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Nigeria: The decision is ours to Vote IBB or not – Benjamin

A  legal practitioner, Benjamin Atebe is In an interview has disclosed that the onus of voting the right person is saddled on individual citizens of the country

speaking on President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration as well as former military president Ibrahim Babangida’s presidential ambition he said that this administration is the same government of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Sincerely speaking, I cannot see something very spectacular that I will say it has achieved.

And on the part of Jonathan, since he came to power, the only thing he has done is that a lot of Nigerians are happy about the appointment of Professor Attahiru Jega as (Independent National Electoral Commission) INEC chair. Another thing was the Electoral Bill which he signed into law.

Basically, concerning the economy, I’ve not seen much improvement except for me to believe that the epileptic power supply we used to have seems to be improving.

Let us believe that it is not a gimmick, that it is something that will continue forever.

Besides these, strictly speaking, the economy that I am very much concerned about has not improved much. It has not improved because I cannot separate Jonathan from Musa Yar’Adua’s administration. it’s a joint ticket by both of them.

But since the Jonathan/Yar’Adua administration came on board, they ‘ve tried to dance to the gallery, they tried to review and go back on some of Obasanjo’s economic policies. But at the end of the day, they just found out that they were shooting themselves in the leg.

So, really, they haven’t done much. You see people crying everywhere, industries and companies are folding up and companies can’t pay salaries.

I know that it’s a global thing but the negative effect upon the Nigerian populace is getting harsher and harsher every day.

Everywhere you go you’ll see ‘to let’ nobody is letting, you see people offering their properties for sale, very few people are buying, you see people cutting down their staff strength because there’s no money to meet up with their overhead cost and the government has not been able to address this issue as much as possible.

How do you view the aspiration of former military president Ibrahim Babangida to contest the presidency 17 years after he stepped aside?

Does he have any right to contest elections? Yes. Having answered these questions in the positive, the truth is that, it’s not whether he should contest or not.
He can contest, anybody can contest. You can seek for elective position in Nigeria.
I can also contest. But whether he will win is an issue and that depends on us, the electorate. So, if we now decide that because of our selfish interest and gain, we decide that it is Bababgida that we’ll vote for, then the man has only exercised his right and we have just allowed him to become president.
I don’t see anything wrong in him seeking an elective position; he’s a Nigerian. If he’s qualified, let him contest, but for him to win, the onus rests on Nigerians, not on him.

Going by the controversy which characterised his tenure as military president, do you think Nigerians should give him another chance to rule this country?

We’re talking of when the interest of the generality of Nigeria comes to play, not when you satisfy the interest of a few people at the expense of others.
If we go back to Babangida’s past tenure, it will be wrong for me to say that he never achieved anything when he was president. He might have achieved some things, but what did it translate to in the economic, political and social life of Nigeria? Were the achievements meaningful? If the answer is in the negative, then this is the basis on which we should vote.

How do you see Nigeria at 50?

When I was growing up, they used to say ‘life begins at 40,’ but these days, because a lot of Nigerians don’t seem to achieve things in life so much, they have changed it to ‘life begins at 50.

‘ So, probably for Nigeria, life begins at 50. So, let’s say the first 50 years of Nigeria has been a learning process. I wait for the day Nigeria will learn. But it’s quite disappointing. Because at 50, what can we boast of?

If you tell me that at 50, there’s electricity in every part of Nigeria including the rural areas or that there is security of life or that we know every number of persons living in Nigeria, that we have the data of the population and that it is readily available or that our transport network is wonderful, these would have been issues to celebrate. But what do we celebrate? Are we celebrating amnesty to militants or democratic rule? People have passed such level!

At 50, when a man dies in Nigeria, government does not know about it because there is no datum. Certain things happen in some parts of the country that government does not even know. At 50, nearly every house in Nigeria, especially in Lagos today, is being powered by generators at different levels and as a result of this, people are dying because of fumes from generators. So, what are we celebrating?