Coordinator of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Oodua People’s Congress, Otunba Gani Adams has made it point blank that President Muhammadu Buhari should first secure his health before thinking of his mandate as the elected president of Nigeria.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the human right activist said that President Buhari has a very competent Acting President in Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and much more.
What’s your view about the state of the nation since January this year till date?
What I just realized about the state of the nation is that governance is so slow because of the health situation of President Muhammadu Buhari. And since the President came back about two months ago, he never attended any serious event, neither did he address us or even talked to the people through audio0visual means.
Most of the statements from the Presidency were Buhari said this, Buhari said that. There’s no direct voice from the President himself to the nation as a whole.
That’s a signal that all is not well with him. And to be honest, Buhari is only lucky. There’s nobody as old as he is (74) that would not be nursing one serious ailment or the other. So, what happened to him can happen to anybody of his age. But notwithstanding, when somebody is sick, you have to give the person time to recover before coming back to continue his work.
Nigeria is too big to be run by a person with serious health challenge. And you will agree with me that when Osinbajo acted on Buhari’s behalf for about two months, things started picking up. He went to the Niger-Delta and addressed them. He assured them that things would soon be okay with the region. He was trying to ensure that they stopped vandalization of pipelines which led to drastic reduction in the production of crude oil from the region. An appreciable percentage of the money we’re getting to run the country is from crude oil and the oil is mainly from the Niger-Delta region.
And in a situation where these people had shut down production, it will surely affect the economy of Nigeria as a whole. You can be in power as almighty president, especially in a democracy like ours.
Democracy means the government of the people by the people and for the well-being of the people. So, I think we need to advise the President to allow his team to work with him so far he has competent hands around him as the president, things would work out well if he allows those people around him to have a say in the government and all of them will get the glory.
But as a president, Buhari needs to make use of the competent hands he has to achieve his goal in government. By and large, I would say within about four months, everything slowed down again. I realized when Osinabjo took over as Acting President, the naira was around N500 to the dollar. And when he took over, he started injecting dollar into the forex market, and within three weeks, the naira was being traded for between N370 and N400 to a dollar.
It’s not about power but ideas. Since, the government has injected about N700 million into the forex market which led to the crash in the exchange rate, a dollar is now sold for N370. A lot of people were affected by the skyrocketing exchange rate including those whose children study abroad, those who are importers, businessmen and all that.
Everything was engineered by Osinbajo. Although, when Buhari came back, he followed suit.
So, you advise the President to face his health challenges squally and leave governance for Osinbajo till he’s fully fit?
Yes, I advise Buhari to concentrate on his health situation first before thinking of governance. You don’t risk your health because you want to be in power. Buhari should take good care of his health. That’s very important. It’s after he’s healthy he can effectively run the government. Since Buhari returned from the UK, he was not able to speak to his people on the television or radio. He had only one presidential chat since he came to power.
I haven’t seen Buhari talking on television since he returned from his medical trip. What we have been reading on the pages of newspapers and magazines has been Buhari approved this, Buhari approved that. And Nigeria is too large to be ruled by proxy. Nigerians want the person we put our destiny in his hands to rule us.
Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele said Nigeria will be out of recession latest in the third quarter of this year. What’s your comment on that?
If Nigeria is going to be out of recession was said by Emefiele, it’s from the common people that we will know, not when you issue a statement from an Olympian height. It’s a common thing we should be able to see, not until anybody tells us. We can judge the governor by his antecedents.
He likes giving Nigerians sweet words. But at the end of it, what happens? Nothing. Even that’s the same way most of our state governors behave. Even, starting from the military regime, they would promise heaven and earth, yet nothing will happen. And when we talk of the CBN governor, he has less power in government. Most of the policies are not coming from him, he was just put in charge of treasury. He just said that to douse the tension in the land but what’s on ground is beyond dousing any tension.
Nigerians want a government that operates on reality. When you keep deceiving people, by the time they change their minds, they will revolt against you. And I pray Nigeria should not experience a revolution because this government plays so much on people’s intelligence.
Just of recent also, there was an attack by a group of Niger-Delta militants on Ishawo, Ikorodu community which led to the death of some mobile police men and an Army captain. It was reported that the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) men want to retaliate, how true is this?
Categorically, the statement didn’t emanate from us. I don’t know where the journalist that wrote that got the story. When these people attacked my area in Abule Ado, we rose up on the demand by the Nigerian Army at Ojo Cantonment. We co-operated with them and flushed the militants out. Their abode was destroyed in the area.
Did any government call us for any support? They’re only trying to call our members but we said none of our members should listen to them. Let them talk to us at the highest level so that the whole thing will be well coordinated. We can’t just risk and waste our lives and you will be collecting your salaries and allowances.
Let’s coordinate anything we want to do against the criminals. So, it will be a very easy task if the government is ready to swallow its pride. If the government won’t play politics with it, it will be done and effectively as well. Security of lives and property is very important and it mustn’t be politicized.
The government has a big role to play in that, coordinate and create an enabling environment for people to live and go about their legitimate business. But when you’re arrogant and saying certain people must not be involved, it could be dangerous. Those that they’re discriminating against have experience. They even have an advantage.
- TADE ASIFAT