Goodluck Jonathan is a coward- Evah

THE SUN Newspaper- Sunday Ani

If Comrade Joseph Evah, Coordinator, Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG) and former Publicity Secretary, Ijaw National Congress (INC), was a hunter, he probably would shoot without missing. At every given time, his gun is loaded, cocked and ready to fire. It was not different when Sunday Sun spoke to him on the state of the nation. Characteristically, he fired on all cylinders, unsparingly taking on those he said are trying to breach the Nigerian Constitution because of personal interests. Excerpts…

A chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, recently asked Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to disown those calling on President Yar’Adua to hand over power to him. How would you react to this?
It is an insult to the office of the Vice President. Who is Yakassai? It is unfortunate that Jonathan is too simple for them to take for a ride. Why did he not tell (former Vice President) Atiku Abubakar that when Nigerians were against (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo’s third term plot? So Yakassai was in support because OBJ is from the south. As an old man, he should keep quiet if he has nothing to keep him busy. For him to give the VP such a directive is like asking Jonathan to frog-jump in Aso Rock before he will take his breakfast.

Do you feel the same way about Prof Tam David-West’s comment that the VP is Obasanjo’s stooge?
David-West’s comment against the VP in his recent interview published in The Spectator is senseless. Why would he say because he felt Jonathan is an Obasanjo stooge, he should not be acting president? I think something is wrong with him too. Is he saying that he loves Nigeria more than all those clamouring in support of the Constitution? Since he came out of prison over the wristwatch and tea cup saga while he was Petroleum Minister, he has been behaving funny. I don’t think he was kept in a harsh prison environment that has affected his sense of reasoning. Was Yar’Adua and Jonathan the first set of people Obasanjo handed over to? After all, he also handed over power to (Shehu) Shagari and (Alex) Ekwueme. Why has the professor not labeled them also as Obasanjo stooges? Can we now say that David-West is (Muhammadu) Buhari’s stooge because the latter gave him opportunity to become a Minister? His continued attack on the VP is beyond national interest but has to do with a personal quarrel, and he is using politics as a cover-up. We are embarrassed by David-West’s call for lawlessness because of his personal malice with the VP.

That was not the first time he was using a personal matter with other individuals to write long letters in newspapers. The other day, his younger cousin, Princewill, invited him to his birthday. But he had to reply him with a full page advertorial abusing members of the extended family. So our Ijaw people know that his problem started from his prison days and we would hold Babangida responsible so that he can tell us the manner of his punishment that would make a professor to be behaving strangely since the past 20 years.

Do you see Yar’Adua respecting the Senate resolution asking him to transmit a letter on his medical vacation to the National Assembly?
We are gradually getting to the point of no-return in this drama. The Senate has taken a bold step that will lead us to the end of the journey. The journey will either lead us to the end of democracy or to its survival.
We know the cabal has four or five options in this power game, but at the end of the day they will be disgraced like the senseless cabals before them. If you know the cabal that manipulated (General Ibrahim) Babangida before he was forced to step aside or the cabal that was manipulating Nigeria with (late General Sani) Abacha when they told us that Abacha was the sole candidate for the presidential election. Today, Abacha is doing his sole candidature in the grave while those running amok to please him are moving about here like orphans. Have you also forgotten the cabal running round OBJ in the name of third term? But Nigerians forced OBJ out of power by intimidating the National Assembly to reject third term. Likewise, the present cabal is a mere toy in the eyes of Nigerians. They are too small to stand on the way of the collective will of the Nigerian people. Now that the Nigerian people have been succeeded in forcing the Senate to ask the President to follow the Constitution, it is only a matter of days before the cabal escapes without trace.
The current Minister of Justice, (Michael) Aondoakaa, and others in that cabal holding Nigerians to ransom can easily be checked in the ongoing constitutional crisis and it is very simple. Is Aondoakaa worse than Wada Nas during the Abacha era? He is a small fry compared to Wada Nas, yet Nigerians forced them out.

It is the VP that is tolerating such nonsense from Aondoakaa. Since Yar’Adua left the country, the cabal has been using Jonathan to decorate the chamber of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) weekly meetings to endorse contracts that are awarded to themselves. What Nigerians expect from the vice president now since even the Attorney General has said Jonathan has been acting in the absence of Yar’Adua is for him to throw away fear or favour and reshuffle the Federal Executive Council or sack some ministers to enable him have direction. That is the only popular decision that would make Nigerians know that Jonathan is a man. He should not be afraid. He should be bold like a man and reorganise the FEC to meet the expectation of Nigerians.

The law says when Yar’Adua returns, he is the only person that can reverse Jonathan’s actions. But if Jonathans allow himself to be deceived by self-centred advisers and leave the cabinet as it is, he will not be able to operate as acting president. If he pretends that all is well with the council and the cabal in the Presidency starts to frustrate him, he will later realise that the current song of ‘Hosanna in the Highest’ with Jonathan will change to ‘crucify him.’ Jonathan should realise that there is no popularity contest between him and Yar’Adua to rule Nigeria, but the people are just demanding for the rule of law and constitutionalism. And the moment he assumes the position of acting president and starts trying to please everybody around the Presidency, he will be shocked when the cabal will make him look a curse to the Nigerian people.

But the coast appears to be getting clearer for Jonathan. Do you share in this optimism, especially after people like you had raised alarm last year that a cabal had taken the Presidency hostage?
Those of us who were brought up by great men like Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Femi Falana know the secret of this country from top to bottom. I was involved in the June 12 (1993) struggle; I was the coordinator of non-indigenes for the actualization of June 12 in Lagos. Since then I have been involved in the struggle to give Nigeria the right direction form IBB to (Ernest) Shonekan to Abacha and even the Obasanjo era of fake democracy. I was spokesman of the Ijaw National Congress when Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged and you know what it means to be talking from Lagos.

When I started raising alarm about a cabal working against Jonathan and the Constitution, even aides of the Vice President faulted me in the media. But I just laughed at them and continued my fireworks from the sidelines on TV, radio and newspapers, calling on other Nigerians to wake up and save the nation. Today, the battle is between good versus evil, and good would be the winner. Today, Nigerians can see that my prophecy has come to pass.
Well, I don’t want to wait for any endangered Niger Deltan to complain to the public or to me. It is true the VP did not complain to me but right from the day he was sworn in, I knew that people will form a cabal to rubbish him. I even raised alarm when he was abandoned at the Eagle Square after the swearing in ceremonies; when the President and other visiting leaders were driven out of the venue in cars from the presidential fleet. But some Nigerians told me that I was impatient. Today I have been vindicated.

Again, let me correct the impression that I always raise alarm without the people concerned calling my attention. In the past, I had been begged to intervene when some people’s lives were in danger. For instance, when a former member of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Kingsley Kuku, was accused of gunrunning in Akure, he pleaded with me and I challenged his oppressors. Although some of his kinsmen called and were angry with me, I told them he was not a gunrunner and that I wanted him released immediately. The current president of the Ijaw Youth Council, Dr Chris Ekiyor, was also attacked by soldiers attached to the JTF, who almost killed him. I also raised an alarm when he called me. Till date the soldiers are yet to be punished despite Army Headquarters assurance that the soldiers will be punished. I also did when called upon in the case of Admiral Bob-Manuel over the alleged theft of crude from the ship, Africa Pride; the allegation of fraud against the former president of the National Council of Women Societies, Dr Boloere Ketebu; when the EFCC caused the former Bayelsa governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, to be deported from Dubai while undergoing medical treatment. Ijaw people in Lagos also asked me intervene when the current Minister of State in the Niger Delta Ministry, Chief Godsday Orubebe, was denied being sworn in. These are just a few.

Even after the ACF and some prominent leaders from the North like former President Shehu Shagari have asked Yar’Adua to hand over to Jonathan, the cabal and some persons in the North appear adamant. Is this because of obsession with power?
As far as I’m concern, there are only two governors in the North that when they speak we know the North has spoken. That is the governor of Kano State (Ibrahim Shekarau) and his Niger counterpart (Babangida Aliyu). Penultimate week, Aliyu despite being a PDP governor asked Yar’Adua to comply with the Constitution by handing over to Jonathan. Apart from these two governors in the North, others are just there in office. The two of them are the only credible governors with passion for the masses in the North.

With former civilian president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, leading a delegation to the Senate to reaffirm the wishes of the Nigerian people, the true leaders of the North have spoken and the days of the cabal are numbered. It is because the cabal is fighting for the survival of their pockets that is why they don’t want to listen to elders. When Shagari was Minister of Establishment between 1960 and 1965, Aondoakaa was still sucking his mother’s breast. You don’t expect such elders who know how Nigeria started to fold their arms and allow gamblers to take this nation for a ride.

Some stupid people want us to believe that Jonathan is already acting as president even without a letter from the president as stipulated by the Constitution. I think they need to examine their head. Is it by receiving market women in his office on behalf of the president or receiving letters from Ambassadors or receiving mysterious phone calls or marching in front of soldiers during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day or even making broadcast on radio and television that makes him acting president? These are functions that are commonly performed by even local government chairmen. If Jonathan is in charge, why did he not present the budget or sign it and why did he not swear in the Chief Justice of Nigeria?

You see, some people are just playing God. In 2008, I was seriously sick and I was flown abroad for treatment, I signed a statement handing over the functions of my office to my deputy, that is the chief of staff of the IMG, which was widely published in the media. You cannot compare the IMG to the Nigerian nation with over 150 million people that should come to a standstill until you are capable of managing it. Somebody that is ill is supposed to elicit sympathy from fellow human beings but the fake friends of Yar’Adua are making mockery of his ill-health and provoking God Almighty. If Yar’Adua dies, his blood will be on the head of those deceiving him today.

Obasanjo has drawn flaks for his call on Yar’Adua to resign. Are you among those who say he created the problem?
We know he was behind Yar’Adua’s emergence and now the situation is like this. But do we expect the man to join those prolonging the constitutional crisis to go on with their madness? Everybody knows I don’t like OBJ, but for him to openly say what he said, it shows he had given his advice in-house yet Yar’Adua preferred to listen to the cabal, which doesn’t even know how Yar’Adua emerged as the president. It shows that OBJ now prefers to be on the side of the people. During the struggle against OBJ’s third term, if he wanted to cause anarchy to prolong his stay like Mobutu Seseseko of Congo, I would have set Nigeria on fire. But when he saw the handwriting on the wall, he bowed down to the will of the people and left without bloodbath. That is what we expect from Yar’Adua. Obasanjo is telling Yar’Adua that Nigeria is too sophisticated for the nonsense that Aondoakaa and other errand boys are doing on his behalf. Now Shagari, Ekwueme, Buhari, Gowon have all repeated what he said so we can move forward.

So what is your take on the position of the South East governors that Yar’Adua has not breached the Constitution as well as the silence of the South South governors on this matter?
Are you surprised about the political class from these two geopolitical zones? The South South and the South East produce the highest number of political prostitutes. Politicians from these regions are political slaves to anybody in power in Nigeria. That is why the two zones are the worst in the terms of development. But even between the two slaves, the South South is worse. They are waiting for directive from the North to speak or hold meeting.
Political office holders in the two zones don’t believe their own people voted them to power. They believe they were favoured by some cabals anointed by emirs in the North. Our political leaders are zombies.
During the third term plot of Obasanjo, while the rest of the country was on the side of the Constitution, our governors and National Assembly representatives went round sharing money to influence the evil agenda. They told us that since OBJ was crowned by the North in 1999 as Nigeria’s president, they thought the North was behind him to continue in office forever. Can you imagine the shameful argument? So we produce only zombies as political office holders because they emerge without free and fair elections.

Won’t it be correct to argue that since the Vice President is from the South South, it would not be proper for the region to spearhead the struggle?
Can you call that an argument? In the history of Nigeria, when has the South South spearheaded any national struggle? We did not spearhead the June 12 struggle because the Yoruba were at the centre of it for Abiola’s sake? Did we spearhead the anti-third term struggle because the North would takeover from OBJ based on the PDP constitution? Every time we allow others do the fighting, and when they hijack power we start claiming that we are the owners of the oil. And the rulers turn our oil to whip and flog us everyday. Even if your son is the President, they (North) are in charge because when they were risking their lives wasting money, time and energy to install your son, where were you?
In the South South, we only know how to complain after we allow others to hijack our destiny. Even the recent armed struggle in our region, politicians hijacked it and placed the repentant militants before television camera asking them to talk like drunkards before Nigerians. Many of the militant leaders are now being camped by politicians to use them for the 2011 elections.
How would you react to the Minister of Information, Prof Dora Akunyili’s memo asking Yar’Adua to handover to Jonathan?
We know her as a woman of conscience. I was one of those who told her that the appointment was meant to rubbish and destroy the reputation and respect Nigerians have for her as the former NAFDAC boss. But I know she must have been having sleepless nights over the lies and evil manipulations meant to destroy this country. If I were Akunyili, I would have gone further to give Aondoakaa a dirty slap in the face for forcefully taking over her job.

Given the current state of the nation, do we have reasons to be afraid of the 2011 election?
God is the decider of elections. I tell you, PDP doesn’t want electoral reforms because the present evil electoral system favours it, and it wants Maurice Iwu to conduct the elections so that imposition at all levels will take place. Already PDP is telling Nigerians through the current constitutional crisis that its constitution is higher than the Nigerian Constitution.

It is saying that the zonal formula of the party is supreme so the Vice President cannot act as President since he is from the South. Can such a party allow electoral reforms? You can see that Yar’Adua’s rule of law and electoral reforms are all fake.
Again, in the build-up to 2011, apart from God, only Babangida and Obasanjo have the structures nationwide to takeover the leadership of the country. The truth is bitter but that is the truth. The two Generals are the only people with structures that would decide how the elections are won and lost.
If Nigerians say they are tried of them, then send them on exile, maybe to Haiti, so that earthquake can consume them otherwise we are in their soup.
If Babangida decides to contest, he will need Obasanjo’s structure to have a free ride, and if Obasanjo is sponsoring somebody from the North, he would seek the cooperation of Banbagida to let his candidate have a free ride. Both of them will not fold their arms and say let the 2011 election go on without their agenda taken into consideration. That is the bitter truth


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