Presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), in the last general election, Chief Martin Onovo, in this exclusive interview with OpenLife, speaks candidly about Nigeria’s socio-political and economic bearings. Staff Writer, Ngumah Isaac, presents the excerpts.
What can you say about the bill to grant Amnesty to repentant Boko Haram terrorist?
This Senate under Alhaji Ahmed Lawan is very dysfunctional. They go from one absurd bill to another. We saw their social media bill, we saw their generator sales prohibition bill and we have seen their Boko Haram Amnesty bill. These lawmakers may be clannish. Why do the Senate wish to reward terrorism and genocide? Would that not promote terrorism and genocide? Let us first rehabilitate the victims of Boko Haram, rehabilitate our internally displaced citizens, the poor, the weak, the sick, the disabled, the almajiri, the unemployed, the innocent citizens held in “Awaiting Trial” and old citizens of our country. Terrorists and mass murderers should be brought to justice.
Amotekun has taken off, what can you say on regional security outfits?
Great! Regional security outfits are necessary in all regions to boost the security of lives and properties. We support the idea because it will increase security management capacity in Nigeria and thereby control the level of insecurity in the whole country.
INEC’s de-registration of 74 political parties. What is your take?
According to Chief Adebutu, INEC is a department of the ruling party. Clearly, INEC is partisan with impunity. After it has failed to organize free and fair elections in 2019, it cannot reasonably attempt to deregister political parties. Some of those parties were registered recklessly in INEC’s attempt to divide the opposition prior to the 2019 elections. This is the worst ever INEC leadership we have seen. The 2019 general elections are the worst ever.
What can you say on the Senate approval of $22.76 billion loan request by the Federal Government?
This Senate led by Alhaji Ahmed Lawan is a rubber-stamp Senate that is very slavish, reckless and unpatriotic. The approval of the loan is a sure path to a national debt crisis. Already Nigeria is in a debt trap, unable to pay its debts. Currently, we borrow to even service our debts. This new loan will surely lead to a debt crisis. Only a miracle can prevent that.
In 2015 total national debt was N12.1T. Now, it is nearly N27T. In 2015 annual cost of debt obligations was N0.9T. This 2020 it is N2.3T. This Buhari regime has borrowed more than all the three previous administrations in Nigeria put together. While countries like Norway are accumulating sovereign wealth for their children, Gen. Buhari is accumulating massive debts for our children and has effectively destroyed their future.Gen. Buhari must be held to account for about N30T he has spent since 2015 without any achievement.
What can you say on the review of the constitution and the national confab?
Restructuring is what the overwhelming majority
of Nigerians want. Restructuring will benefit the country more.
What can you say on the demand for President Buhari to resign over the state of insecurity in the country?
The demand is very popular. The Senate minority party has called on Gen. Buhari to resign. The Northern Elders Forum has passed a vote-of-no-confidence on Gen. Buhari. Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has called on Gen. Buhari to resign. The Movement for Fundamental Change a coalition of Civil Society Organizations and many other groups have also called on Gen. Buhari to resign. Nigerians in London held “Buhari must go” protests. Each extra day Gen. Buhari spends in office the worse for our country Nigeria.
On the call for the sack of service chiefs, what is your take?
Sacking service chiefs will not improve the security situation in the country unless Gen. Buhari leaves office. If the Commander –in-Chief is incompetent like Gen. Buhari, then the service chiefs cannot be effective. Buhar must go.
Igbo presidency in 2023 what is your take?
Democracy requires representation and participation. It is important that the next President of Nigeria comes from the Southeast. This will promote democracy, justice and national cohesion. Otherwise, it becomes discriminatory and will promote tension and social crisis.
Ndigbo are optimistic that President Buhari will hand over power to them. What is your view?
His Excellency Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai and most ethical national opinion leaders insist that power must rotate to the Southeast. That is the right political position. We agree with them.
What can you say on the Supreme Court review of its judgment of Imo State governorship?
We say the Supreme Court was right to review the judgment. Unfortunately, it still upheld the previous judgment but we are consoled that the Hon. Justice Chima Nweze gave a brilliant minority judgment that we agree with. The matter is over now. The Supreme Court whether right or wrong is the highest and final court in Nigeria.
How can governmentt address the problem of unemployment and security problem in Nigeria?
This government according to Aisha Yesufu is, “incompetent, clueless and inept”. We agree with her. The government is incapable of addressing unemployment, security, corruption or the economic issues it created. Buhari must go.
Igbo presidency will end Biafra agitation. What is your view?
Most definitely. The Biafran agitation is fuelled by the marginalization of certain sections of Nigeria contrary to the Constitution. A President from the Southeast will be affirmative action against the discrimination that has become the norm in Nigeria contrary to the Constitution.
The Southeast plans to unveil its own security outfits. What is your opinion?
Great. We support the position that all regions in Nigeria should establish regional security organizations to improve security management capacity in all regions.
How do you rate the administration of President Buhari since he came into power?
According to Dr. Femi Aribisala, Ph. D. (Oxford), this is the worst government in the history of Nigeria. We agree with him. The facts are clear. Today, we are the global capital of extreme poverty. The level of insecurity is unprecedented. We have the highest level of unemployment ever. The Naira has lost half of its value under Gen. Buhari. Corruption is at the highest level ever.