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Everything Has Failed In Nigeria – Senator Anietie Okon

Senator Anietie Okon

Senator Anietie Okon

Elder statesman and publicity secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Anietie Okon has come out to talk about the state of Nigeria and the solution to our political and socio-economic problems.

Anietie revealed that everything seems to have failed in the country and saying otherwise is plain foolishness.

According to him, he is sure that every state in Nigeria can look after itself and contribute to the maintenance of the centre if their governments are serious about making it happen.

He added that governance does not start and end with the narrow perceptions of the reach and stretch of the country.

His words, “Today, everything seems to have failed in Nigeria. To address the nation otherwise is an exercise in foolhardiness. The president and his club of men which I call the cabal sit in absolute detachment from the realities in this country.”

“Governance, as far as I am concerned, does not begin and end with the narrow perceptions of the reach and stretch of the country.

General Ibrahim Babangida once said that when President Muhammadu Buhari was the military head of state they tried to tell him that Nigeria was a lot beyond his concept of what Nigeria is, that Nigeria doesn’t begin and end with Katsina and a few other states in the North; that Nigeria has Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Cross River, Uyo, and other states, but as they did that they were classified as enemies.

Therefore they had to remove him from office. Even though we don’t want that type of action today because to have a repeat of that action will mean destroying all the democratic institutions and various segments that go with it, we want him to see the country for what it is: a defined economic and geographical entity called Nigeria does not begin and end within the confines of his state of origin.

And we want a return to true federalism in which rather than the states going to Abuja (the centre) to collect money with handbags in a beggarly picture they will be contributing to the maintenance of the centre because they are raising money on their own.

Why do you think there is banditry in Zamfara and some other places? Because they see the federal government interfering with their mineral resources, and exploited the resources illegally.

And where do these bandits get their weapons from? There are now a lot of armed gangs essentially serving certain economic interests. Those interests are the ones funding them and that is why they have sophisticated weapons.”

And you hear that Boko Haram members have better weapons than the Nigerian Army. They have chosen to call it banditry but the fact remains that they are sponsored by various interests in the mining sector, yet they still come to Abuja to collect from our own contributions which I learned has continued to yield for the Republic of Nigeria.

Why are they not allowing the proceeds from exploitation of mineral resources like gold, limestone come into the national treasury? We are saying that they have to formalise the exploitation of those mineral resources but they are trying to turn a blind eye to that. Those bandits are sponsored gangs by some Mafia-like organisations.”

And as far as I am concerned, there are enough resources for every state in Nigeria to be able to look after itself and contribute to the maintenance of the centre. As a state you grow at your own pace; that is what federalism means. If you see that other states are growing, you find out from them what they are doing and establish collaboration with them to grow. It is a shame that in this country today we have 20 million pupils that are out of school. And it is not a question of talking, this has been confirmed by the United Nations and all world bodies.”

And they said about 95% of that is essentially from the North. That is rubbish, and irresponsible. Where did we grow from? We started as a federation until the military took overpower. So there is no compulsion to remain part of Nigeria under the present circumstance. And you see in the national dailies recently, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo warned that Nigeria cannot afford to be plunged into another civil war. Other Nigerians are also warning that the unity of the country is in tatters, and that if things continue this way, there is no way a civil war will be averted. If we declare that we are going, we are going, because there is no law that compels us to be part of Nigeria under a repressive circumstance in which the laws of association are not respected or given any regard. We want to return to true federalism, that is why we have said that they cannot continue to fight against restructuring.”

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