The Convener of Concerned Nigerians, and human rights activist, Deji Adeyanju, has said that the northern elites of the All Progressives Congress (APC) used people like the national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu; transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi, and Senator Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state to disrupt votes in the south in 2019 in favour of the north.
Adeyanju said the action was deliberately plotted to weaken the numerical strength of the south ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Mr Adeyanju spoke on Monday during a virtual meeting with the Conference of Online Publishers in Akwa Ibom State (COOPA) as part of discussions to mark this year’s edition of COOPA Democracy Day Social Media Convo.
He said: “During the last Presidential election in 2019, some politically naive southerners allowed themselves to be used to disrupt votes in the south. People like Tinubu, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Godswill Akpabio and a few other APC people.
‘There was no disruption of votes in the north. That brought the assumption that the south could not produce votes. Politics is a game of number. Once you cannot produce votes, you cannot come to the negotiating table to say it is your turn to rule.
“So, the north is going to produce a candidate and they are going to have another 8 years. And even after that, they may produce another candidate because the decisions of Amaechi, Akpabio, Tinubu and their likes have put the south in jeopardy”.
Adeyanju said former President Goodluck Jonathan was the first person to breach the presidential zoning arrangement in 2011.
“Jonathan had a joint ticket with Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Yar’Adua unexpectedly died and providence popped up Jonathan who became president.
“After he became president, it was expected that the time was the turn of the North and therefore he should have recused himself and allow the north to complete their term. But Jonathan refused.
“He contested that election in 2011 and won against the bickerings in the north. You could see that the fabrics of the country was shaken.
“Anybody who was politically savvy and calculative enough knew that there was no way the north would not have conspired against Jonathan in 2015. The conspiracy was understandable”
He said the Executive Order 10 recently signed by President Muhammadu Bihari, granting autonomy of the legislature and judiciary, was a “military decree” because “it overrides the constitutional provisions of separation of powers”
“Amendment to the constitution cannot be done through executive orders. The President is acting rascally. His actions and inactions on the issue of Executive Order 20 violates the doctrine of separation of powers that is aptly captured in our constitution.
“Buhari said he’s celebrating MKO Abiola who won a free & fair election, hero of June 12. The same Buhari refused to sign Electoral Act, &may not likely sign it. How hypocritical can somebody be?
On the issue de-registering of political parties, Adeyanju said: “I am appealing to INEC to deregister more political parties. They’re all businessmen going up and down with briefcases for negotiation at night with politicians” –
“INEC should leave about 5 strong political parties. PDP and APC because they’re big political parties, then one party for youths, one party for women, and one party for workers. That’s enough”.
He said he had always supported an Igbo presidency, even as he alleged that Igbos have elements within them who betray the cause of the Igbo presidency.
“People vote in Nigeria based on tribe, religion & other ethnocentric reasons. The South-East has to work 3 times harder than any other zone for them to produce president”
The critic of the Buhari government said the country is currently practicing a civilian rule, and not democracy.
He said: “Under this administration, democracy is far gone. Nigerians forgot history that is the reason they fell for 2015 scam”.
“There is no one that comes into politics as God that is why no one should play God. The people have to be courageous and demystify those who play God”.
“My greatest wish in Nigeria is to have an alternative to PDP and APC. We must not allow the PDP to die because if PDP dies, our democracy is going to be in serious danger.
“It is really sad what our democracy has become under this government, especially as regards free speech. It is just unthinkable that free speech can become a crime.
“There must not only be freedom before speech, there must be freedom after speech”
“Nigerians must always be ready to speak up for what is right. They must not say because this man is my brother, and then refuse to speak up. That’s what is killing them in the north now.
“Insecurity is killing the north, and they’re refusing to speak. When Jonathan was there, they were speaking up against him.
“If you see someone you love doing what is wrong, speak against them because that’s the only way you can preserve society.
“Nigerians must have this culture of speaking out and speaking up for what is right.
“Nigerians must have this culture of speaking truth to power. That is the only way this country can be great”.