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“Nigerians have never been this divided” – Falae berates Buhari Govt. over state of the nation

  • Speaks on 2023 election credibility
  • Predicts power shift crisis

“…whatever election is conducted, the way things are if they are allowed to continue till 2023, cannot be credible, may not even be possible physically.”

Chief Olu Falae

Chief Olu Falae, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, and an ex- Finance Minister under the military regime has slammed the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration over the state of the nation particularly the protracted insecurity that has enveloped the country.

The elder statesman in a lengthy interview with the Vanguard newspaper lamented the hardship that has hit the populace and the bondless relationship among the citizens since the turn of the present administration saying ‘Nigerians have never been this divided’.

“All Nigerians know all that it has been living under the Buhari’s regime. I don’t need to tell you. It has been a very difficult time. Security has never been as bad as this in our entire history.

“Nigerians have never been this divided. In fact, we should look for another term to describe the near-war situation we are going through. When people were voting for him, the expectation from him as a General was that of an uncompromising man of discipline, that, within months, he will finish off Boko Haram and we will all live in peace but the opposite has been the case.

“And everything else depends on security. You have to be alive and well to know that there is something called education; that before you can even eat and wear clothes, you have to be alive and well, and that depends on security,” Falae said.

He said; “Security has been in complete shambles. If a saint becomes President tomorrow, how and where is he going to start from? Is it with Boko Haram, with bandits or herdsmen? Where is he going to start from? I saw on social media that before Fulani herdsmen left Ekiti area, some boys had understudied them and they have now become graduate kidnappers. So, this is the legacy of this administration.

“It has been a complete crisis. People of my age and status cannot live in their homes in any part of the North. Most of them now are hiding in Abuja, including traditional rulers. It is terrible. I know Buhari would want it to be otherwise but it is not otherwise, it is the way it is.”

Falae, however, applauded Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on how he has been tackling insecurity in the state. He said the governor has been fantastic playing a lead role in the creation of Amotekun in the South West Region of Nigeria.

His words, “I want to take this opportunity to thank our own governor in Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, in the area of security, he has been fantastic; he is a true son of the land. Soon after he became governor, we had a meeting and we discussed the issue of security. I used my kidnap to illustrate the very serious situation. I didn’t know it was going to get much worse.

“I pleaded with him to talk to his colleagues in the South-West to do something about the security situation, that security is fundamental to any other thing. I’m not claiming that it is because of that advice that he did what he did. But it is a historical fact that we had that meeting and I made that plea. It is also a historical fact that he played a leading role in the creation of Amotekun. There was a time some of the governors appeared to be wavering and hesitant but Akeredolu was firm all the way.

“And because of my appreciation of what he was doing, when the House of Assembly was having a hearing on the Amotekun law, I went there to give them political and moral support and to strengthen their backbone by saying to them that they do not need to go to Abuja to seek permission before they could give Amotekun police powers because it is inherent in anything called government elected by the people, whether at the local level, state-level or national level or regional level; any organisation elected by the people and called government has an inherent power invested by the votes of the people to make laws that will be valid and to implement them.

“In the colonial period and the post-independence period, the regional government has forestry laws that enabled forestry officers to arrest anybody felling logs illegally and also enable them to prosecute those people either directly by themselves or by sending them to the Ministry of Justice.

“In other words, in that law was evidence that the regional government, the state government has always had the power of arrest through the forestry officers and prosecution through the state Ministry of Justice. So, it is the same state government. Whether you want to use that power now for Amotekun, just create it and pass it. It is already being used from the colonial period. I told them this and I believed that helped to clarify the situation.”

Speaking on political gladiators and the 2023 general elections, Olu Falae, a former presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, insisted no credible election can be conducted in the country unless “some fundamental amendments are made.”

“My advice is that no election should be conducted until and unless some fundamental amendments are made. I’m not saying that they should do the full restructuring that I have been advocating but a few fundamental amendments, particularly in the area of security and how elections are conducted and result transmitted.

”My take is that whatever election is conducted, the way things are if they are allowed to continue till 2023, cannot be credible, may not even be possible physically. You remember when they were going to conduct the Anambra governorship election, how many troops and policemen were posted there? Can you send that level of policemen and soldiers to all the 36 states, voting on the same date? The answer is no.

“In any case, an election is held under such a military situation, is that credible? Is that free? Is that democratic? In my view, no credible election or transparent election can be held the way things are in Nigeria as of today. If you go to Zamfara, people are being kidnapped every day. 120 people were slaughtered in Sokoto State.

“People coming from Abuja to Kaduna are not safe. Someone told me that no credible election can be conducted in at least 23 states as of today. If the present trend continues, it may be in 30 states. I’m hoping that elections will be peaceful in the South-West which has always been the most peaceful part of Nigeria.

“All types of historic, cultural, and spiritual reasons are for that, but that is the fact. If there is a problem in the North, they come here, problem in the East, they come here. So, if elections are not possible in 30 states out of 36, what are they gladiators after?”

Falae who also spoke on power shift come 2023 noted that “We should be concerned about where power should go as an objective person, whether it should be through the election in an unstructured Nigeria. But that is my own perception. It may well happen; God is in charge of the whole universe.” He said, “I believe that all the changes and restructuring people have been advocating these many years, I have always believed that it will not happen until and unless and except there is a crisis when the question will be where do we go from here? A crisis can come in the next 12 to 15 months if two things happen.

“One of them is sure to happen; the second one is what we don’t know. But if the second one happens, then we will have a crisis that will force us to rethink Nigeria. What are the two things? First, if and when the tenure of the current President comes to an end, we know that it will come to an end, we know the date. It is not a prayer or wish. May 29, 2023, that, by God’s grace, will happen. That is the first condition.

“The second condition is that if the first situation does not permit the election of a replacement President, then the old President is gone, a new one cannot be elected, a first-class crisis, solution to the Nigerian problem. At that point, every section of Nigeria will be free to say there is no more Federal Government. That is my view. What is the probability of that happening? One of the two conditions will happen.

“I have not heard that Buhari wants a third term. I hope there is no attempt to impose a third term on us. So, the first condition will happen, it is more likely to happen. The second one is not unlikely, it will happen. Then if the two happen together, that is when restructuring is automatic. If there is no government in Abuja and there is a government in Ondo State, Kano State and other states, that is the government.”

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