Any citizen who is verified through criminal record should be allowed to carry arms and register it. For those who are nurturing concerns that it may lead to proliferation of arms, I don’t agree because when you are talking of proliferation of arms, you are talking about il- legal arms, and not those ones that are legal. Those that are to carry arms are to be licensed and registered. You license their names, to their government identity cards, to their residence with their bio-data, with their socio-economic data, and once you do that there will be no need for any anxiety. Without arms, when bandits and terrorists attack, you will be at their mercy. But when you are armed, at least you will be able to put up resistance or defend yourself.
Allowing people to carry arms in self-de- fence will also strengthen our military capability because you will have young men available for military operations in time of emergencies. The Nigeria Police, according to a recent rank- ing by the World Institute of Police Services, is the worst police in the world. So why would you want to entrust your security to the worst police in the world? Before this government came into office, we were not the worst police in the world. But now see where Buhari’s administration has led us. Before Buhari came into office, we were not the poverty capital of the world, but Nigeria is being ranked the poverty capital of the world. Before APC and Buhari took power in 2015, in the global index on terrorism, Nigeria was number four. But today Nigeria is number three. Imagine the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed saying security has improved. But if security has improved as he wants us to believe, how come Nigeria has become worse in the global index on terrorism, and Fulani herdsmen were mentioned as contributing to that ranking?
There is also what is known as farmers and herdsmen crisis across the country…
There is nothing called herdsmen and farmers’ crisis. It is the media that is creating a deceit. There is nothing called that. What we have is a situation where you have a Fulani Army trying to take the land of the natives, and even the Presidency asked us to surrender our lands to them in order to keep our lives. One thing I want to emphasise here again is that as long as Buhari remains in office, the security situation will get worse. When I said in 2016 that APC is the greatest threat to Nigeria since independence, APC propaganda machine claimed that I’m a sore loser. But who has been vindicated today? What I’m saying is not metaphysical but science. Just use simple security memory index, you will see that the security situation has progressively gone worse. What we have in Nigeria today can be likened to a war situation.
Sheikh Abubakar Gumi recently advised that bandits be given amnesty…
Gumi is a man that should be watched. It is not only amnesty he called for. He is also quoted as saying in one Hausa newspaper that Boko Haram is a blessing to Nigerian Muslims. If you also watched the video of his meet- ing with bandits, you will see where he told the bandits that it was not the Muslim soldiers that were shooting at them but Christian soldiers. Have they not already divided the Army? But they will now be telling us that the opposition is trying to divide the Army. Is Gumi not inciting the bandits against Christians by claiming that it is Christian soldiers that are shooting at them? Let us not continue to deceive ourselves until the whole country goes up in conflagration. Imagine Gumi even comparing Niger-Delta militants with bandits! What a shame! But I’m not surprised. When the source of a river is dirty, that river will be virtually dirty. That’s what I can say about Gumi. If a religious extremist like Gumi will call for anything, you will know that what he is calling for is very wrong. It is obvious that there is no basis for comparison between Niger-Delta militants and bandits. If Gumi can say Boko Haram is a blessing to Nigerian Muslims, then you don’t expect same Gumi to bring a reasonable solution to any problem in the country. I don’t agree with that. For me, Gumi didn’t go to negotiate with bandits. He went there to incite them against Christians.
On 2023, there have been arguments over rotation and merit. While some are saying that the principle of rotation should be respected, and that it should be the turn of the South, especially the South-East, others are canvassing merit, where do you stand?
We stand on merit, and that merit should be based on rotation. Every local government in Nigeria has a suitable presidential material. I’m not the first person to say this. Late Alhaji Balarabe Musa said so. He said you can find an excellent presidential material in each of the 774 local government areas of Nigeria, and you don’t also change the rule in the middle of a game. Nigeria is a heterogeneous society, and based on that, the overwhelming, majority accept rotation. Any argument against rotation is deceitful. Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State has declared that it is the turn of the South in 2023, and that this has already been agreed to in APC, and that anybody who says other-wise is being dishonest. I’m quoting el-Rufai. I’m not in APC. Rotation is a Nigerian thing. It is very patriotic, and it is in the best interest of the country, and if there would ever be any 2023, it should be the turn of the South-East. For equity and justice, it should be the turn of the South-East.
I said if ever there would be a 2023 because of my fear for this country, because of terrible things that are happening in this country. Look at what is happening in Niger State where vehicles that are carrying foodstuff to the South are being turned back, and Nigerian security forces are looking the other way. Are you not aware that the Nigerian military used helicopter gunships to cause mayhem in Orlu? There are so many things happening that nobody knows whether there will be 2023 or not. So I’m not willing to talk further about 2023 because it is only a living man that can talk about 2023.
What is the way out for the nation to get out of these crises?
The country must be restructured. Nigeria needs a major political adjustment, and restructuring is the only safest option because it will be least expensive, and also because an overwhelming majority of Nigerians agreed that we need to restructure. Already four out of the six geo-political zones in the country have agreed on restructuring through their socio- cultural organisations, so what we should have been doing is to discuss what should be the terms for restructuring.
My own terms, which I believe should be ideal for us, are that we should have six regions using the current six geo-political zones with six constitutions. A federation is a federation of constitutions, this is the proper definition of proper federalism, and that is what the original founders of Nigeria agreed upon. At the Lancaster Conference in London, that was what the founding fathers agreed upon before the military disrupted the agreement. We need to go back to that original agreement with some updates, and modifications. Nigeria was founded as a federation but the Army truncated that arrangement and imposed their own structure. When you go against your own foundation, your structure will collapse, and that’s why Nigeria is having all these challenges.
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