2019 elections: Why Nigeria will die if Buhari wins Atiku – Igbo youth leader, Elliot Uko [Interview]
Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko is the founder of Igbo Youth Movement and the Secretary of the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA.
In this interview with A REPORTER, the Igbo youth leader bares his mind on the forthcoming coming general election, especially the contest between President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
In his opinion, the return of Buhari will perish most Nigerians.
Evangelist, you have been so quiet for a while now?
I have been quiet for a reason. One, I am getting old, two, what I set out to achieve 30 years ago, God has granted it. Actually, I do not think it is proper to continue playing to the gallery. What do I mean, I set out as a young man to inspire the younger generation of Ndigbo, to wake them up from slumber. I spent over 25 years of my adult life, organizing seminars for Igbo youths, in Lagos, Jos, Aba, Onitsha, Nnewi, Owerri, Abakaliki, Enugu and everywhere, first to make them aware of themselves and the condition of Ndi Igbo in Nigeria, second, to wake them up to start asking questions about our future in Nigeria, then to make them aware that they need to start demanding for their right and finally to get them to agitate for justice in Nigeria.
That has been achieved through the grace of God. So am thinking of retirement and that was why I have been quiet. Another reason is that they called me Elliot Uko (Onye ala restructuring) a mad man of restructuring for more than 20 years. Suddenly, last year, the Igbo leaders finally bought into restructuring. I thank God for that. So I am thinking of retirement. If I continue to repeat myself then I will be playing to the gallery. And I don’t want to do that.
Had the elders adopted restructuring 20 years ago in 1999 when I brought all the groups from old Eastern Region at Hotel Presidential, and Ojukwu welcomed the Ijaw youths and Onoh welcomed the Ogoni youths, Nigeria would have been restructured long before now. Had they adopted restructuring then and began to fight for restructuring, it would have been a different ball game by now. But they just bought into restructuring barely a year ago. So we thank God for that. I have to step down a bit and watch them and pray for them in the course to the restructuring of Nigeria which is actually the only panacea to getting Nigeria working again. These are the reasons why I have been quiet.
Have you resuscitated your advocacy now?
Yes. Now I am talking because Nigerians surprisingly are about to make some terrible mistake. If General Buhari is given a second time, Nigeria will die. General Buhari should be rejected on the 16 of February, 2019. He should pack his loads and leave Aso Villa. Nigerians of all the six-geopolitical zones are hereby enjoined to vote Buhari out.
He is not a fit and proper person to govern Nigeria. Nigeria is a heterogeneous and multi-religious country. He will bring doom to Nigeria. I am pleading with Nigerians all over to think about the future, to think about the reality which is that Nigeria is better off with leadership that is all embracing, leadership that is fair to all sections, leadership that is genuinely committed to developing the country. Gen Buhari is not that. He has a hidden sectional, religious and regional agenda which is dangerous to the unity and survival of Nigeria. Any man or woman who cast his vote for Gen Buhari is an enemy of Nigeria. Three and half years ago, Buhari rolled to power promising change, the only change he brought is bringing the economy down. Everything in Nigeria is upside down today. Condoning killings, institutionalizing bloodshed, so dictatorial that is weakening the constitution, weakening the democracy, and enthroning a system of government where 23 military operations are been used to hold Nigeria together. No military operation, cobra jump or viper dance is being used to hold Ghana together. No military operation named after any reptile is being used to hold South Africa together. Gen Buhari is the only leader that is deploying military operations to hold Nigeria together. Without all these military operations, Nigeria would have collapsed three years ago.
Some people are still supporting President Buhari as seen in different rallies in some states.
Gen Buhari is a disaster. Anybody supporting Buhari hates Nigeria. The only people who want Buhari to continue are members of the cabal who are running Nigeria on his behalf and their acolytes, the ignorant people who are not informed enough, then thirdly people who blindly shout he is their man from their region, they don’t care if he is taking Nigeria backward; as long as he is their man, he should continue. No enlightened man, no normal human being will want Gen. Buhari to continue. He should pack his load and go. This message is an emergency; all hands should be on deck to show Gen Buhari the way out of Aso Rock. He should go and rest.
Does it mean there is nothing good since three and half years of Gen. Buhari in power?
Absolutely nothing. Nothing good about Gen Buhari. He came to power and spent six months commanding the central bank and reversing them without ministers, without cabinet for six whole months, personalizing the government of the country, trying to institutionalize himself as an oracle.
But the federal govt. has claimed that the economy has improved.
He destroyed the economy, divided the country, institutionalized nepotism and condoned bloodshed. Everything must be done to return him to Daura so that he can take care of himself. The quality of every product in the market has so much decreased from tissue paper to roofing zinc. The quality has decreased and the prices increased. Go to the market and check. The quality of our life is diminishing under Gen Buhari. So many companies have closed, some have ran away from Nigeria under Gen Buhari. Millions of people have been thrown into unemployment market under Gen. Buhari. Farmers in the Middle Belt and many other parts of the country have received it hot under Gen Buhari. His people just ceased fire because their “Oga” is running for election next week. Maybe they will resume again immediately after the elections, confirming that they listen to him. When his interest is at stake, his people will know and they can ceasefire. People are killed like rat under Gen Buhari. The Shiite, the IPOB, and ordinary people. Insecurity is worst under Gen Buhari. From the Fulani Herdsmen militia to the Boko Haram unleashing mayhem in the North East to armed gunmen in the North West in Zamfara, Kastina and Sokoto. The country is ablaze under Gen Buhari. Anybody who wants Buhari to continue in power is an enemy of progress. Any Nigerian who does anything or engages in anything that will assist Gen Buhari in one way or the other to return to power that person is not being fair to himself because Gen. Buhari is a clear enemy of unity and survival of Nigeria. His worldview is inimical to the growth of Nigeria. We are calling on all men and women of good will to campaign door to door and tell their neighbours in all the six geopolitical zones that we must retire Gen Buhari on the 16th of Feb. 2019 out of Aso Rock so that Nigeria can be rebuilt and reconstructed.
But the IPOB said they are boycotting the election?
Yes, IPOB is angry with Nigeria and rightly so, they have been killed, detained, blackmailed and hunted down and labelled terrorist group, which they are not. IPOB is popular among our people. We respect their decision, nobody is angry with them.
Well, the IPOB have a right to boycott the election if they so choose. We also have a right to vote out Buhari if we so choose. We have not attacked the IPOB for boycotting the election, nobody has attacked them and IPOB have not attacked anybody which chooses to vote. It is called fundamental human right and freedom of choice. They want to boycott we, want to vote out Gen. Buhari. The most imminent task before all Nigerians today is to gently remove him from Aso Rock. Now I want to use this opportunity to plead with Nigerians to troop out in their mass and vote in Atiku/Obi ticket. The Atiku/Obi ticket will ensure first of all justice and equity for everybody, level playing field and next promise to begin reconciliation and reconstruction of Nigeria by devolving power back to the regions. Secondly, Atiku himself is a consummate Nigerian, who understands Nigeria, who is well received and well receives Nigerians from all the sections of the country. And his vice Obi is a consummate business man and a very frugal administrator of men and resources which is what Nigeria needs now. We must support them and we must plead with our neighbours, friends, brothers and sisters to join hands and vote in Atiku/Obi into office and retire Gen Buhari. Then thank him and ask him to go home and rest.
Do you think there will be a free and fair election?
It is impossible for Gen. Buhari to rig himself in, this 2019, because Nigerians have rejected him. Nigerians from the six geopolitical zones have rejected suffering, poverty, insecurity, bloodbath and then fake integrity. Nigerians from all the six geopolitical zones want to see a level playing field and leadership that will give all sections justice and equity. No right thinking Nigerian will want Buhari to have second tenure. It will be impossible for him to rig. It will be impossible. Because it is clear that the people in Agatu, who buried over one thousand people last year cannot want Gen Buhari to continue. It is clear that people in Plateau who buried hundreds of people cannot want Gen Buhari to continue. It is clear that the people in the North East and North West who are undergoing difficult time starting with both insecurity, poverty and all kinds of misery cannot want Gen Buhari to continue. The people from the South West are enlightened people. The Yorubas are learned people, they are educated and very smart. They do not want this misery to continue. Yes I know that a few of them are erroneously supporting Buhari, because they believe that Buhari will give them presidency in 2023 when you and I know that if by some miracle or opportunity Buhari gets second term, he will disappoint them in 2023, you know that and I know that.
What about the South East and the South-South?
The entire South East and South-South are no go area for Buhari because he hates these regions with passion. He says we are 5% people. He proved it in his appointment, proved it in his statement and utterances, proved in his treatment of our children by killing them in cold blood. It is impossible for him to rig. Gen Buhari will not get up to 40% of vote cast on Saturday 16th February, 2019. He is a disaster, he should pack and go. Nigerians love late Umaru Musa Yar’dua, Nigerians miss him, Nigerians respect him, Nigerians adore his memory. He is from the same Katsina State as Gen Buhari. He is Muslim as Gen Buhari, he is Fulani as General Buhari. So it is not about Buhari being a northerner or he is Muslim or Fulani. Even Atiku is also a Fulani and we are pleading with Nigeria to vote Atiku. It is about the man Buhari, he is a disaster and a big mistake. It will be a tragedy if Buhari is given a second tenure. He should pack and go. It will be a tragedy of monumental proportions to engage in anything that will secure second term for Buhari. Thank you.