‘ISIS has compounded crisis’

By Akpokona Omafuaire & Ochuko Akuopha

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, said Boko Haram and herdsmen acts of violence have developed beyond what President Muhammadu Buhari administration alone could handle.

President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo

Obasanjo noted: “If Miyetti Allah is truly encouraging herdsmen violence and killings and truly they have to be appeased or placated with 100billion naira and they are equated to Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, etc, then we have to appease those other organisations similarly or be ready to allow them to unleash havoc of their own.”

Speaking at the second session of the Seventh Synod of the Anglican Communion, Oleh Diocese, Delta State, he said: “Every issue of insecurity must be taken seriously at all levels and addressed at once without favouritism and cuddling.”

The former President, who delivered a lecture on the topic, ‘ Mobilizing Human and Natural Resources for Stable Polity and Economy’ , and commissioned the multi-million naira Diocesan Mary- Martha Hospital and DANTINAJO Gold Resort Limited, Oleh, said: “They (Boko Haram and herdsmen attacks) are now combined and internationalized with ISIS in control.

“ It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria which it began as; it is now, West African organization, African Islamization and global organized crimes of human trafficking, money laundering,  drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change.

“Yet we could have dealt with both earlier and nipped them in the bud, but Boko Haram boys were seen as rascals not requiring serious attention in administering holistic measures of stick and carrot. And when we woke up to reality, it was turned to industry for all and sundry to supply materials and equipment that were already outdated and that were not fit for active military purpose.

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“Soldiers were poorly trained for the unusual mission, poorly equipped, poorly motivated, poorly led and made to engage in propaganda rather than achieving results.   Intelligence was poor and governments embarked on games of denials while paying ransoms which strengthened the insurgents and yet governments denied payment of ransoms.”

Saying security issue has gone beyond the wit and capacity of the Nigerian government or even West African governments, he said,  “all the same, our charity must begin at home.   The government must appreciate where we are. Summon each group that should make contributions one by one and subsequently collectively seek the way forward for all hands on deck and with the holistic approach of stick and carrot.

“There should be no sacred cow.   Some of the groups that I will suggest being contacted are: traditional rulers, past heads of service (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.

“After we have found an appropriate solution internally, we should move to bilateral, multilateral, regional, continental and global levels. With ISIS involvement, we cannot but go global. Without security and predictable stability, our development, growth and progress are in peril.

“Let me hasten to add that we must be at the appropriate table of international discourse, deliberations, agenda and action.   That Nigeria from independence has always been at the forefront of any continental initiative, decision, action or programme has put us in some form of a leadership position”.

Obasanjo pointed out that it was unfortunate for Nigeria to be outside the African Continental Free Trade Zone Agreement when it automatically came into effect with twenty-two-nations’ ratification.

“A situation where almost 40% of our population is not equipped with education to be able to make a meaningful, positive and rewarding contribution to development in this day and age is bad almost to the point of criminality”, the former President said.

“Education both in quantity and quality must be seen as the first pillar of our development after we have delivered on politics of unity in diversity in concrete and sustainable policies and actions. We need a revolution to deal with our great backwardness in literacy and popular education.

“I believe that a two-year preparation to send all children below ten years of age with two streams of 8 am to 12.30pm and 1 pm to 5.30pm with teachers taking on two streams, getting additional 25 to 30 per cent salary will break the back of illiteracy and set us on the path of education for all.

“Community leaders, traditional rulers and local government chairmen should be held responsible for any parents or guardians preventing their children and wards from going to school. I have heard it said in some quarters that if everybody goes to school, who will be the servants. My Lord Bishop, I dare say that if everybody goes to school, we will have more competent, efficient, effective and better servants”.

According to him, if we get the politically correct, every other human activity would fall into place: culture, ethics, way of life and adherence to rule of law/equality before the law/ruthless application of the law, economy, education, defence and security, etc.

“ I hold the view that it is because we have not been able to get the politics of our coexistence right that nearly sixty years after independence we are still battling to answer the most basic questions involved in nationhood” , Obasanjo stated.

“ I think it is like a building, which once the foundation is faulty, becomes wobbly with the tiniest turbulence.   Consequently, the issue of nationality identity, values, ethics and national dream must be settled once and for all.   This may require a global national meeting.

“If Miyetti Allah is truly encouraging herdsmen violence and killings and truly they have to be appeased or placated with 100billion naira and they are equated to Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, etc, then we have to appease those other organisations similarly or be ready to allow them to unleash havoc of their own.

“We need politics of a united Nigeria for all Nigerians – not one for Yoruba, one for Ibo, one for Hausa-Fulani, one for Ijaw, one for Nupe, one for Tiv, one for Kanuri and one for Isoko.

“ If we fail to do this, I am afraid all the EFCC, ICPC, Plans and Strategies and the rest of the political re-engineering and manoeuvres such as creation or contraction/merger of states, forms of government, attempts at ethical re-orientation, constitutional amendment, etc, may not usher in the much desired peace, stability, national development, and of course, improvement in the quality of life of the majority of Nigerians.

“We shall merely be going round and round in circles which have been our lot since independence.   We must move away from taking two steps forward followed by one and two or three backwards.   Let us continue to build positively on the existing structure.

“ If the issue of politics and governance is firmly settled, the issue of development, stability, growth and progress will constitute no problems because humans, materials and funds will be mobilised internally and externally for the good of all and all will be partners, stakeholders and defenders of our commonwealth.

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“There are some of the assumptions in our Constitution that time has shown are too presumptuous and we have to deal with this issue of assumptions; either those assumptions are clearly spelt out with ways and means to live up to them or to amend our Constitution in accordance with our inability to live up to those assumptions.

“When all these are done, mobilisation of everything we have and which we can muster will be easy for our development, stability, growth and progress.”

On his part, Governor Senator Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, represented by his Deputy, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, commended Obasanjo for the lecture and said: “As a government, we will see how we can collaborate with the Church to provide the enabling environment for the overall growth and development of the society” .


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