From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Former Senate president, Ken Nnamani, has said if given another opportunity, he would still preside over the stoppage of third term tenure as he did during the era of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
Speaking while chairing National Seminar on the theme “Unity in diversity: Security and national development” held at the Department of State Services’ (DSS) Institute of Security Studies in Abuja, Senator Nnamani condemned agitations for secession.
“What I want to talk about is the issue of general agitations. I hope you don’t go with the comment of the former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, that if you obey Mr President as a symbol of Nigeria, you have obeyed the country. It is not necessarily correct in all cases.
“If you read the revelation of the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, about Obasanjo, which has not been denied, you will understand that the statement from Arase is not true. For instance, he said on the issue of third term that Nnamani cannot go free; whatever that means I don’t know.
“Yes, I presided over the plenary for third term, and all that I needed was to call a spade by its name. If I have the opportunity to do it again, I will do the same thing,” he said.
Nnamani reiterated his call for restructuring of the country. He dismissed insinuations that one region is depending on the other to survive.
“Those against restructuring or devolution of power to the state will later see the need for it. If only we can make haste while the sun shines it might help our country. Each state in Nigeria has its own peculiarities. Yes, it might not be on equal proportion as of today.
“For instance, certain crops that grow in the North may have difficulty surviving in the South and the other way round. In my view, the South needs the North just as the North needs the South. So, the concept of any section being a parasite is not correct, because we are naturally endowed as a nation; and if we look properly inwards, we will identify those potential areas which we can turn into high productivity and revenue, we will find out that we are gifted and naturally blessed,” he said.
The former Senate president said the issue of fiscal federalism should be taken seriously if the country must enjoy stability which, he said, is a prerequisite for growth and development of a nation.
Similarly, the former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, warned the political elite to do something fast before the youths unleash terror on them.
He said: “I have got useful information from the Department of State Security (DSS), especially in handling of persons. They will tell the executive what they think should be done, and if they don’t do it, they have no right to pressurise. However, if things get out of hands, the DSS has to do what they can to stabilise the state with or without justice.
“What you are doing here today is in line with my new understanding, arising from my privileged position, that DSS are also interested in issues of justice and farmers, which are key pillars for stability.
“The reason people are poking up all kinds of sentiments, vocabularies, diversions and so on, is because it is becoming clear to many that the Nigerian ship, if we don’t re-order the way it is going and redistribute the passengers, such that everybody will have some minimum of comfort within the basel, when it sinks, the wealthier you are, the more your losses.
“Therefore, the political elite have to be careful not to continue to behave like the proverbial English Turkey that got so arrogant, that it told the king that it wanted Christmas to come a little earlier than December 25. And the king warned that if he obliges the request, the only problem was that the English man must slaughter a Turkey at Chriatmas. So turkey will be the victim it would die earlier than December 25.
“So, for those elite who are looking for all kinds of story, like ‘Nigeria is a geographical expression’ and ‘we are marginalising the youth’, the matter is that we the political elite, (unfortunately, by the time they become governors) may not get the opportunity for them to listen to us. I think we will all have to be careful as we seek to pass the bulk.
Oshiomhole also spoke on the issue of federalism.
“What is fiscal federalism? We want to return to true federalism, but which model? Prof Bolaji Akinyemi summarised it when he said there is no ideal federalism. “Every federal system has its own peculiarity which flows from history from a particular unique environment the particular country finds itself.”