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Buhari’s second term not about winning APC primaries — Ojo

Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the National Coordinator of Yoruba Youth Alliance. In this interview with…

Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the National Coordinator of Yoruba Youth Alliance. In this interview with Daily Trust, he says different scandals are trailing President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, stressing that many heads should roll to put the party on sound footing ahead of 2019. Excerpts:

You have been an ardent supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari; is he still going to count on the support of people like you?

He has the constitutional right as a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to contest. But the most important thing is, will he win the APC primary? Even if he wins the primary, will Nigerians come out to vote for him massively the way they voted for him the last time? A lot of Nigerians are regretting these days that they voted blindly that time. I also feel I made a mistake supporting and voting him. We thought a lot of things were going to change, especially in the area of corruption and economy. I wouldn’t want to blame him for the economic situation. I know he inherited a very battered and bastardised economy. And to revive the battered economy is not going to be the work of just two years. No miracle would be done within two, three years which he has now spent, and so in that area, I am not blaming it on him.

In the area of security, he has done great and he has displayed to the whole world that he truly is a military tactician and war strategist. But the most important area, which we thought that he was going to work on assiduously, that if he handled that area very well, that it was going to take care of insecurity and the economy, is the area of corruption. He started well but honestly, I am confused about what we are seeing now. 

At the beginning of his administration when he was forming his cabinet, a lot of people raised eyebrows, they wrote series of petitions against some former governors, former senators and former military generals who are now ministers. People raised allegations against some of his men but he looked the other way and I supported him because definitely, he was going to work with a team and he had the right to put his team together. Even if those people have corruption tendencies, I believed working with a perfect man, the way we saw Muhammadu Buhari, would put them under check. 

Sadly, a lot of things are happening now that are showing that we are not actually fighting corruption in Nigeria. 

A senator of the Federal Republic raised allegations against a sitting IGP, and don’t forget that the head of the EFCC comes from that wing. The constituency of the man at the top of EFCC today is the police; so people like us cried that time on radio that Mr. President should allow the IGP to step aside so that a committee would investigate him. I said because the EFCC Chairman is a police officer, they should not allow EFCC to investigate this man, and till today, the IGP is still the IGP, and to my surprise and that of 99 per cent of Nigerians, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation went to court to sue a sitting senator who blew the whistle on the IGP.  

Are you satisfied with the way the case of Abdulrasheed Maina was handled by the president?

It is very clear now that Mr. President did not authorise the reinstatement of Maina in the Federal Civil Service. But I want to appeal to the president; for the sake of the corruption he says he is fighting, to let those involved in the scandal to face the music. 

During the 2015 general elections, the APC used the Maina corruption scandal against then President, Jonathan. It is absurd that people in this administration would smuggle in Maina, who has been on EFCC’s wanted list, back into the country, and reinstate and elevate him in the civil service. If Buhari is fighting corruption and his loyalists are condoning and aiding corruption, then it is madness.

Ahead of the 2019 election, some political observers are of the view that the government is trying to stifle the opposition, especially people who have indicated interest in contesting for some key positions. What is your take on this?

A vibrant opposition strengthens democracy and engenders good governance. These are values a personality like Buhari should strive to entrench in our polity.

I know a lot of people have been frustrated, even in the APC; so I see the ranks of the opposition PDP swelling up very soon. There is no way anybody can quiet down or seal up the mouth of the opposition in this country. But who is advising this government?

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