A constitutional lawyer and critic of the current federal government, Mike Ozekhome, says though he welcome’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration to seek a second term, he believes the president will be sent packing at the 2019 polls.
Mr Ozekhome noted that it was the president’s constitutional right to seek re-election, just as it is ”the duty of Nigerians to decide his fate at the polls.”
In a statement titled, ‘President Buhari’s Declaration for a Second Term: Matters Arising’, on Tuesday, the lawyer reviewed his performances in economy, security and the fight against corruption, and concluded that the President had failed to fulfil his campaign promises.
He blamed Mr Buhari for the recession the country witnessed, after inheriting a rebased economy reportedly worth $500 billion as stated by World Bank and IMF.
“Nigerians are hungrier today than they were three years ago. They have been rendered destitute and impecunious,” he said.
“Many have resorted to going to Lybia and attempting to cross the seas to European countries, to escape from hunger and squalour, thereby dying in the process. More Nigerians have taken to prostitution across European nations more than ever before.
“Many of them are gang-raped, sodomised, enslaved and bestialised. The youth have taken up arms, committing more heinous crimes, such as robberies and kidnap, more than ever in the history of this country.”
Mr Ozekhome also queried Mr. Buhari’s claims of addressing insecurity, saying there had been more deaths and fear, occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram and herdsmen.
On fight against corruption, the lawyer dismissed the president’s role, saying three years down the line, he had not secured a single conviction of any high profile, politically exposed person.
“Rather, Nigerians have been treated to ludicrous media trial. In desperation, the government has now released names of opposition members whom they have charged to court, but cannot prove their cases against as “looters”, without any court conviction or judicial pronouncement to that effect,” he said.
“This is in sync with the government’s now infamous disrespect and disregard for due process, rule of law, independence of the judiciary and disobedience to court orders. Impunity reigns supreme.
“In appointments, cronyism, nepotism, tribalism, clannishness and favouritism triumph over merit and competence.”
He argued that the government fights corruption amongst opposition and critics with “pesticides, herbicides and insecticides,” it caresses and deodorises its own corrupt officials, ministers, serving military generals and kitchen cabinet members with sweet smelling “sasarabia cologne.”
“I therefore welcome Buhari’s declaration. Let me remind him that he had sent packing a sitting president, GEJ, in 2015. In Sierra Leone, a sitting president Samura Kamarathe, the All People’s Congress (APC), (note the similarity of names), has been sent packing by the opposition contestant, Julius Bio. So, the rumours that the APC/PMB’s government is banking on massive rigging of the 2019 election to win is merely illusory. It cannot work,” Mr Ozekhome added.
“Nigerians are more enlightened today than ever before. They will use their PVCs to vote wisely, notwithstanding any acts of intimidation or coercion. 2019 is just 10 months away.
“I will keep my fingers crossed to see how it all plays out. The months ahead will be very interesting and quite testing.”
The controversial lawyer was recently in the news when protesters in Lagos at the 14th Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture mobbed him, preventing him from mounting the podium to speak.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the protesters comprising youth, shouted down Mr. Ozekhome and physically restrained him from entering the venue.
They accused the Lagos lawyer of defending corrupt individuals in court and shielding them from justice.
It took the intervention of Adeshina Ogunlana, the Chairman of Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Femi Falana and Mohammed Fawehinmi to douse tension. (NAN)