‘Buhari has what it takes to win insurgency war’
Significance of this year’s event
THE significance is that honor, true service and integrity will always be celebrated. More importantly, this event has also created a platform for us as Nigerians to discuss Nigeria and rediscover ourselves as critical stakeholders who must engineer a nation out of our present country.
It has always been my belief that at the background of all the partisan politics, ethnic bigotry and vain sentiments that describe our daily existence, lay the all time question of whether we have or are going to have a real nation like others have successfully done. I think the deaths of worthy Nigerians and occasional engagements like this in their honour, throw up discourses which remind us that our narrative as a nation cannot be complete if we do not confront in their nudity, the critical issues that define our existence and civilisation.
I am sure you know that the calibre, size and distribution of Nigerians gathering for this event are very serious minded, patriotic and highly vexed Nigerians. For them all to have reserved a day to attend this colloquium I am sure, is a strong definition of the worth, value and importance of Olusegun Agagu to Nigeria and its growth project.
Having participated in the previous interaction, I feel particularly proud and confident that beyond the notion of fear, pessimism and resentment about our capacity for a trajectory, this nation has a positive future ahead and can be great again. I have said this before that Olusegun Agagu’s life after death has shown that good people don’t die and that integrity, honour, service, decency and hope never dim out of fashion.
Unique qualities of Agagu
Knowledge, clear vision, will power and honesty, these were his greatest strength and I suppose these are characteristics that are very scarce in quantity among the Nigerian leadership league at present.
In this sphere where leadership is pretence, and corruption and indecency snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, for me it is of no use whatever calling a man has if he lacks those Spartan values. We are however satisfied and consoled that whether as a politician, a professional, public officer, father and role model, late Agagu demonstrated these characteristics eloquently and to the best of his ability before his creator called.
Secondly, In a nation where the relationship between the institution of critical thinking; the academia and governance suffer a temperamental dislocation, Agagu brought connectivity and vitality. For those of us who worked with him or enjoyed his mentorship, thinking through before acting remains a critical factor in Governance.
It was Agagu’s belief and mantra that detailed planning, knowledge, organisation, clear understanding of the trends and patterns of social contexts are sure tools to lift governance to; service without tears. Seven years on, his indelible legacies abound everywhere in Ondo state, so much so that people define the failures and successes of the subsequent government in the context of Agagu’s policies and practices. And so, for me, these, together with simplicity, honesty and self-contentment, which he taught us define my politics and personal philosophy of leadership.
The Agagu political family after his exit
It has been a bag of mixed fortunes, a sense of loss and permanent void on the one hand and a sense of responsibility, faith and continuity on the other. One tries to strike a balance on daily basis.
Justifying the defection of members of the Agagu political family to the APC
Indirectly your question interrogates the philosophy of Agagus politics, which is very interesting. Now, let me point out that in this game of options that politics is, Agagu’s ideological option had always been to serve the people and engineer development, social justice and liberty. This much he lived and died for.
For him and other founding fathers of PDP, the party was a mean of driving development and growth and he did this excellently and creditably for his people, particularly in Ondo state. With well equipped basic health centres in all the 203 wards in the state, the over 1,500km of road constructed, with computer and internets facilities installed in the 301 secondary schools in the state and over 314 blocks of 6 classrooms constructed for primary schools and other plethora of interventions, you cannot mistake that Agagu was a progressive who stood as one with the people.
Therefore, for us as part of the dream and the team, this is our conviction and ideology and there can be no doubts that the man is certainly at peace with what we are doing. Agagu never tolerated impunity and indiscretion. He never supported corruption and indecision all of which the PDP degenerated into.
I am absolutely sure he would have embraced any initiative capable of freeing Ondo state people from the shackles of poverty, gloom and pain, which our people are chained to. For us, quite frankly, change is imperative for Ondo state. We are happy and satisfied being members of APC.
My take on President Muhammadu Buhari’s ant-corruption crusade
I think we should imagine what would have happened if the status quo had remained after the last elections. In other words, with what we now know about the oily mess in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Presidency, wouldn’t it be a disservice to find a clean slate and install a safety valve to avoid future occurrences?
More often than not, in my view, the complexity of Nigerians’ ability to rationalise their plight is that it lacks intensity. We tend to get carried away by oversimplifying our issues once we have a slight relief, and this is a bad trait. It was before our very eyes by 2014 till 2015 elections that Petrol became so scarce and station attendants became Kings, we saw as many states ran bankrupt and even up till now, cannot pay workers salaries for many months, government’s reserves almost dried up in spite of excess crude earnings. We saw as basic amenities almost withered off and governance drifted off on autopilot.
Yet not less than 300,000 barrels of crude oil were being stolen per day as individuals in power and its corridors openly acquired private jets and armoured pleasure cars. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was drying up while non-oil export earnings became ridiculous. With oil as the mainstay of our mono-product economy, isn’t it clear that to kill corruption is to kill its viruses in NNPC and the nation’s Leadership mindset?
I personally believe the President must probe and allow the law to take its course where there are infractions, otherwise the concept of crime and punishment will become a cigarette in the rain. But where probe becomes a slogan or agenda, then distraction becomes an ideology.
Luckily, the President has disassociated himself from such a far-fetched farce. The paradox of the opposition’s media onslaught against the President on the issue of corruption is that he has consistently re-emphasised that the critical challenges of his government is to revamp the economy, garner a new political order and bridge the gap of inequalities.
Buhari has what it takes to win the insurgency war, but…
Yes, I believe the President has the mindset and seriousness to lead a victory against the terrorists. But again the type of measures you take will determine the size of your success. For example, the president has ordered the police to recruit more men to bolster intelligence gathering and other activities, is that what we need? We can never resolve our security challenges in Nigeria as long as we are doing what we are doing now.
No other country is doing what we are doing in term of policing. Most countries have adopted what I call de-centralised policing. If the security challenges become complicated, you have to bring in complicated process to address it. We cannot have a federal type of government that adopts a unitary system of police and expect that to succeed. Even the white men, when they did the amalgamation, they knew that a centralised police could not work in Nigeria. So, the type of police they set up was the Native Authority Police. That was the first type of police we had in Nigeria. So, it worked.
They even introduced the prison that was native authority based. It was later in the years, which followed; I think in 1936, that they decided to set up a federal police. So, the federal police and local authority police co-existed together till 1966 when the army took over. When they took over, they set up a committee to review that type of police and they came to the conclusion that they were using it to intimidate political enemies.
It was bound to happen because the white men did not bother to set up a structure to regulate that kind of level of policing. So, there was nothing like Police Service Commission, may be at the centre, with a guideline to structure that type of native authority policing to be able to determine at what bound they must stop. So, the real issue today is to review our policing system to be organic and community grown and well structured, instead of the currently centralised system, which may still run its own course. I believe if we do this, crime and internal threat to our security can be smelled from a far distance and true solutions can be found for them before they fester.