In Exclusive Interview, with SHOLA OSHUNKEYE and Beifoh Osewele Nigeria's Constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay describes Akwa Ibom State governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio as "a dictator and a fraudsster"
Except: Why? Abacha is the only one ahead of him in that regard. Look at the PTD funds. What about UBEC funds, Siemens scam, Haliburton scam, BPE, IPP…they are endless. There’s no end to it. There’s no end to it; and he ruled this country like an emperor. He trampled on the rule of law. He absolutely had no feeling. I am sure there may be one or two things he did, but they have been overwhelmed by the terrible things he did to this country. The exception I talked about are people like Tinubu and Fashola in Lagos State. People like Amaechi in Rivers State, Oshiomhole in Edo State, and these few who are coming in the (South) West…
What about the Akwa Ibom man?
No, no, no. the Akwa Ibom man is a dictator. Oh, God! Did he win elections?
Did he not win elections?
In my view, the elections there were fraudulent and were rigged.
Which elections are you talking about?
This last one. 2011. His re-election. There are no doubts about that.
Prof, a lot of people would disagree with you on this point.
You can disagree with me.
They might even say you have something personal against him.
I know he’d say so. He’d say so. But you should recall that just before the elections, when the ACN candidate tried to go and campaign in Ikot Ekpene, his hometown; all hell broke loose. They killed a lot of those campaigners. That resulted in the conflagration in Uyo, the arrest of the candidate of ACN and so many things happened. I have done an analysis of those results. I cannot say that Akpabio won. But what I know is that he rigged. The elections were rigged.
Nigerians know you to be a very factual person; are you saying this on the basis of facts at your disposal or on the general sentiments that people wove around that time over what happened in Akwa Ibom?
What I did…I did an analysis on the results of the elections published by INEC, which I downloaded from the website. If you look at the result in the South-South; it is not Akpabio alone, there is no honest result from the South-South and South-East. They were all rigged. Fantastic figures. Let me give you an example… no, two examples...
In Imo State, Goodluck Jonathan scored over 800,000 votes. When it now came to the governorship election itself, the present governor scored just over 300,000 votes. Are you saying that the people of Imo love a man in Abuja far more than a man who is their own? So, you can see what I mean. And you know, the Imo State election was heavily monitored. So, they didn’t allow them to do anything funny. If you go to Delta State, it is the same thing. Uduaghan got over 400,000 whereas Jonathan scored over a million votes. And out of the 400,000 Uduaghan was said to have scored, the tribunal had just removed 90,000 or so votes, leaving the gap between him and Ogboru to about 11,000. Yes, if we talk of the 2011 election, it was better than the 2007 elections. It was better than the 2003 elections. But not as good as the other lections before it.
Despite Professor Jega?
Yes, despite Professor Jega. So, Akpabio, therefore, doesn’t come within the group of people I am saying. Your achievements shouldn’t be on the structure that you put down alone. It must be on your democratic conduct. When a person gives himself the power to detain people…the House passed a law giving him power to detain people in Akwa Ibom, contrary to the Constitution. I wrote an article on it for which his people were not happy.
The law was not passed by Akpabio, but by the House.
Ha, ha, ha. You can say that again. Who is the boss? Who’s the boss?
Whatever happens to the doctrine of separation of powers?
In the Nigerian context, the boss is very clear. The governor dictates what the House does.
Are you saying separation of powers doesn’t obtain here?
It doesn’t exist in many state houses of assembly.
Then, isn’t that a clear and present danger to our democracy?
Our democracy is very immature. It’s very immature. It’s not developing well. Things are going wrong. You can see, for example, what is happening in Bayelsa…Nobody is saying Sylva performed. In fact, what I heard generally is that his performance was dismal. But for Christ’s sake, allow him in the process. Let him be voted out at the primary stage or during the election. Do not use jungle boots and stamp out freedom and the rule of law just because you want to get a man out and put your man in. That’s what we’re saying. So, the people ruling us now are far from what we deserve.
As one famous writer said, the beautiful ones are not yet born. They were born in the First Republic. But since then, only a few beautiful ones that I have mentioned like Mimiko, Fashola, Tinubu, Oshiomhole, Amaechi and Aliyu of Niger State have been born. He (Aliyu of Niger State) looks like a very sincere man to me from the distance because I cannot really judge what he is doing on the ground. My hope is this: that with these few governors who are performing well, people from other states who visit Lagos, Port Harcourt and so on, would go back and question their governors. They should be able to ask them, what do you think you’re doing with the money that you’re getting? Look at your counterpart who earns less than you; see what he has achieved. We would get you out of power in the next election, because you’re a non-performing person. Maybe with that, that element of competition will come back.
I may be wrong, but I think there is an observable docility among Nigerian electorate, because if you know your environment isn’t right, you know the kind of money coming in, and your situation is still what it was five-10 years ago and you’re not doing something, then the people in power will continue with their impunity.
You see, what the people are not doing is that they’re not going into the streets to demonstrate. They’re not introducing the Arab spirit into our lives. The Sun