Why Atiku cannot defeat Buhari at the Supreme Court — Awe

Venerable Funso Awe, an activist and cleric, was the governorship candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) in Lagos State in the 2019 general elections. He spoke to EJIKEME OMENAZU on Abubakar Atiku’s plan to appeal the ruling of the Presidential Election Tribunal before the Supreme Court and President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent dissolution of the Economic Management Team, replacing it with the Economic Advisory Committee, among other issues. Excerpts:

President Muhammadu was declared winner of the 2019 presidential election by the Presidential Election Tribunal. Do you see Alhaji Abubakar Atiku winning at the Supreme Court?

The victory was expected. No president ever lost at the election tribunal in Nigeria. He who pays the piper dictates the tune. Who set up the tribunal? It is the president. If it was the president who lost the election and went to the tribunal, the tribunal might have come out with a different decision. The Nigerian judiciary is tainted with corruption. Until there is a systematic change, which will affect the judiciary, we will not have any change.

Again, Atiku’s camp did not come up with very strong reasons or evidence that could uphold their case. They were beating about the bush. They lacked sufficient evidence to upturn the INEC decision on the election. Both parties, APC and PDP rigged the election. The highest rigger and not just the highest bidder took the election. It is the case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Are you saying that if former Goodluck Jonathan had decided to contest the 2015 election in court, he would have won?

If Jonathan as president had wanted to stay in power, and orchestrated the case, he would have won. At that point, he was still in power. He would have the case if he had wanted to stay on. He was tired and just threw in the towel. I think Jonathan wanted to rest. But, if he had taken the decision to hang on to power, there could have been a form of bloodshed. Jonathan saved the country from violence. There could have been bloodshed here and there, but at a point, he would stay on in power for four years.

Don’t you see the possibility of Atiku defeating Buhari at the Supreme Court?

In Nigeria, under the judiciary as presently constituted? I don’t see Atiku winning at the Supreme Court, unless the Presidency has another agenda.

The Presidency is being speculated as backing the emergence of Babagana Kingibe as successor to President Muhammadu Buhari, where it is said they are backing the emergence of either Kayode Fayemi or Senator Ibikunle Amosun for the post of Vice President. Don’t you think that this will divide the camp of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as well as cause distrust between the North and South?

If there is an agenda by the Presidency, they can create a situation whereby there will not be an election. They may deliberately allow the Atiku’s case to drag on for three years at the Supreme Court and at last, allow him to win and succeed Buhari. Both of them are Hausa/Fulani. They will allow Buhari to enjoy at least seven years in the Presidency and hand over power to Atiku. But, there is no clear position about 2023. With the feelers that Yemi Osinbajo may be out of favour with those in control of the Presidency, it is possible for them to create a situation whereby they will replace Osinbajo with Pastor Tunde Bakare who has declared that he is the next person to Buhari.

However, I believe strongly that there will be an implosion within the APC before 2023. If this happens, Tinubu and his camp will move to somewhere else. They may even return to Alliance for Democracy which is still an existing party, or any other existing political party. There will be a new political situation, alignments and realignments before the 2023 elections.

Buhari contested the primary in 2015 with people from other parts of the country. APC can throw the 2023 presidential primary open and a northerner will win. If this happens, there may be an implosion in the party and a lot of people will move out.

How do you see the recent removal of Mrs. Oyo Ita, the former Head of Service (HoS) and Okoi Obno-Obla and their reported probe by the EFCC? What does this say of the war against corruption?

If this government claims that it is fighting corruption, it is not showing anywhere. Buhari’s body language is not showing that. If it does, everyone will steer clear of corruption. Many people with corruption allegations are still in his cabinet. The recent case of Oyo Ita may be a power play. It is being speculated that Oyo Ita had a clash with Abba Kyari, President Buhari’s Chief of Staff (CoS). It may be a case of giving a dog a bad name to hang it. All these issues are about power play within the Presidency. On Obno-Obla, it is speculated that he may be in a mess because of the allegation of corruption in his office. We need to see how all these will play out.

The EFCC has always been used by the Presidency to witchhunt people they are after. It has always been so since Obasanjo’s time when Nuhu Ribadu was in charge. Obasanjo used it against Atiku. Jonathan used it against others. So, under Buhari, the EFCC is following the usual tradition. When he PDP was in power, the EFCC did not prosecute any of the members of the ruling party. It is always been used against opposition or a party member who has fallen out of favour of those in charge of Aso Rock, the cabal.

What is your view on the dissolution of the Economic Management Team headed by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the appointment of the Economic Advisory Council headed by Prof Doyin Salami?

We need to wait to see the result of this move to be able to appreciate it. We were of the view that Buhari needed technocrats. If he has decided to sideline the Vice President who is a lawyer and bring in new people, we need to see the results. Such people in this new team are well known. I respect Bismark Rewane. At a point, it was speculated that he would replace the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele. Some people see Charles Soludo as a serial failure since he left the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He has not won any election since then after some attempts. He contested for his state’s governorship and the Senate and lost. May be, they want to compensate him this time. A lot of people are not happy with some of his policies as CBN governor. However, if this new committee will do well, we will see how they will impact on the economy. Right now, the economy is in bad shape and it is affecting everybody.
Why Atiku cannot defeat Buhari at the Supreme Court — Awe Why Atiku cannot defeat Buhari at the Supreme Court — Awe Reviewed by JNJ GLOBAL GIST on October 06, 2019 Rating: 5

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