Politics

2023: South East should produce next president if there must be election –Adebanjo

Leader of the Yoruba socio-political group, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, is insisting that Nigeria should hold a constitutional conference before conducting another election. In this interview with Oladipupo Awojobi, Adebanjo stated that the National Assembly cannot continue to operate under a military constitution and that there is no moral in all the political parties in the country. Excerpts…

The Nigeria Senate recently granted total autonomy to the 774 local governments in Nigeria, are they on the right path?

Why are they talking about that? In any federation, we should not be doing patch patch amendment, what we need now is drastic change of constitution before any election takes place in the country. The only thing that is disturbing the country is the constitution and you are still continuing to say you would hold elections with it. All the imperfections are there and you are still talking about it. You are saying there is no state police, you are all living in denial, I don’t believe in these amendments. That legislature is a product of fraud, which is why they are doing all these mess. They got there with the constitution of the military. They don’t want to address issues, they just want to be in government. They don’t want to change the system, you are a civilian regime and you are operating a military constitution.

The Electoral Act Amendment Bill was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, what is your take on this?

The Electoral Law, to a large extent will help us to have good elections, what we are building the election on is the constitution, which is where to start from. Those who want to contest election under this constitution would still contend with a lot of issues. You have tried a system it has not worked and you continue to work with it.

Don’t you think President Buhari does not have enough time to amend the constitution?

….He has no intention to do anything, don’t put words into my mouth. Look at the President of the country dictating who would be the chairman of his party. What type of democracy is that? I’m sorry for this country, some of you cannot see the danger in your system, I am already an old man, I’m only sorry for all of you. President Buhari is trying to Fulanise the country and despite all that we have been saying he has not uttered a word. All of you cannot see all these, what a pity!

Southern Governors have said that we should have a southern president in 2023, would you say they are right?

All the Governors are being cowardly, everybody wants to get to power and continue the bad system, anybody that gets to power through this constitution would find it difficult to change the system.

Since this government is not ready to change the constitution and the election is coming up, what do we do?

What you should do is for you people to refuse to take part in the next election until the constitution is changed or else you will die in slavery.

But, if election does not hold and by May 29, 2023, this government cannot be in power legally, what should we then do?

If the elections hold and someone gets to power, what will he do with it? May be he will try to put things right, then he can organide a constitutional conference ….That is what they will say, but I have said my own.

Do you feel that a South Westerner should be the next president of the country?

I have told you that I don’t believe in another election for now. Where are you taking the country, there is no moral or principle among all the parties. How can a south westerner or south southerner want to be the president again after former president Olusegun Obasanjo spent eight years, Professor Yemi Osinbajo would be there as the vice president for eight years, former president Goodluck Jonathan spent five years as president, is the South East not part of Nigeria? What is their offence, which is where the morality comes in? When they want to go as Biafra, you said they couldn’t go.

One feels that since your group is Afenifere, Pan-Yoruba, you should support a Yoruba as President…

…No, no, this is not a tribal matter; I have said it before that there is no moral in this country. If the southern governors say Nigeria is North and South and that there should be rotation, does it mean that there is no rotation when it comes to the South again? Have South West and South South not had their own, so what is wrong with the South East?

It seems people are afraid because of the experience of Biafra that led to the civil war?

Don’t talk like that, let them go then that is where the fraud lies, even you press men are guilty. If the Yorubas are treated the way the South East is treated will you agree? It’s all a gang-up. I am not part of this at all. I have said it before that under this constitution even if you put my son as a candidate in any election I will oppose him. There is no principle. You people are afraid of Biafra, they don’t want to be part of Nigeria and you say they should not go.

Do you think Nigeria would have been better off if we had continued with the parliamentary system of government?

Certainly, we would have been better. You can see the way Buhari is working because this constitution makes him the most powerful president in the world. In the United States of America (USA) that we copy, can their president do half of what Buhari is doing?

 

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