2014 has come and Nigeria is now 100 years old. Two years ago, I predicted that if care was not taken, Nigeria would not be the same again. And the South-South is the one dragging Nigeria into this mess. Because they have oil, they believe that they can drag Nigeria into a mess in such a way that when the time comes, there will present a memorandum to United Nations that they are tired of this union and they want to break away. And because they have oil and because some of the international communities seem to be backing them secretly, they are therefore, causing a lot of problems for Nigeria. Some of them have even gone to the extent of saying if Jonathan is not re-elected, Nigeria will break up. You can see in the past one or two years; they have got their own flag and national anthem. In fact, they have everything in preparation for the disintegration of Nigeria. And if you see the amnesty itself, the way it is being done, it shows that it is in preparing them towards the breakup of this country. Therefore, Nigeria has to be careful in terms of security. Today, corruption is worse, the economy is worse, political instability is worse.
Look at what is happening to Governor Amaechi in Rivers State. Internal democracy is zero. When you look at all these antecedents, it is a build up for somebody to stand up one day soon and say, ‘look, we are tired of being one Nigeria.’ You would remember that Elder Edwin Clarke once said that Jonathan must be President of Nigeria. In other words, what he meantwas that Jonathan must be president even if it means being president of another Nigeria. This kind of statement by southerners especially the people of the South-South is uncalled for. Clarke and the rest of them should be cautioned to stop making such inflammatory statements. Now, Asari Dokubo has turned against Jonathan and we know it’s a game. Politics itself is a game anyway and we all know the game and we are playing the game very well. So, 2014 has come and we must be very careful. Today, a senator was shot by the police. Our security is becoming worse. Amaechi’s life is not safe. They are trying to declare a state of emergency in Rivers State. They will not leave Amaechi alone. He has left the PDP yet they don’t want to leave him alone.
The Boko Haram issue is on everyday. The armed forces have not been able to stamp out the insurgents. Now, tell me what is happening. Just recently, the FCT minister said the capital territory is the seat of corruption in Nigeria. That is the minister talking. So, corruption, insecurity, political instability, lack of internal democracy and so on have become the bane of Nigeria. These are all roadmap towards disintegrating this country. But let me say that in as much as some people are bent on separating this country, there are some people who want to make sure that Nigeria remains one no matter what it would cost and I am one of them. If it means fighting, we will fight for it. But we have to be careful. 2014 has come.
What is your take on Obasanjo’s letter to the former PDP national chairman that he was withdrawing from party activities?
It is very unfortunate. Obasanjo is a past president of the country. He talks too much. He makes noise too much. Being a past president, there are certain things you should just keep quiet about and watch. He is the only past president that is always in the papers; he is the only past president that is always on air. If you ask me, I would say there was no need for him to write Bamanga Tukur saying he wanted to keep away from the activities of the party. If he wants to keep away from the activities of the party, he can do so without a letter to Bamanga Tukur. He would have quietly retired, such that people would be wondering what happened. Obasanjo talks too much and the mess we are in today as a nation is caused by him. Now, Obasanjo is telling all Nigerians that he was responsible for the mess. The issue is simple. Obasanjo will do himself more good if he remains quiet.
A lot of people have taken that letter to mean that he was decamping from the PDP to the APC. If that is the case, what does it portend for your party, the PDP?
Well, as to whether he is joining APC or not, I don’t want to speak on that because I find it difficult to say whether he should or shouldn’t do that. But party is all about interest. When a side does not have your interest and the other side your interest, you can join the party where you feel you can be at home. Frankly speaking, the PDP has been very unkind to Obasanjo generally because of his outspokenness
And because he is responsible for putting Jonathan there, he thinks he should be accorded the respect and that respect is not there. Every Tom, Dick and Harry in the PDP can jump up today and talk to Obasanjo anyhow. Therefore, I believe that he may be better off in the APC but I don’t think Obasanjo is going to APC. I don’t want to speak about it now. I had better wait and see what he will do next. Of course, Obasanjo is never a quiet person. Very soon, he will tell us exactly where he wants to go. I want you to also look at the fact that his best friends in the North today are the Jigawa and Niger State governors. Both governors are sitting tight and are not decamping to the APC yet. So, if Obasanjo wants to defect to the APC without the Jigawa and Niger State governors, who is he going to work with? Obasanjo is not friendly with Tinubu who is the leader of the APC in the South-West. He is not comfortable with Buhari. So, how can he go to APC? Perhaps, he will earn more respect there than in the PDP that he moulded from the scratch.
What is your view on the recent mass defection of House of Representatives members from the PDP to the APC?
The founders of the PDP had a totally different vision of what they wanted the party to be but not what it is today. The people who are running the PDP today were not with the PDP initially. New people have taken over the PDP and therefore, the vision of the founding fathers has been greatly altered. The crisis we are experiencing today is because those who originally formed the PDP are no more there. Now, what you have in the PDP are totally different people who have come to destroy the party. Having said that, the National Assembly, particularly the House of Representatives members that have decamped did so because they cannot curtail the crisis.
Every time, there is crisis in the PDP, and it is the ruling party. Why do you have crisis in the ruling party all the time? Meanwhile, there is no mechanism through which the PDP could solve its problems. This has been going on for more than two years. We have not been able to solve any problem but have been moving from one problem to another. Does it mean that those who are running the PDP today cannot advise the leadership of the party properly?
Normally, if there is no problem, who would want to decamp from the PDP? But there is crisis and the PDP is the one causing the problem itself. How do I mean?
The people who can run this party properly have been relegated to the background and those who are running the party were never in PDP before. If PDP can realise today that those who are now running the party were not originally members of the party and then sees the need to bring back the original members who have been relegated to the background, then things would get better and all these crises would be solved. There are some of us who know exactly how to resolve this internal crisis in the PDP. Yet, we have been relegated to the background all because we have refused to support just one person (Jonathan). I am a PDP man but I am not bound to support the president. I can support any candidate no matter where he belongs. But in the PDP, if you say you are not in support of the president, the whole atmosphere will be on you. It shouldn’t be like that because PDP is greater than any individual.
The president is an individual. Yet, praise-singers and sycophants have taken over the party and they are the ones urging the president on and telling him that he is good and that people must support him. This is bad. The policy Jonathan is running should be the policy of the party and therefore, everybody will support him. But is Jonathan running the policy of the party? The answer is no. Are the governors running policies of the party? No, they are not. And we dare not say anything or you would be perceived as a bad man. Therefore, these House of Representatives members decamped from the PDP because they were aggrieved. And if the party has no mechanism with which it can solve its problems, what else would they have done but to decamp? Even though the constitution did not provide for cross-carpeting, what could be done if a person does that? But I know that over the years, people have cross-carpeted. And it is assumed that if a party has crisis, members can cross-carpet. It is when the party has no crisis at all and you cross-carpet that your seat can be declared vacant. But when your party has crisis and you are elected on the platform of that party, and you are not interested in those crises, what do you do? You cross-carpet. But if you say because 37 people have cross-carpeted to APC, therefore, their seats should be declared vacant, remember that there are some people who had cross-carpeted to the PDP. Why are we not talking about that?
Don’t you think that Jonathan’s decision not to declare his 2015 ambition is further heating up the polity?
Jonathan has nothing to tell Nigerians. Nigerians are fed up with Jonathan. All Nigerians want is for him to complete his tenure and leave. We are waiting for that day that he would dare say he will contest. So, let’s allow Jonathan to complete his work as we have given him the mandate and leave in 2015. We will find another person.
What if he says he wants to contest?
No, he won’t say that. I am not thinking of Jonathan wanting to contest.
But he has a right to contest.
No, he doesn’t have. He has been sworn in more than two times as president already. First, he had a joint ticket with late President Umaru Yar’Adua. Then, he was sworn in as president after the demise of Yar’Adua, following which he was sworn in again as president. Without Jonathan as his running mate, Yar’Adua wouldn’t have been elected alone. So, for anybody to say he completed Yar’Adua’s tenure is absurd. As far as I am concerned, the day Jonathan got in as Vice President, it was on a joint ticket with Yar’Adua. If Yar’Adua were to be alive, Jonathan wouldn’t have been given another four years in office while Yar’Adua is out. Nigerians don’t do that. That is why I don’t even want to contemplate that Jonathan would still want to contest in 2015. He knows what is happening in Nigeria and that is why he cannot talk. He is waiting for the appropriate time to talk. And when he sees the body language of Nigerians, I don’t think Jonathan would want to contest.
So, in essence, are you saying that the presidency must return to the North in 2015?
That is definite. That is why I am telling you that Jonathan will not contest because he is not from the North. The president of this country must come from the North in 2015. The president of Nigeria come 2015, must be a northerner. Whether Jonathan likes it or not, whether anybody likes it or not, that is what we know and that is what must happen.