Sheikh (Dr) AHMED MAHMUD ABUBAKAR GUMI, a Kaduna based Muslim cleric, is the son of Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, the late Nigerian revered Islamic preacher of international repute. In this exclusive interview with JIBRIN MIACHI, Dr Gumi after assessing the 2019 general elections, condemned the conduct, saying there was no credible election. He therefore supports the decision of presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar, to pursue his case against the re-election of President Muhammodu Buhari to logical conclusion, contrary to the position and views of Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar. EXCERPTS:
2019 general election has come and gone, as a concerned Nigerian, what is your assessment?
It is easy to say 2019 election has come and has not gone. I Think It has come but it has not gone. It reflects the depth of hypocrisy in the nation and that Nigerians have not really understood how to manage this country. Everybody is wise with the slogans to deceive the common man. Poor man is a victim because if somebody is uneducated and poor, he can be gullible to manipulations by different forces. That is why we Nigerians are backward and are still in the forest. But still, you can see light at the end of the tunnel. But I am sad. I have just read that a Senator, an APC Senator (Lawan), saying he is vying for the senate presidency and if he becomes, he can promote the change of the constitution to allow the president to have unlimited terms. I felt so sad for him that this is the kind of leader we are producing. There is just no intelligence in this country either in the presidency or in the senate. Why is he talking like this? Does he want to bring Nigeria back to dark ages? He wants us to be like Cameroon where one man is suppressing the nation or in Sudan or Algeria where an 84 year old man is suppressing others or Libya? Is it what he wants in Nigeria and with things going bad? You see, these are the kinds of senators we have. That is why the election was rigged. The election was rigged. I am not saying it is one party. There was no election. In fact, it is a shame on INEC. After collecting billions of Naira, this is what they can present. Worse, people died all over the country. Even in India where they are more than us in population, after election nobody die because of election. It is because of the way the election was conducted that people died here. But they will be responsible for the death of these innocent people because they were victims. If a cow gets lost from the shepherd, it is not the fault of the cow; it is the fault of the shepherd. The Nigerian masses are victims and in this election, they have reacted. They reacted both in the North, South, West and East, everywhere after four years of blackmail, negative appeal, suppression and oppression done by this regime on any voice that is opposing it. How can within four years of this massive negative complain and propaganda a ruling party resort to buying votes, as alleged, bribe INEC officials, connived with armed forces before they can emasculate power from the opposition. There is a message in that. People are reacting and this is just the beginning of reaction.
The presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar has rejected the outcome of the election and decided to go to court. What is your reaction?
Before he even opened his mouth, when people including some of you journalists were calling him to congratulate Buhari, I said no, let him go to court. I am not trying to protect Atiku, but I am trying to protect Nigerians. This election, if anybody will tell you, is a military coup. Go to Kano, they will tell you that. I heard a woman crying and saying she will come out even if you will kill us with your soldiers. So, even the woman in the house knows that it is force that he is using. So it is not about Atiku, it is about all of us. Money was used for propaganda, money was used to buy votes. This election was to be conducted with the Card Reader. Let INEC bring those who registered with the card reader because electronic finger print cannot get lost. Those who voted using card reader are the ones their votes should be counting. Even when I voted, my child behind me, when he came, the card reader was not working, so he voted without the card reader. I am evidence. So, if one can vote without the card reader, then a million people can do that. How can we fall to that level of dishonesty, hypocrisy, inefficiency and backwardness? Worst, we claimed we are Muslims.
Your impression and view is different from that of the Northern leaders, especially the Sultan of Sokoto. They are pleading with Atiku not to go to Court because any alteration could spell doom for the country
No. The country is already doomed. Immediately they announced that the President has won, how did the stock market react? As I talk to you now, most Nigerians cannot feed, cannot pay their medical bills, they cannot take their children to hospital and take them to school. Already we are doomed. May be the Sultan is talking of those refracts that will make noise. A platoon of soldiers can take care of them. They cannot hold us to ransom. We cannot give you power because you have these refracts, that is the message. So because you have fanatics that will bath themselves in mud water then we give you power? No. What can of a nation is that? Let us follow the rule. Let the law take its course, due process. I am waiting to see our lawyers and judges’ behaviour in this case, if they have also fallen into that kind of quagmire of intimidation. They should do their work to safe this nation. Now in Nigeria, people of all walks of life are demonstrating but their juggler vane is held by the military. It is the same thing in Egypt. In Turkey, except today, in the capital they are able to work against the government only today. The oppositions are all afraid. If you make noise they think you are a plotter. Here in Nigeria, if you make noise they say you are a looter. After Ganduje, who will talk to me about looting? So, we should not allow people to use slogans to suppress us. What I want is I am a man; I don’t want any man to suppress me. This is Nigeria. We want everybody to have freedom – freedom of association, freedom of expression and you don’t rule us unless you satisfy the rule of law. If you don’t satisfy the condition of the law then give way to those who satisfy the rule of law.
The fear Sultan has expressed is the possibility of uprising if Buhari’s election is upturned.
No uprising will come. Is it not the masses that has lined up as opposition to the extent that the government needed to buy votes. The masses want change and they have done their best. I praise them. Those against were enticed and if they give you money there is no way you can do otherwise because they are watching you. They did it not because they like it but because they are poor. They knew if the election should be without giving N1,000.00 or clothes, they will lose. Look at the turnout. About 83million registered, over72million collected their cards. Out of this 72million, if you round it up, less than 30million voted leaving about 50million eligible voters stayed at home, even in presidential. Nigerians have resigned their fate to God. They don’t have confidence in anybody.
From all indications, do you see the judiciary coming out with the true verdict in the election cases before the court?
It is a dicey situation. Anything can happen. It is fifty, fifty. Sometimes people negotiate to get money and so otherwise. But sometimes, if you are humiliated you will want to remain strict. What is sure today is that there was no credible election in 2019. Card reader issue was enough evidence. Not all votes cast have card reader. Another way out that can bring Nigeria closer to sanity is Government of National Unity but not party. This can be done by picking from here and there to come together and arrange for a good election.