Chief Mike Ahamba SAN is a household name in public service, a humanitarian, philanthropist politician and legal matters in Nigeria: and in every respect a legal luminary. With some of the most flourishing career profile to flaunt, Chief Ahamba’s professional experience spans a vast area of adjudicative and procedural laws. His firm, Mike Ahamba & Co established in 1989, is one of the leading law chambers in Nigeria. With over two decades of operation and core experience in a wide range of national and international legal services and transactions, the law firm has developed an enviable portfolio of clients cutting across various industries and economic sectors. It has handled over 2000 briefs and novel cases that have contributed to legal development and reforms in Nigeria. A recipient of the national honors of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR), Chief Ahamba is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and a CEDR-accredited Mediator. He was appointed a Notary Public in 1991 and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on July 20, 1992. Chief Mike Ahamba the Ugo Lorji in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Areas Imo State aired his view in this interview with the editor of Waka About Africa, Chinyere Ogidi on STATE OF THE NATION.
Q: Do you think Nigerians are being ruled according to their expectations considering the way they were promised change?
Answer: Regrettably I don’t, then you can see today the Nation is in a very bad shape, particularly in a human relationship. Nigeria has not been as disunited as it is now. The government said they have an Economic policy which people do not understand and so there is poverty everywhere, there is hunger and people are frustrated, the third one is careerism, has been institutionalized into the policy of governance, with appointments loaded in favour of one section of the country to the detriment of others, to the exclusion of others even if they are the best in the market for the jobs that are not in accord with the provisions of our constitution, which says that such issues should be sprayed as much as possible across the Nation, Now when it is deliberately concentrated in one section of the Nation, that is not good.
Q: In your own opinion, what do you think can be done to help in fixing the Nigerian Economy?
What can be done is that there should be those who understand what I’m saying and who have the responsibility to do so, the serious effort to eradicate the Nigerians, who have a proper qualification that doesn’t have an education. Unfortunately you find some, highly placed people, professionals saying things that shows that they don’t even know the history of Nigeria they don’t know where they are coming from so they don’t know where they are going and these are people been rely upon, they look at the mass media, they pick up any information, they won’t cross check, they will take a decision and hold on to it. There’s a level to which you get, you don’t just react to things without making sure that what you reacting to is actually what it is. In this country that is ripe for us and the security of the citizen has not been as how as it is now, I do not know which one is more precious in Nigeria, the life of a chicken or the life of a human. People kill their fellow human being with ease and without concern, it’s a painful development, it’s a dangerous development, unless we do something about it, these will hurt everybody because it has already created Anarchy and anarchy is nobody’s friend it’s a dangerous pastime which is nobody’s friend. So the government in power at Abuja must be very careful about it.
Q: What advice can you give to President Buhari administration, as an elder Statesman so that the citizens can benefit from the change they voted for?
The President Buhari administration must see itself as inclusive of those who are not in government, believe that after an election whoever wins must now be for all, I very much admire President Buhari’s statement on the day of inauguration: “I belong to everybody, I belong to nobody”, it was a policy that made me so happy and I look forward to this and I’m still looking forward to it because I’ve not seen it happen, he appears to belong to somebody or some people. So, first he must come out of that and I want to say this, I’ve been close to Buhari for more than (8) eight years and I think I should know that sometimes he may mean well but the misfortune of situation right now is that he has to take total responsibilities for everything because the ball stands on his table, remember that Pontius Pilate did not kill Jesus Christ but till today we say in the days of Pontius Pilate he was crucified. The President should be careful that in future it may be said that in the days of President Buhari Nigeria disintegrated. That would be a very bad remembrance to a man who in 1984 has given the impression that he was the person who could put Nigerians together. Let those who think they can benefit from these things that are happening today try not to destroy this man who is now our president. But the only answer when a government does not perform is to change the government. Like the Abigbo Mbaise dance group sang, “they promised us to change and they brought chain”, so that they have to do something about it before the people decide to remove the chain by changing them, if they can achieve that in the next six months if the election will come or not I don’t know, it’s difficult but they should try.
Q: President Buhari claims he is fighting corruption, do you think he is really doing that as it is today?.
You see when you are fighting a thing, it then becomes more prevalent, you have to change the style of your fighting, now we have always known that on the roads, policemen collects money from motorists, it is not hidden and even NBC, National Broadcasting Corporation of America once put a footage on it but the difference now is that they are courageous enough to ask of change, to give you change, it has come to that now, it is no longer hidden and it has been permitted into public service, you see when an abomination is up to a year as Igbo man would say, it becomes a custom. Corruption is becoming customary in Nigeria because even those who are asked to help, sent to change the ghost away has meddle at the ghost they are chasing, awaiting people and showing when you have no facts destroys the fight against corruption, because when some people are released after the harassment people would think you collected money from them and you can’t even deny it, I think if you want to fight corruption let’s get serious about it, let us have facts before you begin to harass an eminent person who had laboured to come to the level to which he had come in the name of fighting corruption because let us remember when God created this world He has a lot to do with circle, the earth itself is circular shape, the revolves on its own in a circle it then goes round, rotates that you move, you come back to where you started just like as earth itself is moving, let us make sure that we don’t create a precedent that you make the persecutions of today becomes victims of tomorrow. It’s a possibility, it has happened in instant case and it can happen again. Yes you know that PDP was in power now we know they are been persecuted today APC is in power and persecuting PDP who knows tomorrow there could be a break be a break in this persecution and counter persecution.
Q: Why is that most of the politicians that seem to stand accuse or corrupt are running to APC
We would love to fight it and I don’t think the fight has begun, it should begin, when you fight corruption you don’t do it with noise making it has to be quite, you don’t tell a criminal that you are on your way to his house and he stays waiting for you, you don’t pick up a petition and arrest people base on petition without first investigate the petition, it’s an investigative error, civilised countries before they ever touch you they have their facts about you before detaining a person, you ask why he will tell you we are yet to find out whether he committed an offence in an affidavit. There is a programme about the fight against corruption because as you keep raising these issues and you can’t prove them your credibility goes down; this is what is happening to the security agencies involved in fighting this corruption. Their credibility has gone down because you have seen many innocent persons they prosecuted and people who are over clear guilty has been left aside, you don’t fight that way and say Buhari belongs to nobody and belongs to everybody but right here if APC, PDP or APGA if there is facts against you, if the government is serious the agency should go after that person. Now another thing is the people who are politician, it will be so until we have political parties, what we have now are election platforms not political parties if we have political parties there will be no changes because of disagreements the politics of the party remain the same, the objective remain the same, modality might change and there might be disagreement the target action will remain the same and the belief system the same so nobody leaves, you don’t leave your party because you lost election, you don’t leave your party because you don’t have the chance of getting a ticket, the one you’re into maybe you don’t get a ticket maybe you move to another to get a ticket, when I lost election in ANPP 2003, a very popular party, a very popular political party offered me ticket to the Senate, I rejected it as I haven’t subjected myself to this process, even I am not happy with what happened there, I cannot change, I remained in ANPP. Until we develop political parties the changes will continue to occur for political platforms and it is difficult to develop political parties because the people themselves do not understand what a political party should stand for. If some people will come up and say look this is our policy, this is what we want to achieve vote us, people will begin to ask, where does it have headquarters, who is the leader, is he a Northerner, is he an Easterner, is he a Muslim, is he a Christian it does not matter, but what he will be looking for in power is his objective.
This is the problem we have and we would have for some time to come, but I believe that the process for changing it must start now with mass education, forget elections and educate people on democracy and it’s operation, we should even go down to start educating our children in secondary schools about politics and what it stands for, about democracy and what it stands for, so that they get these embedded in their system as a way of life, for me politics and democracy is a way of life and a cultural attitude, which must be embedded in people for them to practice is very well and to resist any incursion into it by negative forces, for so long as election is just anything to get to power and get richer, it will not work.
I don’t know how, time will tell, but it appears from the action, they are running into the canopy of protection. If you are a member of PDP, and issues are raised about your security and activities that you are corrupt and you move to the party in power, the general opinion will be that you’re looking for protection and if actually you become protected those who think so will now be justified. Now the question is this, do you know that it is only the PDP members, who remain in PDP that can be investigated for corruption in this country, are there no PDP members who are now in APC that are more corrupt to the best of everyone’s knowledge before now, are there not things that could lead to their investigation for them to prove their innocent, why are they declared innocent at initially without an inquiry because they belong to the ruling party this is not good for democracy.
Q; One may then ask, where is the integrity in President Buhari’s Government?
No, because President Mohammed Buhari’s era has been very negative, contrary to my expectation. I love my country and loyalty first to my country before any individual. Let me tell you this, the whole peaceful situation is going too strong to fight, we pray it doesn’t take place because everybody knows that the consequences will be on both sides, you know Russia and America stay about 50 yards from themselves in Berlin and no shot was fired for fifty years because each one of them knew that when you fire that in Berlin, that there’s possibility in their home either in America or in Russia might be destroyed, we have not had any world war today because of the deterrent of people that powerful nations arising, so I don’t think anything odd will happen in 2019 election, the election will be held and INEC has known that the world will not look at it, as if they allow what happened in Osun or Ekiti to happen again, they should belong to no one but belong to everyone.
Q; In Osun and Ekiti elections, for example, Nigerians witness buying of votes, is this a new democratically form of election?
Vote buying, the way you people orchestrating is so surprising to me, it was there in 2015, APC was buying votes in my own community I saw it happened and I witnessed what I’m talking about. Vote buying by APC in 2015, I can testify on that because I was there, but this question of making it as elaborate didn’t happen, they just sneaking money to the people on the road before they arrive, you know they don’t trust anybody to vote, that’s why they are making sure that you vote, PDP is accusing APC and APC is accusing PDP the paramount thing is let both be monitor by security agencies to prevent it, let see who will suffer it.
But I want to say that, when they go buying votes, you’re making a concession that they are not fit and proper to be voted for, you are also making a concession and now sold yourself to the people or an alternative that you have found that you have failed the people that is the only thing that makes you go buying for votes. I’ve said it in my own that any day I apply any form of rigging in my ward for my party to win an election in my ward, that day I’ll retire from politics and know that it’s a vote of no confidence. When any credible politician cannot win his ward without applying so negative thing then you have conceded failure to yourself, that’s the way I look at it so let them tell themselves to get out of politics that’s what it should be. The whole world is listening to us accusing ourselves of buying one vote with ten thousand naira that’s the news from Osun election.
Q; Chief Mike Ahamba what do you want to be remembered of?
I want to be remembered for the good practice I stands for. I take on issue that I always gear towards a better society than myself, I want to be remembered that since I was born, I can say it with pride today since I get into politics as a young man since 1978, there is no statement of mine that has been contradicted, I want to remain so.