Emmanuel Umohinyang, a social commentator and analyst is the convener of Re – elect Buhari Movement (RBM). In this interview, he speaks on national issues and why he is passionate about getting President Muhammadu Buhari reelected for another term. TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI brings the excerpts:
What is the mission of RBM and why are you very much passionate about the forthcoming presidential election?
After our great leader, Chief Gani Fawehinmi contested the presidential election in 2003 and decided not to contest the 2007 election; he called us and told us to give our support to the current President of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari. It was widely reported then. He raised Buhari’s hand as the man he endorsed for the 2007 presidential election.
Outside that endorsement from our great mentor, we have equally taken our time to look at Nigeria from 1999 till 2015 and we couldn’t fault that position taken by that erudite lawyer. So, we have watched events in the country; the coming of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. His government was in place for eight years and Atiku Abubakar was his deputy. We also watched the brief period of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua . We also saw the five years of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
I think the last administration gave us the zeal that we mustn’t continue to sit on the fence. Let us join hands to ensure that our country does not go the way the elites want it. On that note, in the month of June, we called ourselves and decided that we must see what we can do to contribute to help the country move forward from this path of destruction that we find ourselves. So we threw our weight behind President Buhari, the candidate of the APC. To the glory of God and, support of Nigerians and coupled with the technology that was introduced in 2015, he won the election. If you look at what President Buhari has done between 2015 and now, you cannot compare it with the 16 wasted years of the PDP. So, RBM became a child of destiny. Seeing the good works being done by the Buhari administration, we also felt a need to project these good works. RBM may be a political pressure group but we belong to different political parties. Some of our members of other political parties, like myself.
I am not a member of APC. Our focus is to support President Buhari to get reelected, not for any particular gain but to ensure that the pattern the government had taken to rebuild and sustain our country is sustained. He has laid a solid foundation. We want him to consolidate on that foundation for the next four years. I think that is why RBM was formed. It is strictly formed for President Buhari’s reelection hence the name Reelect Buhari Movement. I also want to assure you that by the grace of God by the time President Buhari is reelected on the 16th of February 2019, we will shut down the platform called RBM.
Why do you want to shut it down?
Like I said, the group was formed strictly to drum up support for President Buhari’s reelection. It was not formed to galvanise support for candidates of any political party. The focus is President Buhari and we have consistently maintained that focus. I can assure you that the focus will not be broken.
You are from the South- South region. Why didn’t you support a man from your region, Goodluck Jonathan especially during the 2015 presidential election?
Fortunately, I come from the South- South part of the country even though I don’t play ethnic politics. Let me give you an illustration. In 2010, when former President Goodluck Jonathan wanted to go and campaign in Anambra, he stood at Onitsha Bridge and said if he does not finish the Second Niger Bridge in 2015, he will go on exile. As much as we love Jonathan as our brother, it is not enough to support him if he is not doing the right thing.
That is one of the problems plaguing this country. If a leader from our region is doing something wrong, we keep supporting him because he is our brother instead of calling him to order. Also, cast your mind back to when he launched the Electricity Roadmap here in Lagos. Also, when you look at his brief history on the 18th of September 2010 when he was declaring for presidency and he brought in the famous ‘I had no shoes’ doctrine. One could say for a man, who had gone through this situation in life, the masses will be his focus.
To his credit, he may have meant well, but the government was hijacked from him. Under Jonathan, we saw the worst kind of government that one can ever imagine. It was under that administration that corruption developed legs and was walking round the system. It was also under his administration that many of our soldiers were killed because there was no money to procure weapons. The story of Jonathan will not be told now. A time is coming when future generations will open the register and all the atrocities committed by that government will be brought to the front burner for all to see.
So, it would have been convenient for me to say ‘Oh, I come from that zone, let me see what I can do to protect my brother’. But in reality, who is my brother? It is the man who puts food on my table. It is the man whose policy has helped to drive development in our country. It is the man who will make our education work so that I don’t take my children to private schools paying exorbitant fees. That is my brother. So, we must begin to focus on who can perform and someone who has the capacity to develop the country. We have gone around the country and from what we have seen, we can attest to the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari has done extremely well in three and half years. It is only normal that we say let us give him a second chance to continue this good works. We have seen other candidates who have shown up; I think about 73 of them. We are not saying they cannot perform but we are saying that President Buhari has done well and should be return to office to consolidate on what he has started and do more for Nigeria.
The PDP said under its government insurgents were attacking soft targets but under the Buhari administration, they are attacking military formations. How do you react to that?
It is ridiculous that the PDP is still talking about a government not performing. We are all in this country when Force Headquarters was bombed, United Nations house in Abuja was also bombed. What about the Nyanya bomb blast? For several years, Eagles Square was avoided by former President Jonathan. He was even afraid to hold any party inside the villa. It was that bad. All ceremonies were held inside the house with battalions of soldiers protecting him. So, when PDP begin to tell you efforts they made to curtail insurgency, it is a lie from the pit of hell. Under PDP, insurgents took over several local governments in the North East, their flags were everywhere. They were not just collecting taxes, if you fail to pay, you are dealt with ruthlessly.
Our constitution was desecrated and it was obvious to the whole world that our sovereignty was under threat. They failed woefully. The Buhari administration may not have gotten it hundred percent but I am certain it has gotten 85 percent pass mark in terms of security. I challenge the PDP to bring out their score cards for Nigerians to compare. I can assure you that come 16th of February, Nigerians will rise and ensure that these people called PDP don’t find their ways back to power either through the front door, back door or even through the window.