Leader of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo has said that President Muhammadu Buhari should listen to the voice of the people about organising a constitutional conference and disregarding grazing routes. The elder statesman insisted that the state of insecurity and kidnapping among others should be the concern of the president if he does not want to leave a legacy of failure. He speaks with OLADIPUPO AWOJOBI in an interview. Excerpts…
What would you say about the statement by President Muhammadu Buhari that he didn’t want to leave a legacy of failure?
That is a wish, how will you not leave a legacy of failure, when you don’t follow the rule of law and you do not obey court orders. The people said that they want a new constitution, you didn’t talk about it, and you behave as if nobody is talking. What the Southern Governors said you did not listen to them and you are saying that you don’t want to be a failure. We have already seen that we are under a dictator. All these problems of kidnapping and killings all over the country he did not think it wise to talk to us, and reassure us. It is nonsensical to be telling us that he didn’t want to be a failure. He is already a failure.
In which areas specifically can you say he has failed?
Are you asking me that? Why is he not a failure when he doesn’t obey the rule of law? What about the issues of electronic voting, he doesn’t want it. He invaded the house of the separatist, Sunday Igboho, in the midnight without any criminal charge. You said you were looking for something and you destroyed his property because of what. You trampled on his rights that would not happen in a normal democratic setting. He shouldn’t have said that he would not leave a legacy of failure, when his failure is already written on record.
Talking about insecurity, some members of the Boko Haram sect are said to have repented and surrendered, what do you make of this?
Who are they fooling? Kunle Olawunmi, a retired Commodore with the Nigerian Navy, said that they know all the people behind Boko Haram and that they have already arrested about 200 people that are behind them, have they announced them? People say that many Boko Haram members are in Buhari’s cabinet, what is his answer to that. We should talk reality and answer some questions. The interview of Olawunmi is enough for him to come on air and clear some issues. Our own version of Pentagon, the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), was attacked and they killed some officers there and abducted another one. With these, you are asking me for evidence. He has not refuted the things Olawunmi said.
What are some of the things that Afenifere is putting forward for the South West for 2023?
Let him call a round table conference, you are going about begging the question. The Southern Governors said they wanted a dialogue and that the constitution we are using is not right, but he is not listening, he is compelling us to organise an election under a constitution that is not our own. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled. All that he is doing is to Fulanise the country and Olawunmi confirmed it. You are a graduate you can’t get job, you can’t buy a car, what do you say to that?
Some people are even saying that Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, would be a good replacement for President Buhari in 2023.
We are not talking about that one now. When he is opposing electronic voting that would prevent rigging in the election. We need to talk about more important things.
What would you advise the National Assembly and the Governors Forum to do on the issues of insecurity and constitutional conference?
We are talking about having a dialogue with the man, we don’t believe in the National Assembly. It is a product of a fraudulent constitution, I have said it before. The Constitution we had after Independence, the military changed it and this is the crux of the problem of this country. We are operating the Constitution of the military of 1966 and we said we want to change it, and that he should let us sit down and discuss, he won’t say a word.
Grazing routes are being discussed now, and some Governors have passed anti-open grazing laws, what is your view on this?
According to the Constitution, the Governors are in charge of the land in their states and you are talking of grazing routes. All the lawyers in the country have said that, but because you are very powerful under the Constitution, you are confusing everybody. Every lawyer says he cannot do it, so what is he saying?