The crisis of governance in Nigeria has continued to exacerbate, leaving Nigerians with hopeless hope, and merely struggling to survive till 2023 in anticipation of a new leadership that could make life better. Engr. Martin Onovo, Presidential Candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) in 2015, in this interview scores the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) government very low, highlighting statistics of poor performance to buttress his points. Excerpts.
How would you assess the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari six years after being in office?
The score card of President Buhari in office is horrible. He may be the worst ruler in human history. Even the irresponsible Emperor Nero of the Roman Empire may be better. As correctly published by Dr. Femi Aribisala, Ph. D. (Oxford), the Buhari regime is, “The worst government in the history of Nigeria”. Recently the 2021 Chandler Good Government Index ranked Nigeria 102nd out of 104 countries.
The Buhari regime has failed catastrophically in all sectors. It failed in education, health, and infrastructure. It also failed in national unity, economy, democracy, and security. Universities were shut for very many months in Nigeria due to the ASUU strike and that impaired the quality of education. Similarly, doctors have been withdrawing their services in labour strikes due to poor working and welfare conditions. This has exacerbated health issues. Currently, the country is more divided today than ever before due to the sectional agenda of Gen. Buhari. On the economy, President Buhari inherited a growing economy but has driven the country to a debt trap and economic ruin. The worst is the security situation today in Nigeria. Insecurity and terrorism have spread from the Northeast to all regions of Nigeria under this Gen. Buhari regime.
With reliable statistics, what is your evaluation of Buhari’s three core policy thrusts – economy, security, and anti-corruption?
On the Economy: Total national public debt has risen from N12.1 trillion to over N33.1 trillion in this Buhari regime. Naira exchange rate fell from N197 to N500 per US Dollar presently. Inflation and unemployment have reached unprecedented levels. A 50 Kg bag of rice has gone from N7,800 to N28,000 while unemployment has climbed continuously to 33.3% currently. According to the World Poverty Clock, Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world with over 86 million people living in extreme poverty.
On Security: Terrorism was practically limited to only Northeast Nigeria (Borno, Yobe and Adamawa) when Gen. Buhari took power. Presently, it has spread to every region in Nigeria. Further, Nigeria was ranked 4th most terrorized country on the Global Terrorism Index when President Buhari took over power. Today, Nigeria is ranked 3rd most terrorized country in the world under Gen. Buhari.
On Anti-Corruption: The largest contracts scam ever in the history of Nigeria was the NNPC contracts scam of $25 billion (N12.5 trillion). We also know of the arms purchase scam of nearly $2 billion and so many colossal scams. Before President Buhari took power in 2015, Nigeria was ranked 136th in Transparency International’s CPI. Currently Nigeria is ranked 149th a confirmation of our claim that the Buhari regime promotes corruption.
Would you consider the leadership of Nigeria’s Ninth National Assembly to have led the federal legislature to stand firm as an arm of government to address the crises of governance in Nigeria?
No. The theory of democracy requires separation of powers with checks and balances. The puppet leadership of the National Assembly was imposed by President Buhari. It is a self-confessed rubber-stamp. It has surrendered its authority to the dictatorship of President Buhari. It has arrested democracy by facilitating this perilous dictatorship. It also supported the intimidation of the judiciary. In addition, it has also been supporting the restriction of press freedom by its unpatriotic attempt to raise bills against press freedom and free speech. In this way, it has connived with President Buhari to destroy our attempt at democracy. What we have in Nigeria today in Nigeria is a stone-age dictatorship. God help us.
Do you think the Nigerian security systems lack the capacity to contain the insecurity challenges in the country, or do you attribute the crisis to leadership failure?
These kinds of questions subvert national progress. We know the problem, but we continue to ask questions to becloud very clear issues. The Nigerian security system has the capacity to contain all our present security challenges. The ruling party is the direct sponsor of insecurity and terrorism in Nigeria. It is fool-hardy to expect the ruling party to contain the insecurity it sponsors. The ruling party is the direct sponsor of the insecurity and terrorism in Nigeria. Gen. Buhari and the presidency have also made several statements that confirm their support for the terrorists.
According to Alhaji Kawu Baraje, “We brought In Fulani from Mali but after election they refused to go back”.
According to Gen. T. Y. Danjuma, “The armed forces are not neutral. They are conniving with the armed bandits that are killing people”.
According to Daily Post, “PFN South-South region, has accused the Federal Government of supporting the wanton killings by herdsmen”.
According to ex-Governor Ayo Fayose, “The Presidency is the employer and defender of terrorists”.
According to the Movement for Fundamental Change (MFC), “The APC is the direct sponsor of insecurity and terrorism in Nigeria”.
According to Alhaji Bola Tinubu, “Buhari is an ethnic bigot, religious fanatic”.
According to Governor Ortom, “Buhari is working for Fulanis to take over Nigeria”.
More debts are being incurred by the Buhari administration amidst increasing debt servicing burden, would you consider it rational for the National Assembly to continue approving more loans for the president?
It is reckless and unpatriotic for Gen. Buhari and the rubber-stamp National Assembly to continue to jeopardize the future of Nigeria with excessive debt. Countries with good leadership like Norway have accumulated sovereign wealth for their children while the Buhari regime is accumulating excessive debts for our children. Clearly, Gen. Buhari hates Nigeria and Nigerians.
Do you think President Buhari’s nomination of his Special Assistant on New Media, Lauretta Onochie, as INEC Commissioner, would have any effect on the independence of the INEC? Would the National Assembly be right to confirm Lauretta?
Gen. Buhari is a dictator. He has disregarded the Constitution, subdued the legislature, and intimidated the judiciary and the mass media. He is apparently in full dictatorial control. INEC was overrun in 2019 by Gen. Buhari. Democracy died then. Gen. Buhari needs Lauretta Onochie to consolidate his control of INEC and the rubber-stamp National Assembly is his lap dog. Again, God help us.
Do you think it is useful for Nigeria to continue to maintain a presidential committee, under any guise, on coronavirus pandemic? Will the Nigerian government be right to spend N82 billion on coronavirus vaccines?
The COVID 19 jabs are very dangerous. They have only emergency approvals so anyone that accepts it is a guinea pig. The jabs have killed and maimed many persons. They will kill many more with time as the lethal effects increase with time. We do not need the duplication and waste that the presidential committee represents. A unit of the Federal Ministry of Health can track the severe adverse effects of the jab. Spending N82 billion on the jab is evil. N82 billion can construct 1,300 km of road (equivalent of Port Harcourt to Sokoto). It can provide N2 billion each for every federal university to boost education. It can provide N2 billion each for every Federal Teaching Hospital and Federal Medical Centre in Nigeria to boost health. This Gen Buhari regime always has funds to waste but has no funds for development.
In your view, does the Buhari administration or the APC government have the capacity to pull 100 million Nigerians out of poverty?
The Buhari regime has no capacity to pull any individual out of poverty. Using the 2021 data of the World Poverty Clock, 4.2 Nigerians slip into extreme poverty every minute. Therefore, estimating from May 2015, President Buhari has forced over 13 million Nigerians into extreme poverty.