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Saturday, 21 September 2013

Jonathan should just go – Rev. Moses Iloh


By GABRIEL DIKE
 
 

One of the nation’s firebrand preachers, Reverend Moses Iloh, has expressed fear over next year’s general elections. He particularly expressed reservations about the conduct of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the elections.
Rev Iloh said President Goodluck Jonathan should have concentrated on conducting credible elections instead of being a candidate in the polls. He expressed preference for former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari as president.
Iloh spoke on these and other things.

Next general elections have been fixed for April 2011. Do you think the nation is on the right track?
So far, I don’t think so. But there are two things about it. Nigerians are desirous of having elections, where their votes would be counted and sincerely declared. I am scared that the manipulators would blow it. One misfortune in the whole thing is the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan decided to run. I thought that Jonathan could have declined to contest and be committed to giving Nigeria free and fair elections. Now he is taking side. There is no way the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will not play trick with these elections. I don’t think it would work, except Jonathan pulls out of the election. He can contest when he is not the one supervising the elections. If you look at what is going on, you will see that we are doing undemocratic things. My advice is that we should be democratic and allow Nigerians to decide who will be their leader.

Do you think that any of those who have indicated interest to be president could lead Nigeria to the Promised Land?
I want to say this, without any fear of contradiction, that I have looked at all the presidential aspirants and the only fellow I think bring us back to the track to true democracy and make us a viable and dignifying nation is General Muhammadu Buhari. Nobody else. I have looked at everybody and those who are opposing him are people who are on the side of corruption.

But Buhari is not in a popular party. How can he be president?
It will be very difficult for him to be in a popular party because one of the major religions in Nigeria is corruption and it involves people in Christian, atheist, Ogboni, Muslims and cults. It is a dreadful thing. However, decent Nigerians know that Buhari is the answer. This is one man who was the head of state and there is nowhere in this world that he has a mansion. He had every opportunity to steal money but he never did. Here is a man who was in charge of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and did not soil his hands. It is a pity that our politics is so monetised that Buhari stands no chance, but he is the right man for Nigeria. I will like to see the Nigerian youths come out and support him. The teeming millions of unemployed Nigerian youths should come out and work for him. If this happens, nobody would stop him.

But some people see him as fundamentalist. Don’t you think this will count against him?
What do you call a fundamentalist? I am a fundamentalist Christian. There is no way any Muslim can islamise Nigeria, in the same token there is no way any Christian head of state can Christianise Nigeria. It is not possible. If they say he is a fundamentalist, it means he is a disciplined believer in his religion and committed to it. I consider this a plus for him. But to tell me Buhari will islamise Nigeria is wishful thinking. There is no way this will happen.

Why do you think Babangida can’t be president in 2011?
Well, he should not. Don’t say he can’t. That is a dangerous statement. That guy can be, but he should not be. IBB is a smart guy, and he can be. You see, with all the confusion, I wouldn’t be surprised if, at the end of the day, he gets the ticket of PDP. I am telling you because the delegates will vote for IBB at the primaries. So, it is a dangerous thing. All I am saying is that he should not be. Let Nigerians reject him at the poll. If I had money to throw around, my entire crusade would be to make sure IBB does not have a platform.

Who among these candidates do you think can tackle corruption?
The only one who could do this is Buhari. He has an antecedent. There is no other candidate who would fight corruption sincerely. Have you had any one of them say they are going to fight corruption? But Buhari said he is going to tame corruption. He did it before. He was able to instil discipline in Nigeria, and he can do it again. Don’t forget that this guy has some democratic tendencies. During his time, he never banned any newspaper. He never stopped them from saying what they wanted. He is a disciplined person and I think he is the only one who can tame corruption.

Have you met Buhari in recent times, so that he would know how you feel about him?
No, I have not made any contact with him at all, but since I made my first favourable statement for Buhari, people have been calling. I tell you, almost everybody underground wants Buhari as president. I plead with them to come out openly and support him. He is a Nigerian, a civilian and has the reputation of discipline. He has the capacity to tame corruption. I think all those who feel this way should begin to speak up, so that more people would know the qualities of Buhari.

It appears you are particular about corruption. Why?
If we don’t tame corruption, we are going to be in serious trouble. Nigeria will be neither here nor there. We would have pushed the youths, who are unemployed, to the wall. And they would bounce back and attack. That’s why we need Buhari urgently. I will like to say we need Buhari like yesterday. We are already late. We need to get him now. Look at the support the youths are giving to Governor Babantunde Fashola, because they know what they want. They are saying that he’s their candidate. That is the same way I want them to talk about Buhari. I believe that if we miss it, it will be a big misfortune for Nigeria.

Are you asking the North to present him as the consensus candidate in 2011?
Yes. The North should be wise enough to present him as the sole candidate. I don’t want to look at it from the point of view of North or Islam. I want to see Nigerians youths, who have so much deprivation and oppression to come together and contribute even one naira each and make Buhari their candidate. They should put their money there. By so doing, they are investing in their tomorrow. They will never regret the action.

Are you satisfied with INEC reviewed timetable for 2011 election?
Certainly, I am not pleased with it. INEC is playing the PDP game. I hope I am wrong, but the timetable and the way they are putting president first gives me doubt. I suspect that INEC has a sinister motive. I don’t think it is right. I think people should speak up. Political parties should speak up. I heard that labour has taken them to court. That is a wise thing to do. People should support things like that. The timetable is not in our interest.

How would you rate Nigeria at 50?
My question is, in 50 years have we got any good person to rule us? The first time we tried democracy, after a long time of military rule, was through Obasanjo. It was worse than any government we ever had. Obasanjo claimed to be a born again Christian and he allowed the introduction of Sharia laws in 13 states during his administration. Anybody opposed to Buhari is interested in corruption. He is life-saving mechanism. At 50, we need Buhari urgently to tame corruption. Buhari wants the best for Nigeria and I solicit that every Nigerian should csupport him.

What would you say about the October 1 bomb blasts in Abuja?
I am an elder of this country. I think our president is going to put us in serious trouble. You were here when he banned the national team. FIFA gave him 48 hours and he did recant. He surrendered to FIFA. FIFA recently banned us. The president is emotional. He said the bomb was not from MEND. No President talks like that. The ideal thing is to wait, let the police and other security agents report to you; then when you make a statement, people will know that the president has spoken. I heard that there was a warning from MEND that they were coming and our president and his security chiefs neglected it. The thing happened and now they are accusing Okah and beating about the bush. I think, the president should throw in the towel. I am telling the truth. This is a serious security breach and the heads of state of some other countries were here. I think he should go. He had shown that he is not in control

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