By Chukwudi Nweje and Christopher Orji
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubarka yesterday said Boko Haram existed because of the lack of political will to defeat them.
According to him the fight against Boko Haran persisted because of vested interests.
Atiku, who spoke on The Peoples Townhall 2023, a programme organised by Channels Television to provide the presidential candidates opportunity to discuss their programmes stated that he served in the North East as a Customs Officer and knows the terrain and added that there is no place for anybody to hide there as the terrain is a vast land of shrubs.
He said, “I do not understand why Boko Haram should exist because there is nowhere for them to hide. I served in the Nort East when it was Borno, and I was on patrol there and know the terrain. They say there is a place called Sambisa, I have been there and there is no forest, it is only shrubs.
He said the country is currently facing problems of insecurity and unity and needs experienced and competent people to lead in 2023 to restore “the Nigeria of our dream.
He noted that every part of the country has insecurity challenge, and vowed that his administration, if elected would negotiate with the different geopolitical zones in the country to resolve the peculiar insecurity situation afflicting the region.
He said, “Every zone of the country has its peculiar insecurity situation. In the South East we have the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) agitation but is realising Biafra possible in this time and age?
“We cannot afford another civil war in Nigeria. that is why we are talking about restructuring and devolution of power to grant more autonomy to the regions.”
The country cannot afford to go into another civil war over the separatist agitations in the South East.
“The realisation of Biafra Republic may be impossible to achieve at this time and age that is why we are talking about restructuring and devolution of power to grant more autonomy to the geopolitical zones.
He advised the South East zone to form alliances with other parts of the country to be more politically relevant in the scheme of things in Nigeria.
“The South East geopolitical zone should do more to move across the river Niger, they should do more to align with other geopolitical zones to secure political power,” he said.
The former Vice President of Nigeria said his administration would not scrap security votes, but monitor how chief executives, whether at the federal, state, or local government level should be made to account for how they use the funds.
“What we need on this issue of security votes is to ensure accountability. The chief executives, whether at the federal, state, or local government should account for how they spend the security votes. We would not fold our arms and watch governors spend the money recklessly. There will be proper accountability.
He said his administration will remove fuel subsidies after proper dialogue with critical stakeholders on how to give palliative to the people.
“We cannot keep funding subsidy or continue to borrow money. When we were in office in 1999, we proposed to remove the subsidy. We have gone to the third stage, it got stuck. If we had removed subsidy, there will not be anything like subsidy this period” he said.