E O EkeSunday, October 12, 2014




t promised to establish a serious crime squad to fight terrorism.

The road map added: “Peace and security are fundamental to Nigeria’s social and economic wellbeing. Every Nigerian should be safe and free to work in any part of the country, regardless of tribe, ethnicity, or religious beliefs.

“Our law enforcement agencies face significant challenges on many fronts: terrorism, especially in the Northeast, unresolved high-profile homicides and the rise in new crimes, such as kidnapping, abductions and cyber-crime. The result is an international perception of Nigeria as a failing state where violent crime, corruption and fraud are rife.

“APC’s roadmap for peace, security and foreign policy includes: Enable states to have their own local police forces that address the special needs of each community, including community policing initiatives that restore trust among local citizens.

“Establishing a serious crime squad with state-of-the-art training and equipment to combat terrorism, militancy and ethno- religious crisis, clashes.

EE: How will APC do this? How will this fit into the existing structure? Where will the personnel come from? Will they be seconded from the Nigerian police and armed forces or will they be new recruits? Has the details being worked out? And how will it be phased in? Are they going to personels with different mindset and attitude from the present crop of security personels?

I do agree with the principle of a serious crime squad, which in my understanding is what EFCC and his twin should be all about. I suppose the reasonable thing would be to look at EFCC and explore ways to make it truly independent and difficult for the presidency to control in the way Obasanjo and Jonathan have been able, and make it effective and able to enforce the law. There is no need for a new military force, in addition to total reorganisation and modernisation, the Nigerian army should select a group and give them further training in combating terrorism and them incorporate training in combating terrorism in its training and ensure that the soldiers are battle ready by following an enriched programme of training, exercises and continuous professional development to improve professionalism. The idea that there is a magical solution or a silver bullet to fix the Nigeria security problems apart from a systematic development of a professional and independent armed forces and police is naďve to say the least.

“Provide a comprehensive compensation plan for victims of ethno-religious crisis, communal clashes and terrorism.

EE: This is a great plan, but how will it be done. My view is that the government should start by making sure that no victim of Boko haram terror is forgotten, by building a memorial in Abuja, where their name will be inscribed in stone and set a day to remember all victims of terror, political murder and all who have lost their lives in unjust way and manner in Nigeria. This is to ensure that we will never forget the evils of sectarianism, and criminality.

Yes, the government must pay compensation to victims and or their families for failing to provide security. This will be justice. My question is, where will the money come from? Will it be paid directly by the government to the victims and or their families or will the government appoint an agent to do it? Again what would be the condition for the payment and how much should it be? These are the things to be worked out, otherwise. It would another excuse for the government to budget funds which will end up in the pockets of politicians.

“Initiate a national reconciliation and healing plan, beginning with a truth and reconciliation commission on ethno-religious clashes; ensure the teaching in our schools of religious tolerance and public demonstrations of religious and ethnic tolerance by public officials.”

EE: This is excellent. However, with the increase in religious affiliated schools, this will be difficult, unless he government makes its position very clear in its education policy and change the way religious education is taught in schools. There are madrasas in north Nigeria where students are drilled in hate and religious delusions and christian schools in the south, which produce bigots who believe that they are the only people who will go to heaven. Religious education lay the foundation for our differences and help to fan the bigotry that separates us and lays behind of our suspiciousness and conflict. It should not be so. Religion does not have to play a divisive role in the polity and become the construct on which the people segregate.

The question is why would APC do about it? How will it ensure that religion does not continue to divide Nigeria so that Nigerians can focus on what is important to live a good life and build a free, tolerant and free country? Otherwise, this policy will incite the people against the government and the government’s good intentions may be misconstrued. Therefore, this policy should be pursued in phases and the first phase should be educating the people on what the policy is all about and then selecting some schools to conduct a pilot study, to learn some lessons before rolling it throughout the country. Seeking truth and reconciliation should not be a way to enable people who have committed crimes in which there are evidence to escape prosecution. There should be no reconciliation with those who looted the Nigerian treasury in full consciousness. They should be brought to justice and their procceds from crime returned to the treasury. This is the only just and right option.

On Education, the APC plans to “make the right of every Nigerian child to receive a free, relevant and quality education a reality, based on free and comprehensive primary and secondary education.

“Provide free tertiary education to students pursuing Science and Technology. Engineering and Math (STEM).

“Create incentives and dedicate special attention to the education of girls.”

EE: This is another area where a lot of planning is needed there is need for the party to publish its detailed plan for scrutiny, if its sincere and not just attempting to say what it believes the people wants to hear knowing that it can always say lack of resources impeded the plan. It is therefore important that a detailed plan should accompany the promise to reinforce honesty of intent. APC has to define what it means by free education and who would pay for it and where the money will come from. There should be a sustainable plan, which will ensure that all pupil and students get life changing qualitative education. Sustainability must be the main focus. There are many models, which the party can examine and decide on which is best for Nigeria. The same thing can be said for health.

Shedding light on the road map at a follow-up round table, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said: “We commissioned a survey on what exactly is wrong with Nigeria, what exactly Nigerians need. Unemployment, corruption insecurity are the major problems confronting Nigeria today. So, the roadmap is a result of what Nigerians need.

I am afraid; this is nothing, but statement of intent. APC has to produce a detailed plan and policy of how it would actually solve these problems to be credible. Just listing the problem is not good enough. It is commendable that they attempted to validate what is common knowledge by a survey and I wish that this evidence based approach to policies will continue if they gain power.

“What we have done today is to show that there is a big difference between the PDP and the APC. We are after a new Nigeria. This is a new Nigeria we are creating in which the people will be the beginning and the end of all development programmes.”

I do believe that we need a new Nigeria, with a new culture and attitude and pleased that APC shares the same sentiment. However, the new Nigeria cannot start without a new government where the leaders are prepared to act in ways different from the present government in many aspects of governance. The imposition of consensus candidate, stifling of democratic process, monetisation of politics by demanding millions for application forms, enthroning the culture of fatherism, and imposition of hereditary succession cannot be some of the ways.

The Chairman of Anti-Corruption Network, Otunba Dino Melaye, said: “The road map has lucidly elucidated the palliative measures against corruption. What the PDP is practicing now is greedocrcracy, the government of the greedy by the greedy and for the greedy. The road map, which is to correct corruption, is coming at a time when we are getting to the brink. The APC is the solution to the challenges facing the country. Once I was blind but now I can see.

“Nigeria is like a car being driven by a drunken-driver. What we have now is that corruption is being massaged and promoted. What we have in the road map is to make every Nigerian a change agent. In 2011, I was in the National Assembly where a budget of N250billion was passed for fuel subsidy but this reckless government increased it to N2.3trillion.

“This roadmap will produce a President that will not just commission projects but supervise projects; a President that will execute projects that are people-oriented. N149billion has been used in the last three years for politically exposed persons for medical tourism. We are setting an agenda. The President APC will produce is going to attend hospitals in Nigeria. We are going to bring back our medical experts deposited in Saudi Arabia and in the United States.

How will APC do this? The party should consider university autonomy and motivating Nigerian universities to aspire to excellency. Funding of university education should be reviewed and the universities made more accountable to the students and people. Pay and standard of living are the two main factors driving Nigerian brains outside Nigeria. This sorry state has resulted in the corruption of university teachers and deterioration in standard. APC has to produce a coherent credible plan and policy on how to reverse the trend. This requires a lot of hard work, which has not been demonstrated in the pronouncements so far. Somebody I know who recently returned to Nigeria from abroad with a PhD gained a lecture job in a Nigerian university tells how difficult it is to survive in Nigeria on equivalent of $800.00 a month. How will APC in government address this issue? This would be vital to any policy which aims to attract Nigerian brains abroad. What will APC do about the use of private jets to lift dollars out of Nigeria (government participation in money laundering)?

“APC wants a Nigeria where you will not need to manipulate or commit immoral sins to get political appointments.”

I suppose, it is fair to ask how APC will do this and to suggest that it starts by ensuring due and democratic processes in the way and manner it selects its candidates for election. Asking prospective candidates to pay millions of Naira for application forms for elective offices is a good place to start by putting in place a selection process, which does not only favour the money bags, but enable them party to select the best candidates in terms of character, values and vision for Nigeria. There are many ways of doing it, if they are sincere. I also concerned about the language. It is not the duty of government to fight sins. A government should concentrate in enforcing the rule of law. I hope that APC would be mindful of the fact that Nigeria has a secular constitution and refrain for mixing religion with politics in the way previous administration have done.

A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, said: “The best way to differentiate the APC from PDP, not only in terms of corruption, but in many ways is to look at the leaders of APC. PDP cannot produce or present an incorruptible leader like Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. If they have any, let them produce such a person. I think the results are there on ground; if the APC leaders are credible. We have the history to show us and we have the performance of our leaders to speak for us.

If this is true, it is really sad. Jonathan has not done his reputation no favour by refusing to declare his assets and reigning in his wife. APC should state what the party would do to any member who is involved in corruption to make its position more credible. Nigeria do not need saints in politics, but men and women, who are honest, respects the constitution and the rule of law, loves the country, wants Nigeria to develop, and able to resist corruption. It is important for Nigerians to realise that what the country needs is a leader who would build strong institutions and not a strong leader, who believes only him has what it takes to solve the Nigeria problems.

“The last time the PDP produced a manifesto was in 2007. It has been pursuing one agenda or the other since then. We challenge the ruining ruling party to produce its own roadmap.”

A former National Secretary of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), George Moghalu, said: “The road map is all about Nigeria, doing things at the right time and in the right way. It is a reflection of the wish of average Nigerian.

“It is an agreement we are going to sign with Nigerians so that at the end of the day, we can account to them.”

This is splendid, bring it on.