Buhari’s government is incompetent, deceitful and corrupt. These are the conclusion of Engineer Martins Onovo as Nigeria clocks 60. Martins Onovo, Head Policy Positions, Movement for Fundamental Change, in this interview with OpenLife’s Isaac Ngumah, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has not only unleashed economic consequences on Nigerians but the administration is “irresponsible, incompetent, deceitful and corrupt”
What can you say on the opinion of former President Obasanjo and professor Wole Soyinka, that Nigeria is gradually sliding onto a failed state and is on the verge of collapse?
It seems clear to us that Nigeria is a failing state. The evidence is super-abundant. Insecurity is at an unprecedented level. Nigeria is currently the third most terrorized country in the world. Corruption with impunity is also at an unprecedented level. Unemployment is at an unprecedented level. Nearly 20 million Nigerians have lost their jobs since General Buhari took over power in 2015. Poverty is at an unprecedented level and Nigeria is now the global capital of extreme poverty. Presently, Nigeria is ranked as a fragile state using the ‘Failed States Index’. Former President Obasanjo is clearly right, Nigeria is a failing state and if strategic measures are not taken immediately to check the slide, Nigeria will fail in a few years.
What is your assessment of Nigeria security situation in the country?
Very poor. Large areas in Borno, Niger, Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara States are under the control of Islamic terrorists and bandits. Nearly three thousand soldiers have been killed in internal conflicts since General Buhari took over power in 2015. Over 22 military bases have been attacked and over-run by Islamic terrorists since General Buhari’s government came on board and since he became the Commander-in-Chief. The current level of insecurity is unprecedented. The worst failure in governance since amalgamation in 1914.
Many people are saying that Nigeria is in danger without sovereign National conference.
Nigeria is clearly in danger. The situation can improve in many ways. The overwhelming majority seem to prefer restructuring using the six geopolitical zones in a federal model of federating units and federating constitutions. This is similar to the 1960 independence federal structure.
What is your view on 2023 election where the power should rotate to?
Zoning of the presidency is a domestic democratic requirement in Nigeria. It is practiced at all levels, Village, Ward, Local Government, State and Federal. It is not a constitutional requirement but representation of component units is very critical to every democracy. We believe in zoning. Switzerland rotates its presidency. Many other heterogeneous countries also practice zoning. Today in Nigeria, zoning has also become a moral imperative as regions that have benefitted from zoning have lost the moral voice to oppose those that have not benefitted. Since General Buhari is from the North, then if ever we have elections in 2023, then, a Southerner should take it. That Southerner should be from the Southeast since both the Southwest (Chief Obasanjo) and the Southsouth (Chief Dr Jonathan) have produced the president and the Southeast has not.
Categorically, the Southeast should produce the president in 2023. It is clear that to minimize domination, minimize political rivalry and tension, promote national cohesion and unity, uphold democratic representation, promote peace, ensure synergy and national development; the Southeast should produce the president in 2023.
Do you think Nigeria will benefit a lot more if the country is restructured?
Nigeria stands to benefit when the country is restructured. The evidence is clear. After independence in 1960, there was healthy competition among the federating regions and development was accelerated. Currently, with weaker States as federating units and unitary control of resources (national cake), development has become constrained.
What can you say of those agitating for their own Biafra and Oodua Republics?
They have a right to agitate peacefully. First, the United Nations recognizes the natural right of all nations to self-determination. Second the UNPO has admitted the Yoruba and Igbo nations as member nations. Our position in the Movement for Fundamental Change is for restructuring. The majority of Nigerians prefer restructuring.
What can you say of the presidential panel probing Magu?
There are very serious allegations against Mr Magu and he should be investigated thoroughly. Do not forget that he has been previously indicted by the DSS and other institutions even before his appointment. All serious allegations must be investigated.
What can you say on water resources bill?
The ‘Water Resources Bill’ is part of the islamization and fulanization agenda of the General Buhari’s government. It is a violation of the federal structure of Nigeria. The withdrawal by the House of Representatives is only technical. We must all reject the Bill categorically.
What can you say on fuel price increase?
The fuel price increase is the natural economic consequence of the irresponsible, incompetent, deceitful and corrupt Gen. Buhari regime. It is irresponsible and corrupt citizens that tolerate irresponsible and corrupt governments.
What is your view on the way the federal government is handling Covid -19 in the country?
In two words, incompetent and corrupt. So many citizens have lost their jobs, so many have lost their livelihoods, so many have suffered serious health problems from the senseless lockdown and corruption has been promoted most outrageously by the government.
What can you say on the peaceful conduct of election in Edo state?
We are happy with the conduct of the Edo governorship election. Our claim that peaceful, free and fair elections are easy to conduct have been proved right. We must thank the Oba of Benin and the US government for their roles.
Many people have called for the sack of the service chiefs what is your take?
Authority and responsibility go together. The Service Chiefs are notorious failures but the Commander-in-Chief is the catastrophic failure. He must take responsibility as the Commander-in-Chief. As long as the Commander-in-Chief is incompetent, the Service Chiefs cannot perform well. Gen. Buhari must go!
Nigeria is 60 years old. What is your view?
It is an opportunity for philosophical reflection and repentance for all Nigerians. It is very shameful that after sixty years of independence we have remained very hypocritical, irresponsible, wasteful and corrupt. We must accept Nigerians are reaping what they sowed. They must know that we cannot continue to do the wrong things and expect the right results. We must henceforth shun selfishness, greed and deceit. We must promote integrity, justice, peace, diligence and excellence.