Director General of Buhari
Movement.com, Mohammed Lawal has said that the leaders of ethnic groups,
Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Afenifere, Ohanaeze, PANDEF and Middle Belt Forum
are not strategic politicians for them to have thought that the candidate of
the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was going to win the presidential election.
Speaking with the Sun newspaper, the
former Deputy Director of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Council, asked Atiku
to honour the Peace Accord he signed.
The opposition is kicking against
the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying last Saturday’s election
was a fraudulent exercise. What’s your view?
In a political contest, especially
the presidential election in Nigeria, it is not easy for a party that lost to
accept immediately simply because a lot of efforts, time and goodwill were put
in place. The 2019 election has its own dynamics, which are very critical for
the survival of this country and even for the survival of many of us – the
common people, the Talakawas, and the elite. I don’t want to go back to the
rigmarole towards the build up to the election, but just to mention it for the
sake of history.
Some of our elite gathered and swore
that they would kick out Buhari out of Aso Rock Villa and they did all that
were humanly possible; they put a lot at stake, but power is from God. He is
the owner of the dominion; He just gave a bit of it to us in trust so that we
can discharge the responsibilities that are under our care.
Leadership is a very serious matter
and that is why many people run away from it, but from observation, if you see
somebody fighting and struggling for leadership, don’t give it to him because
he is going to betray the trust.
I understand the concern,
frustration and what the opposition is saying. In an earlier interview, I said Buhari
was going to win with about 15 million votes, and that he was going to extend
hands of friendship to all Nigerians. In his first speech after collecting his
Certificate of Returns, he is extending hands of friendship to all Nigerians
including, Atiku for them to come and help build Nigeria.
He has to leave a legacy; four years
is just like four days. I remember in 2015, he was sworn in and when we started
campaigning for 2019, it was just like four days to me. There is a lot of work
to be done in the country, and if truly we are Nigerians, we should join hands
with him to take Nigeria to a greater height. The problem of this country is so
enormous, and I don’t want to go back to what PDP did in 16 years or what the
military did in those days, but the fact remains that this country has been
bastardised; the resources have been plundered. Our resources that have gone
illegally can make Nigeria look like America, but we need all hands to be on
deck, and with peace and unity, we can take Nigeria higher than even the next
level we were talking about during our campaign.
The president understood this, and
that is why his first message was peace; come let us build this country. He
meant it with all sincerity. Anybody in his position will know that this is his
last four years, and a lasting legacy should be left behind so that all the
people that died because of him, all the people that struggled because of him
will have something to beat their chest that this is what we struggled for, and
many of the young ones would say, yes, this is what we fought for, that what he
left, is what we are here to reap. That is what is behind his mind, we are not
talking about the PDP days; we are talking of moving forward.
The opposition are asking questions
why Borno and Yobe states that were under Boko Haram attack on the election day
recorded more turnout than areas that are very peaceful.
I have been in this game for over 25
years. I started politics since 1992, with the late Umaru Shinkafi, my brother
who was the presidential candidate of NRC. I come from Zamfara State, and I
head an organisation, Buhari Movement.com, and we give strategic reports and
political information and intellectual analysis even to the presidential
council and other Buhari support groups toward where and how to mobilise for
We give reports concerning areas
like Borno, Yobe and even Zamfara, where about 10 local governments are under
attacks by bandits. I have been in Zamfara for the past one month, and just
left on Thursday. In our reports, we called for INEC to shift the polling units
that are very close to danger areas and move them to safer areas and to cordon
all the corridors that the attackers usually come from. That was done in Borno
and Yobe states You heard even before the aborted February 16 election, the
Minister of Interior, Dambazau said the borders between Borno, Yobe and Chad,
Niger, Cameroun were airtight, not even a fly or a goat was allowed to cross.
We did our homework; we made sure
that the voting areas were airtight, security wise, so the people were at home.
I made radio jingles in Zamfara State informing people to come out vote and
that their units were well secure.
I have never heard in my lifetime
where UK and US were hailing the Nigeria military. Several other observers independently
were hailing our military for making sure that there was no violence,
especially from the areas we are talking about, which would have prevented the
people from going to exercise their franchise.
That was the reason why the election
was successful in Borno, Yobe and Zamfara states. Adamu Adamu is my living
witness; I spoke with him and gave him a memo on how we are going to do the
election because of the security challenge. In Zamfara, if you add our figures
with PDP, it is up to a million.
So, there was nothing like padding
of figures as alleged by PDP. In some states, we had expected a higher figure,
but it wasn’t so, as the votes were down, especially in Lagos State.
So, the election has been won, and
the best thing we should do is to see how to salvage this country.
The regional organisations, NEF,
Afenifere, Ohanaeze, PANDEF, Middle Belt Forum say, they are disappointed over
the outcome of the election. What is your take?
They are disappointed because of
their standing before the election. They miscalculated. They are elder
statesmen with verse experience, but in the case of Buhari, they miscalculated
because of sentiments, some pittance, some economic considerations, and other
When Buhari came, it was not
business as usual; no money to share and some people had jets and were flying
from Abuja to different parts of the country, and foreign countries, and they
have houses in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, America, UK, France, etc. You know,
the more money you have the more trouble you have to maintain the assets, and
if the money is not coming the way it used to come, then maintaining the assets
becomes a huge problem. So, this 2019 gave many elitesthe opportunity to fight
to return to those days of business as usual.
People have gone to any level in
order to promote their selfish interest. Look at this issue of herdsmen, before
you knew it, the media is awash with hate speech over Fulani herdsmen in order
to promote personal agenda, and it seemed that Nigeria was going to break up
Like I said earlier, a simple
statement by the Obi of Onitsha would diminish whatever position Ohanaeze had
taken against Buhari. Look at APC’s performance in the South East.
Look at Bayelsa, how APC performed
in spite of all the talks by PANDEF and Edwin Clark. In Bayelsa, we are having
one senator and two House of Representatives members. These leaders are not
strategic politicians. I told you that Balarabe Musa’s statement nullifies 20
statements by Ango Abdullahi that Buhari would lose and they were supporting
Atiku. They supported Atiku because they thought he would win, they were not
strategic politicians, else they would have known that the former vice
president didn’t have any chance. Like Buhari
has told us, we shouldn’t put them to shame; we shouldn’t annoy them; he said
that we should calm them in the interest of the nation. I like opposition to
thrive so that they can put the ruling party on its toes to deliver good
Atiku has refused to accept defeat,
what does this portend?
Atiku should recall that he signed
the Peace Accord twice at the instance of the committee, also at his own
instance because he thought that he was going to win the election. When he was
signing that Peace Accord, he was signing it with the hope that he would have
peace after his election. He should know that there can’t be two presidents.
That Peace Committee headed by
Abdulsalami and Kukah, everybody knows where Kukah is in this country, also
everybody knows where Abdulsalami is vaccilating towards in this country. I’m
not blaming Atiku for not accepting the result; I’m blaming that committee for
not prevailing on Atiku to accept the result because it was what they agreed,
what they discussed, which he signed.
If Abdulsalami, Kukah, Onaiyekan
were sincere and not that they wanted peace only if Atiku won, they would have
told Atiku to accept the result unless they wanted peace only if Atiku won the
election. Even though we know they were partisan, we know what Kukah was
saying, we know what Onaiyekan has been telling Christians that Buhari was not
their candidate that they shouldn’t support him as he didn’t mean well for the
country, but God has done His will. They should go for peace now that Atiku has
Some say that Buhari’s reelection
wasn’t because of his performance, but because of cult followership in the
If it is because of performance,
Atiku said he can perform better than Buhari, he can provide jobs better than
Buhari, and he can enrich his family better than Buhari. The day Buhari was
announced winner, the social media became so quiet, and I couldn’t see any
voice in the social media in this country because Atiku’s social media warriors
decided to keep quiet.
There are many ingredients that make
a good politician loved and adored by people.
Look at the demography of Nigeria;
Buhari won everywhere. South East, it is because of obvious reason of Obi,
IPOB, but he didn’t perform badly.
It is not a question of cult and
non-performance, but let us look at non-performance; he is bringing an
internationally acceptable road from Lagos to Ibadan; is it by non-performance
that he is bringing a railway track from Lagos to Abeokuta within a period of one
year; is it by non-performance that he is bringing about 10 roads in each of
the geo-political zones; is it by non-performance that what you see in Borno
compared to when Buhari came in, one third of the state was occupied by Boko
Haram, and today those local governments have been liberated; is it by
non-performance that churches in Madela, Head quarters of the United Nations
and Police headquarters, were bombed by Boko Haram before Buhari came; is it by
non-performance that before now, Boko Haram bombed Kano, killed many others in
other cites in the North and Buhari halted all these.
Is it by non-performance that
primary school pupils are fed on daily basis? Is it by non-performance that
youths are being trained to acquire skills?
Yes, he has cult followership; did
he charm them to follow him? This followership cuts across the country, look at
the demography of voters turn out. In 2015, what Buhari had in South East is
not up to one quarter of what he has now, do you call that non- performance.
Look at Bayelsa, in 2015, Buhari didn’t have a seat in the state House of
Assembly, but today, we have one senator and hoping for one more, and we have
two House of Representatives seats. In Rivers State, there is an appreciable
performance, don’t forget Amaechi, he came to join from PDP, and Abe too.
Buhari has followership across the
country, and he would use the resources of the nation to the benefit of
everyone. He is not an angel, he has his shortcoming, and only God is 100 per
cent perfect. He is a work in progress; look at his background, it is different
from any of former or aspiring head of state in this country. He did it three
times, he couldn’t get it and there was a gang up against him, but God has
always been on his side.
Last time, you said Buhari was going
to score about 15 million votes, how did you come about the figure?
I’m an engineer by profession, and
very proud of it. The language we speak in engineering is mathematics. For some
months before the election, I have been collecting data, information and the
likely outcome of the votes and the number of votes cast in the election. I
used what we called, statistical correlation to arrive at some figures with
simple algorithm. I wanted to know what would happen for APC and PDP in the
presidential election. I designed a modem through algorithm and that will take
you close to what may likely happen. Within the margin of five per cent plus or
minus, I got 15 million votes.
Even though I belong to APC, but my
quest for data made me designed questionnaires, which I administered to people
in other parties across the country and insisted on objectivity in their
responses. The analyses helped to arrive at the figure