Chief Martin Onovo, Presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), in the 2015 General Elections, in this interview with SUNDAY ODIBASHI, says the All Progressives Congress (APC)-Government is doing everything to destroy the unity of the country. Onovo describes APC as a tragedy to the development of Nigeria.
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, in his one year anniversary speech, highlighted the achievements of his administration, do you agree with the listed achievements of the APC Government?
Previously, we in the National Conscience Party (NCP) had proclaimed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is the most dangerous threat that has confronted Nigeria since independence in 1960. That position has not changed; that belief is not frivolous, not partisan. The facts are glaring.
Every country is built on a few pillars; Nigeria is not an exception. Based on our peculiar historical development, Nigeria is built on our independent values, on our laws, on national cohesion, then, universal values of integrity and justice. APC has targeted these pillars, specifically, to destroy them. And the only objective of destroying these pillars must be the ultimate objective of destroying Nigeria.
On values and integrity; APC has made deceit and propaganda official policy of their government. They have budgeted heavily and appropriately for the Ministry of Information on this goal.
APC has continued with lawlessness and violation of court orders. This is another universal pillar of every human society. The leaders of the NCP believe strongly in the rule of law. APC has chosen lawlessness to the extent of violation of court orders.
There is no major principle of the constitution that APC has not violated, extending to our national ethics, Federal Character. Nigeria’s emblem motto stipulates unity, faith, peace and progress. Because of the heterogeneous composition of Nigeria, we have prioritized national unity to create national cohesion since independence; even with the first national anthem. We have done things to unite this country but APC has done all things to divide this country. They have a clear deliberate aggressive agenda to destroy Nigeria completely to the point of even attacking the pillars that made Nigeria a united country.
Now, on the economy, though not a pillar of Nigeria polity, it has been poorly and badly managed by the APC government. Building the productive capacity of the economy is a key consideration of any country. Measuring economic progress is universally through the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is the basis of growing an economy all over the world. So, a leader does not need to be highly educated to know that if you want to grow an economy, you must grow it through productivity. You have to determine the factors that aid productivity and promote them.
One of the factors that enhances productivity is expertise or professionalism; unfortunately, APC’s preference is mediocrity in public appointments.
APC is the source of Nigerian hypothesis that NEPA Bill is better than degree certificate. That is very destructive. If you want to destroy the system, you pervert the philosophy. Once you pervert the philosophy, every other thing is following the philosophy, people reason in that direction.
Now, on the budget that APC presented, APC claimed that Nigeria is broke, yet, 2016 is the highest budget ever, a budget of N6.06 trillion. This is the highest budget Nigeria has ever made since 1960. Just reconcile this; when you are broke, is that not when you budget less. How is it that when we are broke is when we have the highest budget? That is what I said about perversion.
APC is composed of depraved and subhuman entities. They say Nigeria is broke, when we were prosperous, we budgeted less, N4.5 trillion in 2015, now that we are broke, we are budgeting N6.06 trillion, just reconcile this with common sense.
As I said earlier, APC is the most dangerous threat that has confronted Nigeria since 1960. If we don’t checkmate APC, very soon, the destruction will be irreversible. We have overcome all the tribal hatred with inter-marriages, we have been doing businesses together, we have been going to schools together, doing NYSC together, we have been playing politics together. But since APC came into power, anybody who speaks in Nigeria, the first question is which part of the country did he come from; that is why he is speaking like that; what is his religion, that is why he is speaking like that. We more divided now than before.
Still on the economy, APC is doing everything that will subvert productivity. Because of the mediocrity of the APC, they don’t even know the basic things about economic productivity and energy. The simple point is that the largest economy of the world, the US economy, is consuming 25 per cent of the world energy. So, there is a clear correlation between productivity and energy. You don’t need anybody to tell you that. Common sense tells you that when you have energy, you can do work because energy provides the capacity to do work.
APC government has made sure there is no petrol, no electricity under different guises; so, how do you power the economy. It is deliberate; it is our conclusion in the NCP that it is deliberate to run down the economy.
In NCP, we have previously called on President Buhari to resign because the destruction is deliberate. And by the time that the generality of Nigerians will come to realize that it is deliberate, it may be too late.
Do you agree with those who say the ministers are misleading the President?
There is no way the ministers could mislead the President. A minister is an agent of the President; an appointee of the President. It is the duty of the President to tell the ministers the direction, the path, the boundaries and the milestones. Now, if the President has done that and the ministers do not comply, it means, they are incompetent. Then, the President needs to take corrective administrative actions.
If the President had leadership qualities and capability, he would have appointed the right people as ministers; that is why there is human resource experts. Bring in people who fit into defined responsibilities, roles and training requirements into governance. But when you politicized everything, including national development, national security, this is the kind of result you get. It is very obvious in this government.
Babatunde Fashola, who said it will take six months for any serious government to fix electricity, is now giving excuses that there are challenges. After over six months of appointment, it is now he knows there are challenges for which he crucified the past administrations. He cannot even announce the direction. How do you measure incompetence? Why did Buhari appoint Fashola into that position if not politics? What was Fashola’s performance in Lagos as governor?
Are you not aware people say he did well as Governor of Lagos State?
If doing well is running Lagos into huge debt as the highest debtor state in the country, may be, I will agree with them. But if it is a negative criterion, I doubt what they are saying. Fashola had the highest state budget in the country. So, if he had so much money and Anambra State Governor was doing better than him; everybody was going on strike in Lagos because Fashola was owing them salaries and Anambra civil servants were going to work; I don’t know the basis they are saying he was a good governor. Anambra pays salaries on the 25th of the month. Fashola was a catastrophic failure. He is still failing in the ministry of power unless he gets help because that is an engineering position not a lawyer pontificating argument position.
So, it is about Buhari. When PDP was in power, we said it was Dr. Jonathan; now, APC is in power and we are saying it is President Buhari who is failing the country. Authority and responsibilities go together.
Don’t you think the fall in the price of crude oil in the global market, leading to decline in revenue generation is affecting the APC government?
It is a clear contradiction of the budget size. So, how are you going to make progress with this kind of diametrical contradiction? They say the oil price is falling; revenue is dropping, yet, they shot up the budget to an all time high. The fall in price of crude oil may have effect but when we built the second refinery in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, revenue was much less than what we have today. When we built the Port Harcourt refinery, crude oil was selling at less than $17 per barrel, now, it sells for about $50 per barrel. Production output was at 1.2 million barrels per day, now; it is about 2.4 million barrels per day. So, everything is double.
What is happening is very simple; the level of corruption and wastes in government is too high. Corruption is taking off not only the additional revenue but also the core revenue for governance.
Buhari signed the budget, he did not only sign the budget, he took it himself and delivered it to the National Assembly. Thereafter, we heard about missing budget, padded budget. Where is the sense of responsibility? This Buhari demagoguery needs to stop. Buhari must be advised correctly that if he appoints Mr. A and Mr. A steals money or fails to deliver, it is his fault. When he is advised like that, he will be careful before he appoints ministers. But when he thinks he can be exonerated from failures, that is a joke. Buhari is Nigeria’s chief responsibility officer. Whatever happens that threatens human life, he is responsible. That is his responsibility, if he cannot carry it, let him leave the position. That is why he is the Commander-In-Chief. It is not slavery. The constitution provides for resignation, so, if the responsibility is too much, he should resign. If you cannot do the job, quit the position.
Though the APC government inherited the Boko Haram insurgency, do you not think the government has done fairly well in restoring security in the country?
Boko Haram inheritance is not an excuse, especially, when Buhari campaigned and said he will end the insurgency in months. He swore to an oath to protect Nigeria’s territorial integrity, he must fulfill that oath.
But the federal government said it has technically defeated Boko Haram, are you not impressed with that success?
They have to tell us the meaning of technically defeating Boko Haram terrorists. It is either they have defeated Boko Haram or they have not defeated Boko Haram. Like I said, deceit and propaganda have become the official policy of the APC government.
I will rather believe Senator Garba, an APC senator from Borno State, who told the whole world that only three local governments occupied were reclaimed from Boko Haram as at the time the military were claiming they have defeated Boko Haram technically. May be, the military is right, I’m not saying the military is wrong, but I believe Senator Garba completely.
Secondly, the US military submitted a report to the US Congress. That report says that Boko Haram terrorists still control a significant size or territory of the Nigerian space. That was after the government told us they have technically defeated Boko Haram. So, they need to tell us what they mean by technical defeat.
Now, the GOC 87 Division was attacked by the defeated Boko Haram insurgents and one of his men was killed. So, the men you have defeated are now attacking the GOC. The overall Commander of that operation was attached after his victory over the enemies. If they can attack a Five Star General, a major general commanding a division, it shows they still have the capacity to fight and even grind ordinary citizens to powder. They attacked a five star general, killed one of his aids, and people are going around supporting false propaganda of the APC government.
These three instances made me not believe the government. They could be right but I don’t believe them because of the testimony of Senator Garba, the US Report and the attack on the GOC.
Recently, the herdsmen, Niger Delta avengers, the IPOB, MASSOB seem to be creating new security challenges, don’t you see them as increasing security burden on government?
No. I see them as the natural consequence of lack of leadership. The good leader is not the one who starts crisis and quenches it. A good leader is the one who prevents crisis and create prosperity for all.
See how they stopped importing petrol for a whole month, created scarcity just because they want to increase price. That is the opposite of leadership, that is fraud, that is treachery. They have betrayed the very people that brought them to power. The NNPC told us that Nigeria needs about 35 cargos and they were bringing in 25, that is scarcity. They were doing it and they didn’t expect any consequence. They continued to import the 25 vessels, hoping that the problem will solve itself. Then, after one month, they now increased the price and everybody is saying let it even be available, after all, we were buying at varying higher prices. This is treachery; we don’t expect this kind of betrayal from leadership.
So, Nigerian people are victims of their leaders. NNPC said they were bringing in 25 vessels but we need 35. Because they needed to bring the people down, this is like an armed robbery operation, this have subdued the people with the scarcity. This is the longest scarcity we have ever had in this country. They subdued the people to buy from black market at N250, N300 per litre. So, by the time they announced N145 per litre, people now said it is better than the N300 they were buying before. People are no longer looking at the injustice, they are looking at what they have been suffered. So, this is political brigandage.
In APC’s perverted logic, when oil was a little higher, we were buying at N86.50 per litre, now, that the price has dropped, we are buying at N145; the same logic that Nigeria is broke, yet, this is the largest budget ever.
Don’t you consider the anti-corruption war as Buhari’s strongest point in the past one year?
There is no anti-corruption war; this is the damage we do to ourselves. Anybody thinking there is anything like anti-corruption war, it is either the person is deceitful as the APC or has a moral burden. Just like APC created scarcity in order to increase price of petrol, APC has also decided to pursue vendetta and political witch hunt, putting on the garb of anti-corruption war, then, attack the opposition.
Nigeria has several F7 Jet Fighters that have been bombing Sambisa forest. Who bought those F7 jet fighters; let the Air Force tell us when those F7 jet fighters were bought because the corrupt PDP said they bought the F7 jet fighters. But this is the same money APC said they shared. Did they buy the F7 jet fighters or did they share the money. Maybe, they shared part of the money, which I suspect, but APC said they shared the whole money. APC lied that PDP shared the whole arms money. Even when APC went ahead to lie that the equipment they bought were junk, the military came out and said they are not junk; that they are good equipment. What type of government is that when its own military is the one contradicting it. So, we cannot continue to pretend as a people, APC has been deceiving themselves but we cannot follow them.
So, this is the idea of political correctness and I will follow it. I will not disagree is what led us to where we are today.
We are not going to support APC to destroy our country. If APC has good policies, we will support the APC; but with this evil agenda and deliberate plan to destroy the largest black country on earth, it will be suicidal to support the APC. Even our national security is denouncing the APC government, this is not a government.
Today, the global terrorism index identified four organizations as the worse terrorist organizations that have caused devastating destructions. Number one is Boko Haram in Nigeria, two is ISIS, three is El-Shabbab and four, Nigerian herdsmen. Nigeria has been ranked as the third worse country hit by terrorists. They rank by groups, they rank by countries.
Two abducted Chibok girls have been rescued, is this not an achievement, as many have said, or you don’t believe it?
Well, I may think of who to believe. I do not think that the lady is a Chibok girl. I have reasons to suspect she is not a Chibok girl. Her level of academic development contradicts the claim that she was in SS3. More doubting is that some of the Chibok people have said she is not from Chibok. Many people are now claiming that she was lobbied to play that role in order to promote the first anniversary of APC and support the deceit and propaganda about technical defeat of Boko Haram. People are taking those positions in public that the innocent girl was lured to corroborate APC false claim that they have defeated Boko Haram. I don’t know what is true but what I know is that I expect that an SS3 student should be able to, at least, express herself in very poor English because it is more difficult to write English than to speak English. If she was writing SSCE, she was definitely not writing it in Kanuri language; she must write WAEC in English. If she can write English, how come she cannot speak English. That is a serious indication for suspicion. But the final and authoritative is that Chibok indigenes said she is not one of the Chibok girls. It has gone beyond suspicion when the community, itself, says she is not from Chibok. So, if she is not a Chibok girl, it falls into the theory that APC framed it to fall into their propaganda and it is the nature of APC. I prefer not to believe it. I have evidence because 99 per cent of what have come out of APC are false. That is why APC is labeled as a lying liar.
So, the security situation in the country, clearly, is worse. Kidnaping used to be a South East, South-South phenomenon, now; it looks like Kogi is the headquarters of kidnappers. It has now spread all over. Kidnaping is in Borno, Kaduna, Kogi, it is all over the country. There is also kidnaping in Lagos.
Security which everybody expected that Buhari, given his military background, will be able to perform better, he has not handled the core area well. People are more insecure now than before. The indications are there. Armed robbers now operate for hours, not challenged; there is no contest from Police. The kidnappers have a field day up to the point of kidnaping a serving Captain in the Nigerian Army and getting away with it. They Kidnaped traditional rulers, kidnaped Reverend Father. So, kidnaping is now the norm.
Since the APC came to power, insecurity is worse, healthcare service is worse, education is worse, poverty, unemployment are worse, petrol scarcity is worse. How can any reasonable person defend this government? These confirm what I said that APC is composed of depraved people because if APC is not composed of depraved people, they would have scored themselves and resign. APC is a catastrophic failure. Nobody should tolerate them.