Why APC, Buhari should not be talking about 2019 – Odinkalu

Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, ​has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari and his party – All Progressives Congress (APC) – for talking about re-election in 2019.

​Odinkalu said the administration has not done enough to start campaigning to remain in office.

”​We elected a government to govern, and the mandate to govern is a very serious one. It is not one to be taken lightly. In this year, particularly, the President has hardly been in the country​,” he told Punch.

“​He’s hardly been able to govern. For much of last year, there was not much difference. I think the goodwill of Nigerians is being taken for granted. It does not take into respect the seriousness of where we are as a country. I do not think it also respects the citizenry.

​“The President spent most of the first quarter of 2017, the second and the third outside the country. The President was outside the country in all of July and much of August. Therefore, the President has spent the majority of this year outside the country, nursing his health.

​“​Initially, the government denied that anything was wrong with him. It told us that he was hale and hearty. But when the President came back, he said he had never been that sick. Nobody has told us what the issues are.

“​What we know is that since he came back, the cabinet, which used to meet while he was away and with a lot of memos to consider, met the first time for less than two hours. And in that meeting, he spent it receiving the Basketball team, which came home with a trophy.

​“Those are the facts as they are. Given those facts and the way things are going, I think it does not respect the country at all to start talking about 2019.​”​

​Reacting to​ the report on the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), ​Odinkalu described Buhari’s government as being partial.

“I​f that report had been about people in the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government or former President Umaru Yar​’​Adua’s (of blessed memory) government or in the Peoples Democratic Party, do you think you would not have seen what it says by now? ​”​

“That is the point. You cannot have uneven standards when you are fighting corruption, whether it affects the family or your folks. But that is not happening now.

​“Credibility is the biggest problem I think the government has. It is important that when you are a leader, you should have around you people who are willing to tell you what you need to hear, and not what you want to hear.

​“​Loyalty to a leader means people who will tell you the truth in humility, but in honesty. Not people who will say you are the best sliced bread. Unfortunately, I think our President is surrounded by people who tell him what he wants to hear.

“And the government is widely seen as built on propaganda and lack of empathy, not on reality. The problem with this government is that most times, it has acted as if citizens don’t matter, but we know that citizens do matter.​”​


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