Monday, 16 April 2018

Buhari's second term; a bit closer to what he was in 1984.- Itse Sagay says

Itse Sagay (SAN) , Chairman of the
Presidential Advisory Committee Against
Corruption (PACAC), in this interview
with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI in Abuja speaks
on President Muhammadu Buhari’s
declaration for second term and what
Nigerians should likely expect if the
president is re-elected. Excerpts:
President Muhammadu Buhari last week
declared his intention to seek reelection
during his party’s NEC meeting. Were you
surprised when you heard the news?
I knew all the time that he was going to
contest even though he might not have
been very keen but the large number of
relevant people in the party who were
determined that he should re-contest
were just too many. He couldn’t resist
that force; otherwise the disappointment
could have been devastating. So, he had
to bow to that pressure.
For now, himself and the Vice- President
are the only candidates who have
credibility and will us some hope that if
they are in charge, the country will not
just move forward, but be able to deliver
this country from the wretchedness,
poverty, mass unemployment and all the
other negatives that we are experiencing
due to the manner in which the PDP
misgoverned this country and wrecked
Some Nigerians have criticised his decision
to seek reelection given a promise he made
in 2011 that if he becomes president, he will
only do a single term. Do you think this
change of mind has negatively affected the
president’s integrity?
His decision to re-contest has nothing to
do with his integrity. Did someone pay
him to say he will do a single term? Did
he sign a contract with anybody that if
you pay me N1m, I will not contest a
second term? There was no such thing”.
He made a voluntary statement and at
the end of three years, the pressure on
him to change his mind was just simply
irresistible. And if he really wants to be
a man of the people, somebody in whom
we have absolute confidence, he had no
choice. And what is the business of other
people if he decides to re-contest? If you
don’t like him, contest against him but
don’t try to eliminate him because he is
formidable from the beginning. They
knew that with him contesting again,
there is no hope for any other candidate.
So, they are bitter and terribly
disappointed because all their
calculations have failed completely”.

What do you think his second coming will bring?

It is not that I have consulted him but I
believe that his second coming will see a
firmer, stronger type of leadership, a bit
closer to what he was in 1984. I think
that is what Nigerians should expect
because this country is suffering from
gross indiscipline of the ruling elites. We
have seen a whole lot of impunity in the
system. We have seen a whole Senate
being closed down because one of them
is going to a Tribunal before which he is
charged. That to me is gross indiscipline.
You do not stop the whole process of
legislation just to show solidarity with a
person charged to court and to
intimidate the court. That is gross
indiscipline and it is unacceptable. We
have other things like that in other
sectors. It is indiscipline for a group of
judges to give a judgment that no matter
what crime they commit, they cannot be
tried unless the National Judicial Council
(NJC) gives the go-ahead through the
institutions created by the constitution to
fight crime and prosecute those charged
with crimes. That is indiscipline. So, we
have a situation in this country where
everybody is doing whatever he likes.
Very soon, you will find the Nigerian Bar
Association (NBA) prescribing that if
they commit any offence, they should be
brought before the NBA Disciplinary
panel before they can be charged by the
police. Various professions that have
disciplinary panels can bring that in.
Even the policeman can say before you
can charge me for bribery or any other
offence, let the Police Service
Commission (PSC) decide. That is chaos
and anarchy. So, I think all these things
will be brought under control in his
second coming. Also by then, we would
have started feeling the benefit of the
groundwork they are doing now and life
will be better for Nigerians. We will
begin to appreciate the government
more for how they have been able
transform the country. Nigerians have
short memory. They have forgotten that
this country was wrecked and ran
aground by the PDP. They have forgotten
that the PDP government looted
everything that was available and left an
empty treasury at a time when money
that was coming in was limited by cost of
barrel of oil and reduction in
production. So, this government has
gone through extreme difficulty to keep
Nigeria afloat. However, that era is
coming to an end and an era of
prosperity is coming. So, one is really
looking forward to the second term of
Buhari and Osinbajo.
You have always criticised the leadership of
the ruling APC. What was your reaction
when the president rejected the one year
extension given to the Chief John Odigie-
Oyegun-led NWC?
I supported the rejection of the one year
extension not because I didn’t like
Oyegun but because if the tenure
elongation had been allowed to stand,
the PDP would have had an apian way,
expressway to the presidency and the
other offices because all the nominations
of the APC would have been held illegal
and invalid because the people who
organised it themselves are not entitled
to be there. People who are occupying
illegal offices could only produce illegal
nominees. So, the president saved the
party from catastrophe by rejecting the
tenure extension.
Some governors loyal to Oyegun are trying
to ensure he gets reelected. Given his
handling of the party’s affairs, do you think
this is a good decision?
Oyegun has been a terrible failure as
national chairman of the party. He has
not shown the resolve and strength of
purpose to direct the party properly and
rid it of moles and enemies. When a
person, against the party primary goes to
contest as Senate president and another
one contrary to the party’s primary
contests as Speaker of the House of
Representatives, that is gross indiscipline
and people like that should be punished
and the punishment is suspension and
possibly, expulsion from the party. That
did not happen under Oyegun. Rather,
he was cuddling, befriending and
appeasing them, thereby allowing them
to become monsters. The result now is
that the National Assembly is the official
opposition of this government; all that is
created by Oyegun’s appeasement. So,
his tenure has really been a disaster for
the party.
There were widespread criticisms over the
alleged looters list released by the federal
government because PDP members who
defected to the APC were not included.
What is your perspectives on this?
Yes, I have heard that but I am not
particularly bothered because this is not
the last of the lists. From what the
Minister of Information said, this is just
a tip of the iceberg. We have a long list
of people. I personally have a list of up
to 100. From what I know, not up to 30
of these names have been mentioned. So,
I expect that as more releases are made,
the names of these turncoat PDP
members who are in APC will be
released. I have a lot of contempt for
them because you cannot be jumping from party to party based on the convenience and trying to escape the fate you have created for yourself. So,
their names will be released as time goes on.

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