2023: I doubt if INEC under current setup can deliver credible poll – Onovo

Martin Onovo, an engineer, is a former presidential candidate in the 2015 general election and the current head of policy positions, movement for fundamental change. In this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, he spoke on the state of the nation and the 2023 general election. Excerpts:

More than two decades after the return to democratic rule in Nigeria, there is a popular belief that democracy has failed. What is your take?

Democracy cannot fail since it is governed according to the wishes of the majority. What we presently practise in Nigeria is not democracy. In a democracy, the integrity of the ballot is upheld and the rule of law prevails but here, the elections are rigged and our laws are violated with impunity. So, this is not a democracy. It is not a democracy. The elections here are a charade and lawlessness prevails.

What is your take on the chances of the major presidential candidates ahead of the general election next year?

Peter Obi of the Labour Party is clearly the front-runner. All the polls both local and foreign show him leading with a very wide margin. The PDP will definitely lose a free and fair election as it has lost its Southeast base and weighed down by internal crisis. The APC also will lose a free and fair election due to its irregular, offensive and unlawful Muslim/Muslim candidates. Also, their presidential candidate is too old and too sick. He has several un-concluded cases of corruption.

How do you access the administration of Babajide Sanwo-Olu and governance in Lagos State?

The current Lagos State government is very mediocre. It lacks ideas and is unable. It has not made any significant progress in any sector. Not in Education, not in work, not in environmental protection, not in infrastructure. Lagos is currently the 2nd worst city to live in the entire world.

We have seen a rise in violence among parties’ supporters in recent weeks, since the campaign started, what does this portend ahead of the general election?

When I ran for President in 2015, almost all the violence suffered by my campaign was unleashed by the ruling party. Currently, it is the same ruling party that is being accused of violence by other parties. The ruling party is very violent.

Read also: Oyo APC faults Bayo Adelabu claims over attack, urges police investigation

The electioneering has started in earnest, what is your view on the campaign so far among the parties?

The campaigns have started. The PDP seems to have difficulties funding their campaigns. The Labour Party is clearly constrained by their small political structure. The ruling party is weighed down by the heavy corruption baggage including forfeiture $460,000.00 in a heroin case, the Alpha Beta money laundering allegations, the perjury issues, the age and health issues of its candidate.

What is your take on the Muhammadu Buhari administration, more than seven years in office so far?

After more than seven years in office, the Buhari regime has completely failed in all sectors. The economy is worse than they met it, insecurity is worse and corruption is unprecedented.

Few months to the general election, are you comfortable with INEC preparation?

INEC lacks integrity and no system can work effectively without integrity. We know that INEC is the election committee of the ruling party and works to aid the ruling party to rig elections in their Islamisation agenda. How can we believe the same INEC under its current chairman? INEC deceived the entire country with its electronic collation manual and electronic card readers in 2019 only to bypass them in Northern Nigeria and deny the opposition access to its server to show evidence of the massive rigging of the 2019 presidential election.

INEC claimed it accredited over 900,000 voters in Boko Haram-infested Borno State alone, this is the same Borno State that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo said was largely inaccessible due to the Islamic terrorist insurgency. INEC has no credibility. We cannot believe INEC which, under its current chairman, is a puppet of the ruling party.

We have seen many videos of PVCs of Christians dumped or buried by INEC to suppress Christian voters in line with the Islamisation agenda.

What would be the impact of electronic transmission of election results and BVAS on next year’s polls?

The electronic transfer of results and B-VAS will have a positive effect on the elections if they are implemented with integrity. We cannot trust INEC under its current chairman to conduct free and fair elections.

What is your take on the spate of insecurity in Nigeria presently?

It is very clear beyond any reasonable doubt, that the ruling party in Nigeria is the direct sponsor of insecurity and terrorism in Nigeria.

The evidence is super-abundant. Kawu Baraje, the most relevant of the founders of the ruling party confessed that they imported the terrorists for the 2015 elections. The presidency has many times spoken in support of the terrorists.

The Nigerian terrorist sponsors convicted in Dubai were linked to top people in government.

The release of captured terrorists from detention and the payment of ransoms to terrorists confirm that.

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