By ERNEST NZOR, Abuja
As Nigerians continue to discuss strategies to overcome the numerous challenges currently facing the country, the convener of ‘Conversation 2.0,’ Mrs. Hauwa Atiku Uwais, has urged citizens to eschew religious bigotry and nepotism and see one another as true brothers and sisters united in love.
Speaking at the second edition of the program held in Abuja at the weekend, She called on all citizens of the country to get involved in conversations aimed at birthing the Nigeria of their dream.
She warned that until all Nigerians show sufficient concern and engaged in meaningful discussion and participate actively in the process that throws up leaders in the country the situation will not change, stressing that no single individual can do it alone.
“I have realized that no single individual can give us the country that we deserve. Even great leaders can only succeed with a strong credible support system,” she stated.
Addressing participate on the 2020 edition theme, ‘A Better Nigerian, Is it Possible? the daughter of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, noted that, “The gap between the haves and the haves-not is growing exponentially by the day. Poverty levels are at an all-time high with the population of Nigerians in abject poverty being the highest per capital in the world. And to cap it all, the level of insecurity of lives and properties is at a level that has never been witnessed in the nation’s 60 years of existence.”
On the rationale for the gathering, She said, “We are here to deepen engagements with fellow citizens who feel we can do better as a nation collectively. There is a fire burning inside my belly. I am here to collaborate with you to burn down the chain that hold us collectively captive.”
Also speaking a security expert, Capt. Aliyu Umar Babangida (retd), blamed the absence of accountability on the part of top security personnel for the growing insecurity in the country.
Capt. Aliyu who was one of the resource persons at the event decried the manner the Nigerian Police and military budgets have been implemented in recent time. He blamed top military hierarchy and its police counterpart for failing to meet the expectations of Nigerians, saying at the moment, Nigerians must remain united to chase away the fear factor that “currently envelopes us.”
Emphasizing the place of accountability, he said, “The security chiefs are not accountable. You can’t take N100m from me and tell me you are going to do XYZ more and three months down the line, you tell me stories and ask for another N100m. It didn’t happen that way when I was in the service.
“The problem right now at the national security level with the military and the police is that they are not result-driven. Security chieftains are not being held to result. When a security chief is granted a certain amount of budget, that budget is meant to serve a purpose. The purpose and the achievement is the result. So when the money keeps getting spent and the results are not being made, we have to question the suitability of those at the helms of affairs.”
He dismissed the oft-repeated claim by military chiefs that the fight against insurgency is a difficult one owing to the novelty of terrorism in the land saying, “I don’t agree. If we say we’ve never had a terrorism experience, I agree but a thousand and one other countries have had the experience.
“What that means is that we have so much to draw from. It is like having ten elder brothers and comparing yourselves to someone who has no ten elder brothers. There is enough resources, examples and experiences to draw from. That it is our first time doesn’t make it (terrorism) the first time on the planet. All these are excuses if you ask me,” he told.
Capt Aliyu who heads GoldWater & RiverSand Consults (GWRC), a national security resource and solutions consultancy firm, also chided the Nigerian Police Force, likening their services as possessing more harm value than good.
“The Nigerian police is heavier on the nuisance factor level than on the asset factor level. The Nigerian police is not even ready to stand outside to give people questionnaires to fill and rate them over ten. If the consumer of Nigerian police products says it is bad; I don’t know how anybody want to whitewash them.
“The end user of the Nigerian police product is telling you that the product is not good enough, the best thing you can do is to listen. That we are saying the Nigerian police is not good enough is not because we hate them. We travel round the world and see what is obtainable elsewhere; so, we want them to upgrade,” he added.