From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Amid rising tension across the country, a member of the House of Representatives, (Fagge Federal Constituency, Kano State), Suleiman Aminu has said concerted efforts must be made to avert another civil war in the country.
Aminu, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), charged the elite across the country to speak out on the current situation in the country, noting that crisis is an ill wind that affects all and sundry.
The lawmaker, who also the chairman, House Committee on Higher Education also spoke on other issues.
What is your take on the state of the nation? There have been a lot of tensions across the country in recent times, with even students being abducted from schools. How do you think we can get out of this quagmire?
Certainly, these are not the best of times for Nigeria. It is so unfortunate that we have found ourselves in this very serious quagmire like you rightly described it.
And some of the problems are man made. Some of them are a consequence of our very negative attitude and approach as a nation.
Yes, the one that occures not as a result of any action or inaction by our government or Nigeria is the serious security situation as it relates to the issue of terrorism and issue of banditry. Those ones, I will say there are natural occurrences; not as a result of any action or inaction.
Though, it could also be argued that ab initio, we should have acted differently from the way we acted before the situation snowballed to the current situation. However, if we say that these are natural occurrences, because the issue of terrorism is a global one. Again, what about injury we are inflicting on ourselves, day in , day out.
I am disturbed as a person that government, and when I say government, I cannot exonerate myself- I am in a privileged business to share from success or blame; therefore, I remain guilty myself, if government is guilty directly or indirectly.
For those of us in the legislature, we have recommitted ourselves to ensure availability of all legislative input that will help government and security agencies to arrest the situation.
Recently, in a forum I argued from the bottom of my heart and I still believe that we needed to be serious as a nation. Those who are clamouring for crises in this country, probably were not around in 1966. They are only looking at the luxury of crises. In a period of crises, even you journalists cannot operate, because people will be running helter-skelter for their lives. I argued that we needed to be careful.
If we are creating problems, because we are not happy with anybody who is in power, the best thing is to be ready with our PVC, so that we can reject that person when 2023 comes. As long as we love democracy, we must be prepared to tolerate inept government until the time of decision comes. It is very fundamental. Otherwise, most of these incidences outside banditry and terrorism are politically-induced.
Recently, I talked to our friends from the East that we need to be careful; because some of us are busy containing reprisal. Telling people not to mind what is happening. If you go and find an innocent man selling suya and you slaughter him, because you don’t like Buhari, how does that affect Buhari for goodness sake?
The poor man selling suya, what has he done? What they forget is that the man you slaughter on the street of Onitsha, for instance-I am not saying it happened in Onitsha; has relations in Sokoto, has relations in Gusau. And when he is slaughtered, they also have people staying there.
What will happen if mad people from the other side react the same way mad people from the other side acted? Reprisal. Anarchy. War. We need to be careful.
Truly speaking, I am ready to support not only those who are calling for restructuring, even those who want to dismember Nigeria. It is better. Instead of us to go to war, it is better we allow anybody who wants to go, to go. From what is happening, it like Nigeria is becoming an orphan. So, it is an orphan, let everybody find an uncle’s house and go and stay.
Instead of us to go to war, I will vote for separation. Peaceful separation, on the table. So that if we want to visit one another, we will require visa to go and do that. If we want to buy from one another, we will require visa to go and do that. It is better than killing ourselves for no reason.
All of us, whichever religion, we are descendants of Adam. I just saw a video clip, a friend of mine sent it to me from Abakaliki. He went to Israel, and in Israel, in the same vicinity, he saw Muslims going to pray, Christians observing service too. Everybody is going differently to his own. Nobody is harassing anybody. Nobody. But here, person who can hardly breakfast, will carry cutlass and go and kill another of his fellow, simply because they don’t speak the same tongue or they don’t belong to the same faith. It is alarming. It is terrible.
I spoke in the forum, because I, for one have a peculiar responsibility. I am from Kano. And all the non-indigenes that stay in Kano are living in my constituency.
So, if there is crisis today, I will be in trouble, because I must speak to protect those people. But I will also be severely disadvantaged if I am confronted with corpses of people from the people I want to defend in Kano. I will be severely disadvantaged.
We need to be very careful as a nation to learn from history. Small boys that have not seen any crisis beyond street fighting are now leading debate and conversations on how we will go to war. Even though, unpronounced.
And the elders, the educated and the elite are watching and clapping. Some, remorsefully. Some, enjoying it. We need to be careful. It is like we are on our way to Rwanda. God forbid. The elite must speak out. The earlier we speak and act, and act honestly, the better.
Would you subscribe to the convocation of a national conference, so that Nigerians can talk?
(Cuts in)Which useless conference? How many conferences are we going to have? Which conference have we not had?
If you talk of conference, you will be talking of conference for an issue that has no solution and we will be finding solution. Are we not aware of the problems? We are the architect of our own problems. What conference? You want to invite people to sit in air-conditioned rooms, speak grammar, speak to the camera, and at the end of the day, nothing comes from it. Nothing.
We have many conferences in Nigeria, which one has ever been implemented? Which one? The last one was the Jonathan conference, he refused to implement it, until he left office. When he left office, they are saying implement, implement it. Why didn’t he implement it? He convoked the conference. He should have implemented it immediately. But by the time they brought the report, either areas that affected him or affected his friends, they will tell him my friend, don’t implement it.
Even this one, President Buhari is better, because he has said he will not convoke any conference. But if he did, and the report comes out, in his slow motion, he would have left office before the report will be considered.
Talking about terrorism, there have been attacks on schools, what will you suggest to secure the schools?
Recently, in an informal meeting, we have contemplated a lot of measures, some of which it will not be proper for me to share here, because they are security-related.
However, there is a collectivity of opinion that emphasis must be on our schools, because the bandits and terrorists, who are twin brothers, believe that the easiest targets they can get and get away with are our institutions. They believe that there are already people there who are vulnerable, with little security.
Sometimes, it is until you are in a position of inability, before you will be able to realise that you have been taking things for granted. I think the incidences of these few days have helped to refocus attention. I think beside the issue of ransom taking, receiving and giving, there is also an attempt to scare away people (from schools).
I think as a nation we should not, for whatever reason, give in to this. No matter the situation. Except in a situation of war, no country should gamble with the issue of education of her citizens.
Therefore, we are working assiduously to ensure that it is nipped in the bud and no window is allowed open for the bandits to operate in our institutions of learning. What happened sort of vindicated our insistence, each time, when we had cause to ask government to provide additional funding for fencing of our institutions.
I think this will soon be an issue of the past; serious attention is actually being proposed towards securing all our institutions of higher learning. And we have received commitment to that effect from security agencies.