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2019 polls will make or mar Nigeria — Primate Ayodele

By Victor Enyinnaya on 27/05/2018

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•Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele (JP)
•Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele (JP)

Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele (JP), Prophet and Spiritual Leader of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Oke Alfa-Ejigbo, Isolo, Lagos State, lives more for the down-trodden and spends a greater part of his resources to feed the poor. In an exclusive interview with News Express, he speaks with candour and boldness as he examines Nigeria’s political firmament ahead of 2019 general election.

News Express: On possibility of election in 2019

Primate Ayodele: Without much ado, there will be. But, there will be lots of hiccups here and there. Blood-letting will be on the increase. The struggle between the ruling APC and the opposition will so escalate that the tension all over the landscape of the country would reach a freezing point.

The struggle will be as never before in the history of the nation in recent time, and the INEC must endeavour to be totally impartial if it wants a country called Nigeria to be. Such action by INEC has to be demonstrated in order to save what would worsen the situation in the world’s most populous black nation if democracy would survive in the land beyond 2019. The horizon is cloudy and the political actors must ensure their personal ambitions don’t derail the whole process.

Of a truth, 2019 won’t be easy for Nigerians: the elections, especially the presidential, and governorship in some states. The battle for supremacy will know no bounds. It will be a do or die affair. The tension would continue to heighten every day, as 2019 draws. It will be like that because of the dissatisfaction and grief that currently engulfed the country as a result of hardship occasioned by low performance of the (President Muhammadu) Buhari/APC government, which sharply worsened the once-flourishing living standard of Nigerians, and reduced their life-span also.

The elections in 2019 will lead to lots of killing, and many lives will be lost in the process. Nigeria, as we all know, is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. There are lots of tensions in many parts of the country, and by the time the election draws nearer, it will spread around. Those fanning the embers of the present discord are not relenting on their oars to ensure the whole country will be on fire during the 2019 polls. No doubt, it will be too dicey.

How do we avert the threats to peace or anticipated calamities?

As we all know, the recently charged atmosphere is as a result of the President’s second term bid, in the face of non-performance. It helped to fuel the already inflammable tension on ground, plus the intensified more killing and hunting down of imaginary opponents of his second term. The frontal opposition from the elder statesmen that aided him assume power in 2015 is a clear testimony that something very fundamental is wrong in the country. President Buhari’s declaration portends great danger for the survival of democracy in the country and, unless he makes U-turn, the forces he would contend with are enormous. His second tenure bid, to say the very least, will be too turbulent for the country. As it is now, he has dared the power-brokers and they are strategising. He and his APC foot-soldiers are doing same: all geared towards who will gain the upper hand at the end of the day.

To avert this, President Buhari has to back down from contesting in 2019. He has to revert to his voluntary 2011 vow that he will do only one tenure because age has been slowing him down drastically. He should not allow the looming fight-to-finish stance to happen in 2019 which may likely spill the blood of innocent and unsuspecting Nigerians. The daily killings so far are enough. It won’t be as easy for Nigeria as a nation and Nigerians. The President must prove his statesmanship as former President Goodluck Jonathan demonstrated in 2015. Once President Buhari denounces his 2019 ambition, these tension mounting all over the country would gradually soften; unless he wants to set Nigeria blaze and prove right what his age-long detractors have been attributing to him: a man that likes violent means. 2019 will make or mar Nigeria.

The drums of war presently being beaten would at the end of the day turn out to be an ill-wind that will blow nobody any good. The former heads of state and presidents, statesmen and other eminent citizens have said no to Buhari’s presidency come 2019. But those benefiting immensely from his misrule are hell-bent, urging him that the coast is clear. That is a lie! There is no road at all, and it won’t come to pass. The sitting government will use all within its power to drive its ambition to steady itself in power, but the opposition is formidable on all fronts. It won’t be taken with kids’ gloves. Opposition will continue to mount as we progress into the election year.

But the ruling party seems to have enough confidence to go into the election and defeat all opponents….

I don’t know what you mean. The party is presently not at peace with itself. There are many groups within its rank and file seeking to be noticed and heard. It won’t be as easy as it was during the 2015 era. Many factors will work against them this time. Nigerians have seen and known better than 2015. Go to the streets now and ask: many citizens will readily tell you that this change is too choking and so they are not ready to go with it this time around. The ruling party came to power with propaganda and deceit, which have boxed the citizenry into a tighter corner.

Among potential voters, they know that it won’t be business as usual. APC know also that the forces against its quest to return to Aso Rock Villa are tense.

There will be massive high profile defections to other parties, as the build-up to 2019 elections closes in. It will further weaken the APC and polarise it. As it is today, nobody can tell who and who is authentic member of the party. They are suspecting each other. High profile influential members have long perfected plans with their friends in other parties to move out of the ruling party en masse. Many have realised that they were used in 2015 and dumped. Some of the government’s policies have proved counter-productive. It is also identified as one of the critical areas of its lowest ebb performance that subjected Nigerians to untold hardship. 

The forthcoming APC national convention is another time bomb. It will be stormy, no matter how they will try to manage it. Many are already complaining bitterly. The two camps fighting to control the party’s apparatus are not giving themselves any inch of respite. APC will be left with body without soul.

But, Sir, the party’s structure in states are solid, only national officers are fighting themselves because of what close sources described as betrayal by the national leadership. What’s your take?

No, as it is in national so also is it in the respective states: is it Kaduna, Kano, Imo, Kogi, etc, the stories are the same. In short, APC will lose Imo State. The kind of goodwill that brought in the sitting governor, Rochas Okorocha, is no longer the same. He has, due to overzealousness, squandered them coupled with the state of the nation which the APC-led Federal Government plugged the people into. The people of South-east, for instance, are complaining that it was put out in sensitive areas in the country’s security apparatus. Such calculation and deliberate omission by President Buhari, instead of counting for his party in the area, would prove a bigger minus at the end of the day. Even the defections of supposedly big-wigs from the South-east to the ruling party seems not to have made any meaningful difference. APC won’t capture any of the states, rather it will lose Imo State.

(Cuts in)….That brings us to the Ekiti and Osun states’ elections?

First, if APC gets their acts right, it will win the July 14, Ekiti State governorship election. The people are no longer satisfied with the Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose’s government. The people of Ekiti are ready to change the present government in the state, if a credible candidate is presented by APC. PDP will retain the state only if the major opposition played into their hands. Aside the windy candidates jostling for the governorship ticket in APC, if it is transparently handled, it would bring about good tidings for them. However, Fayose, as an incumbent cannot be wished away. The election in Ekiti would be keenly contested for, but APC looks like it.

In Osun State, come September, APC will retain the state. The government has started righting the wrongs it meted out on the people and, so, with the right atmosphere still prevailing, the coast looks clear for the sitting government to retain power there.

On the current happenings in the country where killings and other unrests have now become a way of life . . .

It is not surprising to me in particular and other Nigerians who have long-lasting memories. I did say so long, long ago and it will continue to renew. It cannot abate because they no longer listen to the calls to stop by people that sent them. The assaults on the National Assembly will not halt because people that oppose the repression from the Presidency will be targets and harassed. They must prepare for war. Presidency is not relenting in their muscling tactics of all opposition.

The Presidency would employ other manoeuvres to intimidate these people to submission; but whether the Presidency will succeed is a different ball game altogether. The country, truly, is in the deep blue sea. It is only prayer and forgiveness from God that will solve this logjam. It is President Buhari/APC versus the people.

The crux of the matter is that this kind of situation has not happened before: whereby elder statesmen are on the other side while the sitting President is on the other. It would be explosive and daring. It will be a typical case of when two elephants fight. Nigeria is on fire. The worst about it is that government is not ready to listen to what the people are saying.

Truth is that sighting of blood is no longer strange to our people, because they have seen a lot of it flowing since the coming of APC government. National Assembly would be under constant assault that big-wigs in both chambers that the ruling party perceives their loyalty seem to be in doubt would be under heavy siege and monitoring; all in the bid to see if they will drop their avowed stand for things to be done according to international best practices.

What are the chances of the ruling party?

As incumbent APC and its candidate would employ all tactics to ensure they will retain power. But the forces this time is more overwhelming than what we witnessed in 2015. For instance, in Northern Nigeria where he raked in huge votes in 2015, many over there are highly dissatisfied with Buhari’s performance. Go to the streets of Northern Nigeria and feel the pulse. It is terrible! Again, with the resolve by the opposition to also field their presidential candidates from Northern Nigeria would make it dicer. A younger person for president that is gaining more tempo would help in no small measure to put Buhari/APC in tighter corner, as Nigerians are not ready to go through this present hardship and other vices, as they are currently experiencing.

Many believe it would be worst if by hook or crook APC regains power. It will be tougher and rougher. More deaths through hunger and killing from these people that have turned North-central states of Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, etc, like theatre of war. Nigerian statesmen and other leaders of thought must pray and beg God to avert what will befall the country if election 2019, especially the presidency, is not properly done and popular and people’s candidate wins the race. To avert unrest, where these blood-letting agents would hijack the situation to massacre innocent and helpless Nigerians.

A government that has subjected and inflicted more suffering, deaths through hunger, killings and other manners of hardship ought not to be talking of seeking re-election in 2019. President Buhari is a failure. Governance has clearly overwhelmed him. He has no answer to fixing the country but passes the buck. The 21st-century governance roundly over-ran his old-fashioned method of solving problems. Nigerians won’t give in to any blackmail from his agents. INEC must also be up and doing, to avert the impending disaster. The electoral umpire has the knife and yam to clear the mess APC and its lying agents want to slide the country into come 2019. There is a limit where lies and propaganda can carry the practitioners, to but not too far.

What is your advice to the government?

This kind of government never listens to any advice, because they see such as ill one. I say it as I’m directed by the Most High God and would never add or subtract. They don’t like such message and the messenger. I’m working for God who called me to His vineyard and not man. Everyone knows or has seen the reaction of the people and their illusion about the government boldly written on their faces. These APC people are still those urging the President to re-run, that all is well in the country. You can see a disconnect of the highest order! There are a lot of misgivings and propaganda from the sitting government, but how far they go remains to be seen. Let’s watch as events unfold. But the extent of uneasy calm in the country could be frightening. The wickedness being unleashed on the citizenry presently leaves much to be desired.

Source News Express

Posted 27/05/2018 7:37:33 PM


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