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Kanu’s Incarceration Causing Nigeria Harm–Maduka

Chris Maduka
Posted: Apr 4, 2016 at 1:47 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Mr. Chris Maduka, a youth mobiliser and public policy analyst is the National President, New Tone In Leadership Foundation , spoke to EJIKEME OMENAZU on some crucial national issues, including the performance of the current federal administration and the resurgence of Biafra agitation.

Would you say the All Progressives Congress (APC) government at the centre under President Muhammadu Buhari is living up to expectation?
Well, I will speak as an analyst and a citizen. From a citizen’s point of view, you do not need a mirror to see the ringworm on your finger. We can see that things are not moving as many, including the APC officials and ardent supporters, expected. Also, if Nigerians are having unreasonable expectations, then APC as a party has itself to blame for making over bloated and to a certain extent, unrealistic promises. As a professional analyst, in as much as we have not started seeing the changes as President Muhammadu Buhari admitted and has apologised, we must also appreciate the fact that meaningful change will take some time to manifest. But, I must add that such change should not be confined to only the fight against corruption. It must be a holistic change that involves every aspect of the leadership and every institution. This change we are talking about will go beyond the leadership. We, as a people and society, must change our dysfunctional idiosyncrasies. We must also see things from the perspective of greater good for the greatest number of people, which is the essence of democratic principles, not greater good for sections or regions. Whatever we do to bring about change must be predicated upon the backdrop of fairness, justice and rule of law.
The President recently announced that Nigeria has joined the Coalition of Islamic Countries Against Terror. What does the country stand to gain by this action?
I think Nigerians generally are overreacting over this issue and are a bit too sensitive. Years ago, there were allegations that we were taken to the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and the Islamic Bank. Nobody can now categorically tell how that move hurt or helped Nigeria. If anything is hurting Nigeria, it is the people we have in leadership positions and our attitude towards the call to service. People should sincerely worry more about what their governors and elected representatives are doing than which regional organisation or group they see our president with. Quite frankly, Nigeria is a secular state. Our constitution is clear on that. So, any move by any elected leader to go contrary to the constitution is effort in futility. But, we appreciate Nigerians being vigilant about the company our leaders keep.
We should try and align with the Progressives of this world, not the other way round. We should not worry about ISIS attack. But we should worry about electoral irregularities, herdsmen and farmers’ feud, that all these are nipped in the bud, than about some distant symbolic handshakes.
There have been calls from several quarters for the removal of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele. Would you say such calls are proper?
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, like every other government official, has a share in the blame of citizens now. Nigerians expect change when President Muhammadu Buhari came to power. That has not manifested. Change takes time. So, the citizens are reacting and to the present hardship and economic stagnation. There is now electoral violence, plunge in the exchange rate and the poor economy, fuel crisis, among others. So the people have reasons to call for change among people in key positions.
But, blaming everything on Emefiele is a misplaced outrage and misdirected anger. He is not a magician. He is not the sole driver of the economy. He can make impute from his strategic position as long as monetary policy is concerned. There are other fiscal policies like taxation which drive the economy. Those who want Emefiele out are either partial or ignorant of the factors that drive the economy holistically.
Yes, he has key role to play in bringing certain level of stability to the currency regimen as far as bringing sanity in the official market and the parallel market. But, as far as the volatility that is being experienced in the global currency market, in this case, dealing with our Naira versus the Dollar, there is a little Emefiele or anybody can do. Now, the plunge in crude oil price, which is our key foreign exchange earner, is not a local affair which either Emefiele, or even President Buhari has control of.
Instead of calling for the head of the CBN governor, we should use this opportunity to deepen our fiscal policy initiative that will ginger the local economy as well as improve our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Then we embark on long-term sustainable attitude of change that will help to conserve our foreign reserves. We are too dependent on foreign goods and luxury items. These luxury items in well structured economies attract extra taxation unlike here where it is a wide open terrain.
Those calling for Emefiele’s removal should go a bit further to explain if his removal will immediately cure the ills of Nigeria. If they are able to do that, then they are being political. At this juncture, this administration should not allow itself to be muddled in politics. The CBN is just like the Supreme Court, which must have some level of independence and autonomy as it is done elsewhere, especially in USA. It should have its Board and chairman.
As a South East youth mobiliser and political activist, how do you see the recent resurgence of the demand for Biafra?
Well, like I said about Nigerians’ over reaction and emotional response to issues, it is not different with the Biafra agitation. Both sides of the extreme spectrum are getting it wrong.  Those dismissing the agitation without realising that it is part of the democratic norm for people to agitate for certain issues as the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). Now, the question of what brought about this agitation depends on who you ask. People have different interpretations. Some people that never had an experience of being any of these Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) in the North East, where the Boko Haram hold sway, cannot tell the story or explain what is happening there.  People from the comfort of their homes cannot interpret and explain what somebody or the actual experience of people and the atrocities in North East. The same thing to a certain extent is the case of IPOB, or what people term the Biafra Movement. It is not wise to dismiss and vilify them when there is no proof of violence against them. They are entitled to express their opinions as guaranteed in our constitution.
Some people have said that the current leader of the Biafra Movement, Nnamdi Kanu, is not being well treated. How do you see his arrest and trial?
The arrest and continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu, even against court pronouncement, does not augur well for our growing constitutional democracy. If the government will rely on the court system to try him, they should equally adhere to the directives of the court. Continued incarceration of Kanu against the court order is causing more harm for Nigeria as a nation.
What is your advice to President Buhari on the Biafra issue?
My suggestion or opinion as a citizen is for President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to some of these agitations and concerns emanating from the South East and other areas. As the president of all, he should take steps to address them and give all a sense of belonging in the Project Nigeria as one people, with shared destiny and aspiration.