Read what Onochie said about Buhari eight years ago


Lauretta Onochie is a volunteer in the media team of President Buhari.  She speaks to Awele Ogbogu on the change agenda of the president, his anti-corruption stance and sundry issues.  She spoke then at Ubulu-Okiti Delta State when we she for the chieftaincy title of one Chief Edemodu


You were one of those described as Internet tigers for the president because of your active use of social media to promote his campaign, you were abroad then, now that you are back, what are you doing for the president?

My mission is to achieve social justice, accountability and to help map out a positive roadmap for Nigeria. So, I had been talking about issues concerning Nigeria on social media since 2010. Before then, as a politician based in the UK, I have been active on social media since 2000.
Over the past 15 months, I have been on ground to support the change that Nigerians want. I’m part of the president’s media team but still as a volunteer. I’m working to defend the government’s policies because I believe in the ability of the president to deal with the country’s problems that past governments failed to solve, so I’m seeing a country where future generations would live in a prosperous nation as it was when I was a child. I don’t just think this is possible but I believe President Buhari will do all that he has promised and that is why I’m supporting him.

But almost one year into his administration, people are saying he is not at the level they expected him to be?

There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that the president is taking the country in the right direction and this is why I’m supporting him. If you inherit a dilapidated structure, it is either you knock it down completely and start afresh or you decide to patch the cracks but more cracks may emerge. So what the president is doing after inheriting a country that was in a terrible state is knocking it down and laying a solid foundation such that in 10 to 20 years time,  those who will come after him can build on that solid structure.

How do you feel when people say that the president’s anti-corruption war is selective? 


I’m not bothered by the insinuations, rather when people say the anti-corruption war is selective,  I say yes,  I agree in the sense that you select the people that have questions to answer, those Nigerians that were corrupt within the larger population, you do not touch people who have never been in government or other positions of trust or have never handled any abandoned contracts or shared in the plundering of public funds simply because people are sponsoring rumours against them but the EFCC and police will only go after those that they have evidence to prosecute.

What about the petitions that were brought against a particular ministerial nominee now serving in the government?

It was all rumours. During the ministerial screening,  one Senator was waiving this document that he said will nail Amaechi. For some moments, we held our breath thinking that the man is finished but when a committee was set up and he was asked to bring evidence,  all he had was the paper containing his petition, but you do not charge people based on petitions alone.  Believe me,  if the president finds one evidence tomorrow and it is incriminating, he will prosecute because he has said that it is a war against corruption and he is not looking at individuals. So, if you are trailing the path of corruption, you cannot hide because the stench will lead them to you and they will get to you no matter your political party or loyalty to the government, the only interest is the interest of the country.

What happened to the body language of the president shortly after May 29, then we saw improvement in power supply but  now many things, even power t has gone back to it’s former state?

The body language is still there but what happened was that due to that improvement in power supply after the president took over, many Nigerians, including factories and industries that were relying on generators had to dump their generators and they all plugged into the national grid, but those concerned are on ground working. In the petroleum sector, we had a cabal, mostly people who imported fuel and they have this amount they share every month which Nigerians know as fuel subsidy. Since January, the president has refused to play along and the cabal is holding the country to ransome.
So,  the NNPC  is working very hard and within a short time, it will become the sole importer of fuel in the country until we can refine enough crude here.

As a volunteer for President Buhari,  are you taking a cue from TAN under former president Jonathan?

TAN had money because they were people funding them but still working as a volunteer for President Buhari, I’m the one funding my activities.

How would you access the Okowa administration in Delta State?

I’m still watching

As a woman, how would you compare Dame Patience Jonathan and Aisha Buhari as first ladies?

Dame Patience Jonathan was the one running this country but Aisha Buhari understands her role as a mother and a wife as well as what is expected of her as the first lady of this country.

You are still working as a volunteer for the president, perhaps you realise working in full capacity is an enormous challenge?

I will absolutely accept if invited to serve by the president. I was raised in this country and I know when the governance was good. Living in the Diaspora for close to 20 years,  I again saw the way things are done,  so I know the areas to apply my knowledge in solving the country’s problems.


…First published in Published in Independent Newspaper of Monday April 4, 2016

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