Pius Anyim: Without Zoning, PDP Will Lose 2023 Elections



Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, former President of the Senate and erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation, is one of the few presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who boasts requisite knowledge of the system, government and governance, and he does not waste time leveraging this strength, which, without a doubt, confers rare advantage on him. With a good understanding of the issues and clear insights into how they could be tamed, Anyim comes to the ring prepared, perhaps, to the shock of his opponents. In this interview with THISDAY, he took his time breaking down the issues and situating them in context. Excerpts:

You have been very vocal in insisting that the PDP must respect zoning. Is that the only hope you have of  becoming Nigeria’s next president?
Certainly not.  If you still remember when I declared, I was clear that I will run whether there’s zoning or not. And some people asked me, does it mean that if it is zoned against you, you will disobey the party’s policy or its constitution. And I said no. The truth of the matter is that if it is zoned, it is going to favour me, because it’s going to be zoned to the south, but if it is not zoned, it simply means they are leaving it open. So, the two options are whether to zone to the south or not.

For me, sometimes I make personal allusions to the issue of zoning on principle and the truth of the matter is that any organisation that does not respect its constitution, is actually, as I have said in several places, going to enthrone chaos. Why? Democracy is a system of rules and order, so if you have set a rule for yourself, you are bound to follow that rule. You cannot, midway, because you have a strong group, strongmen and all that, now breach your rules and trust. That actually will haunt the organisation in the long run.

And my conclusion is usually that it will weaken the institution and it will breed strongmen and once the institution is weakened, in the long run, it will not have capacity to protect anybody, and everybody will suffer for it, including the institution itself.

It’s on this principle that at times, I allude or raise the issue of zoning, but apart from zoning, I am running, because I have the experience, I have the exposure, the competence, I have the capacity. In fact, I always qualify my experience, that of all the people in the race, I have the most cognate experience to lead the country, at this point in our history.

Some of your fellow aspirants in the PDP, particularly, those from the Northern part of the country, are arguing that what PDP needs now is to win the presidential election and return the party to power and not zoning. What do you make of this argument?
But the only thing that can make them (PDP) win the presidential election is zoning. The crisis we have today is simply bad governance occasioned by inequality and inequity. Once you respect zoning, that is equitable, and people will be committed to the system.

Part of our problem today is that we don’t give people the opportunity to have a stake in the system. So, what will make PDP win is actually zoning, because APC has as well zoned to the south. So, if you have the two candidates from the south, now you are building a nation, where equity, fairness, and justice reign.
It is only in that circumstance that you can win. If you bring another candidate just to satisfy personal interest with disregard for what is equitable, what is fair, what is right, what is just,  that will represent inequity, then we are bound to lose the election

Do you think coming from the South-east, usually with the least votes, presents the PDP any chance to win the 2023 presidential election?
Check your statistics. Maybe, because it is not usually defined on records. The South-easterners are the second-highest population in almost every state of Nigeria after the indigenes. In Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Rivers and right across the federation, you need to check it out. When you talk about the south-east as a people, you are talking about the most mobile population in the country, they are all over the place.

So, when you’re talking about those who are in the south-east, voting or not voting, that’s not really where the concentration of south-easterners is. So, the votes in other places are also determined and decided by south-easterners. If you ask me, giving a south-easterner an opportunity will ignite a voter turnout across the country beyond your imagination and I think that is the winning vote.

While PDP’s Committee on zoning was yet to submit its report, some presidential aspirants in your party first from the Northern part, namely Senator Bukola Saraki, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Governor Bala Mohammed and Alhaji Mohammed Hayatudeen started visiting different states together, pushing for a consensus northern candidate. Similarly, yourself, Mr. Peter Obi,  Sam Ohuabunwa and Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze, from the South-east, have also met. What is this about?

Well, I can draw a slight difference between the two meetings. One, the meetings among the northern aspirants were to achieve consensus amongst themselves, but the meeting of the south-eastern aspirants was to work together to make sure that the presidency goes to the south-east where it naturally should go now.
And if you look at what we put out, the communiqué we issued after the meeting, we avoided the word consensus. We said our commitment is to work together to make sure that somebody from the South-east emerges as standard-bearer of the PDP and then proceed to win the election come 2023.

This is different from consensus. Consensus might be a second leg of it. So, what we are saying is that look, it is the turn of the South-east and the fact that a number of us are aspiring  does not diminish that right. It does not diminish that turn. So, we are prepared as a zone to come together, to work together, irrespective of our personal interests, to be sure that the zone takes its turn in the country.

But  the other  aspirants from the north are saying, look, let us get together and produce one person, so that if the south produces a whole lot of aspirants, then, we will be in a position to defeat the south. It is simply a strategy to take from the south what rightly belongs to it. My plea to them is, please let them get together and support the south-east to produce the next president.

Are you people not by that action inadvertently promoting ethnicity and sectionalism to the detriment of national cohesion?
If you look at the constitution of Lebanon, a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, they zone even ministerial positions in their constitution. In multi-ethnic societies, you adopt the principle that will bring everybody on the table every time so that suspicion is reduced, distrust is reduced, and unity is enhanced.

In Lebanon, under their constitution, they zone the position of prime minister, presidency, president of the parliament, minister of justice, minister of finance – they are zoned in their constitution and perhaps that’s what has kept them together.
In Switzerland, till today, they still rotate the leadership of the country among the Cantons. That’s what has kept them together. The principle of zoning is not necessarily to breed ethnicity or sectionalism, it is to put everybody on the table, because Nigeria is a multi-ethnic society.

It is to be sure that every component of the polity is on the table per time. Now, the complaint of marginalisation, the complaint of deprivation, the political complainants all over the place, had always been when all sections of the polity are not part of the decision-making process of the country.

And what we are saying is that at no time should any part of the country be out of the table in decision making. Let me also say secondly, that when you talk about the federal system, it means first and foremost, you recognise the multi-ethnic nature of the polity, and the federal system must be structured in such a manner that every part of that federation has access to national decisions. So we are saying, do what we have agreed, even in our party, even in our constitution, because our constitution recognises federal character.

But we are now talking about this zoning as ethnicity or as whatever, because it’s a political opportunity. What about admissions into the universities that employ the quota system? What about recruitments into the military, where you have the quota system and in employment into the federal civil service, you must reflect federal character? So, if that applies to keep the country together, why wouldn’t it apply in the leadership of the nation?

You have been President of the Senate and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, what more do you want? Are you not simply using this as a chance to negotiate?
Well, I don’t know what you think I want to negotiate for? But importantly, all I have become, more particularly the two you have just mentioned, I became because I’m a Nigerian. And now that I can see the country going down, it is the time to deploy my experience. I gained vantage experience, as president of the senate running the parliament, with all members from across the country.

As secretary to the government of the federation, I have headed the administrative hub of this country, overseeing allocation of resources, allocation of appointments, observing federal character and managing our diversity in a very efficient and effective manner. So, having gone through this, it is only patriotic of me, that I deploy this experience to give this country a direction, to give this country a focus, to rescue Nigeria from where we are today.

What do you think qualifies you to be Nigeria’s president in 2023 at such a time that almost everybody agrees is one of the most challenging in its history?
I can put it this way: all through my working life, I have been in Abuja and if you like, I’ve been around the presidency. I understand the country, I understand the problems, I understand the challenges and I have clarity on what the solutions could be. Short of these experiences and understanding, nobody can effectively run this country at a time like this. And I think I am equipped by my experience, by my exposure; I am equipped by my training, I am equipped by my knowledge of the country to be in the best position to redirect this country on the path of growth, peace and prosperity.

You recently said you want to bring Nigeria back to the days of the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2015. If that administration was that good, why did Nigerians vote it out of power, and what exactly do you want to bring back? Is it the perceived clueless disposition of that government or the corruption it was said to have been known for?

Well, I think Nigerians are the best judges. One, it is clear to us now that Goodluck Jonathan was blackmailed out of office, and the people who blackmailed him out of office are the very people looking for him now to return and take over from them. And before I conclude on this, let me also say: Have you seen what it takes in APC to have any PDP member join them? They will celebrate from the local government, to the state, then to the president.
The same people that were accused of being corrupt, that were accused of being clueless, that were accused of all manner of things are the best catch for the accusers now. But let me say that, if I’m talking about bringing back Goodluck’s administration, I’m talking about bringing back the dollar from N600 to $1 now to N180 to $1. I’m talking about bringing back the economy to the largest and biggest in Africa. I’m talking about bringing back the economy to the fastest growing in Africa.

I’m talking about bringing back the economy that foreign investors will have confidence in and that could attract direct foreign investment as it used to be during the days of Jonathan. I’m talking about a country, where stability is guaranteed, where safety is guaranteed, where lives and properties are safe, where fundamental rights of citizens are respected, where freedom of expression and speech is guaranteed. I think that’s what I’m talking about. I will not only bring back the days of Jonathan, I will advance it.

You come from the South-east, where agitation for an independent state of Biafra is raging. Some persons have expressed fears that having a person from the South-east become President of Nigeria in 2023 may result in the South-east easily seceding from Nigeria. Do you think such fears are unfounded?
Grossly unfounded! And I will take you back. The agitation for Biafra is neither isolated nor new. I remember during the June 12 crisis, there were such huge agitations in the South-west, that it is either they are part of this country, or they are not. And eventually, when one of them became the president of the country, that agitation died out. I also know that the militancy in the Niger Delta was so bad that if not for the way President Olusegun Obasanjo managed it, it would have led to agitations like this, and it was at a time everybody was so scared that if you allow somebody from the  South-south become president of Nigeria, they will graduate that agitation to secession.
Immediately, President Goodluck Jonathan became president of Nigeria, that agitation died. In fact, not when he became president, immediately he became vice president of Nigeria, that agitation died out. IPOB agitation is not the only one in the country today. There are a number of them across the country like the Boko Haram insurgency, like Sunday Igboho’s agitation in the South-west. I believe that if a south-easterner becomes the president of Nigeria, that agitation will die.

How do you reconcile your aspiration to be president of Nigeria with the heightened and violent agitation for Biafra by some people from the South-east?
It’s exactly what I have answered, and those agitating are frustrated, young South-easterners, and I tell you, maybe I will put it this way: somebody asked me once, what is the single, most important demand of the south east.
And I replied, the most important, single demand of the southeast from Nigeria is reintegration. Once they feel that they have been fully reintegrated into Nigeria, all agitations will naturally be extinguished. So, my position is that if you give them a sense of belonging, and maybe expand opportunities for everybody, and they feel equal as citizens of Nigeria, those agitations will simply be extinguished.

For a long time now, there have been strident calls for restructuring from many parts of Nigeria. Recently, eminent legal practitioner, Chief Afe Babalola, called for the postponement of the 2023 elections, to allow Nigeria form an interim government to produce another constitution before holding  elections. First, what does restructuring mean to you? Do you see it as a necessary condition for Nigeria to regain stability and make progress? Lastly, do you think Nigeria’s present constitution is good enough?

I will answer by saying that restructuring has been shown to mean different things to different people per time. I avoid getting into the controversy of the definition of restructuring, but one thing I know is that the structure the country assumed at independence was extensively negotiated, extensively canvassed and extensively agreed on. There were negotiations, there were constitutional conferences, and even at the last lap, the minorities raised issues or fears and the colonial masters set up the Willink’s Commission to look into their fears. They didn’t just decree a structure for the nation. No, they did not at all.

So, if we for any reason think that the present structure we have is not working, we have to sit down, discuss it and build a consensus going forward, not anybody waking up to say, this is my definition of restructuring. If you throw in anything by your own definition, it will not work, because other components of the polity will not accept it.
But I agree that we could present a platform for dialogue, for negotiations, for discussions and build a consensus.

Based on that consensus, if we need to make an adjustment, we’ll make it  as agreed by all and such adjustment everybody will commit to it, in building the nation
So, I don’t want to go into the meaning of anybody’s definition of restructuring. But I want to believe that if all of us feel that the structure we have today is not what we want, we will all sit over and agree on the structure that works for all of us and now carry on from there.

What about the call for an  interim government from Chief Afe Babalola?
I am surprised that Afe Babalola made that suggestion, because one, he is a seasoned lawyer and two, more particularly, because that is unconstitutional. And certainly there can’t be a vacuum. So, what provision of our constitution will authorize an interim government?
So, you can’t preach the rule of law and step outside the law to set up a structure that cannot work. So, because it’s unconstitutional, it has no space in our system. That cannot work. But I also know that under any government, the country can still have discussions. The country can still have negotiations and dialogue, and arrive at a consensus that will be acceptable to everybody and we ‘ll build our nation on that. So certainly, that has no space in our system.

Is Nigeria’s current constitution good enough to lead the people to the Promised Land?
You see, I have always believed that democracy is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. That for the people, and that by the people is very critical in taking any decision of permanent importance to the people, of permanent existence of the polity, of permanent existence of the nation.

If any part of the polity is not agreeable to the structure you want to impose, it won’t work. So, what I’m saying in essence, is that whether the constitution is working, or not working, if you look at our history, our constitutional history, you’ll find out that our founding fathers were effective in adjusting the constitution as they were going.
When we talk about structure today, that’s not the first one. In 1963, the parliament still created the Midwestern state within the constitutional framework, and it was acceptable by everybody. There was no problem about the creation of the Midwestern state under the constitution.

But why people are raising issues now is mainly because the military altered the structure without enough consultation, without enough consensus, so it is the military fingerprints on the constitutional structure that are creating the concerns people are raising now. I want to believe that we have returned to civilian administration and for that reason, we should be able to pull ourselves together, dialogue, and reach a consensus on what works for us if what the military left for us is no longer working.
I want to emphasise again, that the civilian constitution of Nigeria, had been altered before to accommodate a new structure and there was no problem about it and it worked.

Nigeria is presently embroiled in a seemingly intractable security challenge. If you become president in 2023, what would you do differently to bring the security situation under control?
I will start from where we started under this democratic dispensation in 1999, and if you don’t start from there, you will not understand the root cause. In 1999, when I was running for election to the senate, I once left my village in Ebonyi State by 7pm and arrived Abuja at 3am.

I had no fear of any danger on the road and nothing happened to me. Then people were safe, people were free, the society was sane. I want to say that at that time, we had a very low crime rate in the country. Everybody was expectantly waiting for democracy to return and that democracy will deliver dividends to everybody. And everybody will have a stake in the society.

What are those dividends? Employment, equality, economy will improve, political decisions will be more inclusive, because everybody will be carried along and all that.  You will agree with me that it’s as we made this journey into democracy that things started to fall apart because instead of delivering employment, unemployment has escalated.

Most of our young people have no food, no jobs, instead of the economy expanding to create more jobs for our teeming population, the economy has shrunk and food has become scarce. You will also agree with me that the deterioration has been growing progressively. The situation as of today is not the same under Obasanjo, not the same under Yar’Adua, not the same under Jonathan. It has escalated to its peak under the present administration.
And this captures the nexus between political leadership, economic management and social cohesion. So, if you ask me what I will do differently, one, I will be sure that the economic direction of the country fits into the new world economic direction, which prepares Nigeria for the fourth industrial revolution that is here with us.

What it means is that the kind of employment architecture that we need to deploy is no longer such that people will queue up for white collar jobs. We will create innovative hubs, create start-up corridors and encourage young people to unleash their creative abilities.  I am sure that as we do that, as the economy also seeks to return to private sector and government withdraws from doing business to regulatory functions, then the economy will expand in such a manner that it will attract foreign investment, it will attract venture capitalists and our people will begin to get more meaningfully engaged.

And once you are engaged, you have a stake in the society, then you have to defend it. But when you have no stake in the society, obviously, then you have no reason to defend it. Two, you will also notice that, more particularly now, the political management of our diversity is very poor. Appointments are made with a particular section being marginalised and all that. So, I will bring inclusiveness in managing our diversity. I will focus on expanding economic opportunities in managing our economy. In other words, I will ensure that market solutions become the model.

In other words, government will withdraw from businesses, while the private sector will be at the forefront of running the economy. I will also be sure that political decisions are taken in consultation with every component or section of the society. We will build consensus in all that affects everybody and we’ll be able to manage all the little differences that we have. I must say, too, that when the Niger Delta militancy escalated, the management of that militancy was actually the reason why we were able to achieve a permanent solution to it.

I will manage insecurity properly and how will I do it? I will stratify insecurity. Because we have insurgency, we have banditry, we have secessionist agitations, we have armed robbery, we have cultism that actually expands and grows into other forms of vices. By the time you stratify them, you simply get down and deploy the appropriate mechanism to contend with each of them according to their peculiarities. The criminals will be dealt with as criminals, then, agitations that ordinarily would simply be for political reasons or social disharmony would be addressed that way, and so on.

But I would want you to go back to my open letter to the president. I wrote an open letter to him on the way to address the armed agitations and general insecurity in the country. I was of the opinion that arms alone are not enough, military actions alone will not be enough. It has to be a combined action, involving social, economic, and political solutions.

Aside insecurity, Nigeria is facing myriad of other challenges. The economy is almost prostrate; many acknowledge that Nigeria is more divided today than ever before in its history; cost of living is very high, unemployment is at the highest level, and the youth are almost permanently restless. Are you not intimidated by these humongous problems? What do you think you can do immediately as president to give hope to Nigerians?

I’m sure you have not captured all the situations as they were. You’ll also have to include that the debt crisis is a time bomb waiting to happen. You also need to include that the petroleum subsidy that is deferred to the next government is also a time bomb waiting to happen.

There are so many others you have to add to it. My position is that once you have the right leadership, the leadership that will drive the economy on the right path, the leadership that will be responsive to the citizens’ yearnings and aspirations and the leadership that will manage our diversity properly, then, all these will be reversed.  Because I will provide that leadership, I am not worried about those problems. They are problems today, but working committedly with all Nigerians, we shall reverse the situations. They are tough, I agree, but they are not permanent.

Now that you have mentioned them, let’s deep dive into   the twin issues of debt management and fuel subsidy.  The amount of debt, the level of borrowing by this administration you want to succeed is much. How do you intend to go about this and the issue of subsidy?
I was in government with President Obasanjo when the issue of managing our debts was his greatest headache, and what did he do? He brought a competent hand, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a globally recognised and respected development economist and she was able to structure a direction for debt forgiveness and a chunk of our debts were forgiven. I understand that most of the debts they are accumulating now are tied to certain projects, but eventually most of the funds go into recurrent expenditure.

I will restructure government spending in such a manner that much of our income will go into capital projects and not into recurrent expenditure. I will engage competent hands to repeat what Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala did under Obasanjo and we’ll be able to manage the debts and find ways to cope with it. On fuel subsidy, the most urgent thing to do is to pursue the liberalisation of the downstream sector to a logical conclusion, in such a manner that will not suffocate ordinary Nigerians.

People should be able to set up refineries, no matter how small and sell to the market, so that even if you are subsidising, you will be subsidising at the crude point, not at the refined product point. This is because the point we are subsidising now is why the fraud is there, but if there are subsidies at the crude point for refining, and given that not everybody has a refinery, the number of people involved will be small, making it easier for management and control.

What will be the economic mainstay of your government if elected? Today, naira has gone down to almost N600 to the dollar. The level of unemployment has gone very high and our youths are jobless.
Well, I have had occasions to say that, my economic agenda shall stand on three pillars. One, industrialisation, and I have explained that this industrialisation shall be at various scales namely, large, small, medium.  The whole idea is that we must, by every means, increase local production.

 We must, by every means, reduce importation. And this is the only way that naira can gain strength. Two, we shall promote entrepreneurship and encourage Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as a way to create employment. And in order to guarantee this, we shall group them in clusters in various parts of the country, according to their local advantages, and support them with training, support them with technology, and support them with venture capital for start-ups.

The whole idea here also is that we will tackle unemployment from the root and engage our people in such a manner that people can find something to do.  When this is done, unemployment will be reduced, importation also will be reduced and naira will be strengthened. The second pillar I will deploy is talent and innovation. We have looked at the new world economic direction. The new world economic direction goes for knowledge, talent, and innovation.

The hallmark of our knowledge-based economy will be to unleash the creative abilities of our young people. So, we will establish innovation hubs, again, across the country. You know that today, venture capitals that are flowing into this country, in fact, in the last one year, amount to a significant percentage of our national budget and it was simply young Nigerians that were able to do this by their sheer creativity.

We will support such. We will create a venture capital fund and set out clear guidelines on how to manage it. By that, our young population will unleash their creativity and attract even more venture capital from outside the country.

Lastly, we will deploy science and technology. Today, precision, automation and all that, have become the hallmark of production.  What it means is that with the fourth industrial revolution, whether you like it or not, our mode of production will change, factors of production will change and we have to adapt to this. In fact, one of my friends was going to set up a cement factory and the person doing the feasibility asked, do you want 100 per cent automation or a little manual input.

The possibility is that in the near future, automation will take up most other jobs. So, there will be disruptive innovations, left and right. So, we will invest in research and technology, so as to fit into the fourth industrial revolution and be sure that Nigeria keeps pace and moves in the same direction with the world economy.

 It would appear you have issues with the governor of your state, Ebonyi. If you’re having issues with your governor, how do you manage peace and unity at the national level? What exactly is your problem with Governor Dave Umahi?
Well, I can say clearly that I have no issues with my governor. Governor Umahi decided to join APC. And I have no reason to join APC. I’m sure if I come to you today and say I want to join that party, you will discourage me. So, governor Umahi decided to join APC and I said I will not join APC and that is all I have said.
No governor in Ebonyi will ever tell you that I asked him to give me a contract or to give me money. None. So, what is the problem? I don’t have any problem with the governor, but I will not follow him to the APC.

Since you left office as Secretary to the Government of the Federation in 2015, you have been invited by the EFCC on at least two different occasions. What are the charges against you and where are you now in those cases?
Well, I have no charges from anybody. I have no criminal matter of any nature in any court all over the world, including Nigeria. But remember that there is no principal member of Jonathan’s administration that the EFCC has not invited. Because when the new administration came, there was nothing we did that was considered to be right. So, I was invited like any other and I keep telling people that I was party to making the EFCC law. I was party to making the ICPC law. I believe they should be allowed to function.

But let us not assume that once you are invited by them,  that you have committed any wrong. I think principally, if they have any questions they want you to clarify, then, they invite you to clarify; if you have nothing to answer for, they allow you to go. So, I want to say that for me, I’ve been invited twice. And I answered all the questions posed to me and I was allowed to go.

If elected president, what will be your attitude to the fight against corruption? What will you do immediately to demonstrate to Nigerians and indeed the world that your administration would have zero tolerance for corruption?
I want to say again, that the slogan “fighting corruption”, has been made a catch phrase by politicians to win public acclaim and support. Corruption has become systemic and endemic in Nigeria. So, if you want to curb corruption, you will need to apply strategies that will uproot corruption from the roots. If you structure the economy in such a manner that people don’t have discretion to offer patronages, then, corruption will not arise in the first place.
But I tell you today, people still look forward to appointments as patronage. People seek to get into public office as a means of patronage and when they get it, of course, they will feel they have a chance and they should feast on that chance. If I am president of Nigeria today, in the first place, I will structure the economy in such a manner that it will be driven by the private sector.

Once the economy is driven by the private sector, then, the public sector will shrink to the point that you won’t have much to be corrupt about. That is one. Two, if I am appointing people to offices, I will appoint based on competence and capacity. When people are chosen on the basis of their capacity and competence, they will have the confidence that the reason I am here is because I fit here, not because I’m being patronised. Because if you are being patronised, of course, you are not likely to put in your best because you can’t offer what you don’t have.

And in which case, of course, you will simply abuse the office and get corrupt. So, I will be sure that people get into office based on their competence and capacity; I will be sure that the economy is restructured such that the private sector should take the lead. I’ll be sure that the structure of governance will be such that the public sector will have little or no inducements for people to seek to get into the public office as a means of patronage. Lastly, I will ensure that those who abuse their office get properly punished according to the law. There will be no sacred cows.

At the last Council of State meeting, some individuals serving jail terms were granted presidential pardon. Two of them were former governors, Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye. Many Nigerians have voiced their displeasure over that decision by the government as a wrong signal about the alleged commitment of this government to the fight against corruption, having made it one of its cardinal programmes. What is your take on this?
I think the first thing that comes to mind is to ask, “did the president act within the law or not?” And I’m sure if you ask President Buhari, he will say he acted within the law. Now, the second thing is, has he acted morally having been elected on the basis that he has zero tolerance for corruption? That’s where we can query him. That if what he preaches is what he stands for, then, morally, he has betrayed his own conscience.

So for me, that is why leadership should be what we want it to be. That is to say, every leader should have principles he puts forward and principles he can stand on, the principles he can defend. So, for me, many people will be right to be disappointed that the president, who said corruption had no place in his life and his administration, now made a volte-face to grant pardon to people convicted of corruption. If I were Mr. President, I will not preach what I will not do. If I preach it, I’ll do it.

Lastly, what is your sincere assessment of the Buhari administration? He has spent close to seven years now. He has roughly a year to go, what is your sincere assessment of his government?
In this interview, I have said so much about the state of our nation and the management style of the present administration. That can approximate to my assessment. But I will call on Nigerians to put on the table their assessment during the 2023 general election. So, if Nigerians back PDP to vote them out, I think that will be the best judgment for the Buhari administration. And I’m sure that everybody’s waiting for this, including you.


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