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There is no need for an interim government -Barrister Chuks Nwachukwu

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CHUKS NWACHUKWU is an International Lawyer of Higherachivers’ Chambers Nigeria. He holds a Masters degree in law as well as Masters in divinity (LD.M). He was a candidate of All Grassroots’ Alliance Presidential in 2019.  He speaks on the just-concluded general elections and other issues in this interview with ISAAC NGUMAH. Excerpt:

What is your stand on the just concluded 2023 general election?

My stand is that the election was deeply frauded because it was pre-arranged to produce a particular candidate and had to tamper with the system that they promoted will be what will ensure transparent and credibility that is the result from the polling units had to tamper with that in order to allow them to do their normal rigging in the same area’s where they felt people eye’s were not transparent as they should be so they collected some areas were decided to rig to bring out a candidate, I reject the result, I don’t believe in what INEC has announced seeing from the subsequent result, if you look at the gubernatorial election and the supplementary election, everything that has happened that show’s that INEC is not sincere with the people because one good turn deserves another, if INEC has done the right thing it would have castrates down to these election, the whole world knew that INEC did the wrong thing, nobody believes it, we have had the worst spirit of election since our Independence it destroyed the hope of the people in democracy and elections I don’t know how we are going to rebuild what we have before even the level that we are before we have talk about taking it higher I don’t know how we going to restore confidence of Nigeria’s I don’t know how this democracy is going to survive.

How did INEC destroy the hope of the people?

I will just take you to the Adamawa incident; somebody just got up he has no result sheet and he did not call any results. He just said I declare so so person winner. He just demonstrated the philosophy of the time, is not about the vote of any one, just declare anybody winner. Why would anybody go out? Do you think Nigerians would go out next time and say they want to vote? Do you think any reasonable person would go out to vote again if we do not resolve this presidential election? My take is that we should resolve this presidential election; then we should arrest Mahmood Yakubu and his people; we should prosecute them and jail them and that will bring sanity to the system. People won’t stop where you stop the point is that Mahmood was shocked at what Adamawa REC did; he was shocked, he has destroyed democracy as far as I am concerned. It doesn’t just make any sense and if we are not careful, we will destroy the country too. The ballot box is where we resolve political differences in a multi ethnic and multi religious society. The ballot box is where all political differences are reconciled to have a country, you interfere with it, there is no basis by which you can hold the people together again and that is what has just happened. But I am trusting that we can retrieve this process here in the court, but it looks impossible the alternative is just too dark to consider ,that is all my hope the court should be able to retrieve this process and save Nigeria.

What can you say on those who have gone to court to upturn the victory of Bola Ahmed Tinubu?

I am with them, there was no victory, there was absolutely no victory the Constitution is very clear that for you to be declared winner, you must win at least 25 per cent of the votes in Abuja; so, there is no winner and there is no victory and you declared somebody winner in the dead of the night; what Mahmood did is even worse than what the REC did. Somebody did not qualify, he is wearing black and white in the Constitution, you did not seek advice from the Attorney-General of the Federation, you did not seek advice from the court to declare somebody winner. As far as I am concerned, there is no winner today, that’s my stand. Nobody has won that election, anybody who thinks that he has won, he or she is deceiving himself or herself.

The ruling party has come out to say that the election was the most transparent, fairest and most authentic. What is your take?

The one they declared somebody winner in the dead of the night? What is the transparency all about? They told us the measurements of transparency; they said why they introduced BVAS that all the election malpractice was done in the polling units and the collation center and that was brought these innovations so that we get our results straight from the polling units. So, there must be no opportunities for the tampering that has always been witnessed in the previous elections. So, he went to the collation centre without transmitting results from polling units, the results have already been tampered with at the polling units before uploading what they want to upload. The INEC chairman has condemned the elections when the umpire has condemned the elections, what do you expect? So, it is hopeless.

What can you say on the Electoral Law System in Nigeria?

There is nothing wrong with the electoral law; our people have struggled over the years to put in check and balance to ensure free fairest election but the culprits have always disappointed us; the people we put in charge of the law, they have a problem and unfortunately, I want to add the court, this thing happening in the country today 90 per cent of the fraud if the country scatters today because of this election, the people who destroyed the country will be those people sitting down at the Supreme Court; they destroyed this country, everything made in the electoral law was to ensure a free and fair elections but when they get to the Court, the Court will frame interpretation of the law meant to sidetrack the law and allow the opposite of what the law expects to happen; that is what is making the politicians Boulder and Boulder to go to court, just do it any how; at the end of the day, they try to justify the whole thing; so, it is unfortunate, I am a lawyer, I have to speak the truth.

Some people have written to the US President to disregard and not recognize the President-elect. What can you say on this?

What has the US president got to do with our country?, but it is good to create awareness of what is happening to the international community. So, it helps to formulate their policies towards the person we are talking about as a winner of the election, I am not one of those that looks upon the US to interfere with the affair’s of this country, I don’t consider them as friends of this country because we have to understand that we in competition with them I don’t think the half of Nigeria, the prosperity of Nigeria is important to them.

What can you say on the statement to criminalize the Labour Presidential Candidates and his vice?

They are the most peaceful set of Nigerians the most law abiding set of Nigerians except you want to criminalize them, Datti said that he was in defence of the law and order in Nigeria that people should breach the Constitution and install somebody as president contrary to the Constitution in overthrow of the Constitution.

What can you say on those advocating for an Interim National Government?

There is no need for an interim government. Nigerians get themselves confused if in a situation where there is no winner, nobody who can be declared winner of the election, what the constitution says until a successor emerges and take this oat of office the current president continues in office his tenure of office does not end, the tenure of office of the president is not primarily determined by calendar year it is primarily determined by a successor emerges in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution be sworn in that is subsection one, paragraph a of the Constitution the four years tenure is created at the subsection two paragraph a is so subject to a winner I mean a successor been sworn in, the president shall vacate office of his four years in office, the processes of emergence of the successor hasn’t been completed and a successor emerges his oat of office, so the Constitution has not left a vacuum, a situation where there is a vacuum so those talking about interim government using the talk of interim government as a means of blackmailing the Court into saying tinubu must be sworn in on may 29thwhether he fulfilled the provisions of the Constitution or not those people are confused they do not understand the Constitution there is no constitutional crisis whatsoever the president continues in office until the tribunal finished their work until a successor emerges if at the end of the tribunal, it says you people should go for a second ballots they go for a second ballots until we finish this process president buhari continues in office to be president of this country according to the Constitution, they should rather put their energy at making sure that the tribunal completes their work quickly.

The Federal Government has come out to say that nothing will stop the handover come May 29. How do you see this?

The Federal Government is not in a position to say such things; it is the Court that will say whether there will be a handover or not; it is not the President.

What can you say on the just-concluded supplementary elections?

Things are just getting worse and worse and they will be much worse if we should go ahead with the handover on the 29th of May..

What can you say on the foreign observers that came during the election?

Within the band’s of diplomacy, we are still able to pass the message that the elections were deeply fraudulent; not presenting what Nigerians should expect.

Some people have come out to say that the election is a show of shame. Do you agree?

Of course, it is about the worse in the history of the country and anybody who says he is going to handover on 29th of May 28 is an enemy of Nigeria, In fact, you show yourself to be an enemy of Nigeria if you say you are going to handover to Tinubu on May 29 an enemy of the country but in Tinubu case, he scored 35 per cent of the votes as declared, which means 65 per cent of the population are opposed to him. So, you don’t put him on the pedestrian that you put Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan and Buhari. This one, we see the characters and the fraud everywhere. So, anybody talking about handover power on May 29 is an enemy of Nigeria. There is nobody that loves Nigeria that will say I will hand over power come 29th May; there is constitutional basis not to hand over power on the 29th of May. Nigerians do not know that they do not know that the president is not bound to hand over power on May 29 when the issues surrounding the elections have not been solved.

What can you say on subsidy removal with palliative?

It is funny; I don’t know those people who are giving out this money. I do not understand the kind of credit analysis that they do that makes comfortable to hand over 800 million dollars to a government that is about going. Why would you be entrusting such to a government that is about to leave everything about this government has not been transparent, all the social scheme they say they are giving 50,000 people across the country 50 million naira have you ever seen somebody who have collected N5,000 every month? Have you seen an old woman in your village or elsewhere and say we distributed this one? We do not see any. Would you distribute money and nobody would see so. How could you share 5,000 naira to 50 million Nigerians?  The conspiracy against Nigeria is much. International conspiracy kills the country.

What can you say on the state of insecurity in Nigeria?

The insecurity in the country, we trace it back to Muhammad Buhari and people are identified with him.I am quite clear that committed Fulanis are against what is going on, majority of Fulani are shocked because the President is on the same mindset with the people committing atrocities because he has been on that mindset before he became President. In fact, he has made himself their patron; he has even come out to say that they were trying to drive them into the Sahara Desert; they are talking about grazing rules a lot of things talking about Ruga cattle colony, all manner of schemes to corner lands from Nigerians, to serve the interest of the people and he called them from all over Africa to come to Nigeria. Personally, they’re criminals from all over Africa; he gave them the impression that Nigeria is a place for them to operate. How can you talk about land that is so precious to us? We have the customary land laws or you talk about the land users, everything is quite clear; you cannot have lands on a platter of gold or free of charge for you to do your own business. It is never done anywhere in the world. There are pastorist in the South, if a pasturist needed a land if he had been buying lands for their cattle look at how many years Nigeria existed if they have buying Land’s little by little, they would have bought a major part of this country and it will be there forever. They don’t want to invest one naira to buy lands buy they want to take lands by force; that is the insecurity; so, if he is going to address the problem, he is going to tell the people that if you want land, you buy land and put your cattle there.

What can you say on the achievement of the present government in office?

I think if Nigeria survives Buhari it will be a miracle. One thing is that Buhari became so bad that Nigerians saw the definition of bad, new generations of Nigeria are tagging them obedient, saying no, we cannot continue this way. See what Buhari has done for us to make us incompetent in governance, insecurity in government and what it could lead to he has stored up anger in this new generations and he has  stirred up determination inside of them to have Nigeria of their dreams, that’s the best solution by making us see how terrible it is for us to have a bad governance another thing that you could attribute to Buhari on the positive side is lack of a critical mind which has resulted to a state of laws being passed by the National Assembly and you are going to find out laws with Buhari signatures on them, Many are currently made because there is no opposition in terms of polity, He destroyed the polity; he destroyed the economy; it is only the share of Nigeria that survives.

What have you been doing since the deregistration of your party?

For the mean time, I am back to political analysis and what I was doing before I joined watching things we now have Labour Party but as you can see, if Labour Party has proven to have the ability to win election, I mean all manner of people trying to become candidates under Labour Party, I still will want a party that has a philosophy; a party that is very selective as to the kind of candidates that it offers to election. It is not just about winning election; of course, you want to win election, you want to bring out the best candidates for the country, the crucial rule of political parties in the electioneering process, is to bring out leaders for the country they are womb of which leader’s of the country emerge that is an onerous responsibility I want a party that takes that responsibility very seriously that is organising primaries that makes sure that only the best candidates emerge and who the country can have confidence on if they get to the peak.

Are you still planning to contest the presidential seat in the nearest future?

Of course, my engagement now is to retrieve the mandate of Peter Obi. I believe that he will be installed president.

Do you intend to join the ruling party or any other party to actualize your dreams?

Which ruling party?  I have told you that my engagement now is to see that Peter’s mandate is restored. That is the immediate thing when that is done; we start thinking about other things.

What can you say on the state of the nation?

The state of the Nation’ is precarious. What are Tinubu’s contributions to Nigeria politics?  It is corruption; he himself said it that if you want to win an election, you snatch, you grab it, you run with it so when people say we won elections, he said he was going to steal the election; it is just the case of somebody snatching bag at Balogun market, runs away and pick pocket agbero ; that is what he said he was going to do and that has been his contributions to Nigeria politics, You can imagine when you make an agbero the head of the market, I mean who is going to sell in that market? Anything you sell in the day, he will collect half of it, if you talk, they demolish your stores; that is what is going to happen to Nigeria,

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