Disintegration, not good for Nigeria –Senator Adeyeye

Senator Olusola Adeyeye representing Osun central senatorial district certainly is not a green horn in Nigerian politics. A former Member of the House of Representatives, he came into national prominence through his activities as a member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) during the dark days of Late General Sanni Abacha.

It is on record that he and some others were behind the Radio Kudirat that the pro-democracy activists used to disseminate information to Nigerians at home from abroad. In this interview with BAMIGBOLA GBOLAGUNTE, Adeyeye spoke on a number of issues. Excerpts:
What have been your challenges in the National Assembly? First and foremost, let me remind us that I left the senate more than four years ago, May 2007. So what has been my experience in the senate versus the House of representatives? First, the challenges that we face are different when I was in the House of Representatives we were not facing for example this issue of oil subsidy we were not facing the Boko Haram. Perhaps the biggest problem we faced at that time was the attempt by the then president to subvert the constitution by his attempt to have a third time for himself, and the approach that any Assembly we have will be put on the heights of problems that arises.  Issues like Boko Haram are not issues that you can talk about as freely as you wish. For few reasons, first, because that is the nature of the security problem, security problem are not the issue any one can talk about flippantly, secondly, because the whole issue is just enshrouded in a crowd of the unknown, as we are talking right now, nobody can say clearly who are the brains behind Boko Haram, even the issue of subsidy, it’s just being defrock, that is stark naked for us to see what is beneath it, so for that reason, there has been I will say a measure of caution, in fact, before the issue of Boko Haram will be discussed for the very first time by the senate, if you watch the proceeding that day, you will see that the senate president first called for an executive session and we were warned and I believe correctly this was not as a matter in which people can just plan to play to the gallery because if you misspeak in that kind of place,
you might become the target of death, you remember that the man who went to president Obasanjo to try to negotiate was killed within 24hours and when we had the debate on Boko Baram, some of our loved ones called me and said Prof., this is not the matter to blow grammar o and I don’t blame them, that is why to say that we must live in fear and because out of fear we must be paying from addressing the issues confronting our republic,
but is to say that look, discretion they say is the better part of valour especially when you don’t know the enemy about whom you are going to be talking about, and then when you look at the character of the senate anywhere in the world, it usually comprises of people who are older than those of the other chamber, I don’t call the house of representative the lower chamber because the two chambers are actually co-equal.

The senate cannot pass any law without the House of Representatives and if there is a deadlock between the House of Representatives and the senate, I can assure you there will be a joint session in which the House of Representative will always win because in a joint session, it will be one man, one woman vote. That is why the state itself is careful not to precipitate a situation where there would be conflict in the House of Representatives.

In fact, when we were in the House of Representatives, we enjoyed it, because we knew that we must surely win when it comes to joint session. But in addition to the fact that you are older, the senate also tends to be a little more célèbre, less emotional. For example often times in the House when I would speak, people will clap and I will enjoy their applause, you cannot afford that in the senate it’s not allowed. So the style is different.

The procedure is partly different, and the tradition is different, despite the fact that even when you look at the rules of the senate and the house they are almost the same. So that is what have found. Now, as for the challenges that we are facing, of course, this issue of the subsidy, you know it came because there was a motion by Senator Bukola Saraki to look at the fact that the budget of our republic voted a little over N200billion a year for oil subsidy and that the investigation that we were spending four or five times that amount.

I happened to be one of the principal co-sponsors of that motion. The motion was debated, and in the end, it was referred to a committee to look into it. It so happened that the house later brought the same motion and couldn’t go into action because right now all that you are seeing is what has come from the house when in fact the senate had also met on the same issue. Only yesterday we read the newspaper we found some explanations from the chairman of the house committee on petroleum to the effect as to why the senate has not come out with its own findings, and he said they were trying to be sure that everything is sorted out, I am convinced that it is too late for anyone to try to hide anything, I believe nothing will be hidden,

now I don’t want to prejudge what the outcome of the senate findings would be, but they may find the same thing that the house has found. There might be slight differences, I think it behoves me to wait to see what they would find. Now as a Nigeria citizen, I am free to comment on what the National Assembly has found I have no reason to doubt the integrity of those in the house who are in that committee. I believe that there is no how you are going to get to the bottom of this subsidy issue without finding some warts and I am glad that the National Assembly has done it proper duty in bringing the facts to the open,

we don’t have the power to prosecute, all we can do is to tell the nation what we have found it’s up to the executive to prosecute it’s also up to the citizenry to bring appropriate pressure to the political process to ensure that no one can be a sacred cow in this matter. Once the citizenry is alive to its civic responsibility, we who are the servants we have no choice but to bend to their wishes. I believe that what would happen in the end will not depend on the apathy in difference, zeal, enthusiasm, what so ever of politicians alone,

to a large extent it will depend on the fourth estate of the realm, the press, to defend on the civil societies, it will depend on labour, it will depend on the citizenry at large who must say 1trillion, 2trillion if we bring that money to capital development, we can create enough jobs that will fast empty our young people and arrest this orgy of violence from jobless youths who are being misdirected by organizations such as Boko Haram it will create infrastructure that will make our lives better it will create better schools for our children, for I believe in the end, the ball is in the hands of all of us. Does the crisis emanating from Boko Haram portend danger to our republic?

The answer of course is an emphatic yes. Let me tell you, about eleven years ago, the US intelligence report said Nigeria has less than 16 years to survive as a corporate entity. Two years later, they said they were wrong. We don’t have up to 16 years again, they now reduced it and brought it even further nearer and every pretentious Nigerian patriots abused the hell out of the Americans.

The truth is in our lifetime, we saw India split in to India and Pakistan in our lifetime, we saw Pakistan split to Pakistan and Bangladesh. The country that stands as the rallying point for the third world alliance was Yugoslavia under Tito when Tito died, we saw how a crisis developed. The Austrians, the Serbians, the Croatians, and how that whole place became a theater for genocide and murderous orgy.

We saw what has happened in Albania, we saw what happened in Georgia and part of the former Soviet Republic where there was tension and endless unrest. The attempt of Nigeria to invoke a nationhood has remained an attempt let’s not deceive ourselves. That’s why somebody was once quoted as referring to Nigeria as a mere geographical expression and somehow we have been patching it over the years and today we have come to a point where unless we want to completely deceive ourselves, the handwriting on the wall is bad.
Let me tell you, personally, I want a united Nigeria and I will tell you why, when you look at what is happening in the world, countries are coming together to form bigger blocs of power, economy and influence, Europeans were like tribes too.

They fought each other, not for years, not for decades, for centuries, when they realized that they were not able to compete and they began this EU business, one by one they came together and remember when they became ten or twelve up to twenty something, they came together to form bigger specters of influence whether politically, military or economically.  You saw what happened to the Soviet Union. When you get to Asia, people don’t see something that is unique about Asia.

There are two countries in Asia that put together almost constitute half of humanity. China is one quarter of the world, India is one fifth of the world. If you add them together they form 4/9thh of the world, two countries. When you get to North America, there are only three countries in North America, Canada, Mexico and USA, USA is the largest population but by landmark, Canada is bigger than USA by landmark. When you now go to the South America, you find only fourteen countries, in South America, only two countries are landlord,

I think Manabí and Paraguay, all the other ones from Surinam, Brazil, Baima, Venezuela, Argentina and all the rest, all of them have access to the ocean. You now get to Africa, what do you find? You find first Irish land, Burkina Faso, Mali, all of them where there is no much water, no resources and they are landlocked. If they allow Nigeria to break, I pray it doesn’t break.

If we can break peacefully, fortunately for me by accident of birth, not my own wisdom, I come from a part of Nigeria where we have access to the ocean, and if we start war in Nigeria, all of Africa will turn over, because Nigeria is more than 50% of the population in West Africa, Nigeria alone is one quarter of Africa. So, for that reason, I will pray that instead of having the array of regions that have ruled us for almost fifty years of our independence.

That by the grace of God, God will just give us the miracle that we can have good men and women who can rule this country in such a manner that Cameroon will say, Oh Nigeria we want to join you. Togo will say lets join you so that we will have one country from Senegal to Cameroon.

That is what I would want. When you look at the history of the world, the collapse of countries has come more from internal wrath, decays than from external aggression, and that is what is happening to Nigeria. So do I see it as a threat to democracy? It is not only a threat to democracy, it is a threat to the very survival of Nigeria as a country and I pray that God will give us a miracle out of it.

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