strongly objected to the decide. Madam Amina Zakari ought to, in honour, keep out and never be seen as a supply of contamination of the election. In any other case, will probably be problem to disclaim the hearsay that she is being assigned to Collation Centre for one obligation solely – to write down out figures that aren’t outcomes of the voting in the subject on pretend outcomes sheets with out water mark or on real outcomes sheets which she could have entry to as a Commissioner. Amina Zakari just isn’t the solely Commissioner that may be in the Collation Centre. Let the INEC Chairman act boldly and impartially and show his absolute neutrality and responsiveness to contribute to make the election peacefully free, truthful and credible. His integrity must be transparently demonstrated.
We should always keep in mind that there had been studies of INEC sponsored rigging in the previous, and in addition with INEC officers via collation and with officers being put in celebration coordinators’ clothes and dealing for the political celebration favoured by INEC and in addition placing the clothes of different events on INEC-favoured events and police uniforms on INEC-favoured events to rig all the elections for the favoured social gathering. Like all of us, INEC is aware of all these and it ought to devise means to ensure they don’t occur. However will they? A method will probably be to solely permit card readers to be means of authenticating voters and the place there isn’t a such authentication, it ought to imply no voting. The second is to make use of solely id playing cards with watermarks issued by INEC itself to celebration officers just for identification of political get together coordinators, officers and brokers and never political events clothes or arm and wrist bands which anyone can put on for functions of identification on election obligation or perform. Each the Presidency and the Nationwide Meeting should up to now be recommended for adequately offering funding as confirmed by INEC, and subsequently funding can’t be an excuse for poor efficiency by INEC.
President Buhari and his hatchet males in the coming election assume that the judiciary have to be primed of their favour. Therefore, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, has been harassed and prosecuted for non-declaration of his belongings with out following the Structure and the regulation, simply to make him conform or set him apart for a Buhari man to take over or act, as President Buhari and his individuals consider no stone ought to be left unturned to rig Buhari in. It appears to be a ploy to intimidate the judiciary as an entire in preparation for all election instances that may go earlier than them. The place and the way will all these cease? Sometimes, with overwhelming outrage and condemnation, we’re informed that the Presidency denied information of the motion. However the Vice-President advised us that the President knew of the motion on Saturday night time for every little thing that has been ready for Monday morning. Haba VP, it doesn’t occur that approach. No one ought to take such measure towards any of the 4 in hierarchy under the President or any of his ministers with out his information and certainly his approval. But when that may occur to the Chief Justice of the Federation, the fifth man in the hierarchy of authorities, with out the information not to mention the approval of the President, then it speaks for the sort of authorities we now have which suggests the President shouldn’t be in cost not to mention being in management and no Nigerian should take something without any consideration. We’re all unsafe and insecure underneath such an administration. And sufficient of it! Buhari’s apologists won’t cease at something to attempt to cowl up his administration’s insufficient efficiency and character. A constitutional liberal democracy can’t thrive with out an unbiased and insulated judiciary from the government and the legislature. Nigerians should get up and cease these acts of wanton desperation tantamount to psychological incapacity to run the affairs of Nigeria wholesomely.
Life and dwelling are anchored on belief. But when I belief you and also you deceive, cheat or disappoint me the first time, it’s disgrace on you. Nevertheless, if I permit you to take action the similar factor for me the second time, I don’t solely have myself responsible, I have to be considered a compound idiot.
Buhari has succeeded in deceiving us the first time and we might be fools to permit ourselves to be deceived the second time. Buba Galadima, who is aware of Buhari very properly as a confidant and Nationwide Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, the Buhari’s get together earlier than it joined in forming All Progressives Congress, APC, has warned us this time round that it doesn’t matter what he guarantees, he can’t change his character and angle. He describes him as rigid, insincere, doubtful, illiberal, by no means accepts duty when issues go mistaken and impervious to cause and recommendation for change. For those who can’t change your thoughts, you can’t change something is the assertion of George Bernard Shaw. Even when figures, details and statistics are made clear to Buhari, he retains repeating what’s unfaithful, both as a result of he can’t perceive or for mischief functions and that locations him on the degree of a pathological liar. He believes he can get away with impunity and deceit as he appears to have executed on many events in the previous. Buba Galadima’s place is properly complemented by Dr. Auwalu Anwar on the APC, CPC, TBO and Buhari’s character and angle in his but to be launched guide, “Politics As Dashed Hopes in Nigeria”. Additionally it is a shocking revelation. Anwar clearly identified, “the brazen display of incompetence, insensitivity and irresponsiveness by delusional party, CPC, leadership at all levels”. Buhari was the chief of the get together. Bola Tinubu’s assertion about Muhammadu Buhari in 2003 is pretty prophetic, “Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who, if given the chance, would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity.”
Junaid Mohammed was eloquent on the problem of nepotism. But when as we have been informed that Buhari is nepotic as a result of he doesn’t belief others, why ought to others belief him to proceed to place their destiny and life in his hand. Belief begets belief. They can’t be trusted for ‘sensitive’ appointment however they are often despatched out to marketing campaign for his re-election. Who’s fooling who?
What is occurring underneath Buhari’s watch may be likened to what we witnessed underneath Gen. Sani Abacha in some ways. When Abacha determined that he should set up himself as Nigerian President by all means and in any respect prices, he went for broke and surrounded himself with hatchet males who on his order and in his curiosity and at excessive prices to Nigeria and Nigerians maimed, tortured and killed for Abacha. Buhari has began on the similar path in mad desperation.
From obtainable intelligence, we’ve heard of how Buhari and his celebration are going about his personal self-succession challenge. They’ve began recruiting collation officers who’re already awarding outcomes based mostly on their tasks to actualise the perpetuation agenda by which the individuals won’t matter and the votes won’t rely. It’s the sole cause he has blatantly refused to signal the revised Electoral Reform Invoice into regulation.
His henchmen are working spherical the clock in cahoots with safety and election officers to good their plan by computing outcomes proper from the ward to native authorities, state and nationwide ranges to allot him what is going to appear to be a landslide victory irrespective of the true state of affairs for a candidate who may need carried out by proxy presidential debate and campaigns.
The present plan is to drape the pre-determined outcomes with a toga of credibility. It’s also deliberate that violence of unimaginable proportion shall be unleashed in excessive voting inhabitants areas throughout the nation to precipitate re-run elections and the place he can be returned duly elected after focus of safety officers because it occurred in Osun State. We’re monitoring them and we name on all democrats throughout the world to regulate the unfolding anti-democratic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. That is the time for preventive measures to be taken in any other case Nigeria could also be introduced with a fait accompli with impunity and complete disregard of all pleas.
His scheme bears eloquent testimony to this street just like Abacha whom he has praised to excessive heavens and as an arch-supporter and beneficiary from Abacha, he has seen nothing flawed accomplished by him. It’s clear from all indications that Buhari is placing into apply the classes he discovered from Abacha. Buhari has intimidated and harassed the personal sector, attacked the Nationwide Meeting and now unconstitutionally and recklessly attacked and intimidated the Judiciary to cow them to submission.
I used to be a sufferer of Abacha’s atrocities towards Nigeria and Nigerians – excessive and low. At the peak of Abacha’s desperation for perpetual energy, he didn’t brook any criticism as a result of Nigeria was seen as his private property. It’s essential to go together with him or be destroyed. All establishments for making certain safety, welfare and well-being of Nigeria and Nigerians notably the Police, the Army and the Division of State Providers (DSS) have been abused and misused to cope with critics of Abacha and non-conformists with Abacha.
At present, one other Abacha Period is right here. The safety establishments are being misused to battle all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy. EFCC, Police and Code of Conduct Tribunal are additionally being equally misused to cope with these Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those that might not do his bidding in manipulating election outcomes. Criticism, selection and being totally different are inherent commerce mark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will routinely comply with.
Right now, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians should stand up and do what they did in the time of Abacha. Church buildings and Mosques prayed. Worldwide group stood by us Nigerians. I used to be a beneficiary and my life was saved. Properly-meaning Nigerians took applicable actions and made sacrifices, some supreme, some lower than supreme however God had the remaining say and He took the final motion.
God of Nigeria is a dwelling God and a prayer-answering God. Nigerians should cry out to God to ship Nigeria. Right here once more, I’ve been threatened with arrest and extermination however I can’t succumb to intimidation or threats. Perhaps I ought to remind those that are utilizing probe as a menace that I’ve been probed 4 occasions by EFCC, ICPC, Home of Representatives and the Senate and Buhari has entry to stories of these probes. However I’ve additionally challenged Buhari and the criminals round him to arrange a probe on the similar allegations and I’ll face such probe in public. However I do know that these criminals can’t stand up to a Police inquiry not to mention medical probe on the previous public workplaces they held. My fervent prayer is that President Buhari might reside to see the will and objective of God for Nigeria. My ultimate attraction to him is to desist from evil with manipulation and desperation as a result of evil has repercussion particularly as man who ought to watch and be aware of his self-acclaimed and packaged integrity. At the finish of the day, those that goad you on will depart you in the lurch. You’ll be left alone, bare and unheralded. In defeat, which have to be Buhari’s worry resulting in desperation, he and his co-travellers can nonetheless keep modicum of decency, and exhibit worry of God of their actions. We now have been advised that governance has been abdicated to a cabal. Now, campaigning has been abdicated to ‘jagaban’. And it’s being authoritatively said that he wouldn’t be a part of any presidential debate. Nigerians won’t permit the elections to be abdicated to INEC and Police to offer us false and manipulated outcomes. I personally commend the President for yielding to widespread outcry to let the former Inspector-Basic of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, go when he’s due as he had the monitor document and historical past of being assigned to rig elections for the incumbent. It was alleged that he was despatched to Kano for that function in 2015. He was already deploying his Commissioners of Police on comparable mission earlier than his exit. We should all encourage the new Inspector-Basic of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to tread the path of professionalism, even-handedness, respect and new picture for the Police.
Whereas Nigeria should recognize Buhari for the little he has completed and permit him to depart for house in peace if he permits free, truthful, peaceable and credible elections, we should additionally inform ourselves that Nigeria deserves higher at this time limit than what Buhari is succesful of providing. Historical past will observe that he has been there. Nigeria now wants a person with higher bodily and psychological soundness, with an lively thoughts and mind.
Let me say once more that Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians and exists for the profit of all Nigerians and non-Nigerians who want to reside or do enterprise in and with Nigeria. The angle of “it is my turn and I can do what I like” with impunity won’t final as a result of Nigeria is created by God and it’ll outlive all evil machinations and designs towards the general curiosity of Nigeria.
Earlier than I conclude, let me assert that the safety state of affairs has deteriorated with kidnapping all over the place and Boko Haram extra in motion and no one ought to deceive Nigerians about this. With the teaming up of Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram is stronger in the present day militarily than they’ve ever been. Boko Haram has additionally been empowered by the Nigerian authorities by means of cost of ransom of tens of millions of dollars which every administration disingenuously all the time denies. With ISIS being liquidated in Iraq and Syria, Africa is now their port of focus. Quickly, they could take over Libya which, with substantial assets, is nearly a completely failed state. When that occurs, all African nations North of Congo River will probably be unsafe with critical safety issues. The wrestle have to be for all West African, Central African, North African and most East African States. Nigeria has to play a vanguard position on this wrestle as we’ve a lot to lose. This administration has reached the finish of its wit even in dealing with all safety points, however notably Boko Haram problem, partly on account of misuse of safety equipment and poor gear, deployment, coordination and cooperation.
Lastly, these Nigerians which are being intimidated or threatened by this Administration should belief in God and stand agency. Robust occasions don’t final endlessly, however robust individuals invariably survive robust occasions. This can be a robust time for nearly all Nigerians in several respects, however the individuals’s will shall triumph. All individuals who have registered to vote with their PVCs must not ever permit anyone or something to disclaim or deprive them of the proper of performing their elementary civic obligation of voting and sustaining democracy. Institution of democracy and its sustenance is second to attainment of independence in our political life, leaving out the victory of the civil struggle. We will overcome.
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