Ex-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and human rights activist, Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, has dismissed the strength of the opposition ahead of the forthcoming elections. He said the stiff competition does not make this year’s elections different from previous ones as both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are driven by lust for power to amass wealth.
“I would have preferred a debate from both sides but what we hear are deafening noise that makes no sense. All I can say is that the 2015 election psyche is the same as that of the 1999, 203, 2007 and 2011; nothing has changed,” he told Saturday Vanguard in an interview.
“There will be a winner and the loser will go to court and the same thing goes on and on. But I think the only way is to change the structure.”
Agbakoba said the change being talked about by the APC is not the kind of change Nigeria needs. It is more than mere change of personnel, say, from Jonathan to Buhari. “When Europe was scattered after a bloody civil war, then they said, they were tired of fighting and talked about a new order and that occurred in Germany. That new order is what we need now.”
“A typical Nigerian is corrupt, he drives against traffic, he is noisy and greedy, he cuts corners etc. We need to re-organise our nation, lest we would be a motley crowd of noise makers with huge resources and potentials that are not being utilised. Nigeria is like a coach with top players but without a strategy. Nigeria is a country of great talents but no strategy. Changing personnel for me is inconsequential. So, whoever wins should look at the weaknesses that we can all see to build a new Nigeria in the next four years.”
The former NBA president noted that the solution to the problems Nigeria has had already been recommended at the national conference — crack up Nigeria. “We can’t have one president; crack it up and create a regional government and let us see what will play out. Then we can decide whether the regional structure will have its own new constitution, or whether it should be presidential and not parliamentary.
“The Inspector General of Police cannot over see the entire nation and the commissioner of police cannot override the authority of the governor on the grounds that his boss is the IGP in Abuja.
“As President of Nigeria, my key mission will be to discentralise power. With that, you can’t accuse me of not fixing the road in your local village. Look at the state of roads and traffic in Apapa which is bringing in 50 percent of the revenue of the federation. In Abuja, they are too far to know what is happening here,” he said.
Agbakoba insisted on listening to the two front runners for Nigeria’s presidency talk about their plans for the country. He said he would help the electorate to choose wisely. However, the presidential candidate of the APC Muhammadu Buhari has refused to participate in a debate.