National security: Azazi deserves credit for speaking out –Okomiso
From TAIWO AMODU, Abuja
Tuesday, May 08 , 2012

Azazi

The country National Security Adviser, General Owoye Aziza has been vilified, over his recent comments that the zoning arrangement in the PDP constitution,  which has been observed in the breach was responsible for  upsurge in the macabre attacks being unleashed by the religious sect, Boko Haram.

In this interview with Daily Sun,   Chief Obol Patrick Okomiso, a chieftain of the All Nigerian Peoples’ Party, [ANPP]  says  the NSA deserves commendation , not vilification for speaking the truth.

How do you see the security challenge created by the Boko Haram insurgence and  the declaration by the National Security Adviser,[NSA] which has fuelled calls for his resignation?
I think the Boko Haram issue  is an affliction which a growing nation like Nigeria will have to pass through. But what is important about it is that, how do we manage it? What do we to save the country?  This isn’t the first time we are having this problem: we have had Bakassi boys, we have had kidnappers, which is still going on; we have had militants, which I call agitators; we had had OPC and now its is Boko Haram.

I think the way we go about it and the way we manage the crisis is what is equally important. I look at it from this point—the problem is that if a decision had been taken on Boko Haram, we wouldn’t get to this level. I think it is lack of decision; that’s number one.
Number two, on the question on what the NSA had said, I like calling a spade, a spade and I like giving credit to whom it is due. Today, in this country, the person in charge of the whole security of this country, is NSA—- nobody knows about security  than him for today.

Tomorrow, it can be another person; and he said, if he was quoted well that he has said this in some quarters, but today he is saying it openly—that the internal democracy of the PDP: zoning, is the cause of this bombing.
Look, except a man that doesn’t have sense, that’s the only person who will not believe him, because there is nobody who knows more about security than him. As we are all sitting down here our security is in his hands. So, he has more information than any other person and we should take his statement seriously and give him credit to have spoken out!

There is no reason for calling for his resignation, for telling us the truth. Why are they calling him to resign? For saying the truth? Are we saying it is wrong to speak the truth? Is it because, truth has died in this country?
We listened to what Wole Soyinka said at the south-south meeting. Let us look at the text and read what the man has spoken. So, the NSA spoke his mind and told us the truth.
But people are saying, at his level, his office demands  that he should be circumspect; that once he knew the presidency doesn’t share his position he should have resigned, rather than come to the public to vent his feelings ?
He didn’t say he was fed up with the system; he has just told us what is happening, and saying what is happening, he said it, openly.

Listen, for us to know where it is coming from so that we can stop it. So, why should he resign? For saying the truth? That’s my problem with this country; that he should be crucified for saying the truth?
It is like what the House of  Representatives  committee has just done
with Farouk Lawan as the chairman—- if it was another person who did that, by now you wouldn’t see the result.  Farouk has come out with a report and two weeks already, nothing has been done.
It was just this morning I saw SNG on the television calling for an action. Do we have to wait till that point? Do you know what three trillion would do, if you put it into this economy and it is in the hands of few Nigerians. Azazi has said the truth and he shouldn’t be crucified for saying the truth.

This thing is very serious, people are dying. Let me tell you something; there is no man who will carry bomb to go and kill himself, if he has food to eat, but they have to do it, because they have no food to eat. So, they die with their hunger and cause other people to die with them. This bombing is as a result of unemployment, like of ideas from the government….
Do you share the position of those  who insist that we should not dialogue with the sect, because unlike the scenario we had in the Niger Delta, which was contained through dialogue and amnesty, the people behind Boko Haram  are criminals? Is government even serious about containing the menace of this sect?
Let me tell you something; we can never  succeed by force to force, the only way out is dialogue. And you wouldn’t  tell me that they don’t know those who are doing this. No. let me tell you something; the NSA said, it is lack of internal democracy  and the undemocratic attitude of PDP that have caused this bombing. So, they know those who are bombing and dialogue can be followed. We have the secret service and they should know how to get in touch with those in Boko Haram.
Let me give you an example; your office has just been bombed and somebody has gone to the internet to say, ‘we are responsible!’
If a man can goes to the internet and claim responsibility, then another man should go to the same internet and say, let us dialogue.
So, contact can be made. We have to dialogue with them to find out what has resulted to this level that Nigerians are killing themselves.

But they actually declared their demands, which the authority thinks are unreasonable: one of such is a theocratic state.
If you remember the IRA  and you remember the Checks Republic…. In Nigeria, there was a time a section of the country wanted  to pull out, which led to the Biafran war—it ended on dialogue. The militants were agitating, it ended in dialogue, OPC ended in dialogue.  This is the same way we should dialogue with them.

Their demand would always be there, it is from there you start bargaining. When you get to the round table you can now say, how can you demand for this?
Let me tell you this, we are about   150 million people; two million people, that’s, if they are up to, will not divide this country, or Islamise this country. I will tell you what you may not understand, or you may not look at it. For the past twenty years, we have inter-married, more than we have ever done too many Moslems have married Christians so, there are some families that they are Moslems and Christians. These bombings isn’t about Islam and Christianity and that’s why I keep saying, Christians shouldn’t retaliate, because Christianity is founded on forgiveness;  Islam is founded on peace, forgiveness and tolerance.

Let us call these brothers of ours and find out what has gone wrong; they may have a point. That’s the truth.  Those who are saying the government is a weak government, if it goes into dialogue, they don’t wish this government well. The only thing is to dialogue. We had rebels in  Liberia, was any war won in Liberia? It was dialogue that ended it. They carried guns against themselves. We have just seen a coup in Mali and Guinea Bissau.
The Liberia that you just mentioned, the man that was at the centre of the war of  attrition is facing charges in Hague.
The court in Hague is political. I don’t believe in that court in Hague; may be if I say this, people will take it quite different from me . Did you see what happened to Cross Rivers  state?  It is only in Nigeria, in the whole world that ceded its citizens to another country and that court was political. Why should we even subject ourselves to Hague? So, I don’t believe in it at all.
South-south just had a regional summit, the south west has had its own. There is this perception that such regional groupings is an affirmation that the Nigeria project is a lost project.
No, it isn’t a lost project. Wole Soyinka said small is beautiful; I will tell you, big is strength. Our strength is our population, there is no way we can disintegrate. These regional meetings are good for development.

Are we not better off having a loose federation than this over bloated centre?
I  think we should give the states more autonomy, the burden on the
federal government is too high. We should be able to take everything
from them; let leave it with the police, the armed forces, health. It
should be left with such projects while the rest should be given to
states, so that we can see development. The federal government has no
business to tar a road in Maiduguri, while it is in Abuja. Those roads
should be handed over to the states. So, more funds should be in the
states.  But there should be no state police and they shouldn’t be
saddled with the responsibility of appointing the state chief judge.
No. If those things are done, you will see that there wouldn’t be
problem. Let states control sixty percent of what comes out of their
states.

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