'IMMORTALISE OJUKWU BY STAMPING OUT INJUSTICE'
Lagos lawyer and public affairs analyst, Sir Chukwuanugo Ejikeme has called for the reinvention of the country as a last respect to late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. According to him, the best way to immotalise the fallen hero is to entrench equity, justice and fair play in the spolity.
He also urged President Goodluck Jonathan to stop playing Russian roulette with the wellbeing of Nigerians as they have been pushed to the wall to a breaking point. He opined that any attempt to withdraw the subsidy on petroleum products, if any, at this point in time will not augur well for the country. He added that revolution may not be far away if the paradox of a rich country with poor citizentry abides.
Maintaining that the tranformation agenda of the present administration will be meaningless without solid infrastructure, Ejikeme regretted that in spite of the nation's stupendous riches there is little or nothing to cheer in terms social amenities.
The man Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu
Whether you like the role Ojukwu played in the history of Nigeria or not, he was, indeed, a remarkable fellow. He was a special breed whose ideals cannot be washed away by the ocean of time. His desire was a Nigeria of equal treatment and opportunities. The passage of Ojukwu is the end of an era and one hopes that lessons have been learnt from the mistakes of the past.
The proposed withdrawal of fuel subsidy?
I wouldn't want to say that I am completely against it or that I like the idea. However, my worry about this country is that our leaders have never, in execution, carried out what they have told us in the past. If what they mean by oil subsidy is allowing market forces to operate wherein individual oil companies buy and sell, that is removing the money they put and probably transferring the money into development of infrastructure, then it is good. But we know that they will definitely not implement it. By the way things are going in this country, they are simply trying to put more money into their pockets.
When you remove subsidy, initially, Nigerians will suffer because the price per litre will go up to N300, but with time, many companies will come and start refining crude oil because they would have made the industry attractive and, invariably, the price will come down. But my worry and that of many people I have come across is that government has never been sincere. They tell you they will remove subsidy and probably use the money to develop infrastructure, but we don't believe them. To that extent, I will say that they should leave the subsidy for now because removing it will be adding more troubles to already impoverished Nigerians. If you walk the streets of Nigeria, you will see how poor Nigerians are.
It's only that we can endure hardship. We are not like people from North Africa, or people from other parts of the world. Nigeria is the only country where if you go to the fuel station every evening, you will see women, men and children queuing up to buy fuel with kegs to power their generators at home. Nobody seems to be worried; it is like that has become the norm. So, you can see how we accept, tolerate and endure hardship.
These are things you don't see in other developed countries of the world. What I am saying in effect is that if our leaders can stick to their words, it will be a good thing to Nigerians in the long run but because of the kind of leaders we have, subsidy should not be removed at least for now. If you ask me I will tell you that the present administration is not fighting corruption; they are more in the newspaper pages. Corruption is not being fought headlong and to that extent, nothing has changed. It is the same old story.
I believe you are talking about the Boko Haram. Actually, the insurgence of the sect and the killings and destruction of property all over the northern parts of Nigeria is a bad omen. Lets go back to the era of militancy in the Niger Delta. Looking at what happened in the Niger Delta, they appeared to have fought a good cause, which was agitating to benefit from what God gave them as natural resources. Though somewhere along the line, some criminal elements came in but, generally, the idea made benefit from what they have.
But the Boko Haram appears to be a bit confusing. I really don't know how to place them because I don't know what they want. They said that they want to islamize the north, that they don't like western education. But there are schools of thoughts that have said it is not that they don't like western education but they want the northern part of Nigeria to be an Islamic zone. To that extent, if that is what they stand for, the way they go about it is inconsistent; there is no relationship.
If you want a state to practice Islam, you preach Islam to those who profess other religions. We are trying to make Nigeria one of these Middle-East countries where terrorism is prevalent; people are killed at the drop of a hat just to pass a message. You know that majority of people in the northern Nigeria are Muslims and they use of force is their natural way of expressing themselves. So, if you are question is: The way people are being killed by the action of the Boko Haram Islamic sect in the north; is it not trying to make Nigeria an unsafe state? Yes, it is trying to drive away our foreign investors because people are afraid to stay in the north.
There is fear in the mind of the people. In that sense, I will say there is a problem. And the security agencies in Nigeria are not living up to expectations. A few days ago, there was a kind of revelation whereby Senator Ali Ndume was alleged to be sponsoring the Boko Haram.
This is the most dangerous dimension and from the revelation of the sect's spokesman to the SSS, it is obvious that Boko Haram is clearly for politics. It is alleged to have emanated from the former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sherrif. In his confessional statement, the Boko Haram spokesman said that Ndume gave them telephone numbers of his political enemies.