BY PETER DURU
…Says “we should be talking about Hunger Haram not Boko Haram”
Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, renowned social critic and former Lagos State Commissioner of Police in this interview spoke on the state of the nation and expectations for 2013. Excerpts:
HOW would you rate President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in the last 12 months?
When Jonathan became president, he promised that he was going to provide security and cater for the well being of the people because these are the primary objectives of government. But he has failed. Look at the level of insecurity in this country. What is happening in the northern states particularly in Yobe, Borno, Kano and Bauchi, it appears that these states are not in Nigeria; maybe they are not part of Nigeria completely because they are isolated and government is not paying particular attention to them. So, government has failed in providing security.
Insecurity arises from idleness, lack of jobs, poverty and the rest of them. When people are gainfully employed, they will not have time to engage in acts of terrorism and thuggery. People have no jobs; people are hungry and we keep on hammering on Boko Haram. I think what we should be talking about now is Hunger Haram and not Boko Haram. So, government has failed totally.
On the other hand, the level
of corruption has become so high and government is not doing anything about it. Today, you hear that a lot of money is missing and yet nobody does anything about it. Recently we heard that about N2.1billion bank loan was missing and they don’t know who took it and government is not saying anything about it. People have embezzled a lot of money; people have been caught trying to leave the country with huge sums of money, yet we have not heard anything about it.
I am happy that Alhaji Asari Dokubo has also accused President Jonathan of this same thing. He is Jonathan’s townsman but he made a statement condemning him (Jonathan) that he is incapable and that he doubts whether he will win any elections in this country. So, Asari Dokubo spoke the minds of many Nigerians. For me, I don’t think the government has done anything for us at all.
Now we are hearing of employment scandal at the Ministry of Interior where they said the mother of the President has been given some slots, the wife of the President has been given some slots and certain people have been given some slots to put people in Immigration. So, they have completely thrown away federal character. Is that how it is done? Does that now mean that you can only be employed if you know the mother or wife of the president? That should not be the case. This thing should be assigned to every state of the federation.
President Jonathan has promised that 2013 will be better than 2012. What do you have to say to that?
What stopped him from performing in 2012? He himself admitted that he had been slow. What made him to be slow? The man was never prepared to be president. He is president by accident, Obasanjo just imposed on us and that is why he is doing what he is doing. If he cannot learn during the past years when is he going to learn? And the same people who are misleading him, the same people who are corrupt, the same people who are telling him lies are still in his cabinet.
As long as he keeps them in his cabinet, he will even perform worse than this because we all know that everybody is looking for money now so that they can go and contest the 2015 election including him (Jonathan). That is why he has opened the safe for everybody to go in and steal. And they have incapacitated the EFCC, they have incapacitated the ICPC and that is why these organizations are not performing. That is why if you commit an offence and they arrest you nothing happens. They would arrest people and make so much noise about it but the moment they go to court, nobody hears anything about that case again.
You seem not to have seen anything good about the Jonathan’s administration…
Yes, Jonathan is weak; very weak. It is only recently that the man started becoming serious because each time you see him, you see him smiling without any reason. He is an accidental president. He never expected to be president. Suddenly he became president and then he turned the thing into a family affair.
By 2013 it will just be about two years to the US’ prediction of possible disintegration of Nigeria. Are you not worried that that with all the happenings around us, that prediction may come to pass?
I have been to Yobe, I have been to Adamawa and I have seen the situation in these two states. The states are abandoned; they are not like part of Nigeria. No federal delegation is sent to go and communicate with these people.
Federal Government is not assisting them. Their own politicians have deserted the states and are staying in Abuja so that those who are left behind there now are farmers and teachers.
Allowing corruption to thrive
As early as 4pm everybody goes to his house. So, if this thing continues the way it is going, then maybe the US forecast that Nigeria may disintegrate in 2015 may be true. But I am happy that Asari Dokubo has spoken and has condemned the President about his governance and for allowing corruption to thrive. So, if somebody like Asari Dokubo who is from the same area with the President is criticizing him, it means that we have hope in this country because you can clearly see that there is discrimination among his own people.
So, who will be the people who will want Nigeria to be divided? And maybe if they say Nigeria should be divided now, all of us will suffer. There are some areas in this country that have no farmland. There are some areas that have farmlands; there are areas where they fight for farmlands every now and then. We have scattered and we have inter-married. There are some people whose family has stayed in other parts of the country outside their home-states spanning two to three generations.
Land to build or farm
So, if we say that we should disintegrate what becomes of these people? Are they to go back to their home states, where will they get the land to build or farm? These are things that people should think about and stop thinking about oil because oil is not the solution.
Are you afraid of disintegration?
I am not afraid because God is wonderful. God knows how He is going to look after the North in case there is disintegration. Already I understand they have found oil in some commercial quantity in the North. So, if they disintegrate, the people who are talking about this thing will discover that the North is more buoyant than the South. Not only that; these people in the South have betrayed this country. The North has been ruling from time immemorial and they never talked of disintegration. Now, somebody is ruling from the South and they are talking about disintegration.
This means that the North has genuine love for this country and is determined to ensure the unity of this country. But because a minority now is ruling this country, they are talking about disintegration because they cannot look beyond their noses; they think that the oil they have is the whole thing man needs to survive. They don’t know that God who gave them oil in that magnitude can give oil to other parts of the world. After all, before independence we did not know that there would be oil in the Niger-Delta region. So, we may get oil even in Makurdi here if God so pleases.
So what is the way forward for Nigeria?
The way forward for Nigeria is for Jonathan to change his tactics; to be more serious in his war against corruption. He should also change some of his cabinet members because some of them are misleading him; some of them are responsible for his inaction and non-performance. Also, the police should be given enough powers to prosecute whoever commits an offence. What is happening now is that when people are arrested for being members of Boko Haram in some states, they will fly them to Abuja and as soon as they get to Abuja you hear nothing about the case again. They are neither taken to court nor prosecuted. Then you find that the state from where these people are arrested become very frustrated.
The law creating the offences say if you commit an offence, you should be tried in the place where you committed the offence. For instance, somebody committed terrorism in Jos, instead of prosecuting him in Jos, you take him to Abuja then you hear nothing about it. Maybe the next thing you hear is that the man has escaped from custody.