Dr Saka Ibraheem Ominiwe is the South- west coordinator of the Buhari/Osinbajo Solidarity Front and national chairman, SOS Mandate Group. In this interview with ADEBAYO WAHEED, he speaks on security challenges, the issues of injustice, unemployment and bad leadership in the country.
How would you react to the security challenges in the country?
When you look at the security challenges in the country, it predates the present administration. Before now, the rate was very high during the era of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Now what is happening is being politicised and exaggerated. During the PDP era, there were bombings everywhere, to the extent that you could not walk freely even in Abuja.
About 17 local government areas were under Boko Haram insurgents under the watch of the PDP-led administration but now they can’t have any control of any local government.
I remember in 1999 when ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, was at the helm of affairs and there was serious criminality in the country, he released N10 billion each to Abuja and Lagos for policemen to purchase equipment to fight crime.
But when I issued a press statement to counsel government that the step was not right, that more jobs would have been created for the unemployed youths and this led to the establishment of NAPEP.
My analysis was that if you need N20 billion to buy equipment to fight crimes, if that money is used to empower the youths, the government would have created about 100,000 entrepreneurs at N200,000 each. This would have manifested into bigger economy.
The money was spent and the insecurity challenges have persisted. If the past, successive governments did the needful by investing in people in terms of serious empowerment, what we are experiencing now would have vanished from our system. The rate of crimes would have drastically reduced by now.In a nutshell, the insecurity challenge in the land was caused by neglect on the part of the successive regimes in the country.
Most of the leaders in the past were self-centred. They only think of themselves and their immediate families. Instead of providing the needed services to the people, they denied them of their rights. Instead of investing by way of providing schools, hospitals, roads and other social amenities, budgets made for these were diverted to their private use which led to monumental corruption in the country.
Now, when people cannot get justice in terms of the state providing their needs like employment, they now resort to criminal acts. But this is not justifiable; they were pushed to the wall.
Another injustice which caused the insecurity we are talking about started with cattle rustling in the north- west part of the country where the Fulani herdsmen were dispossessed of their cattle by foreign invaders from neighbouring countries. Some of them were killed in the process while others lost their jobs.
Would you support the call that Fulani people should relocate to their homeland as a result of insecurity in the country?
That is the opinion of some of the northern elders.President Muhammadu Buhari, as a statesman, has asked the Fulani herdsmen to stay back. The opinion of the elders is not practicable in a situation where some of the Fulani herdsmen have stayed in the south- west for close to 50 years, and some of them have engaged in inter-ethic marriage with our people. Let’s call a spade a spade, criminality has been in existence for decades.
President Buhari has come to address the injustices, to make Nigerians live in peace and harmony.
Can you identify some of the injustices which President Muhammadu Buhari, has been able to address in the last four years.
Parts of the injustices addressed by the president include the payment of the entitlements of Biafran soldiers, the payment of the entitlements of the Nigerian Railway Corporation workers who were not paid for decades, the Nigeria Airways staff who were laid off for decades without entitlements were paid, while pensioners have continued to smile to the banks.
The infrastructural development of roads, the unprecedented development at the Nigeria Railway Corporation, massive reconstruction and upgrade of the international airports which were hitherto declared about six years ago by the CNN as some of the worst in the world. Within four years, the story has changed.
The war against corruption has gained momentum. The looters are not happy and they are fighting back seriously. Most of them want to create confusion so that the charges against them will be discontinued by the time there is anarchy in the land.
President Buhari is addressing the issue of insecurity and all Nigerians should come together to expose anybody that is involved in any form of criminality.
As a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), how would you react to the re-appointment and appointment of former ministers and governors as ministers?
In my own opinion, there is nothing wrong in their reappointment if they are not corrupt , and have the technical know-how.
President Muhammadu Buhari, has promised to use those he knows, can vouch for, and can deliver.
Those who can assist the president to deliver the mandate are welcome. I have no objection but any one of them that is corrupt will not be accommodated because Nigerians will not welcome any corrupt appointee of government.
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