Human rights activist and presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2023 general elections, Omoyele Sowore, has said that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not prepare to rule nor govern Nigeria.
The AAC presidential candidate added that apart from the electoral theft during the last elections, Tinubu’s recently released list of cabinet ministers was full of same characters who had failed Nigeria and Nigerians and it would be business as usual for them.
In an extensive interview with DailySun Newspaper, Sowore noted that a government of national unity should be the one that appoints credible and competent citizens, adding that Tinubu “who is a beneficiary of electoral theft can’t set up a government of “National Unity.”
The human rights activist said, “I have made it very clear that the 2023 elections were a charade. One in which the Nigerian people were once again taken for a ride and their rights to free, fair elections were once again denied. Having said that, what I have witnessed since the beginning of the Tinubu administration has been that of a government that is unprepared to rule or govern. Major policies like foreign exchange deregulation and fuel subsidy removal were rolled out without planning or preparation.
“The resulting effect has been skyrocketing inflation. The naira has lost almost half its value in just eight weeks. In the midst of all this economic pain, school fees for federal secondary and tertiary institutions have more than doubled, while workers’ wages have remained stagnant. The list of ministers that was just released was full of the same characters that have failed Nigeria and Nigerians and demonstrated conclusively that for this government, it will be business as usual.
“Nigeria’s concept of government of national unity is a government that appoints or accommodates non-members of political party into government. In real terms, a government of national unity should be the one that appoints citizens to organise credible elections. A person who is a beneficiary of electoral theft can’t set up a government of “National Unity.”
When asked to comment on the recent removal of the heads of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria Abdulrasheed Bawa and Godwin Emefiele, Sowore continued, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Has the security situation materially changed? Is the economy back on track? Does the government appear to have a clear handle on how to tame inflation, better manage our exchange rate woes and put in policy to grow jobs and address unemployment? Does a government that appoints people with known and active corruption cases seem like they are serious about the fight against corruption? The answer to all these questions is obvious.
“That context answers your question – beyond the theatrics, what has substantively changed? I have been critical of Emefiele in the past. I still think he was a corrupt and inept CBN Governor. However, he is also entitled to due process. If the government has a case against him, then let them fully lay it out in court. For the 30 plus years that I have been involved in the fight for true democracy in Nigeria, I have been a victim of government’s excesses. I do not wish that on any Nigerian, regardless of our political differences.”
On the ongoing election tribunals, he noted, “I have no expectations. The electoral process was flawed, but the judicial system is also ethically and morally challenged. I don’t have any issue with those who choose to go to court. Honestly, I haven’t paid much attention to tribunals for the very reasons I stated above – there isn’t much justice to be expected from a flawed electoral process that generates cases for an ethically and morally bankrupt judicial process.”
While reacting to the security challenges that had resumed in Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and Zamfara, Sowore said, “There was never a time when security issues or challenges stopped. What happens in Nigeria is that the merchants of violence generally go on election duties too. So, militants, terrorists, cultists, ritualistic kidnappers, even computer hackers go on election duties. Elections are over and they too have resumed to work.
“We will not see any change in the security situation until and unless the fundamental issues driving insecurity are addressed. The sponsors and protectors of those causing insecurity must be dealt with, and the underlying economic, socio-cultural, ethnic, religious and land rights issues underpinning most of these conflicts needs to be constructively addressed through comprehensive restructuring. In essence, we need a clinical revolution, one that permits a complete review and reassessment of our terms of engagement as a people and as a nation.
“If Nigerians are seeking a genuinely revolutionary future, where the welfare of the people is paramount and a Nigeria that works for all is birthed, this crop of leaders will make it happen fast. They came loaded with impunity, the type that would trigger a mass revolt.”