As preparation toward the 2019 general election is gathering momentum, top lawyer and 2nd National Vice president of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Barrister Monday Ubani has stated that it is high time for Nigerians to hand over the reign of government to youths who have zeal and patriotic to serve the nation in the interest of the people. He made the statement in his Lagos chamber during an interview with Prestige International magazine on the state of the nation.
On the emergence of various coalitions toward 2019, the election year, the former chairman of NBA, Ikeja Branch threw his weight behind Barrister Olisa Agbakoba led Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM).
“I know about Nigeria Intervention Movement, if at all I will belong to a movement, that is the one I will belong to because there are people I saw there who are people with reputation. In that movement I see youths who are up to date in terms of what it takes to move a nation forward, in terms of good governance, infrastructure and economic management. We have all the resources to succeed. I believe that we should hand over the reign of government to such people who are young, have zeal and patriotic to serve in the interest of the people, they love Nigeria and they are going to public office for purpose of serving not for the purpose of what they will gain”, he said.
In the same vein, Barrister Monday Ubani moved against Coalition for Nigeria Movement floated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“If Obasanjo means well for this country with his coalition for Nigeria movement I have no problem with him, but my problem with him is that he always carry excess baggage. He is one of the people that contributed to the problem we are having in this country, he is the one that brought Yar’Adua that was sick. He was the one that brought Jonathan that had an issue. He likes to advise others but he doesn’t take advice and he doesn’t advise himself. When he was appointing his ministers he told them that he was not bound to take their advice. Actually, there are series of things that this government promised that have not been delivered, economy is not doing fine and people are complaining, what Obasanjo did was just to aggregate all what people have been saying about this government and made it look as if he is the only one that has been observing it. He now wants us to join a coalition; I believe he is doing that for his personal and selfish interest. If he is not getting anything out of it, he won’t do anything. Somebody like me will not get involved in the activities of whose antecedent is nothing to write home about. We cannot throw the message away, that is what ordinary Nigerians have been observing and expressing on daily basis, Obasanjo just aggregated them together”, Ubani explained.
In his assessment of the current administration, Ubani give kudos to President Muhammadu Buhari on his ‘Back to Agriculture’ policy. He also stated that the government has been able to checkmate Boko-Haram to some extent.
“In some areas he has performed, in some areas he has failed us. He has been able to fight and checkmate Boko-Haram to certain extent. He has also performed well in the area of agriculture, a lot of northerners are now making money from agriculture whether we like it or not. In the next few years if we maintain the tempo of ‘Back to Agriculture”, we will be better off. This government has succeeded in getting Nigerians back to agriculture. But the weakness of the government is that most of the promises they made they didn’t fulfill it. Apart from Boko-Haram, we are still having the issue of security; we are still having the issue of herdsmen. Rearing cows is a private enterprise, and government is not addressing that accordingly. The killings are still going on. On the economy, people are really suffering; the rate of unemployment is so high. The circulation of money in the economy is also low. People are not smiling, for instance, to pay school fees now, a lot of people are having their children at home. Some cannot afford to pay their house rent. Some companies cannot even pay workers as at when due, which is adversely affecting their families. Up till now they have not been able to resolve the fuel crisis. There are some issues that have not been addressed in the oil sector.
“On the issue of appointment, some people are saying that President Buhari is not following federal character, especially in the security agencies. This is not healthy in a federal set up. We cannot run a nation like that. President is a father of all, his statements must be nationalistic. President must not be asking how many votes he got from a particular State, as long as you are the president, you are the president for all. All your policy must reflect as a true father. As at now I think there will be no more bribery to get things done, if you go to police, police will not grant you bail except you pay. We have not set a standard as a nation. I am expecting a corruption fight that will be people’s driven. One man cannot run it, people must buy into it. Everyone must become conscious that we must fight corruption. Fight against corruption must be holistic. Now, we are having problem with whistle blowing policy, somebody gave you an information and you refused to pay him what you promised him and it became national embarrassment. They even announced his name; this is the person they supposed to protect and now exposing him to danger”, he analysed.
During the interview, Barrister Ubani also spoke on the battle between acting EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu and the Senate. According to him senate has the constitutional and legal duty to confirm Magu as the EFCC chairman.
Without mincing words he said: “Senate has the constitutional and legal duty to confirm Magu as the EFCC chairman. The court has also pronounced it. The constitution says president makes the appointment subject to confirmation by the senate. It is not automatic, they can also reject it, if there is something that makes the person unfit for that office. But the executive that sent Magu’s name to senate allowed DSS to send indicting report against Magu to senate. Senate that has been looking for opportunity to stop Magu because of the issue they had with him capitalized on the DSS report to stop him. The second time, when we thought everything was over, there was another letter written by DSS. What do you expect the senate to do, they are under obligation to confirm and that confirmation means either acceptance or denial and they denied him.
“If the EFCC act says President must appoint EFCC chairman subject to confirmation by the senate, it is wrong to keep Magu in acting capacity forever or through out the duration of this government, it is wrong. The former chairmen were confirmed by the senate. Magu is fantastic man, he has shown commitment. But I will not interpret the law on the sentiment. The law that created EFCC does not have acting capacity. There is no where in the EFCC act that you will see acting capacity for the chairman. The only place where acting is mentioned is in the interpretation act, where the law you are referring to has a lacuna”.
The renowned lawyer is also an apostle and advocate of restructuring, according to him the best thing that can happen to Nigeria is restructuring.
“That is the best thing that can happen to Nigeria. If you don’t restructure Nigeria even if you bring an angel to come and manage Nigeria he will fail. The reason our governments in the past have been failing is because we have not restructured Nigeria. Nigeria is a multi ethnic and multi religious nation; we must restructure it to reflect true federalism. We cannot move forward if everything is centralized. For instance generation and distribution of electricity must not be centralized. We cannot run Nigeria that way, we need to decentralize Nigeria. We must restructure in a very holistic manner in order to move the country forward”, he said.
As we are approaching the election year, Barrister Ubani implored Nigerians to come out in large number and vote.
“I expect Nigerians to come out and vote, I am so happy with the number of people registering. People will use their PVC to determine who is going to be their governor, president, senator and lawmakers. The awareness is getting higher by the day. It will get to a level where our electoral system will begin to work. We are going to get to a level where it will be very difficult for somebody to rig election. I want to see a country that is working in my own time”, he stated.
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