Osun Governorship: Court of Appeal nullifies tribunal judgment, pronounces Oyetola winner

Osun Governorship: Court of Appeal nullifies tribunal judgment, pronounces Oyetola winner

BREAKING: Court of Appeal nullifies Adeleke’s electoral victory

Halimah Yahaya
The Court of Appeal on Thursday in Abuja nullified the electoral victory of Ademola Adeleke in the Osun State governorship election petition tribunal.

This was after the appeal filed by the governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, challenging the declaration of Ademola Adeleke as the duly elected governor by the state election petition tribunal.

The appellate court also set aside the judgement of the tribunal of March 22, which declared Mr Adeleke winner of the election.

A five-member panel of the appeal court led by Jummai Sankey delivered the judgement with three members of the panel agreeing with the lead judgement.

A panel member, Justice Mbaba, is currently giving a dissenting judgement.

Mr Adeleke contested the governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Independent National Electoral Commission declared Mr Oyetola winner after a supplementary poll but the tribunal said Mr Oyetola won the election at the first ballot.

Specifically, he faulted the judgment as unknown to the law because Justice Peter Obiorah who prepared and read the lead judgement did not participate fully during the hearing of the petition.

Mr Oyetola whose appeal was first heard by the court of appeal drew the attention of the court to the February 6 proceedings in which Mr Obiorah was absent at the tribunal and did not sign the proceeding of that day.

The appellant contended that what Mr Obiorah did amounted to judicial hear-say because the proceedings of February 6 when he was not in court was copiously copied in his lead judgement.

Insisting that judicial hear-say has no place in law, Mr Oyetola asked the appeal court to quash the judgement, allow the appeal and uphold the governorship election.

On his part, the counsel to APC, Akin Olujinmi, also faulted the judgment of the tribunal led by Ibrahim Sirajo, on the ground that the petition was based on the rerun election of September 27.

Credit: Premium Times

Court Nullifies Adeleke’s Nomination for Osun Guber Polls over Certificate Forgery

Court Nullifies Adeleke’s Nomination for Osun Guber Polls over Certificate Forgery


*Adeleke faults judgment, proceeds to Appeal Court

Ademola Adeleke

By Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Oathman Musa of an Abuja High Court sitting in Bwari Area Council of Abuja on Tuesday Nullified the nomination of Senator Ademola Adeleke as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the September 2018 Governorship Election in Osun State.

Adeleke, who represents Osun West Senatorial District at the National Assembly was the PDP’s candidate in the 2018 governorship election in Osun state.

Two Chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb, had in 2018 barely few days to the governorship election in Osun State had dragged Adeleke to court, accusing him of not possessing the requisite educational qualification (secondary school certificate) to contest for the office of governor.

They prayed the court for an order to disqualify Adeleke from participating in the Sept 22 governorship election in the state on the grounds that he does not possess the requisite educational qualification.

Delivering judgment in the suit Tuesday, Justice Musa annulled Adeleke’s nomination on the grounds that Adeleke offended section 177 of the 1999 constitution as amended. The section stipulated that candidates for the position of governor must be educated up to secondary school level.

According to Justice Musa, while the court’s findings showed that Adeleke entered secondary school in 1976, there was no record to show that he actually graduated as his name was no longer seen in the school’s register from 1980.

Justice Musa further stated that the result Adeleke attached to his form CF001 which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was fake, as it was found to be different from the one presented to the court by the principal of Ede Muslim High School, Ede, Osun State.

Meanwhile, Adeleke’s lawyer Nathaniel Oke SAN has faulted the judgment of Justice Musa on the grounds that the judge erred in law by going out of hiy way to source for evidence to arrive at his “unjust conclusion”.

He submitted that the court erred particularly when it ignored WAEC evidence that Adeleke was educated up to Secondary School level as required by law.

While he disclosed that they will immediately commence filing of their appeal against the Judgment, the senior lawyer expressed confidence that the judgment cannot stand at Appeal Court.

It would be recalled that the West African Examination Council (WAEC) during the court’s proceedings confirmed that Adeleke sat for the May/June examination of the council in 1981.

The council in an affidavit deposed to by one Osindeinde Adewunmi and filed at the registry of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court confirmed that Adeleke sat for the Senior Secondary School exams in May/ June 1981.

The confirmation was contained in a four paragraph affidavit filed in compliance with the order of Justice Oathman Musa requesting the examination body to confirm whether the governorship candidate sat for the 1981 exams.

Justice Musa, had in a ruling delivered on September 11 directed that WAEC should depose an affidavit, to either deny or confirm that Adeleke sat for the Exams the Council conducted at Ede Muslim High School in Ede, Osun State, in 1981.

It equally said the examination body should file the ledger containing results of Ademola and his mates with whom he sat for the examinations, as well the verifying affidavit, within five days of being served with the enrolled order dated September 11.

WAEC however in the sworn affidavit confirmed that, Adeleke with center number 19645 and candidate number 149 indeed sat for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in May/June 1981 conducted by the council at Ede Muslim School situate at P.O. Box 6 Yidi Road, Ede, State of Osun.

Accompanying the affidavit was a ledger containing the result of all candidates (001-221) who sat for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in the said school.

The certified true copy of the ledger which is marked as exhibit WA1, however showed that Senator Adeleke, sat for only English Language in the examination.

In arguing their case the plaintiffs in through their counsel, Bankole Akomolafe, on Sept 11 claimed that the PDP candidate did not sit for the WAEC examination in 1981 because the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination had not been introduced in the country as at then.

They further alleged that the NECO examination he claimed to have sat for could not be genuine because National Examination Council (NECO) had not been established at the time Adeleke claimed to have sat for the examination.

Credit: ThisDay

Why tribunal declared Adeleke winner of Osun governorship election

Why tribunal declared Adeleke winner of Osun governorship election

Halimah Yahaya

There was jubilation across Osun State on Friday after the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja declared Ademola Adeleke the winner of the elections held in September, 2018.

The three-member panel at the tribunal, in a split judgment of two-to-one, declared the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate the winner of the September 2018 election.

The tribunal, through the majority judgment, nullified the certificate of return issued to Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and ordered the commission to issue a fresh one to Mr Adeleke.

The tribunal, which had earlier dismissed the preliminary objection filed against the PDP and Mr Adeleke’s petition, stated that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations of over-voting in many polling units during the September 22, 2018 election.

It also held that the petitioners’ complaints of corrupt practices and violent disruption of voting and disenfranchisement of voters during the September 27, 2018 run-off were not proved.

But the tribunal, in its majority judgment, went ahead to uphold the petition on the grounds that the petitioners successfully proved that there was substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 in the conduct of the September 27, 2018 run-off in 17 polling units.

Dissenting, the Chairman, Ibrahim Sirajo, in his minority judgment dismissed the petition filed by Mr Adeleke and the PDP for lacking in merit.

But Peter Obiora, who read the lead majority judgment, and Ayinla Gbolagunte, who agreed, upheld the petition.

The judgment lasted for about six hours.

The majority judgment nullified the September 27, 2018 supplementary election after declaring it illegal and declared Mr Adeleke the winner of the poll based on the outcome of the September 22, 2018 election.

Considering the valid results of the election, the tribunal deducted the votes polled by both the APC and the PDP in the 17 polling units across many local government areas where it held that the election was conducted in “substantial non-compliance” with the Electoral Act.

It deducted 2,029 “afflicted votes” polled by the APC in the 17 polling units from the party’s total votes in the September 22, 2018 election, and deducted 1,246 from PDP’s votes.

According to the tribunal, the PDP won the election with 254,698 votes, while the APC placed second with 253,452 votes.

Mr Obiora added that the PDP would still have won the poll even if the tribunal validated the supplementary election.

He held that if the “afflicted votes” of 2,029 were deducted from the 255,505 votes polled by the APC at the end of the September 27, 2018 run-off, the party and its candidate would only have polled 253,476 votes.

But according to Mr Obiora, the PDP would have won with 253,777 votes if the afflicted votes of 1,246 votes were deducted from the party’s 255,023 votes at the end of the supplementary election.

Mr Obiora said, “By our earlier calculation, the votes affected by non-compliance are:

“APC: 2,029; PDP: 1,246 which we hereby nullify.

“If the above votes are deducted from the scores of the parties as of September 22, 2018 election, the standing of the parties will be as follows: APC: 254,345 votes, minus 2,029 votes equal 252,315 votes.

PDP: 254,698 votes, minus 1,246 votes, equal to 253,452 votes.

“Perchance the rerun is found to be valid, and the final scores of the parties declared after the rerun of September 27, 2018 is allowed to stand, then deducting the votes that were found to be afflicted by non-compliance shall stand the parties in the following scores:

“APC: 255,505 votes, minus 2,029 votes, equal to 253,476 votes.

“PDP: 255,023 votes, minus the afflicted votes of non-compliance which is 1,246, will give us 253,777 votes.

“In both situations, it is obvious that the petitioners won the election to the office of the Governor of Osun State.”

The tribunal held that the election in 17 polling units was conducted in non-compliance with the Electoral Act by alleged “deliberate failure” of INEC to fill in eight columns on the result sheets and the number of accredited voters and give an account of usage of ballot papers.

“We are of the opinion that the non-recording was deliberate and tailored towards achieving an unwholesome result.”

The tribunal added that aside from the cases of non-compliance, Forms EC8A and the result sheets of polling units were discredited during the trial by virtue of alterations noticed on them.

It said the figures on the certified true copies of the forms were different from what was on the pink duplicate copies issued to party agents at the end of the election.

Commenting on the conduct of INEC, the tribunal stated, “We note that a substantial number of the Certified True Copies of the Forms EC8A either have figures on them altered or have figures entered in them in Columns 1 – 8 thereof.

“The alterations in figures and fresh filling in the columns were not on the pink copies of the Forms EC8A distributed to the parties’ polling unit agents on the day of the election, which were tendered before this honourable tribunal.

“The obvious implication of this unfortunate development is that the first respondent went to work on the documents after the election, behind the parties.

“The first respondent (INEC) should realise that it holds an office of public trust and should at all times, strive to maintain the sanctity of the electoral practice.”

It added that the supplementary poll was illegal because it was a product of an unlawful cancellation of the September 22, 2018 election in seven polling units.

It held that the Returning Officer unlawfully cancelled the September 22, 2018 governorship election in the state in seven polling units.

It said the “unlawful” cancellation of the election in the seven polling units by the State Returning Officer informed the INEC’s decision to declare the results inconclusive and fixed September 27, 2018 for the supplementary election.

Mr Obiora also noted that Mr Oyetola’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun, had argued that the tribunal could not nullify his client’s certificate of return issued to him by INEC on the grounds that the said certificate was not tendered by the petitioners.

But the tribunal held that “an order of nullification of the said certificate of return is a mere formality” as “the foundation of the certificate of return issued to the second respondent has been eroded” by the nullification of Mr Oyetola’s election.

Meanwhile, in his minority judgment, Justice Sirajo, held that the petitioners did not prove that election actually held in the seven polling units where results were cancelled.

He added that the petitioners failed to prove who, in fact, cancelled the results.

He, therefore, held that the supplementary election of September, 27, 2018 was lawful.

According to Mr Sirajo, ” even if non-substantial compliance had affected the outcome of the election, the tribunal, by virtue of Section 140(2) of the Electoral Act, lacked the power to subtract the votes affected by the non-compliance from the scores of the candidates and announce a winner.”

Credit: Premium Times

Osun: Oyetola in, Aregbesola out

Osun: Oyetola in, Aregbesola out

New gov takes oath of office

A progressive governance anchored on the principles of government of continuity, capable of bequeathing dividends of democracy to the people of the state, was the thrust of the goodwill messages by the leadership of the All Progressives Party (APC) when the new governor, Gboyega Oyetola, was inaugurated as the governor of Osun State, yesterday.

Oyetola is the 5th governor since the creation of the state by the former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, in 1991. President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said in the 2019 general elections, campaigns must focus on programmes and agenda capable of emancipating the people from hardship.

He called on Oyetola to centre his administration around the welfare of the people, especially the women and youths, to make life meaningful for them.

“Public office is a trust. You must rule with a human face and the fear of God. You must ensure all the ongoing projects are completed,” he said.

He assured the new governor of necessary support that would help him succeed during his administration.

Buhari also called on Nigerians to vote for the APC in all the elections in 2019.

He, however, urged them to conduct themselves peacefully in a manner devoid of bitterness and violence.

The president also urged candidates and their supporters to jettison hate speech and violence during the campaigns ahead of the poll for the sake of the country, and focus on programmes that would guarantee emancipation of people from hardship.

APC’s National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said Oyetola’s emergence as governor was a continuation and testament of the party’s progressive ideology of governance, started four years ago by President Buhari.

He called on Oyetola to toe the path that had been created to engender progressive development that would put smiles on people’s faces and take the state to higher heights.

“We want you to maintain the same path of progress. We are strongly behind you. Ride on, no going back. There is no other party here in the South West,” Tinubu said.

He commended Aregbesola for toeing the same path for eight years to bring the state to where it is.

“You’ve done very well. since eight years, which is like yesterday. You earned a progressive mandate and did it for four years and renewed it for another four years. It was a welfarist and progressive programmes now handed over to another progressive governor. Thank you for walking the path and doing a good job,” Tinubu said.

In his acceptance speech, Oyetola pledged total commitment to the progress and welfare of the people of the state.

To be able to achieve this, he promised to run a people-oriented governance anchored on continuity and progressive legacies set by his predecessor, Aregbesola.

He also promised to ensure regular payment of salary, stressing that workers and pensioners’ welfare would enjoy the attention of his administration.

“The mandate will not be abused. It is a commitment. We shall forge ahead to sustain the welfare of the generality of our people,” Oyetola said.

He promised to take lessons from the sagacity, wisdom, vision, dexterity, commitments and foundations of good leadership laid by the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, Bola Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, Rauf Aregbesola and other adherents of progressive governance in order to take the state to the next level.

Oyetola, who promised to place premium on development and progress of the state, also assured his administration would focus on job creation and youth employment. He promised to create 30,000 jobs for the youths through technology-driven programmes.

Meanwhile, the state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has described Oyetola as an interim governor whose legitimacy is questionable in the eyes of the public. Chairman of the party, Soji Adagunodo, in a statement, said this yesterday, in Osogbo.

“The shameful conduct of the supposed electoral umpire and security agents, especially, during the supplementary election on September 27, leaves a sour taste in the mouth of everyone with conscience and has remained a talking point in local and global political discourse,” the PDP said.

I did not collect salary for eight years as governor, claims Aregbesola

I did not collect salary for eight years as governor, claims Aregbesola

Governor Rauf Aregbesola

The outgoing governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, has said that he did not earn salaries throughout the eight years of his administration.

Aregbesola disclosed this during an interactive session tagged ‘Ogbeni Till Day Break’ on Saturday in Osogbo.

The governor said since it was the state that was feeding him, fueling his cars and provided him with accommodation, there was no need for him to be paid.

Aregbesola also said that he did not have bank accounts any part of the world.

He said, “I have not collected salaries since I became the governor of the state.

“The state feeds me, fuels my car and provided me accommodation. With all these, I don’t need money.

“I have no money and bank account anywhere.

” I have no house except the one I built before I became the governor.

“Anyone can go out there to investigate if I have bank accounts.”

Aregbesola, who will be handing over to the governor-elect, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola on November 27 said he would vacate the government house by Monday, November 19.

He said that the decision to leave the government house earlier was to give his successor enough time to do necessary renovations.

When asked what his regrets were as a governor in the last eight years, he said he had none.

He said, ”If you give me another four years to rule again, I will still do what I did before and I will not do anything differently.”

On his next political plans after office, Aregbesola said he was going to rest for a while from politics.

“l had been in politics since my secondary school days. I have been an absentee husband for many years because of politics but for now, I want to be with my wife,” Aregbesola said.

On his achievements, the governor said he was happy that his social investment programmes supported and transformed the lives of the people in the state.

(NAN)

Afenifere suspends Omisore to prevent him becoming another Tinubu – Okurounmu

2019: Tinubu, Osinbajo, Akande deceiving Yoruba – Okurounmu

Senator Okurohunmu

An elder statesman and one of the leaders of Afenifere, the apex Yoruba socio-political organization, Chief Femi Okurounmu is not happy ahead of 2019. Why? He believes Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and former governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande are deceiving the Yoruba ethnic region. In this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, he spoke on various issues and warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it will set the nation on fire if it fails to conduct free and fair election in 2019.

What’s your reaction to the recent suspension of Senator Iyiola Omisore for one year by the Afenifere over his alliance with the APC in the recent Osun State gubernatorial election?
First, let me set the record straight. It is only those that are not well informed about Afenifere or what the group stands for that will say that Afenifere should not be seen to be political in its views or take part in politics.

Afenifere from the foundation in the 50s during the days of the defunct Action Group has always been a social-political organization. Afenifere has always been taking a stand on any political issue or what some will call national questions.

Even in recent times during the evil days of Abacha’s infamous dictatorship era, it was Afenifere that led the others that fought Abacha to a standstill, until victory was won and the nation returned to democracy in 1999. It was then when the nation returned to civil rule that Afenifere formed the Alliance for Democracy, AD which is a political party.

Afenifere has always been taking definite positions on several national issues no matter whose ox is gored. Therefore, Afenifere is in order by suspending Omisore, and there is no going back on his one year suspension.

But what is the justification for Omisore’s suspension. Doesn’t he have the right to support or go into alliance with anybody or party of his own choice like he did in Osun State for which Afenifere now suspended him?

It is true that Omisore as an adult and a citizen of Nigeria has a right and freedom of association but where he erred was when he disobeyed Afenifere’s collective decision that no member of the group should work with APC in Osun State.

Omisore is a member of Afenifere, and he was at that meeting where the decision was taken that no Afenifere member should support APC either in Osun or in the next year general election because our position is that since APC and President Buhari are against Restructuring, then APC and Buhari should be voted out of power.

When this decision was taken, Omisore didn’t object but surprisingly and to Afenifere leaders’ shock, Omisore went into that alliance with APC in Osun State. To us that was a betrayal, and we can’t allow Omisore to go unpunished. That’s why we suspended him for a year. Omisore is a betrayer. Afenifere has no apology for suspending Omisore. His suspension will serve as a deterrent to others. That was the same way Bola Ahmed Tinubu betrayed Afenifere when he became Lagos State governor in 1999. Tinubu used Afenifere platform to get political power, but he later betrayed the group. We don’t want Omisore to turn into another Tinubu before we sanction him.

Afenifere asked Osun State people, and also our own members to support PDP candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke in that Osun governorship election because Afenifere will never support any party that is against Restructuring. Forget all those propaganda being peddled by Oshiomhole, VP Osinbajo and some APC chieftains that APC supports Restructuring. They are all lying.

They are peddling the falsehood because they want to deceive Nigerians to vote for APC in 2019. President Buhari has never hidden his opposition to restructuring. In fact, Buhari has buried restructuring, and this is why Afenifere wants Nigerians also to bury APC and Buhari’s second term bid in 2019. Buhari and APC have been a bad omen for Nigeria.

But Omisore claimed that Afenifere didn’t give him a fair hearing.
Omisore is a liar. He is lying and being dishonest with the truth.

Afenifere being an organization that believes in equity, fairness and justice gives Omisore an opportunity to defend himself. When he was asked why he chose to go against the position of Afenifere on Osun State election, what Omisore told us was that he acted in self-interest. He told us that he betrayed Afenifere to protect his own interests. He made this shocking confession to us during a caucus meeting of Afenifere on Monday, October 29. We were all shocked by his comments, and some of us reprimanded him for betraying a collective decision of the Afenifere in order to protect his own interests.

The following day, October 30 which was for general meeting of all Afenifere members where he would have been asked to repeat what he told us at the caucus meeting, and where a decision would have been taken on him, Omisore ran away. He didn’t show up at that meeting because he knew majority of the Afenifere members were angry with him. I publicly challenge Omisore to deny what I’m saying here. Omisore is lying that he wasn’t given an opportunity to defend himself.

Should Omisore apologise, will the one-year suspension on him be lifted?
No way. Omisore will serve out his one year suspension. To lift his suspension is to encourage more betrayers.

What Omisore or his apologists should remember is that as long as you belong to an organisation, you are honour-bound to abide with the rules and regulations of that organisation. Omisore willingly joined Afenifere, and therefore he is bound to abide with the rules and regulations of the group, and the moment he deviated, sanctions await him, and that’s why he has been suspended for one year.

You described Tinubu as a betrayer but some people see him as a good political strategist that has been able to achieve a lot for the South-West especially in the current political dispensation where a Yoruba man is the Vice-President?
Tinubu is a betrayer, and I still stand by that. He rode on the back of the Afenifere to become governor of Lagos State, and whatever political relevance he has today but he betrayed Afenifere. He rebelled against Afenifere.

What has Tinubu achieved for the South-West under Buhari? Nothing. Tinubu has led Yorubas into slavery in this political dispensation. Like I said earlier, Buhari is a failure, and it is under his watch that Nigeria has now become the poverty capital of the world. So what has Tinubu achieved? Talking about VP Osinbajo, that one is Buhari’s puppet. He is nothing but Buhari’s errand boy. What are the benefits the Yoruba people are getting from Tinubu/Buhari alliance? Nothing. Talking about some projects being commissioned by Buhari now, they are not his own projects. They are projects started by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. There is nothing to write home about Buhari’s government. His administration has been a big burden on Nigerians. I hope by next year, Nigeria will have a new government different from APC and Buhari. Buhari’s government has been a nightmare to Nigerians. For Nigeria to have a breakthrough, Buhari must go.

But some Nigerians, especially from the South-West are saying that Afenifere leaders ought to close ranks with Tinubu, Osinbajo and others that are working with Buhari in the overall interest of the geo-political zone, what’s your reaction to that?
Afenifere is not opposed to anything that will promote good governance, take care of the interests of the South-West and Nigerians generally, but some of these people are betrayers, and what they are doing today are not in the interests of Yoruba and Nigerians generally.

Look at the issue of restructuring, some Yoruba like Tinubu, Bisi Akande, Osinbajo and others have always been on the same page with us on the issue of restructuring but now that they are with Buhari, they are singing a new song. They have become turn-coats just to please Buhari their leader and master who is known to be publicly against restructuring.

Human beings are indeed very funny and unpredictable. Look at Bisi Akande, somebody that even wrote a book on the need for Restructuring in Nigeria. He has now recanted. He is now speaking with double-mouth on restructuring. What of Tinubu and Osinbajo – they have all betrayed restructuring because they are now in Buhari’s camp. Tinubu and some of these people have become serial betrayers.

If it were to be in the olden days, people like Akande, and Tinubu would have been banished from their towns. As I said earlier, Akande and Tinubu working for Buhari are leading the Yoruba into slavery. I appeal to the Yoruba, and Nigerians in general to vote out Buhari in 2019.

Is Afenifere’s open support for the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar as a result of this restructuring issue or just because Afenifere doesn’t like President Buhari?
For the Afenifere, Atiku Abubakar is more preferable. Although Atiku is not an ideal president but we prefer him because he promised restructuring. He has openly restated his commitment to restructuring. Atiku is unlike Buhari who has buried restructuring. Afenifere has no personal hatred for Buhari but we opposed him because some of his policies are anti-people and anti-Nigeria. Buhari is a parochial leader. He is not a true Nigerian leader but what I will describe as President of the North. Not only that, Buhari has never hidden the fact that he is pursuing a Hausa-Fulani agenda. Buhari doesn’t see the whole Nigeria as his constituency and that’s why his appointments have always been lopsided in favour of the North, especially his appointments of service chiefs and other security personnel.

It seems Afenifere is too concerned about restructuring; are there no other issues that should be the object of focus also as 2019 general elections draw nearer?
We are concerned about other issues like security also but restructuring is the key to resolve all these problems. If Nigeria restructures, it will be the beginning of a new dawn. Restructuring will launch Nigeria unto path of greatness. It will enhance faster socio-economic development. It will facilitate a return to true practice of federalism.

As the general elections draw nearer, Nigerians have only been talking about Buhari and Atiku as if there are no other presidential candidates …
Nigerians are talking about Buhari and Atiku because the two are the major gladiators. And for the parties, PDP and APC are the main contenders.

But we still have other presidential candidates like former governor Donald Duke, former Minister for Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, Omoyele Sowore and others.
Duke, Ezekwesili and others are just attention seekers. They should forget 2019. They are going nowhere. They should not waste their time.

My advice to Duke, Ezekwesili and others is that they should not waste votes. They should all come together and join Atiku to defeat Buhari. If Duke and Ezekwesili insist on contesting the presidential elections, they will be helping Buhari because the votes from their supporters which they should have asked them to give Atiku will be wasted.

Duke and Ezekwesili should join hands with PDP to defeat Buhari and APC. The idea of a coalition being mooted by some political parties is a good one. They should all come together to chase out Buhari from office. None of these smaller political parties including ADC can defeat Buhari and APC on their own.

How would you assess the chance of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar against President Buhari in 2019?
In a free and fair election, Atiku will defeat Buhari. Even in the North-West, which some people use to describe as Buhari’s stronghold, Atiku will defeat him there. Generally, Nigerians are tired of Buhari and APC’s bad government. Nigerians are hungry and angry. Under Buhari’s leadership, poverty has become a companion to millions of Nigerians. Lives are no longer secured. Fulani herdsmen are having a field day killing Nigerians, and Buhari is not doing anything about it. Nigeria is under Buhari’s bondage, we need to liberate ourselves.

I’m happy that millions of Nigerians have realized their mistake of voting for Buhari in 2015. Although some of us that knew that nothing good will come out of Buhari’s presidency warned Nigerians that time. We warned them not to vote for Buhari, and now we have been proved right. Now that millions of Nigerians have learnt their lessons, they are now waiting for 2019 to come so that they can vote out Buhari. But I’m not happy that Tinubu, Bisi Akande and Osinbajo are still deceiving the Yoruba that Buhari is the best for Nigeria.

But this time around, Tinubu’s deceit will not work. Yoruba will reject him and Buhari. Tinubu is very selfish. He is deceiving Yoruba to support Buhari because of his own personal interests. Other geo-political zones are rejecting Buhari, and South-West will also reject him in 2015.

What is your advice to INEC on 2019?
I don’t have confidence in INEC to conduct free and fair elections in 2019. Look at how INEC compromised in Osun State gubernatorial election. How INEC favoured APC.

Again, President Buhari’s niece, Mrs Zakari is a top member of INEC. All these will make Nigerians to doubt INEC’s neutrality. Even international observers, and members of the international community condemned INEC’s conduct in the Osun elections. But my warning to INEC is this, INEC should not play with fire. INEC should not set Nigeria on fire. Any attempt to rig the election will be resisted. A word they say is enough for the wise.

What Nigeria needs in 2019 is a leader who can unite all Nigerians. We don’t want a parochial or divisive president like Buhari. INEC should allow the will of Nigerians to prevail. The election should be free and fair.

We need a leader that can keep Nigeria secured. Under Buhari, Nigeria is bleeding. Human lives are no longer sacred as herdsmen are now on rampage killing and maiming innocent Nigerians at will, and unfortunately, these murderous herdsmen have become sacred cows, and are being protected and shielded by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Credit: The Sun