F’G Should Dialogue With N’Delta Militants – Elebute | Independent Newspapers Limited
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F’G Should Dialogue With N’Delta Militants – Elebute

Posted: Jun 4, 2016 at 3:31 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Dr. Tunde Moses Elebute, economic strategist, in this interview takes a critical look at President Muhammadu Buhari’s on year in office and came up with a strong verdict that Nigerians expect better performance from the administration even with some of its claims of successes. He further speaks on other issues in this encounter with EJIKEME OMENAZU.

How do you see President Muhammadu Buhari’s account of his one year in office?



Although I have not read through the whole speech, I have picked part of it from newspapers and the television. I will give him credit on how Boko Haram is being handled. It shows that he is a general. He looked for Buratai, who is a military strategist and this has shown in the achievements so far on the Boko Haram insurgency. The Nigerian territories under the Boko Haram for some time had been recovered while their attacks had tremendously reduced. But, the president has not done well in the area of the marauding Fulani herdsmen. I believe he could have done much better in this regard. Although he has given orders, I think he should have done that earlier. He wasted much time thereby giving the herdsmen opportunity to continue to kill people and destroy properties across the nation.

Now, a new crisis has erupted in the Niger Delta. I think while the military is trying to curtail the activities of the militants, the government should set up a fact-finding committee comprising some elders of Niger Delta and find out why the boys are fighting now. The committee should be frank and the government should listen to them. Let them say what the Niger Delta people really want. Government should be seen to be making efforts to alleviate the problems of the Niger Delta. Look at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on the clean-up of Ogoniland. Government should start to implement it. This will help to douse tension in the Niger Delta.

Also, I suggest that the president should look at the report of the National Conference. What they produced during that conference was the mind of Nigerians. That conference cost the nation a lot of money. President Buhari should set up a committee to look at the report and see the areas that can be implemented urgently.

Do you have some fears about the country at present?

Yes, I really have some fears. As things are going, the prediction that Nigeria would disintegrate in 2015 may come to pass in 2016 or 2017. President Buhari should respect the desire of each region. Although Nigeria is a one united nation, you cannot step on the toes of people and expect them to keep quiet. So, he should do something fast about the Fulani herdsmen and the raging Niger Delta crisis. Look at the havoc the herdsmen are causing across the nation. Look at what happened in Agatu in Benue State and in Enugu State recently where they killed over 1,000 people. The killing, raping of women and destruction by the herdsmen are too much to be condoned by any government. A time may come when the country’s unity may be dissolved. The government should not fuel the anger of the people.

Notwithstanding all that President Buhari said in his speech, the truth is that Nigerians are suffering with rising cost of living and inflation. Could these achievements count when they do not reflect positively on the people?

In the area of the economy, I think the president has also tried. His fight against corruption is commendable. But, Nigerians want to know how much has been recovered. He has reduced wastages in government and exposed the ghost workers. However, it is also true that there is a lot of suffering in the land. Government should pump more money into the economy and reduce unemployment, while he continues to fight  insurgency and corruption. He should also save the economy of the nation. The hardship of Nigerians is too much. The Nigerian situation does not follow economic principles. The demand is high, the price is high, but there is no money to buy. United States of America was bad economically when President Bill Clinton came in. but, he turned around the nation from deficit to surplus. What did he do? Clinton engaged a lot of diplomacy. We should borrow a leaf from him. Let the government invite Clinton to meet with the lawmakers and the executive so that he can stimulate their minds towards national development. The most difficult people to control are the hungry men because a hungry man is an angry man. We can borrow models from different parts of the world and get our own experts to domesticate some of them to our own model. We can even learn from Singaporean experience. No nation is an island. The recovered loot should be put into use for the good of the society even as Buhari continues to recover more. His image has done a lot a lot of good for Nigeria. We commend him for the improved image he has given to Nigeria since he became the president a year ago.

Do you think the recovery of only two of the over 200 abducted Chibok girls is enough to justify all efforts of government towards ending the Boko Haram insurgency, especially as the sect is still killing Nigerian?

The Boko Haram insurgency is a serious issue. Let us not forget that the Chadian President once claimed that he had some facts about the Boko Haram. Let President Buhari invite him for discussion. Government will learn a lot of things that may lead to the recovery of the Chibok girls. It could be that the people seen as the Boko Haram leaders may not be the real leaders. The military has been combing Sambisa, why have they not seen these children although they claim that they are still there? Government should continue to motivate the military the more so that they can end this insurgency. There should be more military intelligence to ensure that they gather more facts on the Boko Haram and work with them

What advice would you offer to the nation’s leaders at this period of the administration?                         

I want to advice all the lawmakers in the National Assembly that they should work together to uplift the nation and that they should not work for the disintegration of the country. Bills that will destroy the nation should not be allowed to get to the second reading. Bills like the Sharia Bill and the National Grazing Bill should not be passed. They should be killed instantly before they see the light of day. Lawmakers should consult very well with their constituencies before they speak on Bills that will divide the nation. President Buhari should look within his party and beyond and set up a real economic team that is capable of turning the nation around. I don’t believe that whatever he has in place now is effective enough to do what Nigerians need at this time. If not, a time shall come when the people will no longer be patient enough to listen to them again. Nigeria belongs to all of us. President Buhari should therefore look within the nation and give us more people who can help him to manage the nation well. It must not necessarily be APC members alone. Nigerians are suffering indeed. The earlier the president tackles the economic problems seriously, the better for the government, the party and the people.

The level of crime is increasing. The rate of unemployment is on the rise again and many people are losing their jobs. The rising cost of living is getting unbearable even as the minimum wage remains at N18,000. President Buhari should take the opinions of Nigerians seriously and do the needful. He should devote more time on national development even as he fights the war against corruption and battles the Boko Haram insurgency. He should also take a second look at his team and do readjustments where necessary in the interest of the nation and for proper development. He needs to build for Nigerians functional infrastructures that cut across all the sectors for proper and comprehensive development of the nation. Nigerians expect a lot from Buhari after the several years of misgovernance by the previous governments. He should therefore endeavour to give the people what they want. A stitch in time, says an adage, saves nine. Nigerians have been patiently waiting for the promises he and his party made to them during their campaign and in their manifesto. The time to act is now before things get out of hand. I believe that President Buhari can do it and will not disappoint Nigerians.