Moses Jolayemi, a former editor at THISDAY, is the coordinator for the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM) in Ekiti state. Before his appointment, he was the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch newspapers, which he pioneered and ran to prominence. Prior to that, he was a member of the Editorial Board of THISDAY, pioneer Foreign Affairs Editor of Daily Independent, Head, Advert/Special projects for The News magazine, Head of the Ibadan Bureau of The Guardian newspapers. He was later invited to serve as spokesman for the former Governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, and was later appointed as Special Adviser, Culture and Tourism. In this interview with Adedayo Adejobi,Â Jolayemi talks about his involvement with the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM) and how the much-talked-about Third Force hopes to change the dynamics of the countryâ€™s political climate, come 2019
What are you doing with NIM and what is the whole idea of NIM?
Iâ€™ve been in journalism for a while now and I only veered into the business of government sometime in 2007 when I went to serve Ekiti State. That ended the moment our government was sacked by the Appeal Court in Ilorin in 2010. NIM as the name implies, is an intervention movement aimed at rescuing Nigeria from the current precipice. You donâ€™t need the services of soothsayers, prophets, alfas or herbalists to know that this country is going towards a major fall, from which it may never recover, going by the crude and callous carelessness of the current President, General Muhammadu Buhari who is running this country like an undertaker. It has never happened before that a president would comfortably and happily look away while his fellow citizens are being slaughtered like cows by herdsmen who are his tribesmen.
But there was a report that the President alleged that these herdsmen are actually from LibyaÂ and not Fulani.
At what point did this President get to know that? How long did he take him to know that, after years of carnage and several hundreds of killings of innocent Nigerians? Now that he is desperately seeking re-election, he wants to shift blame as he has always done in the last three years? His inability to make any meaningful impact in the lives of Nigerians in all areas you can think of, he says is because Jonathanâ€™s government was corrupt. Now that Nigerians are crying that they have never felt so unsafe in their own country, our clueless president is taking us to Libya that that is where the herdsmen came from. So do we go to Libya now and beg the relations of the killer Libyan herdsmen to to placate the killers? This man probably thinks we are all fools in this country. How did these Libyans enter Nigeria? Did they come in by road, air or sea? Or did they trek in with their cows from Libya? And on getting here, they would now decide to be killing Nigerians? They are the same people asking for grazing colonies from the government of Nigeria? They were the same people who sought and got the backing of the defence minister who did not hide his support for them? They are Libyans indeed.
As one of my friends suggested, Buhari should set up the Ministry of Excuses and maybe a federal agency for â€˜I donâ€™t knowâ€™ because our president never knows anything. He didnâ€™t know his own chief of staff was on the board of NNPC. He didnâ€™t know the Inspector General of Police did not carry out his instruction; the list is endless. He is quick to blame others while he remains Mr. Clean; Mr. Integrity.
There is therefore, a dire need for an urgent intervention. Our country needs to be rescued from these undertakers in government. We need to install a credible and responsible leadership that will bring back smiles that seem to have disappeared from the faces of Nigerians. That is the whole essence of NIM and that is what I am doing in NIM. We need to take our country back. All of us, you and I . We need to take full ownership of our land. If we donâ€™t do it now, we might as well forget it and see ourselves as truly a wasted generation.
For a layman on the streets of Lagos and Kano, what they can relate with or easily understatnd is a political party. They want to know the party to go for especially in 2019, considering the fact that majority of the people are reportedly fed up with the two prominent parties. Donâ€™t you think this is like an intellectual movement, a kind of pressure group that will have the shape of an underdog and at end of the day, nothing happens?
(Cuts in) No, no no, thatâ€™s not the point.Â Thatâ€™s why I said we must rise up and do it now. We are gathering more and more members across all the zones of the country and you will marvel at the number of people who have signed in. That alone is a conviction that we are not off track because it means our position is the popular position of the majority of Nigerians. Except the few who are feeding fat by serving in this pretentious and inept government, I have not seen any sane Nigerian applauding this wicked regime.
Buhari has declared his intention to run for president in 2019. He said he was doing so because majority of Nigerians appreciate what his government is doing. What is your position on this?
President Buhari is not only grossly incompetent, he is also insincere and highly insensitive. If not how on earth could he muster the courage to tell such a fat lie to the entire world that he declared his intention to run for a second term because â€˜The majority of Nigerians appreciate what we are doing, and that is why I am re-contesting.â€™
It is annoying and insulting knowing that this is most untrue and as a leader and an elder statesman, this is a very wicked a lie. Who are those majority of Nigerians? Was he referring to the families of thousands of people who have been killed either by herdsmen or Boko Haram? Is it the millions of unemployed youth who populate the land? Tell me one specific area of achievement that Buhari can point to? Just name one, my brother; is it healthcare, education, power, infrastructure, economy, security, name one please. This man has not fulfilled one, I mean one single campaign promise he made. It is a big shame.
Anyone who votes Buhari in 2019 is an enemy of this country because this president is just not getting it right at all. May be deep down him he intends to do well but he is clearly incapacitated. He cannot cope with the rigours of that office to start with. He is also intellectually ill-equipped to understand how things run in todayâ€™s world. A president who does not know how to send a text message, how does he cope, when he is surrounded by sharp guys who are internet savvy and smart enough to make things happen for themselves while pretending to be fighting corruption with him?
Donâ€™t you think the President is doing well fighting against corruption?
I always laugh when people refer to Buhari as fighting corruption. Buhari is not fighting any corruption. In fact, he is corrupt himself. You cannot tell me you are not a thief when you accept or gladly enjoy the proceeds of theft. Buhari works and wines with known corrupt elements and yet he wants to say he is a clean man? His close aides who have been accused of varying degrees of stealing what has he done to them? What about those who sponsored his election?
If the president is truly fighting corruption how he has not received commendation from the international communities, lets even assume that the rest of us in this country are mere â€˜â€™wailing wailersâ€™â€™? The truth is that the veil has been lifted and the whole world has been able to see through Buhariâ€™s insincerity and shenanigans. Is anyone in doubt that the so-called fight has been one-sided? The moment you find your way into the APC, you have saved your head against Buhariâ€™s axe and you remain sinless. So everyone in APC is a saint?Â Now they have started publishing names of looters, lets see how many APC members will be named. I may even make the list if someone to shows him this interview.
How do you intend to dislodge an incumbent?
One of our main strategies is to encourage all eligible voters to go out and get their voters cards. That is their number one weapon. We are also registering our members across the length and bradth of the country. At the last count, we had over two million members and that must have increased tremendously because that figure is more than six weeks old now. We want as many as those who desire freedom from social and economic slavery the country is in right now to come forward and join the movement. At the appropriate time, there will be a merger of all the interest groups because at the moment there are so many movements and groups across the country. We all know that we have a common problem, a common affliction and that is Buhari. It beats me hollow that a man who has failed abysmally in every area he was voted to work on could have the presence of mind to seek another term of failure. Like former President Obasanjo said a few days ago, he said one of the things he, Obasanjo, learnt in military training is that you donâ€™t reinforce failure. If truly thatâ€™s part of military training then may be President Buhari did not attend that course chief Obasanjo was referring to. Having gathered all Nigerians who desire a real change and all the forces have come together, then we can together dislodge this failure.
Who among those jostling president is your preferred candidate?
We donâ€™t have a preferred candidate yet. But I can assure you that at the right time, the right candidate will emerge. The profile of that candidate must match the ideals on which NIM and other collation groups are couched. Donâ€™t forget that the various groups all have similar agenda and objective which is first rescuing this nation from the hands of plunderers, then establishing a government that works for all, not a certain section of the country. A government gives all a sense of ownership and one that has the capacity to take our nation away from the woods, create an environment that is conducive for people to realise their potentials and aspirations and be a prosperous nation for once. There are many distinguished individuals who can fit into this description and when such individuals are located, then the actual journey of a new Nigeria begins.Â From all available evidence, this president cannot lead Nigeria to any destination of peace and prosperity. He cannot. He has done his best and we all have seen his best.
How do you intend to win as many people as possible into your fold?
What is important is getting people to know that they now have another way out of this political, social and economic doldrums. Our people are disillusioned. They feel trapped. Every member of the APC you see will tell you that have made a grave mistake and they donâ€™t know what to do. But help is near. To answer your question, funding may not be a problem at the end of the day because those who believe in this course and who have the means will support. The fact is that we are not distributing money as political parties do. We donâ€™t even have it anyway but I can assure you that the goodwill we have among the people will break any barrier, just wait and see.
Is your movement same as that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo?
Yes and no. Yes, because almost every inch of NIMâ€™s ideals, beliefs and philosophies are shared by Obasanjoâ€™s Coalition of Nigeria Movement (CNM). You see, dislodging the present regime should not be as difficult as some think because all the coalition groups and almost every individual on the streets knows that we all have a common enemy, a common affliction and that is the APC government and that is at the federal level. You wonâ€™t say that of Lagos, for instance, which is constantly and consistently showing itself as a model of how states should be run. There may be a few shortfalls here and there which again is not unexpected, the fact is that Lagos is working. That further tells you that our affliction is mostly at the federal level. That is why Buhari needs to be shown the way out. No because he is not the founder or member of NIM. And that is all. Every other thing points in the same direction. Obasanjo certainly means well for this country and he has seen it all. What you and I canâ€™t see standing on a 32-storey building Obasanjo can see it lying on his bed.
But the same Obasanjo played an influential role in bringing in Buhariâ€™s emergency?
If you ask Obasanjo Iâ€™m sure he will tell you he regrets allowing Buhari get there. But I think Obasanjo did what was expedient at that time. I am not his spokesman and I cannot swear to know what is running through his mind right now but the fact is that Obasanjo must have had some reservations about Buhari but I am also sure he never envisaged that the man could be so bad. Nobody knew he was this bad, honestly. Not even his fellow party members. I donâ€™t want to believe Ashiwaju Tinubu himself knew the extent of Buhariâ€™s incompetence. I am sure he wouldnâ€™t have entered into that merger with Buhariâ€™s CPC then. Tinubu also means well for this country, I strongly believe.Â Buhari has shocked everybody with his unprecedented failure but it will amount to rocking the boat if someone like Tinubu comes out to speak against his party leader the way Obasanjo is doing.Â In my view if you mistakenly drive your friendâ€™s car to a ditch, I donâ€™t think itâ€™s fair to abandon it and walk away. You should seek help from others around and help bring the car back on the road. We all made the mistake together. I think that is what Obasanjo is trying to do now; to give the country back to us Buhari is a failed experiment, a major mistake and we must correct that mistake in the next election.
Donâ€™t you think the PDP should reorganise itself and return to power?
That would have been the natural choice under the circumstance. The fact is that APC has successfully demystified itself by the monumental failure of Buhari and that should give the PDP a golden chance to worm itself back into the hearts of Nigerians. Of course, PDP has been badly bruised especially by the strong APC propaganda machinery which was used to demonise the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, but with the turn of events in the country , it has become clear that Jonathan is not as bad as he was painted and the fact is that Nigerians fared better under him. They made us believe that Jonathanâ€™s government was government of corruption but Nigeria was still Nigeria, not this George Orwellâ€™s â€˜Animal Farmâ€™Â that the country has been turned to where life is â€˜short and brutish.â€™
Unfortunately, while APC has demystified itself, PDP seems to have diminished itself.Â Looking at the way it is presently constructed and configured, it is unlikely it will be well-positioned to win back the confidence of the people. So both the APC and the PDP can only enjoy their space in history.
Ekiti Stateâ€™s election is some months away. What role is NIM playing in ensuring that the best man is voted for the job?
Ekiti and Osun states have been discussed at the national level of our movement and efforts are on to ensure that the best candidates gets the job. The race is close by but I will not want to say much about the strategies being put in place but we have our members in all the 16 local government areas of the state.
Who are the movers and shakers of your movement?
I donâ€™t know what you mean by movers and shakers. In every human arrangement, some people must leadsome people. So we have Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, and Dr. Abdul-Jhalil Tafawa Balewa are the two co-chairs. We have people like Pat Utomi, Donald Duke, Rabiu Ishyaku Rabiu, Frank Nweke Jr and it goes on and on like that. The secretariat is headed by Mr. Wale Okunniyi.Â At the zonal level, you haveÂ Dr. Olu Agunloye as the coordinator for the West while NIM NationalÂ Secretary is Prof. Anthony Kila who is like the engine room of the secretariat. We also have coordinators in all the 36 states among whom is yours sincerely for Ekiti and Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, a legal icon and committed member for Oyo State, among others.
But you see these people are not the actual movers and shakers.Â They are merely running or coordinating affairs. The actual movers and shakers are Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, who desire a better, saner government that will guarantee better, happier and prosperous life for all. In other words, the movers and shakers are you and I. I believe you so desperately desire a better living and a surer future for your children. So NIM is yours. Take it! Thatâ€™s why you and I need to gird our loins and take our destinies in our own hands and totally exterminate this evil regime of Buhari so that sanity and safety can return to the country.