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2019 Election: Overconfidence made Atiku to divulge his intention to sell NNPC and it worked against him, says Debo Adeniran



Comrade Debo Adeniran is the Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL). In this interview with Prestige lolInternational Magazine, he thoroughly appraised the 2019 elections in Nigeria. According to him overconfidence made Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to divulge his intention to sell NNPC, he also added that Omoyele Sowore is a force to be reckoned with in the political system due to his laudable performance in the last elections. Excerpts.

What is your general appraisal of the just concluded elections in Nigeria?
The election is unique because it is different from most of the elections we have had even since independence. It is also unique due to large number of political parties and large number of candidates that participated. This development encouraged large and divergent interest that participated and monitored election. A lot of horse-trading took place that led to a long electoral period in several places in Nigeria. The violence was not widely spread as envisaged; this is not unusual to our electoral history from independence. The postponement that occurred before the election was also not unique to this election because in 2011 election has started before postponement came. In 1993 election was concluded but it was out rightly annulled. It is a huge task for INEC to manage large number of political parties and candidates for election. Basically it is not bad. We can rate it higher than average. Political parties, INEC and National Orientation Agency did not do enough to sensitize the people for the election. A lot of non educated people didn’t know what to do with long ballot paper until they were told. For instance people in the rural areas did not know how to thumb print and fold the paper appropriately. Politicians were able to deceive large number of electorates. The manifestoes of political parties were not translated into the language generality of electorates would understand better. On the whole we can award the exercise sixty percent.

As a stakeholder, can you say the elections were free and fair?
We can say that it was not totally free because a lot of people were not adequately educated on the exercise. Also not completely fair because a lot of people did not have access to their PVC and they were disenfranchised. A lot of people did not have access to their poling unit. A lot of people could not locate their voting centres due to INEC inadequacy. All in all it is not significant from the past elections until we have a revolutionary electoral system where people can vote from the comfort of their homes at their own convenience and the votes will count. It could be recalled that we had series of re run which imposed additional burden on the electorates.

How do you see the scenario in Zamfara State where APC that did not conclude primary election participated in the governorship election?
It is one of the inadequacies of our electoral law, which does not give consideration for pre electoral issues. There were intra party contradictions and judiciary would step in to adjudicate and these take time to resolve. We need to have enough considerations for pre electoral issues. Electoral law supposed to state clearly that all intra party contradictions and court electoral cases should be concluded before election date. It is not so much the problem of APC, electoral law supposed to sort that out. I believe Judiciary will resolve the issue.

What is your view on how the likes of Saraki, Sheu Sanni, Kwankwanso and Okorocha lost out?
There is nobody that is suffering without his permission. Also, there is nobody that is suffering that does not know that he is suffering unless the fellow is living on an island of sufferers. Everybody knows that life could be better lived. It will get to a situation when people will be pushed to the wall and people will realize their senses. That was what happened to Saraki in Kwara State. Saraki’s case is different from Kwankwanso and Sheu sanni’s case. Basically, it is because Kwara people realized that they are not benefitting under the Saraki oligarchy and felt it was time to change baton of leadership. Kwankwanso overrated his own rating, but Kano people always see Buhari as somebody that can lead them because they see him as somebody that always identify with the poor. Sheu Sanni is more of activist than politician, he didn’t seem to understand politics of Kaduna State, the way El-Rufai understood it. He rode on the back of human rights activism to gain prominence and acceptance of elites and downtrodden. El-Rufai has a better opportunity to relate at the grass root and use the State structure and resources in the interest of the people. Sheu Sanni’s influence cannot override that of Governor El-Rufai. That is the reason Sheu Sanni lost.

What is your view on how Alhaji Atiku Abubakar lost the election?
Atiku couldn’t have won any election at this point in time when Buhari is in the race. Before now, Buhari has been winning those elections he contested but Atiku has not been winning. May be, overconfidence made him to divulge his intention to sell NNPC to his friends. He said he would sell the commanding height of Nigeria economy. Nobody wants to hear that, even people in Niger Delta would not like to hear that because of their derivation percentage. Nigerians knows when it is sold cost of living will rise and little social service we enjoy will no longer be there. He also said he would give amnesty to corrupt elements, this also worked against him. His going to court is an exercise in futility.

What is your take on the alleged betrayal of party by Governors Ibikunle Amosun and Rochas Okorocha?
They betrayed their parties; ordinarily there should be party discipline. People should be disciplined by the rules of the organizations they belong to. If you call yourself a democrat you must accept the view of the majority. For allying with another party is a betrayal, they are supposed to be expunged in the first place. If Amosun wanted to be truthful to himself why didn’t him contest senatorial election on the platform of APN, where his governorship candidate contested? Why Okorocha didn’t contest on the platform of AA, on which his son-in-law contested. That is the height of hypocrisy that we display. They are more than traitors and they are supposed to be treated as such.

What is your view on the performance of Omoyele Sowore at the poll?
Omoyele Sowore tried more than expected; he was able to campaign largely even outside the country. Babangida’s party could not get the votes Sowore got. Even old political parties before the emergence of AAC could not muster what Sowore got at the poll. We believe that he is a force to be reckoned with. The present administration should also recognize him as such. He should be given a role to play in the coming dispensation.
What are your expectations from President Buhari’s second term?
He should step up his engagement of the people. He should keep on the anti corruption crusade. He has laid solid foundation for the fight against corruption.

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