- Urges Nigerians to reject him at poll
Barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari made his intention to seek re-election in 2019 known, a constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has said that President Buhari has failed Nigeria having performed abysmally and disastrously between 2015 and 2018.
Ozekhome, also a human rights activist, thus asked Nigerians to reject him at the polls, saying Buhari had failed to deliver his electoral promises to restore economy, fight corruption and ensure security.
He made the call Tuesday in a statement he issued in response to Buhari’s declaration to seek re-election in 2019, noting that the speculation that the ruling APC “is banking on massive rigging of the 2019 election to win is merely illusory”.
According to him, “The plan to rig cannot work. Nigerians are more enlightened today than ever before. They will use their PVCs to vote wisely, notwithstanding any acts of intimidation or coercion. 2019 is just 10 months away. I will keep my fingers crossed to see how it all plays out.”
Ozekhome lamented that the economy “is in an all time low,” noting that from an over $500 billion rebased economy he inherited, Buhari led Nigeria into recession and now claimed to have taken it out.
Sadly enough, Ozekhome wondered that the president could call for celebration “to take Nigeria back from recession. But the figures do not tally, nor does the story jell. Nigerians are hungrier today than they were three years ago. They have been rendered destitute and impecunious”.
Citing the impact of the economic recession, Ozekhome said many resorted “to going to Libya and attempting to cross the seas to European countries to escape from hunger and squalor, thereby dying in the process. More Nigerians have taken to prostitution across European nations more than ever before”.
In their quest for greener pasture in Europe, the constitutional lawyer lamented that many of them “are gang-raped, sodomised, enslaved and bestialised. The youths have taken up arms, committing more heinous crimes, such as robberies and kidnap, more than ever in the history of this country”.
He pointed out that Buhari promised three million new jobs per annum. However, according to him, Buhari and the APC have caused Nigerians to, paradoxically, lose about 3.5 million jobs annually, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
He said the price of fuel alternates between N145 per litre and N400, whenever available, whereas the APC-led federal government met it at N87 per litre.
Ozekhome explained that a bag of rice “now sells for between N15,000 and N20,000. He met it at N7,500. Prices of goods and consumables have gone out of the reach of the common man, with Nigerians literally feeding from dust bins. So, on the economic front, one of his tripodal promises, he has failed Nigeria and Nigerians. Is this why they will vote for him again? I want to see”.
Under Buhari, Ozekhome said Boko Haram “is stronger today, more potent and more deadly than it ever was. We are regaled daily (check online, print and electronic media), with tales of Boko Haram’s blood-letting exploits, maiming, killing and burning houses across the North-east.
“With apparent government collusion, the military in Dapchi were hurriedly posted out. Chibok was re-enacted in Dapchi, where over 110 secondary school girls were viciously abducted. They were later released in a Hollywood style, in broad daylight, by the same Boko Haram after mind bungling sums were said to have been paid to them as ransom”.
Ozekhome said: “If Boko Haram regarded as one of the four leading terrorist groups in the world were considered deadly enough, the rampaging herdsmen has become more murderous.
“Day-in-day-out, they kill innocent Nigerians in their homes, their farms, burn others, lay siege to whole communities, rape their wives and daughters, and kidnap their males. Never has Nigeria witnessed more insecurity than it is today.”
He said although Boko Haram was limited to the North-east, Fulani herdsmen menace “spread across all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. Federal government does not even pretend to want to curb the insurgency. Not a single herdsman has been arrested or prosecuted by the government.
“Kidnappings, murders, suicides and rape cases have since increased geometrically, rather than arithmetically. Consequently on the insecurity front, Buhari has scored below average. Is this why Nigerians will vote for him?”
He noted that Buhari’s greatest failing “is perhaps in this anti-corruption context. He had promised to fight corruption. Three years down the line, he has not secured a single conviction of any high profile, politically exposed person. Rather, Nigerians have been treated to ludicrous media trial”.
In desperation, the constitutional lawyer added that the government “has now released names of opposition members whom they have charged to court, but cannot prove their cases against as ‘looters’, without any court conviction or judicial pronouncement to that effect”.
“This is in sync with the government’s now infamous disregard for due process, rule of law, independence of the judiciary and disobedience to court orders. Impunity reigns supreme. In appointments, cronyism, nepotism, tribalism, clannishness and favouritism triumph over merit and competence.
“Transparency International, in its recent corruption perception index, has rated Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries in Africa, beaten to the second position in West African by only one country. Nigeria placed 148th globally, out of 180 countries freedom of speech, press freedom, NGO’s freedom, and sundry liberties are seriously curbed, leading to a reign of fear and terror,” he said.
According to him, “Where the government fights ‘corruption’ amongst opposition and critics with pesticides, herbicides and insecticides, it caresses and deodorizes its own corrupt officials, ministers, serving military generals and kitchen cabinet members with sweet smelling sasarabia cologne.
“Corruption reeks everywhere in the government, with many Pandora boxes of oozing gates: Mainagate, Babachirgate, health sectorgate and NNPC gate. The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, revealed to a shocked nation how $23 billion contracts, were irregularly awarded and signed by Buhari on his sick bed abroad, at a time Osibanjo was already the acting president.”
He, therefore, noted that the $2.1 billion Dasukigate, which the federal government “has pegged its anti–corruption fight is less than 10 per cent of the NNPCgate. Corruption now struts around and about proudly, unrestrained, walking on its fours, head and even buttocks”.