2023 election is Buhari’s last chance to right his administration’s


Commissioner for Information in Delta State and a spokesman for the Atiku-Okowa campaign, Charles Aniagwu has declared that the 2023 election is an opportunity for President Muhammadu Buhari to right the wrongs his administration has committed since 2015.In an interview with LAWRENCE ENYOGHASU, Aniagwu noted that a major cause of the security challenges Nigerians have been facing in the past seven years was the inability of the present administration to get the best brains from any of the six geopolitical zones to tackle insecurity.“You need to take a look back at those 16 years where you saw people from all geopolitical zones given the opportunity to help all agencies deal with insecurity, irrespective of religion and state. Individuals were called to work based on their competence, and it still had a national outlook, and that to a large extent triggered a patriotic zeal on the part of those who were given the responsibility. But, today, the story is different.”While praising the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its exploits during the recent governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States, he urged the electoral body not to rest on its oars.There has been a festering crisis in the People’s Democratic Party over the composition of its presidential campaign council. Wouldn’t that affect the party?We must state that the Presidential Campaign Council of the PDP is a council that is well covered and reflective of our geopolitical device. It is a council that the individuals were examined carefully: the individuals and the position they occupied either as a member or the DG was well stated. But I must also admit, beyond the membership of the council, the presidential candidate made it very open from receiving ideas from the people who are not nominated. Because you know that not everybody was nominated. Otherwise, you will have all the supporters to be part of the council. But by extension, even if your name is not there and you believe in the ideals that the candidate and his running mate are putting forward, automatically, you are a member of council in your own right and free to contribute ideas through those whose name have been mentioned.Having said that, individuals who are arguing on the positions, I think it is high time we dealt a dirty blow to this issue of ethnicising anything we do to begin to look at functionality. I just hope that, as we make progress as a country, we will come to that level that even, if a man, who is giving a position, has no bearing with my ethnic group, as a nationalist, I am able to have confidence in the man delivering. For a very long time, we have operated as a country of tribesmen rather than nationalists. But what Atiku is bringing on board is to deal a dirty blow on tribesmen, who just think of their tribes and not of the nation. So the council is a reflection of nationality rather than that of tribes.So, I hope that, as we make progress, individuals in Nigeria will begin to see Nigeria as our country and not put the country under the table while elevating the tribes. The beauty of governance is the ability for you to benefit from those things that God has given to us as a people. And that comes from voting, irrespective of where the leader comes from, which is what we are looking forward to. Unfortunately, in the last seven years, we have not seen such, but we must look beyond it to see the country where everybody will be treated based on equity and fairplay rather than on the basis of what ethnic group they belong to and that is what Atiku is bringing to the table.You said that the last seven years have not given Nigerians benefits of democracy, but the PDP has been in power before people clamoured for a change. What does the party has to offer differently this time?I am not one of those who could have selective amnesia. I was around during the PDP years and around during the APC years, which means I am comfortably positioned to do an analysis of the situation. Before the PDP came into government in 1999, we saw what was our fate as a people during the period of military interregnum before the Obasanjo/Atiku came and picked us up from the pieces and began to build a country where people started having confidence in their nation. Our economy picked up to the extent that, as far as 2015, the economy was growing faster than any of the economies of the entire Europe. The middle class started coming back, moribund institutions started waking up to the extent that we were able to revive a number of sectors. Today, I am talking to you via phone, which is one of those things the regime brought to the country. Beyond the amount of jobs that are created in that sector, there are a lot of other achievements that were recorded by the Obasanjo/Atiku administration. Ditto Yar’adua/Jonathan administration and Jonathan/Sambo administration.A whole lot of things were working and moving in the right direction. Yes, we are not where we wanted to be, but we were moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, what the APC government has done in the last seven years is a reversal. A total reversal from that feat that we achieved in the 16 years.You will recall that, by 2015, the level of insecurity was largely restricted to a section, not even the entire north east, specifically Yobe and Borno. People in Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba were all doing their businesses. It was only parts of Yobe and Borno that were having challenges, which of course were dealt with to a large extent before having a credible election in 2015. Don’t forget, the APC government won in those places in 2015, because there was an enabling environment for an election to take place. But, today, they didn’t only democratise insecurity; they have also made it so that, if you don’t have a share, you will wonder.It is a miracle not to have felt a share out of the insecurity in the country. Because every zone has now benefitted very negatively from the inability of the APC to manage the insecurity in the country. That is because they were not able to adopt the principles adopted by the PDP in the first 16 years, which was to take cognizance of the enormous human resources that abound in the six geopolitical zones. You need to take a look back at those 16 years where you saw people from all geopolitical zones given the opportunity to help all agencies deal with insecurity, irrespective of religion and state. Individuals were called to work based on their competence, and it still had a national outlook, and that to a large extent triggered a patriotic zeal on the part of those who were given the responsibility. But, today, the story is different. You can’t compare the reversal of our progress and the trajectory of our development in the first 16 years after 1999 to what we have now. The APC leadership of this country has progressed in error.As you said, the level of security has increased. Do you think it would affect the credibility and fairness of the election?There were certain factors that were responsible for the free and fair election of 2015. The political commitment of the Goodluck Jonathan administration to organise a credible election was paramount, and the commitment of INEC and the commitment of Nigerians to have a change at that time, which they thought they took the right decision but were governed by sentiments. You will recall that when we even challenged the qualifications of those coming on board, some people said that even when someone comes up with a NEPA bill, we should allow it, and today we have seen the consequences of accepting uncertified hands in government. I am happy that the president has said that he is going to leave behind a legacy of credible elections. I don’t have any reason to doubt him.I believe that he is going to do that, because the legacy will help him to cancel the many abysmal errors committed by his administration if he leaves behind a credible election.oor performance in a number of sectors if he leaves behind a credible election. So, we pray that he would leave behind that legacy by allowing a free and fair election. I am also confident that the leadership of INEC would give us what we deserve as a country, that is, an election that expresses the yearnings and aspirations of the people so that people will have confidence in their leaders, and I am hopeful that PDP will win the election, because Atiku is the only candidate who has been able to put on the table the road map to reviving and rescuing the country.What do you expect INEC to put on the table and is it until the PDP wins that the election would be credible?INEC has introduced a whole lot of innovations that have triggered hope among Nigerians. It’s effective deploying those innovations. We have talked about electronic transfer of results, use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System simultaneously with voting. Once those things are in place and there are very credible electoral officers, then people will have confidence in the system. You saw what they did in Osun and Ekiti and no one has accused them of not doing the right thing.In those two instances, they discharged their duty creditably and, to a very large extent, it helped us as a country. If INEC can work along that line into the 2023 elections, they would end up giving hope to the people. Democracy just promises that the majority will have it, and, if, indeed, it is the majority vote that counts, they will have confidence in what they are doing. I am quite confident that INEC has demonstrated good faith in the very recent election, and I see no reason to change, because they could see that Nigerians are happy with them so far. We also hope that the government in power will allow them to continue that latitude to continue along the line, because it is a great signal for hope either for the government or the opposition.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here