INTERVIEW: President Jonathan is a joke – Festus Keyamo

Festus Keyamo

Lagos based lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has urged Nigerians not to be deceived by the lies of the Goodluck Jonathan campaign organization against the All Progressive Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Keyamo said the president and his handlers have failed to understand that the 2015 presidential election was not about human rights or religious issues, but about insecurity, corruption and the economy.

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES earlier in the week, Mr. Keyamo said, “It is not a campaign that should be dominated by human rights record because that is not an issue now because we have a competition in place. Chapter 4 has not been suspended, unlike in 1984. Now, this campaign is dominated by two centre things – there is a third one that is also crucial – which are insecurity, corruption and of course the issues of the economy is hanging in there too. So, let us be clear in making our decision. We know exactly what we are doing. This not a campaign that should be dominated by human rights record; that is where the PDP is getting it wrong.”

He said it was time for Nigerians to realize that Mr. Jonathan had no clue or idea on how to run Nigeria. He added that the country was at a crossroad and needed a commander-in-chief at the helms of affair.

“This is the time we need a commander-in-chief in this country. At some other time when we want to be chopping cabbage, maybe Jonathan can come back,” Mr. Keyamo said. “But I cannot entrust the next four years of my life, my children, under the smoke of ethnicity in the hands of Jonathan. He has no clue, he has no idea of how to take this nation out of the hands of insurgents.

“It is under a Jonathan administration that insurgencies germinated, grew and dominated us because he does not have the knowledge either historically, learning by training or simple intelligence to understand the dynamics of war. This is what concerns us all, our lives and property, the primary duty of government – he does not have it and that is why whatever his military chiefs tell him, he takes. They are all feeding fat on the situation and because of the issue of corruption the so-called ex-generals are all part of the game.

“Ask yourself these questions: for the five years of insurgency where do these insurgents come from? Where are these camps? The Nigerian Air Force, Army, Nigerian Navy cannot find and destroy them? It is an indelicate mix of incompetence and corruption on the part of government.”

He noted that a part of the country had been annexed by the insurgents and this happened under Mr. Jonathan’s watch.

“Look at what is happening in other parts of the world, they nip (terrorism) in the bud, they do not allow it to grow. Here, it has become a daily affair. Even in Kenya, there is insurgency but you hear of it once in a while. Before Jonathan, there has not been a total control of a territory by insurgents but under Jonathan they have achieved that.”

Mr. Keyamo said it was not possible for Mr. Buhari to “islamize” Nigeria and rule like a dictator as the constitution was still in place and other arms of governments were there for checks and balances.

“There is the National Assembly and you have to get an average of two third of all the House of Assemblies across the federation,” he said. “There is a constitution that states that Nigeria shall be a secular state, so you have to amend the constitution. When they feed the country with all these rubbish it makes me cry. There is absolutely no truth in it.

“And then, I was shocked the other day when Pastor Tunde Bakare said all the aides of Buhari are Christians – the driver of many years is a Christian, the cook of many years is a Christian.

“This is a campaign that is so clear that it is between black and white and they are trying to create a shade of gray.”

He noted that times have changed since Mr. Buhari first ruled as head of state.

“We have a constitution that enables Chapter 4. The first thing the military does when they get into power is to put ouster clauses and form decrees in respect of the court, like Degree 2 is an ouster clause. These were the decrees and rules Buhari operated with. Now, times have change, things have change, that it is practically impossible for anybody to come in and suspend human rights. That means that person cannot be president.”

War on corruption

The Delta State born lawyer reiterated that Mr. Jonathan was not sincere with his anti-corruption fight. He questioned the supposed plan by the president to fight corruption if re-elected.

“After six years, he is just planning,” Mr. Keyamo said. “All the president represents about anti-corruption has come together in one singular act in the appointment of Femi Fani Kayode as director of media and publicity for his campaign organization. This a campaign dominated by the team of corruption, a person facing trial for money laundry. We have a problem of corruption and corrupt members are dominating this team. If (the United States President, Barack Obama) does this that is the end of Obama.”

Mr. Keyamo insisted that Mr. Jonathan had “no appetite” to fight corruption.

“He went to the east and said Jim Nwobodo should be prosecuted according to the volume of money he allegedly stole; if it’s too much the government would look into it, if not they would have to let him go.

“That is the president’s view on fighting corruption. After six years he wants to use technology to fight corruption. This man is a joke.”

Mr. Keyamo said some parts of the media, but not PREMIUM TIMES, were complicit by “burying” stories on corrupt leaders.

Fayose’s infamous advertorial

Mr. Keyamo condemned the advertorial by the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, suggesting the possible death in power of Mr. Buhari if elected.

“That advertorial is spiritually offensive, politically incorrect,” he said, calling it the product of a warped mind.

“Is it the age that is more important than the character, or the character is more important than the age? Which is more important? Or do you want to put a man that is 35 and who is an armed robber? Or a prudent 90 years old with integrity. We are getting it wrong.”

He said his decision to back Mr. Buhari came after a careful study of the situation of things in Nigerian and going by the falsehood he sees in the media, it was time to stop fence-sitting.

“If you look at the mass media now, the volume of falsehood that is being fed to the people lately is so sickening. You will see fraud in the faces of those supposedly singing out achievement all just to swindle people to get their votes. For some of us who sit down to look at these things just keep getting angry because people who do not have access to facts, who do not have access to figures, who do not have access to history can be easily misled.

“There is a problem on ground and except we cry out from now to February 14 – I am ready to leave my work, leave my office and go on a campaign against this government. I can leave my life in their hands. Like (Mr. Jonathan) said, Americans supported George Bush (in the war on terror) so let us also support this government. But people are dying every day in Nigeria. Are people dying every day in America?”

Mr. Keyamo urged Nigerians to be careful as the elections get closer. He also warned that security agents not be used to rig elections. He said it was the character of the ruling party to use security agents to rig, but stated that while the PDP had the security agents, the APC has the people.


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