…If warlords take over, president, govs, senators be first to go

…The president Nigeria wants in 2023

Federalism

Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, retd, former navy administrator of Akwa Ibom, and nationwide chairman of the Pan-Niger Delta Discussion board, PANDEF, on this interview, speaks on worsening insecurity within the nation, the president Nigeria wants in 2023, and the injustice towards the Niger Delta amongst different points.

By Chioma Onuegbu

On the components fuelling insecurity, unrest and agitations within the nation

There are such a lot of components. One is injustice. There may be clear injustice within the nation, and the second there’s injustice, it’s troublesome to inform someone sit down and present dedication to your nation. Injustice breeds unpatriotic concepts.

Any time there’s a drawback you lots of people escalate it for various causes. There may be additionally unemployment. The unemployment ratio may be very excessive. Unemployment in a literary method might be described as starvation. As soon as individuals are hungry they can’t assume proper. There are people who find themselves residing in abject poverty on this nation whereas others reside in stupendous wealth. When that state of affairs happens, it fuels insecurity.

We have now deep conventional settings, many individuals owe extra loyalty to ethnicity and faith than to Nigeria as a nation. All these places collectively are the gasoline that you just require for insecurity. You will notice someone that’s effectively educated when he begins speaking what bothers him is his ethnic group and faith.

Additionally, the illiteracy degree, particularly within the North, may be very excessive. The out -of-College youngsters information is scary. Most individuals with none formal schooling are unemployable, so it is extremely straightforward to recruit them into teams like Boko Haram as a result of they’re simply out there.

In a society the place virtually everyone has a payable job, they won’t wish to dump their job to affix rebel teams. There may be additionally Almajiri concern up North. These are straightforward gasoline for the insurgents. So, we should have a look at these points. We must always make certain these youngsters go to highschool.

His tackle how President Muhammadu Buhari is tackling these challenges particularly insecurity

No matter divide anyone is, will probably be in our curiosity to sort out insecurity squarely. Anyone that thinks he can stroll the trail of insecurity in an effort to acquire the benefit in Nigeria should be dumb, and losing his time. Insecurity doesn’t place anyone in an advantageous place.

What I’m saying in impact is that if they’re saying for instance that Boko Haram is a terrorist group, and the Nigeria authorities shouldn’t be agreeing with that, I feel there’s something flawed. If the federal government didn’t agree and individuals are not dying, I’ll say effectively that could be a fairy story, let’s stroll away. However individuals are dying. So, what’s killing these folks which can be dying? Insurgents! It’s that perspective that has introduced us to the place we are actually.

When insurgency began, if we had agreed that this can be a lethal virus; that these folks might trigger significant issue for us and tackled it, known as a spade, a spade, and if they’re terrorists, we are saying they’re terrorists and sort out them totally, we might not be the place we’re immediately.

However we live in denial. Boko Haram has now discovered a solution to go along with the Islamic States of West Africa, ISWA. At this time, they’re speaking about ISIS, which implies they’re graduating. For individuals who want that they might profit from Boko Haram actions, it’s getting uncontrolled even for them.

And I’ve mentioned this earlier than: if you’re in authorities and you’re treating this factor with child gloves then the possible factor that can occur is that everyone will now say, ‘let me take care of myself.’ There are others that can say, ‘I’ll take care of my household.’ Some will say, ‘I’ll take care of my village, my state.’ That’s when warlords will emerge.

If warlords emerge, whether or not you’re the president, governor or senator, you can be the primary to go. You assume if ISIS takes over full management of Nigeria that the president, the governors would stay? They won’t. A warlord can not come and say ‘okay, you’re a governor, or president, keep.’ Allow them to go and discover out what occurred in Somalia, Afghanistan, even Liberia.

So those that consider that by propagating insecurity they’re protected reside in idiot’s Paradise. If we would like Nigeria to be a nation as it’s I feel we must always come collectively in love and sort out this widespread drawback.

What a part of this nation is safe immediately? At this time we’re seeing banditry in Zamfara. Earlier than they have been speaking about cattle rustlers. And finally, they are going to all come collectively. You may’t discover Boko Haram attacking the individual doing banditry in Zamfara and Katsina. In reality, lately I learn that the bandits are even a part of Boko Haram. What number of herdsmen have Boko Haram shot useless? Have you ever heard that they’re killing themselves?

So, affordable Nigerians should not take such issues with no consideration. Don’t assume that since you are in Uyo, you’re protected, that it’s a Borno factor as a result of finally, it’ll come spherical. The earlier we work as a nation to cease it the higher for us. If we don’t, we might be strolling on the darkish highway.

On the recommendation of Christian elders that individuals ought to defend themselves towards the assaults

I feel will probably be troublesome for me to inform you don’t defend your self. That could be a pure factor. They’re merely saying you’ll be able to’t simply sit there and be slaughtered. As an example, you can’t be strolling on the highway and someone begins slapping you and also you say as a result of my good friend advised me to not retaliate and also you proceed strolling. If someone brings out a knife, even whether it is to run, it’s nonetheless a part of defending your self, you received’t go and stick out your neck for the individual to chop, no.

Nevertheless, I feel these individuals are speaking out of frustration as a result of nationwide safety shouldn’t be defending them. And if it’s not defending them or not defending them sufficient, with out even saying it, that’s the pure factor that can evolve. That’s how anarchy begins. Folks will begin defending themselves, and taking legal guidelines into their arms as a result of the folks which can be supposed to offer them safety are usually not doing that.

Do you assume Nigeria may gain advantage from closure of its borders?

I don’t assume so. Closing the border is one facet of perhaps curbing insecurity however what we’d like is to watch our borders. When you shut the borders, folks will discover different methods of nonetheless crossing. So, monitor it. I feel that it’s what it must be. We have now signed a protocol of free motion, notably inside the ECOWAS area. So to shut the borders indefinitely shouldn’t be the easiest way of tackling our financial points.

Has PANDEF given up on pursuing the 16-point agenda?

Definitely not. We’re nonetheless pursuing it. We’re advocates, we are going to at all times discuss concerning the 16-point agenda and we’re nonetheless speaking about it. At the moment, we’re printing a pamphlet reflecting what we take into consideration restructuring, reflecting the 16-point agenda that has not been completed. It’s going to be in circulation. It is rather like the report of the 2014 nationwide convention, the place you discover the solutions to virtually each drawback that’s plaguing us now.

So we are going to do what we are able to to inform people who the 16-point agenda is within the curiosity of this nation. You may do not forget that there was uproar within the Niger Delta area, and we talked to the younger males who had given up and went into the creeks as a result of their considering was ‘if we can not profit from this oil, should we die from it? And they also began inflicting havoc. We spoke to them, and that’s how the 16-point agenda got here.

And when the nation was in recession in 2016, the president known as us, and we went. And about 100 stakeholders from the Niger Delta sat down, consulted and got here up with these gadgets. We mentioned in case you do these items there might be relative peace within the Niger Delta area. A few of these gadgets don’t even require cash however political goodwill, the place you present that you take care of the folks. If we’re not taking a look at it (16-point agenda) now for no matter purpose, that doesn’t imply it’s a useless venture, as a result of if we actually need this nation to proceed as a nation, a number of the solutions to make sure that occurs are there.

Nigerians have already began speaking concerning the 2023 presidency. What sort of president do you want for Nigeria in 2023?

I’ve been speaking about placing Nigeria on the precise basis. The president that can come should take this nation to nationhood. We’re nonetheless working similar to ethnic nationalities that got here collectively and we don’t make a lot progress. I’d wish to see a Nigeria that could be a nation.

With all of the analysis that had been completed, they’ve came upon that Nigeria must be restructured. However the best way it’s now while you hear someone being extra loyal to his or her ethnic group and faith than to Nigeria, it’s as a result of the construction shouldn’t be proper.

We must always disgrace the satan and do the precise factor by restructuring this nation. This time we’re speaking about people who find themselves corrupt as a result of everyone needs to steal from that widespread purse. If we have now extra areas desirous to contribute to the widespread purse, Nigeria might be a greater place, however they don’t seem to be contributing, they’re solely sharing the cake.

So the subsequent president that can are available should be someone that has a thoughts to restructure this nation so that everyone contributes, not one group or cabal lording it over the others. If we proceed to try this, we are going to make no progress; we might scatter this nation. So when the subsequent president is available in, she or he ought to know that Nigerians are crying, and pity this nation by restructuring it.

How would you react to the refusal of Worldwide Oil Corporations (IOC’s) particularly ExxonMobil to relocate their headquarters to the operational base?

The problem of the relocation of IOC’s was one of many gadgets on the 16-point agenda that we took to Mr. President. And the Vice President got here to Uyo throughout his tour of the Niger Delta states and promised that he was going to work in order that the IOC’s would relocate. Personally, I didn’t consider what he was saying as a result of I do know that the people who might be towards the relocation of the IOC’s essentially the most might be Lagos.

They (IOC’s) are situated in Lagos. They pay tax to Lagos State, their improvement is in Lagos State. When you transfer from Lagos to Lekki you will notice all the event by Chevron, Mobil. These issues would have been completed right here in Ibeno, Eket, Warri, Sapele and all of the oil-producing areas. So I didn’t count on him (Vice President) to do a lot concerning the IOC’s relocation.

We later met him on August 3 2017 and this concern of relocation of IOC’s got here up once more. It was Ibe Kachukwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum at the moment that mentioned they can’t relocate due to safety, and we have been sad with that. Mobil headquarters shouldn’t be in Washington DC, it’s in Ivan Texas. Chevron is in California, Elf and all the remainder don’t go to Paris to determine their headquarters; all of them keep of their operational headquarters. So Ibe Kachukwu was flawed to have talked concerning the concern of safety. When these folks got here within the ’60s, Mobil was primarily based right here in Ibeno-Eket axis.

Why did they transfer to Lagos?

It was the administration of Common Gowon that mentioned due to the safety of the foreigners throughout the civil conflict, they need to transfer Lagos. What number of years now because the civil conflict, and you’re nonetheless quoting that as a purpose?. The conflict was raging right here then which everyone knew. So he (Gowon) now mentioned the executive workers must be in Lagos till after the conflict, however operationally they are going to nonetheless be right here.

And immediately someone continues to be quoting that as a purpose the IOC’s can not relocate. Are we nonetheless preventing the conflict? How come after they come to drill the oil right here the difficulty of safety shouldn’t be there? Why are they not kidnapped on the level of drilling the oil? What are we speaking about? Don’t they kidnap in Lagos, all over the place within the nation? And the IOCs, after they wish to dodge this concern, they are going to contain the NNPC.

Governor Udom Emmanuel is constructing a 21-storey constructing which is nearly accomplished. So, in the event that they now say they don’t have lodging, we have now lodging.

The DPR proposes to construct headquarters, value billions in Abuja. They are saying they’re a regulatory company, why are they constructing it in Abuja? When Obasanjo got here to workplace, one of many first issues that he did was to relocate NIMASA and Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA from Abuja to Lagos.

If you go to Abuja immediately, you will notice that constructing, constructed like a ship, it was meant for NIMASA and NPA, however President Obasanjo got here and mentioned there isn’t any water in Abuja, return to Lagos. And that constructing was already accomplished. So as a result of Niger Delta folks don’t have anyone to talk for them that’s the reason DPR can now go to Abuja to construct its headquarters; that’s the reason the IOC’s can go and keep wherever they like as a substitute of their operational base. These are the issues that make us sad.

They solely come right here to drill the gold and fly again to a different place to take pleasure in it. Why would folks not be sad? Let the world know that these are the problems.

I want someone might have a look at our Coat of Arms, we talked about peace and progress, no person is speaking about justice. When there isn’t any justice how are you going to have peace?

You attracted some increased establishments to Akwa Ibom due to your ardour for schooling. At this time how would you assess the state of the schooling sector particularly the colleges?

After all, it is sensible that any nation that desires to develop should put cash within the schooling sector. If Nigerians are saying the standard of what they’ve within the sector shouldn’t be sufficient they’ve the precise as a result of while you actually have a look at it extra individuals are going to highschool now than it was once. However have a look at these earlier universities within the nation, the College of Ibadan, Ahmadu Bello College (ABU), College of Nigeria Nsukka, the standard of what was there’s not what you discover in our universities immediately.

The infrastructure has decayed over time and there are extra people who want schooling now. Go to the colleges there are insufficient school rooms, no hostel lodging, you will notice area meant for 3 college students being occupied by 10. Authorities has to play a really huge half by insurance policies that can encourage the non-public sector to put money into schooling with out bringing down the standard when it comes to commonplace.

Nevertheless, the state of affairs is that on one hand, the federal government agrees we’d like high quality schooling, and alternatively, they’re bringing insurance policies that discourage folks. So, we have now not completed sufficient in schooling. The standard of schooling may be very low. It’s even worsened by the people who enter the colleges with JAMB. You don’t go and provides some states low cut-off level, and different excessive cut-off factors. That disparity shouldn’t be there. In reality, it’s flawed for anyone to say that some states are educationally backward. They need to not classify some states as educationally deprived.

I feel it’s merely a approach of dishonest, depriving others. I had an expertise of that once I got here to this state. After I got here right here there was no federal college, no federal faculty of schooling, or federal polytechnic, there was nothing. They mentioned we’re educationally advantaged, but we had nothing.

And I requested how can they are saying we have been educationally advantaged but our youngsters have been on the lookout for admission in locations outdoors the state? Babangida heard my cry and the College of Uyo got here. Once more, we’re not budgeting sufficient for schooling, we’re not placing cash in analysis as a result of we don’t consider in analysis. If analysis has been inspired, we might have been capable of finding an answer to a whole lot of issues plaguing us.

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