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I Was Shocked at Presidential Tribunal Ruling on Buhari- Onovo

How would you describe the mood of the country since the judgment delivered by the presidential election tribunal?

It is the same mood we had when INEC announced the falsified results. The country is in a mourning mood. It is not just ordinary mourning; the damage is significant, but we have the hope that it would be repaired.

As expected, divergent views have continued to trail the judgment…

No, I don’t see any divergent views, I see a few partisan; but it is overwhelming that the judgment is rejected. Of course, there are few partisans who are saying that it is okay. The overwhelming majority are shocked at what happened.

As a politician, what in your opinion are the likely impactions of the judgment for the country, not just for the APC and PDP, but the entire country and the people of Nigeria?

No, we cannot be partisan at this point. It is the implication for the country. The implications are dire. Because we were accusing the government and some politicians of being lawless, but that context of being lawless was disobeying the law.

That is a different thing; perverting the law itself. This law is written in English and some of us have certificates that show that we understand English. Some of us also have ‘A’ in that subject, which means we understand English. So, the constitution is written in English; we can read it. The judgment is written in English; we can read it. If you say you don’t need a certificate to prove that you are educated, would you use ‘juju’ to prove it? You have to use something to prove it; there has to be some form of evidence, otherwise, my last child can also claim she is more educated than I am. My last daughter who is in primary school can claim that since she doesn’t need to show any evidence. I have a Master’s degree in Engineering from a foreign university; so, I can show you that I am more educated than my daughter; at least, I can show the evidence. But if you say, you don’t need to show a certificate to prove that you are educated, what would you show; is it juju? In the case in question, Buhari has a false certificate which is a criminal offence; quote me. Femi Aribisala, PhD Oxford, has been writing; accusing Buhari of perjury; which is a criminal offence. So, are we now saying that the President did not perjure himself or that perjury is no more a criminal offence? We have to say something that makes sense. When we talk, they say but you are not a lawyer; and that is true; I am not a lawyer, but I am saying that these things are written in English and it has to make sense to us. Because the law cannot be so perverted that it promotes injustice. Now, we also know that INEC did not present any evidence or witness to solidify its pleadings and we know from lawyers who are our friends that, that goes for nothing in law.

The simple principle of law that everybody knows is that ‘if you aver, you prove’; it is the principle of common law. So, you cannot aver without proving, and you prove with documents and witnesses. INEC has zero. So, while would you uphold such an election? But my quarrel is not that they have upheld the election, our quarrel is that you cannot pervert the law itself; because if you pervert the law itself, you have perverted society; because the foundation of society is built on law. So, we have a great fear, but we have the confident that the Supreme Court will not take this. And let me tell you; if the Supreme Court takes it, we will sing the dirge for Nigeria. That would mean officially instituting anarchy in society. This is clear to us. Buhari himself knows he did not win the election. There are over 10 core incontrovertible evidences that Buhari did not win the election. And it would have been better if they used a technicality to allow him to stay; instead of trying to change the clear path. If you say Buhari has a certificate, show it; if you say, you don’t have to present your certificate to INEC, but the nomination form says you should present. I have filled that form twice.

Let me tell you; do you know that in 2015, INEC refused to acknowledge my nomination because according to them, my evidence of my age was international passport. INEC insisted that I should go and get an affidavit even when I showed my international passport as evidence of my age. So, unless they are telling us that there is discrimination between Northern Moslems and Southern Christians; and that since I am a Southern Christian, I must conform to all the rules; when a northern Moslem comes, there’s no rule. This happened between me and INEC. It shows that the discrimination is official. I was discriminated against. INEC refused to acknowledge my nomination in 2015; until I went and brought a sworn affidavit, even though I showed them evidence of my age with my international passport. Now, Buhari did not attach his certificate, but the law says you should attach your certificate; so, he was not in compliance. Some of us need additional education by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on what they really mean; so the certificate you possess makes no sense. This is the highest level of perversion I have seen in my life, not because it is more perverse than Boko Haram, but because it is coming from people you don’t expect this kind of thing.

What implications does this have for future elections in the country?

The implication is that might is right. You know where might is right applies? It applies in the jungle which is part of the anarchy we are talking about. What it implies is democracy is dead; because for people like me, until the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal convinces us, they have perverted rule of law; they have prevented truth; they have perverted justice, and they have perverted democracy. We don’t understand – that is why we support the PDP saying they must go to the Supreme Court .We know that internationally there have been corrupt judges.

The FBI has a record that many innocent people, over 100, were convicted unjustly by courts in the US; we know that judges are not angels, but it is their role to judge. But don’t forget that justice must be done and must be seen to be done; but in this case we are saying that it does not look like justice was done and we don’t see that justice was done. So, the idea of going to the Supreme Court is perfect. Maybe, the Supreme Court will have better explanation; but no society should tolerate this level of contradictions. To me, we don’t need an election tribunal to prove certain things. If you say I don’t have a certificate, I will provide it. I would write to the Institution I attended (University of Ibadan); I would go to the Exams and Records; I will collect a certified photocopy even if they don’t give me another one. We have followed this thing since 2014. Some people went to Cambridge Assessment; but Cambridge said only Buhari can apply.

So, why did he not apply? It is a clear case. We know that the affidavit Buhari swore to was very false. His witness confirmed that it is false. His witness, Major-General Tarfa (rtd) said the Army did not collect their certificates, but Buhari swore to an affidavit that the Army collected his certificate. Don’t forget that the military secretariat had previously said that they did not have Buhari’s certificate; now his own witness said the Army did not collect it. So, who do you want to believe? So, it’s an admission. Now, Lai Mohamed said he lost it. He is contradicting Buhari.

Buhari witness says the Army did not collect it. The Army says we don’t have it. Unless you want me to be God based on the incoherencies, it shows that Buhari has no certificate and it is also clear that he perjured himself. And perjury is a criminal offence. If it is has ceased to be a criminal offence, the Supreme Court needs to let us know so that I can also perjure myself. I can also move to the Court of Appeal and swore to an affidavit that I am the authentic president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I won the election and INEC announced Buhari winner. You cannot just simply create this level of anarchy in society. Order is the first rule in heaven; and you cannot do coup there. God is all-in-all. That is the order in heaven. We cannot have an order in Nigeria with this kind of perversion. So, we support the PDP that claim they want to go to the Supreme Court. We think that is the most patriotic thing to do. This thing needs to be clarified; it must be clarified; it must not be allowed to go like this.

This is the seed of the burial of Nigeria. We mustn’t allow it to germinate. If the Supreme Court upholds it, then we have our rights and conscience to do what we want to do. We can become citizens of other countries; we can ask for self-determination; there are options. Nobody can become god and rule out our options. So, you don’t need certificate to prove you are educated. My last daughter is more educated than my father, so she doesn’t need any certificate to prove it. What logic is that? Why do we then issue certificates? So, there’s no need to issue certificates. I have never heard this kind of logic; please. If they are technically right, they need to convince those of us who are not lawyers that they are right. We have read other judgments before now. This one stands ordinary logic on its head.

In the last few days, Nigeria has been in a mourning mood over the xenophobic attack in South Africa, in which many Nigerians lost their lives. Last Wednesday, many of them who lived in the country were ferried back to Nigeria. What do you make out of the development?

The first thing is that there is an author who wrote that everything rises and falls on leadership. So, we are not surprised. Since this government came to power, insecurity has been worse; corruption has definitely been worse, not by my opinion but by the opinions of both local and international institutions- UN Department of State, Washington Post; Washington Times, Transparency International; so, it is known, corruption is worse; the economy has completely been ruined, and Obasanjo warned that if we did not stop the ruling party, the destruction would get to a point that it would become extremely difficult to recover. And I think we are already there now; because the country is already in a debts trap. It is very clear; debts trap.

You are owing N24 trillion; if you use official exchange rate; that is $80 billion (dollars). You are paying over N2 trillion something in debt servicing; about N2.3 trillion every year to service debt and total National Estimated Federal Revenue is only N5 trillion. So, you are using close to 40 percent of total national revenue to service debt and why the economy has not totally collapsed is that they are borrowing to service those debts. So, you collect N5 trillion in revenue; but you have N9 trillion budget. So, you have borrowed about N3 trillion; and out of the N3 trillion you borrowed you are using N2.3 trillion to service your debt.

We are borrowing to service debt. We have to understand this. They always speak in hyperbole; empirical data does not speak in hyperbole. The data I am quoting is from the website of the Debt Management Office (DMO); go there you will see it. So, there’s no hyperbole here. It’s enough that people do not have the educational sophistication to understand the official number from your budget. They think it is an act of God; ‘Oh, that’s why we entered poverty because God did not help us’; but God helped us, but we rejected the help of God and chose the evil way and then the consequence of the evil way is with us. Nobody created the world; it is God that created the world and nobody can outsmart God. In fact, how many people are even able to outsmart mosquito, not to talk of outsmarting God?

Last week the Federal Government promised to wipe out poverty from the country in the next four years. The cabinet has been constituted and inaugurated; do you see anything pointing to the realisation of this lofty dream?

Please, don’t go further; that’s empty rhetoric. What did they say in 2014? They said there was no subsidy; now they are paying the highest amount of subsidy; they claimed they would create 3 million jobs every year, now they have lost 4 million jobs every year. So, why are you listening to what they say? Shouldn’t you question your own mental health? If they lied to you the first time, lied to you the second time; lied to you seven times, why do you keep believing them?

Some Nigerian politicians are being declared persona non grata in some countries by the IPOB. You are a politician; are you afraid of travelling abroad?

I am not afraid. Number one, I do not agree with IPOB. Number two, I condemn their attack on anybody. I believe in ‘No to violence’ no matter how bad the situation; because violence only makes problems worse. Violence does not solve any problem. Let us use the case of Ike Ekweremadu – I believe they could have confronted him intellectually and morally. They could have said, ‘what are you saying; you have been Senate President, yet so and so, happened; it shows you are incompetent. They could have converted him morally and intellectually, but going to tear his cloth and beating him is even a crime. You know that IPOB is not apologetic about their unscrupulous behaviours. It shows they are rogues. It is bigotry to say everybody must agree with you and those who do not agree with you, you must attack them physically. And a lot of those people they are attacking, like me, are the very people who are defending the rights of IPOB; we are the people saying nobody should visit violence on IPOB, that IPOB has a right to protest peacefully. So, I suspect that IPOB is working for APC. It is a suspicion. I am not stating it categorically.

Don’t forget, Ekweremadu they attack is in the opposition; so, why do they want to hold him responsible for what the government has done? Don’t forget that close to the elections, IPOB said South East people should not vote, so that APC will win? You might be saying controversy, controversy; me, I am an engineer. I use scientific principle to arrive at a conclusion. Anytime you challenge me, I can give you the trend and the facts.

When IPOB said South East should not vote knowing that South East is strongly anti-APC; does that not indicate they wanted APC to win there? Look at the implications. So, I am surprised that IPOB worked for APC. They have never attacked any APC person you have to look at it very well. They can be pretending that they are against the APC but in reality they are for APC; like the ruling party is pretending they are working for Nigeria but in reality they are looting. There’s a lot of deceit. And the new fad in the whole world is deceit. I am just being suspicious because they are doing a lot of things that favour APC, and I can name the things they are doing.

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