Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has declared support for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, even as he accused incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, of destroying the economy and dividing the country.
The legal luminary, who is also Chairman of the National Intervention Movement (NIM), expressed his disappointment in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in an interview with reporters where he described him as “a very bad president”.
Agbakoba said, “Any Nigerian with any modicum of intelligence knows that where the president comes from no longer matters. All we want is a good president irrespective of where he comes from. I would not have minded Buhari to continue if he was good. Unfortunately, he has turned out to be a very bad president. That is the problem. He has destroyed the economy. Everything is on the floor. He has divided the country. Everywhere and everything is scattered.
“So, I cannot give him my own support. I would rather support a person who I think will turn Nigeria around positively. And that requires a lot of thinking. There are so many presidential aspirants on the field. But we need to look very carefully to pick the best. We need to be cautious so that we don’t make another mistake.”
Asked who he would support in 2019 out of the many presidential candidates, Agbakoba named Atiku and explained why.
He said, “Yes, in spite of all corruption allegations laid against him, there has not been any charge brought against him.
“Secondly, he has a broad business vision. He has a deep political experience. He has a pan-Nigerian outlook. He is married to an Igbo woman, married to a Yoruba woman. He is detribalized, even in the employment profile in his companies. He goes for the best regardless of where the person comes from. He understands Nigeria. My money is on him. Whether he will win, I don’t know. But I am only looking at someone who I think will draw from his experience to turn things around. I don’t care if he does eight years. That is the joker. Let us forget this North and South nonsense. Let’s forget it. Let us focus on getting a good president.
“Turning Nigeria around has an ideological and structural element. The ideological element is that we have to decide who we want it to be. The constitution is very correct when it declares Nigeria to be a secular state. Enough of this religion. It is killing us. Look at the Miyetti Allah thing or the herders problem as it were, if the leader of Nigeria is crystal clear about saving Nigeria, all this Hajj, Christian, Muslim pilgrimages that are state-sponsored should not be allowed. If I were in that position, I will abolish them. If you want to go for Hajj, look for your money and go. The state will not support you or adopt any religion. Let the state be the state, and let the religious leaders play their role. It will cool things down.
“The second important point is restructuring. We have to understand that it can only work if the entire Nigerian nation is behind it.ht now, that is not what we see and a lot of people in the North do not understand it, except Atiku. And I know why. The language of the South is so threatening. You can’t restructure the South alone. I want a strong, united Nigeria. I must persuade my northern brothers that a restructured or decentralization of Nigeria is in the best interest of all of us. Right now, that’s not possible with the way things are going. I do hope that whoever becomes president will understand the emotional elements of the restructuring exercise.