Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Elder statesman and former Minister of Police Affairs, Broderick Bozimo, has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for declaring June 12 as the new Democracy Day and for the posthumous GCFR award given to the acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election, Chief M.K.O Abiola.
He however advocated that the result of the June 12 election should be made public.
How would you react to the posthumous award given to Late Chief M.K.O Abiola and others by the President?
Well, it is a welcome development and, we thank Mr. President for this. Besides, I recall that in those days we always applauded Chief Abiola for his good works. In his campaign team, we followed him all over the country. I was in a hotel in Apapa when I heard about his election on June 12, 1993 but I was devastated when his election was cancelled because we were all expecting good things in this country. Above all, we applaud the president for giving the award to Chief Abiola and Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and Chief Gani Fewahimi of blessed memory. However the problem is that there have to be a solid basis not by sheer notoriety that the man (Abiola) won; in fact, government does not act that way, rather government should act on concrete facts and those facts be made available to this government. The results are there, it should be announced that the man won the election and was deprived unjustly before giving out the award. President Buhari should go a step further by getting the archives and declare that the man really won the election, even if he wasn’t sworn-in, the international community and Nigerians will take it serious that President Buhari meant well. Without that declaration as far as l am concerned, we are building something on nothing.
Do you support the suggestion that the federal government should pay compensation to Abiola family?
As far as I am concerned, that is irrelevant to what is on ground, it is not that they are not important but they are not crucial. What Nigerians and the international community want to know is that Chief Abiola defeated Bashir Tofa in the election and we failed to announce those results to put things right. The result should be announced to clear any doubt, and that will put to rest any other issue being conceived. I mean without announcing the result, it goes to show that we are just speculating or dreaming.
The assumption now is that at last, Chief Abiola’s soul will rest in peace. Do you agree?
Yes! Yes, I am even happy that it has been declared Democracy Day, but things should be done legally by following due process. Let us not do something on sentiment, there has to be concrete basis and it behoves on government to announce the result publicly. INEC has the records where the results are kept because the president has started a good job and should complete it on a record time.
Now, on what basis do you think Gani Fawehinmi was given a posthumous award?
We should remember too that Fawehinmi was a strong supporter of June 12. As far as I am concerned it is okay but another point I am concerned about is that Prof. Humphrey Nwosu should be given award too because he was the NEC chairman that conducted that election. Another way to look at it is that Prof. Nwosu as a public officer did the right thing for this country and therefore, we can applaud him. However, my suggestion is that every INEC chairman that has successfully conducted any election should be honoured too. I equally applaud Chief Frank Ovie kokori who also contributed immensely to the progress of this country. A lot of other Nigerians such as Mrs. Kudirat Abiola who paid the supreme prize and others should be remembered. Besides, Ambassador Kingibe was also given an award because it was a joint ticket and you cannot separate him from Chief Abiola. But as I said, the president has the prerogative of giving award to whosoever he likes, but for peace and justice to reign he has to considered those people meritoriously.
INEC has fixed election for an early period of the year, what is your take on this?
First of all, INEC enjoys the prerogative of fixing election period, so they must have decided this on good advice and authority. However, I will not question that but I imagine also that when they start early, there will be sufficient time for disputers to go to the tribunal. So it will not be a healthy thing when
the president who was sworn-in is sworn-out. I think it is all of those factors that INEC considered to have shifted the election time table to an early period unlike before.
The federal government has given a nod for the dredging of Escravos Bar to Warri but some riverine communities are saying that they should be compensated. What is your reaction?
Well as you know, when you damage the economic interest of communities the world over, you must pay compensation. I think the dredging idea is very good because it is a way vessels can access both Warri Port, and Koko and Burutu ports as well as Sapele Port. However Burutu Port was operating before the other ports because in those days we used to see vessels conveying groundnut from the north and other parts of the country sometimes in the 40s. There is no reason the ports in Delta cannot be dredged. I want to know why the dredging of the River Niger and Forcados have stopped. Honestly, I don’t know what has happened. We should be serious when we talk about dredging because if proper job is done, all channels will be opened to allow vessels to carry product in and out but not cosmetic dredging that will not last long.
Delta Steel Company (DSC) has started skeletal operations, what is your take on this?
I am happy that they are back on stream and this is the time when our youths need employment. So the by-products can be used to cast iron whereby a lot of things can be produced and our youths can take advantage of that. The engineers should produce cast products such as garden chairs instead of putting it on the road and if care is not taken it will be difficult to remove because it will just silt down. I hope they should be more productive this time around that the company will be buoyant.