Alhaji Mumakai Unagha is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) believes the nation’s politicians have not learnt from the June 12, 1993 polls as he calls fir restructuring of the country. A presidential aspirant in the 2019 polls, he insists that the military still controls Nigeria’s democracy. By Clifford Ndujihe
WHAT is your assessment of Nigeria’s democracy in the last 23 years.
We are still experimenting democracy even though it has come to stay in Nigeria. The people have not taken charge yet as it is still being determined by the military. The military still dictates who becomes president or governor.
The constitution was factored by the military such that whoever wants to contest any elective position rushes to either Abeokuta or Minna. President Muhammed Buhari, a military general came to Nigerians and Nigerians keyed into him but he disappointed us. I cannot withstand my political friends and family for the shame due to my unalloyed support to him. At a point, I said to myself, why not military but the only consolation is the popular saying that the worst civilian government is better than the best military dictatorship because of the abuse of human rights.
We have learned little or nothing from the June 12, 1993 presidential elections and the issues that arose from it.
Our democracy is sick, corruption is high now. One of my most fervent prayers, which of course, is the prayer of every Nigerian is that June, 2023 should come quickly.
I don’t hide my feelings because at a point in time, there should arise from among men those who speak the truth to power. The biggest challenges Nigeria has today are the North and the West. They are the ones drawing the country backwards. They do not want to move with time and that is why the country is at a standstill.
The day the North and West, especially the North, would say they are tired of this marriage of convenience, that day Nigeria will be restructured. As long as the oil of the South-South flows to the Sahara Desert, Nigeria’s development will be hanged in the air. What I consider as the best option now is a partial break up or restructuring.
You believe the country should be restructured?
Nigerian is in urgent need of restructuring, that is the only way the country can move forward such that any region that wishes to develop can do so at its own pace devoid of war or rancour. I don’t see why there should be war or bloodshed.
The allocation madness every governor rushes to Abuja to collect monthly at the end of every month without focus or developmental agenda, has made every section of the country lazy and over-dependent. I have said it in several fora that the country is overdue for restructuring, those still canvassing for unity as it is now, are not sincere to themselves.
They are a set of lazy people and parasites without focus and initiative to transform their regions. With the oil wealth, nobody is ready to take the bull by the horn simply because at the end of the month, they rush to Abuja.
In 2019, Adams Oshiomhole hiked nomination form fees for the president, governors, National Assembly aspirants etc, leading to your withdrawal from the presidential race. How do you evaluate what Senator Abdullah Adamu has done in the same situation?
Our democracy has been hijacked by those who stole the country blind and are still stealing our common wealth. They are now using the stolen wealth to buy the conscience of the people. Just imagine the high and prohibitive nomination form fees. The trend going on now is, they are handing over to their children and wives to rule after they have mis-ruled us. They are handing the people over to their family members because Nigerians with genuine intention and goodwill may not have the money to prosecute election. They are deliberately impoverishing the masses perpetually so that they can be subservient and continually enslaved. The masses, especially the youths, have no choice than to sing and dance with them provided they have crumbs as daily bread. The sad note here is that our democracy is driven by insecurity and corruption without any hope of abatement.
The just-concluded primaries held across the country by the political parties where votes were bought are indications that all is not well with our democracy. A very dangerous precedence has been introduced by the ruling APC, which may be difficult to enrase in the nearest future. I cannot imagine a political party that prizes itself so high that it can endanger the future of our youths.
How do you assess the situation in Delta State, where the governorship tickets of PDP and APC were won by Delta Central Senatorial District?
That is the expectation of the average Deltan. It is left for Deltans to vote their choices notwithstanding the political party. However, there are days of pay back which I’m convinced will play out in the forthcoming elections. There are some politicians in Delta who believe that they are very smart, while others believe in the winner-takes-all syndrome. Of course, this will be the test case for them.
– This interview was first published by The Vanguard newspaper