2023 general elections, a huge joke without restructuring – Asake, Briggs, Oseni
Hon. Jonathan Asake, Ann-kio Briggs and Otunba Olabode Oseni have disclosed there will be no credible election in Nigeria unless there is a restructuring of the nation’s institutions before the 2023 general elections.
The trio made this known during a video conference organised by the Governance Index and anchored in United Kingdom (UK).
The title of the virtual conference held on Friday, 21/08/2020, was ‘Southern and Middle belt Coalition, the Panacea to Nigeria’s Existential Crisis?’ [SEE VIDEO BELOW]
Lamenting the oppression of Nigerians in the middle belt region by the ruling Northern Oligarchy, President of Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), Asake said, “Southern Borno, Southern Yobe, Southern Bauchi, Southern Gombe , Southern kebbi, all those places are middle belt so the middle belt has 14 states.
“If we come together with rest of the South, there is no doubt whatsoever that whoever we put up as candidate wins the election in whichever party.
“But there are challenges – the institutional structure on ground cannot get anything done without a proper restructuring of this country.
“Let me bring INEC for instance, if the middle belt and Southern parts come together, there will be no challenge in that election, but with the kind of INEC we have today, that is not truly independent where votes don’t count.
“When they tell you that this is the result we are expecting and it comes out like that, you cannot do anything about it, yes, we can come together, we can make a coalition, but we still need to restructure our basic national institutions, the security , the Police, and particularly, INEC.
“When you come to a point where one vote can make someone lose in an election, where your vote counts, then it does not matter whoever stands for election, whether he comes from the South or East.
“If it is accepted by the people he will work for them, let me tell you what is happening in Kaduna state, Governor El-rufai talks as if we are conquered in a war, as if we are prisoners of war.
“We are law abiding citizens, but he talks to our traditional rulers, our religious leaders as if we are conquered in war, without respect, but any leader that knows that votes count will never play the type of dictatorship we are seeing in Kaduna state.
“So I think solution to the problem starts with restructuring.
On whether the core north will not consider a coalition between the south and middle belt as a gang-up, Atake said, “Anybody that feels left behind in the alliance of Southern Nigeria with the middle belt is a beneficiary of the present crooked system, and that is why many of those that opposed restructuring are beneficiaries of this system, this country needs to be redeemed.”
Ms Briggs in her contribution said that restructuring is the way to go and it must be done before the 2023 general elections, adding the 2014 National Conference organised by Jonathan provided a solution to the problem facing the Southern kaduna and Benue state.
She said, “The issue of coalition between the Southern part of Nigeria which Hon. Jonathan Asake has highlighted, we then have 31 States, assuming we are concentrating on political issue, the 2014 National Conference in which we sat down from May till about August, and we agreed on these things that have become contentious points and we agreed that Nigeria needed to be restructured.
“We suggested that Nigeria be restructured, and when we talked about restructuring we are talking about a country that needed to be restructured as federation.
“The desire that people of my region want is that we should be able to determine what we want for ourselves.
“People are thinking about oil and gas, I came to Nigeria as a four year old girl in affluence, my grand father was exporting palm kernel even before my father was born.
“In that area we were already quite rich before anybody discovered crude oil, so it is not about crude oil.
“I know my people want restructuring, the president told us before he was elected that he did not believe in the 2014 conference and that he does not believe in restructuring.
“Some of them in the north say they don’t understand what restructuring meaning.
“I just think it is a desire (by core northerners) to continue to take us round and round in circles.
“It seems we are the ones that are agitating for restructuring and by this calculation, the people that don’t want restructuring are the five states (in the core north).
“By Hon. Jonathan Asake’s calculation, it is like there will be nothing like elections in 2023, but we still need to get to 2023, and then we will know whether there will be no election.”
Otunba Oseni while speaking during the video conference said the only way out of Nigeria’s quagmire is to continue to mount pressure for restructuring before the 2023 general elections in order for people’s vote to count, adding that from his experience, elections in Nigeria is 99 percent rigging.
He added, “awareness needed to be created among Southerners so that this issue of restructuring can see the light of the day.”
According to him, we should create more awareness on this issue of restructuring. I have discovered that anytime you are fighting for people in Nigeria, you are wasting your time .
“They have been ruined and robbed as human as a human being, so if you are waiting till election time, you are wasting your time.
“You will be surprised. We need to start educating our people so that during election time, they will know who are they going to vote for. ”
VIDEO: Southern and Middle belt Coalition, the Panacea to Nigeria’s Existential Crisis?