In the wake of the rerun of the Osun State governorship election, scheduled for Thursday, the 27th of September, 2018, the Afenifere chief spokesman, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, has described the non-declaration of a winner in last Saturday’s polls, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as a violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Afenifere chieftain says he expects the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to challenge this travesty of justice in court. To buttress his submission, Odumakin cited the well-known case of Oshiomhole versus Osunbor and others, in which voided votes remained cancelled, leading to PDP’s loss to Oshiomhole.
Said Odumakin, “Cancelled votes, remain cancelled. Talking about them is like exhuming a buried corpse and trying to revive it. Why would INEC be talking about cancelled votes, after a peaceful election was conducted and a winner actually emerged, thereby contradicting itself?”
It would be recalled that in last Saturday’s election, PDP led the poll with just 353 votes, polling altogether, 254,698 votes, against the APC’s 254,345 votes. The announcing of the results from the various Returning Officers went on smoothly, until the very final declaration of the winner, which was preceded by a long delay, after which INEC announced a rerun.
Speaking earlier, to The People’s Eye, on related issues to elections and promises and agreements usually entered into by Nigerian politicians before being elected into office, Odumakin had recalled the relationship between his Afenifere and the All Progressives Congress, (APC) including President Mohammadu Buhari, himself.
ON RESTRUCTURING NIGERIA
In 2007, when Afenifere supported Buhari for the presidency, he did make commitments to restructure Nigeria on becoming president. It was on that basis that Afenifere supported him. In 2011, when there were discussions between us and him, we told him that our condition for being in this alliance was to restructure Nigeria and he said he agreed. It was on the basis of that, that the Buhari/Bakare manifesto – in which Restructuring was the very first item – was arrived at.”
In fairness to Mr. President, the day that Manifesto was launched, he did not raise the issue of the Manifesto. He didn’t even speak at the event, he asked Bakare to speak. In retrospect, that tells me something, now. By not speaking at the event and not lifting the Manifesto even once, during the campaign, I can now understand all that was happening.
So, when APC put forward its Manifesto in 2015, I knew it was going to be just like we did in 2011. Now that he has become president, it is very clear that he is going against Restructuring. Even in his New Year broadcast he said that what was needed was “Process” and not Restructuring. I believe now that he clearly played politics with us by simply playing along, like he wanted Restructuring. But now that he has gotten what he wants, he has shown clearly what he wanted, from the beginning.
He cannot deny those things he said now because at that meeting which we held with him, there were several people there, with us, when we held that meeting. There was, of course, himself. There were also Galadima and Sule Hamman, on his side. On our side, there were myself, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Yinka Quadri and a few other people. It was not a one-on-one discussion and he couldn’t have gone on to put that in a campaign Manifesto with Pastor Tunde Bakare, if he did not actually say so.
WHY AFENIFERE DID NOT SUPPORT BUHARI IN 2015
We did not support him because in that election, the issues were clear for us. He was non-committal regarding our main issue, which was Restructuring beyond the party criticisms and Manifesto. Now, here was Jonathan on the other side who, not only held a National Conference, but also promised that he was going to implement the report, if elected. That was the only basis upon which we chose Jonathan. We didn’t support Jonathan because he was the best candidate in the history of Nigeria, or because he had performed wonders as a president. But on that score, alone, that if we restructure this country, we could begin the genuine efforts towards solving our problems, because we know that without Restructuring, we cannot solve our problems.
What is happening is like software and hardware. If anybody promises you that they are going to do this and do that, when elected – those are software. The hardware is nationhood. Until you solve the problem of nationhood, create a proper country, create a proper economic base; stop being an economy that runs on rent, sharing oil rents, etc, you would go nowhere.
In 1983, when Buhari overthrew the Shagari regime our budget was $25 billion and our population then was 80 million people. Today, we are 180 million people. The latest budget proposal by Buhari, which is N8.6 trillion is just $23 billion, far, far less than what we were doing in 1983, because the Buhari economy is shrinking. And there are other resources deposited all over Nigeria that the states should be using to expand our productive base but the Constitution says that these things should be on the exclusive list and only the Federal Government can touch them. Until we cede those resources to the states and allow every state to go down and bring out what it has, to develop this country, we go nowhere.
ON BUHARI’S VOLTE-FACE AND JONATHAN’S GUARANTEE
Yes, true, you can’t be too sure with a politician but where it was different with Jonathan was that, indeed, we held a National Conference, we had a report of the Conference and he said he was going to implement it. If after election and he had gone back on his words, he would have seen how we would have made this country ungovernable for him. There would have been widespread protests after all we were the ones that marched for Jonathan to become president. When he increased fuel prices, we were equally the ones that organised the ‘Occupy Nigeria’ marches. So, the capacity was there to deal with him, if he had refused to honour his agreement.
Someone put this question to me about why the Yoruba that generally, worshipped Awo, like a god, did not raise a finger when Awo lost the 1979/83 elections. But there was Abiola whom the Yoruba did not like, drawing out the Yoruba in battle with the government for six long years, fighting to restore his mandate. ‘I can’t understand the Yoruba,’ he said. But you see, what that question ignored was that in Awolowo’s case, the way they managed the process, there were doubts about whether he won the election, or not. So, there was a limit to which the Yoruba could fight. And you know the Yoruba are very logical, reasonable people. They were like saying let’s not engage in a fight that is not right. But in Abiola’s case, he had won the election, the results were declared and you then said he could not be president? That was why the Yoruba fought that battle for six long years.
So, for Jonathan to organise a National Conference of which we had the report in our hands — not a promise – which he said he was going to implement, then suddenly, srenege on his promise? He would have seen hell.