- Ogboni Prince Osibote is the National President, Oodua Peoples’ Congress, OPC. In this interview, Osibote speaks on insecurity and other issues in the polity. Excerpts:
What do you think is the way out of the precarious insecurity ravaging the entire country?
The situation is very unfortunate and the government has to do something urgently about it otherwise, the situation will continue to degenerate. However, some of these ugly situations we have on our hands are man-made. For example, some of these kidnappers are being sponsored by those who are well to do in society.
Do you know how much it costs to purchase an AK-47 rifle, and even other sophisticated arms being used by these criminals? How many Nigerians can afford to buy it? Purchasing it is beyond the reach of the common man. It is only the big men that can afford it. So what this means in essence is that those who are behindkidnapping, banditry, and insurgency are big men. They are doing it to cause mayhem and unrest. They are doing it to create fears in the minds of Nigerians.
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Unfortunately, it appears the government is overwhelmed. With the way these terrorists are striking here and there, the authorities need to step up measures to give Nigerians a sense of security. Our security agencies must rise to the occasion. We should not allow the situation to degenerate, otherwise, Nigeria’s corporate existence is in danger.
My advice to President Buhari as the Commander-in-Chief is that he should remember that the buck stops at his table. He should give marching orders to the security agencies to strategise and come up with solutions to the menace of these terrorists. Nigerians are tired of excuses. Excuses will not bring dead persons back to life. The President should match his words with action. Nigerians want concrete actions and not excuses or condolence messages whenever these terrorists strike.
Will granting amnesty to these terrorists be a solution as some are suggesting?
No, that will be a wrong approach. Granting amnesty to bandits and terrorists will only breed more criminals. Whoever is involved in committing heinous crimes should face the music. Granting these criminals amnesty may even give them the impression that they are getting the upper hand. It may embolden them. The federal government should wield the big stick by dealing decisively with them.
Some Nigerians have also suggested state policing system as part of the solution to the insecurity. What’s your take on that?
It would have been an ideal solution but for the fact that state governments may abuse it. We could all recollect what happened in the first republic when we were practising true federalism.
Then, state police was allowed but the system was abused in the long run as it later became an instrument of terror used by the government in power to oppress their opponents. With that unpalatable experience, many Nigerians would think twice before supporting the idea of state police.
Unless there are guarantees or checks and balances, state police may not work according to the intended plans. I still strongly believe that the federal government should be able to put the situation under control. With the right motivation, arms and ammunition, and good strategy, I believe our armed forces should be able to rise to the challenge. With the 2023 general elections fast approaching, we don’t have too much time on our hands to deal with this ugly situation. We should not allow the situation to fester until 2023 otherwise insecurity may threaten the polls.
How would you assess the seven years of Buhari-led administration?
I’m not a politician but whatever I’m saying is my candid assessment of the situation. The situation has been very tough. These last few years have been tough for ordinary Nigerians. The economy has been very harsh. The standard of living is high, and for ordinary Nigerians, life has not been all that smooth. This is not the change they promised Nigerians. I think the federal government has to do something urgent about poverty alleviation.
They have to address the issue of hunger and poverty ravaging the nation. A hungry man they say is an angry man. Nigerians voted for change, and what they were expecting was positive changes that will make life comfortable for them. Nigerians voted out PDP with the expectation that the new party they voted for would meet their aspirations but unfortunately, this has not been so.
What’s your reaction to new political parties being formed?
It is in order. For those who feel that both the APC and the PDP have failed them and the nation and are now coming up with new parties, they are free to do so. It is also their constitutional right to do so.
There is nothing wrong with having alternatives to the PDP and the APC. We should allow Nigerians to make their choices from the political parties. Let Nigerians have their choices, and vote for parties which they believe can truly deliver dividends of democracy. 2023 general elections will provide an opportunity for Nigerians to use their votes to put in power those who they believe will truly serve their interests as well as that of the nation. Enough of deceit. Nigerians should not allow themselves to be deceived this time around. They should only vote for parties and candidates that can deliver the dividends of democracy.
What’s your take on the number of presidential aspirants for the 2023 general elections?
It is the legitimate right of any Nigerian to aspire for any position in the country as long as the person is qualified.
Those aspirants are eminently qualified to do so. Some of them have served as state governors, ministers and senators. For somebody like Rotimi Amaechi, who I have watched and observed in action when he was the Rivers State governor and noticed that he was an action man. He transformed the state’s education system in such a way akin to what the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo did in the old Western region. He has also been making his mark in the Transportation sector where he presently holds sway. Rabiu Kwankwaso, former Kano State governor is another performer. I also know that there are other hardworking ones like these two but I can vouch for Amaechi and Kwankwaso based on how I have seen them at work