By Christopher Oji
Sir Temple Ogueri Onyeukwu is a retired Nigerian Air Force (NAF) ofiicer and national leader, Turning Point Youth Empowerment Initiative. He spoke with Daily Sun in Lagos on some burning national Issues.
Why is the rise in the clamour for restructuring of Nigeria?
The clamour for restructuring is not to break up Nigeria. The clamour is to make Nigeria work more effectively and bring out the ingenuity in the various federating units. Reduce the powers concentrated at the centre and devolve same to the federating units.
As presently structured, Nigeria is very clumsy and cannot work. It has not worked since the imposition of the unitary system by the military and can never work.
Where would you place the renewed agitation for Biafra Republic?`
The agitation for the Federal Republic of Biafra will continue till the Nigerian state institutionalises justice, equity and fairness to all regions of the federating unit. The main cause for the agitation is the injustice the Igbo have continued to suffer in Nigeria. The Igbo continues to be the only group in Nigeria that believes in the indissolubility of the country. However, wherever they go in their so-called country, they are persecuted.
Despite the fact that they are not part of the Federal Government, yet they strive to earn their living. When someone in America, Britain or Holland blasphemy the Holy Prophet Mohammed, Igbo in Kano, Kaduna, Kastina and other northern states are slaughtered in their thousands and the Federal Government does not do anything.
This trend has been going on for decades. IPOB is not agitating for a peaceful country. They are agitating for a Nigeria where justice, equity and fairness reign supreme.
Do you subscribe to a state of emergency on the economy?
The solution has to be taken holistically. First, the National Assembly has to amend the Constitution to enshrine the establishment of state police. This will enable states or geopolitical zones establish their own police apart from the federal police.
Second, the National Assembly has to pass a law liberalizing the possession of firearms by all citizens who can afford it and over 25 years of age.
Third, the country must adopt true federalism. Fourth the government at every level must as a matter of policy make justice, equity and fairness fundamental guiding principles. We must go back to Aburi. This is the solution to either Boko Harram, cattle herdsmen, Niger Delta militancy, Biafra renaissance movement and other forms of insurgency threatening the unity of the country.
Government must make deliberate effort to create employment and stipulate the economy. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), must reduce the monetary policy rate to not more than five percent and the lending rate to not more than seven percent to ensure affordable credit is made available to the real sector to stimulate industrial growth and productive activities, which in turn will ensure long term economic growth.
How would you describe the war on corruption?
The war on financial mismanagement, profligacy and outright looting of the treasury is commendable but must be expanded to cut across political party lines. At present some may interpret it as a political persecution of members of the opposition political party.
However when we talk of corruption, it involves everybody as a result of our orientation. The messenger, clerk, cleaner, supervisor, assistant director, director, permanent secretary and even minister are involved in one form of corruption or the other. That is the essence of the change begins with you mantra of this administration. We must all help ourselves by imbibing the fear of God in our dealings.
In my candid opinion, the government should channel the recovered loots on economically viable infrastructure that will continue to generate revenue for the state take one road in each geopolitical zone, build it and put tollgates on the road.