Nigerians must be convinced that the hands of some Monarchs and Elite are clean before any dialogue-Prof. Olagoke
They are at a lose over the seemingly helplessness of the government to ensure the safety of lives and property of its citizens.
They readily make reference to several communities such as Molusi, Olorunsogo, Molete,Felele among others in Ibadan, Oyo state, where some community leaders and Landlords and Tenants Association aid and abet criminals with the backing of law enforcement agents, as good examples of how crime has taken a very dangerous dimension.
Indeed, a lot of Nigerians are of the opinion that dialogue is the way to go, while others believe that community leaders who sponsor criminals should be identified and brought to justice as a step towards addressing the country’s security challenges.
In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke opines that Nigerians must first be convinced that some traditional rulers and elite are above board in the present situation before the issue of dialogue can be propagated. Excerpts :
A cross section of Nigerians are of the opinion that a national dialogue will address the county’s various problems. Do you agree ?
The issue of national dialogue is not supposed to be limited to the time when the elite are been affected by the hostilities of the times, which today has manifested in insecurity.
A profile of institutional indiscipline and corruption dates back to the 60s when Alhaji Tafawa Balewa observed that civil servants were no longer contented with what obtained then as natural life that was commensurate with the individual wages based on their cadre.
He observed that they preferred to forcibly have bicycles, which they would ride with pleasure to their different villages.
In the 70s, a foreign economic expert described the Nigerian system of government as that of kleptocracy.
Furthermore, Nigeria was observed to have governments that condoned evil and corruption based on the fact that those unfortunate elite caught in the game would never be brought to justice or convicted.
Many of those who talk today cannot absolve themselves from having contributed,at various degrees of impunity, to the present problems which urgently need a serious national conference; with a view to overhaul the provisions of the constitution, to a more holistic level of justice standard so that posterity would not continue to curse us.
There is the need to appreciate the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on his concern, though his antecedents would always portray him as not been sincere because while in government, he stated that that he might have advisers, but nothing would compel him to take to their advice.
However, we don’t need an angel to preach virtues, hence the advice of our great elder statesman must be heeded by President Muhammadu Buhari government.
There is also the need to appreciate the efforts of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitna Ogunwusi and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111, whose concern have made them to speak out on behalf of the voiceless.
They don not want the Yoruba nation to be unnecessarily undermined and ravaged by the faceless non-indigenes, whose activities are yet to be effectively charged to the conviction level to serve as deterrent to others.
However, the traditional rulers seem to have gone the extra mile to warn those of Yoruba origin who own the herds of cattle and engaged the services of the Fulanis, for rearing and grazing, so that we do not fight an unjust cause.
What about the several Churches, Mosques, schools and institutions, companies and industries and even private homes that engage the services of the non-indigenes on matters of security.
Once we have put our house in order and ensured that some traditional rulers hands are clean, as well as that of the elite, the agitation by the Yoruba to have their way would be justified.
On the issue of national conference, we must avoid the jamboree sort of what happened during the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in 2014, many of the representative were never respected in their domains because they had never shown interest in the security and welfare of the people, who they claimed to represent.
There is the need to separate rhetoric or game of theories from the pragmatism and records of concerned activities for the people who we may claim to represent.
A choice based on mere political affiliation and diabolical service of Yes man platform for the strong individuals, will always mar the objectives of any conference.
Service to humanity has nothing to do with egomania, which always characterize the state of most of those who have been having opportunities to attend conferences on issues pertaining to Nigeria.
This must have been one of the hallmarks that weakened the strength of the 2014 conference because after it, most of the participants only enjoyed millions of Naira showered on them, without having anything to show on returning home.
National conference should start from the past Heads of state and former Presidents with their economic and political experts to identify our areas of weaknesses and threats and those factors that must have been responsible for our Democracy turning into kleptocracy.
The gross abuse of the immunity clause and the preferred alternative to ensure seriousness and discipline in governance.
Attendees must from their various domains create platforms of town hall meeting with those professionals and opinion moulders as well as former state Governors, traditional rulers and religious leaders of note and relevance to the people at the grassroots, within their areas of jurisdiction for brainstorming before going for the conference and for feedback.
If we are able to go by the national conference, accordingly, the intervention of God would eventually see us through to have a safe and secure nation again. God save Nigeria.