• Gunmen Kill ANPP Chieftain, Two Others In Borno State
• ‘Blame Govs, Not Revenue Allocation For Collapsing Northern Economy ’
THE current state of insecurity in the country seems to point to missed opportunities by successive governments to avert imminent upheaval.
One of such missed chances came when the solution proffered by the then supreme leader of Muslims in the country, and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, was ignored.
In 1991, Alhaji Dasuki, as Sultan, had chaired the “Peaceful Co-existence Committees” that reeled out a strategy — the “Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki 1993 Peaceful Co-existence Plan” — for lasting peace in the north and Nigeria in general.
The plan focused on eight cardinal areas of reforms, some of which were Administration of Justice, Civil Service, Security System, the Press, Education and Employment Opportunities that needed urgent attention for peace, progress and national unity.
Unfortunately, the findings and recommendations of the committee did not see the light of the day, even long after Alhaji Dasuki left the throne.
Given the increasing socio-political and religious upheaval in Nigeria, Alhaji Dasuki has, in the last two weeks, repeatedly drawn attention to his “1993 Peaceful Co-existence Plan,” as what the country needs to implement in these trying times.
He said justice and good governance are the bedrocks of national security and development, and a guarantee to Nigeria’s survival as a nation.
Alhaji Dasuki, who spoke in Kaduna, recalled that, “Last year, somebody asked me: ‘What are we going to do about this Boko Haram?’ I said, ‘Let the government, from the local level up to Aso Rock declare from today they will do justice, and we wait and see.’
“To me, in so doing, we shall live in peace and not in pieces. I may be wrong, but I think that is the correct thing because I am doing it according to our own scripture.”
The former Sultan listed three things that would allow Nigeria emerge as a united nation from the present morass. They included giving traditional rulers a role in the polity, appointing competent leadership and encouraging inter-faith dialogue.
Referring to his 1991 document on how to move Nigeria forward, Alhaji Dasuki said, “People have to talk now,” citing what motivated him into doing that.
“One… Muslims and Christians (have) to meet and discuss what is worrying them. Two, leadership (has) to emerge through the community to intra-state, state, regional and then national.
“So, I hope by this method, honest leadership will emerge; competent leadership, committed leadership from the intra-state, the community, to regional and even to national level,” he said.
Alhaji Dasuki spoke under the backdrop of worsening insecurity with the Boko Haram sect spreading fear and death across northern states, while armed robbery, kidnapping and other dastardly acts are commonplace in the southern section of the country.
Only at the weekend, an All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) chieftain, a tea vendor and a painter were gunned down in separate attacks at Abaganaram, Gambouru and Lamisula wards of Maiduguri, Borno State.
The killings came barely two days after the visits of the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin and Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar.
Petinrin had commissioned nine boreholes sunk by the military and distributed 50,000 exercise books in Gambouru, where the painter was shot yesterday by persons suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect.
In another attack, at about 8.40pm, an ANPP leader and aide to former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff was shot dead at his Lamusila residence.
An eyewitness said the gunmen arrived at the residence in an unmarked tricycle and shot the victim in the presence of his wife and children.
Officers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) subsequently rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area.
Some prominent leaders, including serving state governors, have blamed the dwindling fortunes of the North on low allocation from the federally collected revenue, which, they said, was responsible for the ravaging poverty and birth of insecurity being spread by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
Their response was to call for a review of the revenue allocation formula and the onshore-offshore dichotomy law that will give more money to the states.
However, respondents to The Guardian enquiry on the declining fortunes of the economy of the North say the leaders, particularly the governors, have not been prudent with the allocations they receive, and should take responsibility for the economic decline in the states.
The solution, they said, should include efforts by the governments to tackle insecurity, epileptic power supply and smuggling of foreign goods, while diversifying the economy away from reliance on federal allocation to agriculture and agro-allied industry, as well as generation of more internal revenue.
Senator Walid Jibrin, member, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party called for improved electricity supply.
“The epileptic supply of electricity in the North,” he said, “is really affecting industries, typified by low current and poor patronage, which necessitates purchase of costly generators and diesel.”
Kwara State Commissioner for Information, Tunji Morounfoye, said the economic conditions of the 19 states of the North had been comatose for long, stressing, “we should not blame Boko Haram for the decline.”
“We need to (emphasise) areas of our advantage, like Adams Smith stated. We can develop our agriculture through the youth. We can emulate the example of China that brought out 300 million people out of poverty through agriculture in the spate of five years.”
To Dr. Wada Ademu, senior lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Jos, “no matter how much we develop the oil sector, it has a maximum capacity it can absorb in terms of labour force.”
“If you diversify the base, develop agriculture, develop industry, every one of these sectors will definitely have to employ people, and we will have no problem of unemployment.”
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