Says What Is Lacking in Tackling Insecurity is Political Will by Executive
The national chairman of the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP Dan Iwuanyanwu has cautioned the National Assembly against impeaching the President Muhammadu Buhari or demanding his resignation over his inability to tackle the present security challenges confronting the country, stating categorically that such move would fail. Iwuanyanwu was reacting to the statement by a member of the National Security and Intelligence Committee in the House of Representatives, Dachung Musa Bagos who was a co-panelist on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Thursday who said if the president failed to implement the resolutions that would emerge from a proposed security summit by the National Assembly he would be asked to resign or impeached.
The ZLP chairman also warned that if the Nigerian Army has run out of ideas on how to address insecurity in the country, Nigerians may need to embark on a campaign for its dissolution. He exonerated the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB from the spate of violence unleashed on Imo State in particular, and from the entire Southeast geo-political zone, asserting that terrorism was imported into the zone by politicians determined give the impression that the area is ungovernable.
Speaking on Thursday’s edition of Sunrise Daily on Channels Television, Bagos had threatened that “after this last resort of this summit, if nothing is done, brainstorming, spending resources to bring out solutions…and the executive did not do anything after some months of it, then definitely we call for the resignation of the president”.
However, warning the National Assembly against any move to abort President Buhari’s tenure, Iwuanyanwu stated unequivocally: “While you are going on with your summit which would likely fail, don’t put the removal of the president on your agenda because that would also fail. The president must finish his tenure so that we can write testimonial for him. Let nobody, whether in the senate or House of Representatives think of removing the president. What we are calling for the president to do is to have the political will to direct the army to clean this mess”.
But responding, Bagos, a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP lawmaker representing Jos South/East Federal Constituency of Plateau State, and deputy chairman of Anti-Corruption Committee in the House, retorted: “The president has told the service chiefs not once, not twice to relocate to so, so, so place and do this and that, has that yielded any result? Not at all! What we are doing is just like defending yourself. The fact that we are not taking up arms, but we are defending ourselves by bringing out solutions. So, looking at those issues, yes, the president gave out the marching order; to us, we have not seen the political will in the president and in the executive because of the resolutions that we have passed for so many years in the House, and that is why we want to say look, this is the last resort; if you don’t do this, you give way”.
He insisted that “We don’t need a security summit for the president to have the political will to act. We don’t need a national conference for the president to have the political will to act. The honourable member said they have said let the president ask for anything. I think we should be careful; very, very careful. Within the tenure of the last service chiefs, there was nothing they asked for that the senate did not give them to prosecute this war. They asked for everything, and they got it to the last kobo.
“It was much later that we heard from the national security adviser, perfect officer and gentleman who made a comment regarding to procurement of arms, and you do not keep pushing money into a bottomless pit. The truth is that the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can clear this mess in the shortest possible time if he has the political will”.
Suggesting that putting ethnic loyalties above the national public interest had been the bane of the present Nigerian army, he said “I know the army. You see, I was very young when I was exposed to the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies. I want to talk about the army then because many of them, we lived together for one year.
“This current minister of defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, was my course mate in NIPSS. That was the time of the Bamaiyis, the Muojakperos, the Godwin Abbes, all those top military officers; whether in the auditorium, or at the café, you could see patriotism in their commitment to defend Nigeria. There was no religion, there was no tribe. Speak to one at a point, speak to the other at another point, they would say the same thing.
“I started by talking about ethnic loyalties over-riding the national public interest. No matter what you do, no matter what you say, no matter the amount of money you approve, we have seen it. Even at a point, the national security adviser was not in a position to control the service chiefs that are supposed to be under him. We saw it with our very eyes in this country; let us stop playing the Ostrich. Perfect man that could have handled it! This army, is it the same army that General Olusegun Obasanjo, T. Y. Danjuma, the Bamaiyis and the younger elements left for Nigeria?”
According to him, “The army should make up their mind. We don’t need a national conference, we don’t need a security summit; they know where the problem is. Attack the problem; if you attack the problem, we will clear this mess. But if we cannot, if the army is so overwhelmed that they can do nothing again, they don’t have any new ideas, probably Nigerians, we may have to go to a hash tag for the dissolution of the Nigerian army so that we can look for young people, we retrain them to go and…This mess can be cleared; we don’t need a national conference”.
Further defending his position, Iwuanyanwu posited that “My constituency is labour; forget about those that have bastardised labour. We don’t have to garnish truth or falsehood; say it as it is. The truth is that, even from the government, they have said so. That is why I said this Army, I have implicit confidence that when they remove all these mundane considerations, they will clear this mess in three months. What is it? Somebody is coming to your land he’s getting more formidable than yourself – your own Papa’s Land. If they want it, and the president has the political will, he will give marching orders to clear this mess three months and we have peace”.
He tasked the National Assembly to demand for accountability from the military in respect f the monies that had been released to them to combat insecurity before approving more money, insisting that “Before you approve, honourble, be very careful what you approve because you have not accounted for billions of dollars for the procurement of arms” whereas “the police don’t have arms, the military don’t have arms”.
Reacting to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s warning to the effect that in a situation of conflict nobody would be immune from the consequences, Iwuanyanwu noted that “It has become very clear now that we are overwhelmed – the executive, the legislature, and even the security agencies that are supposed to prosecute this fight against insurgents. It has become also clear that the use of force alone is not enough to stem what we are having today. I agree with him that very soon, there will be no place to hide. So, what do we do in the circumstances? I think we should try as much as possible to key in the Nigerian people. I’ve been doing some work on this insecurity and you ask yourself, what is the role of Nigerian citizens? They are not carried along in this fight. We must take them along; let them believe that we have common share in the nation on equal basis. They must accept the country as their own which is not what we are having today. We are having different people fighting different wars. And you will agree with me, today, Nigeria is more divided. In fact, it is deeply divided more on ethnic lines than on religious lines”.
On the allegation by the immediate past Inspector- General of Police, Mohammed Adamu that IPOB was responsible for the attacks on the Nigerian Correctional Centre (Prison) and the Police headquarters in Imo, the ZLP chairman contended that “We did our investigation; IPOB had no hand in what happened in Owerri. Terrorism is now being imported into the safest place we have in the Southeast” alleging that “It is being imported, it is being done by persons who are thinking that this governor should be given restless nights because people have lost power; people have done a lot of things with our resources in the state”.
Supporting the position of the governor, Hope Uzodimma, that politicians were responsible for the insecurity in Imo, Iwuanyanwu, in a veiled reference to the former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, and his embattled family, said “I am from that state; I am in the opposition. It is the opposition that is fighting Hope Uzodimma; he should not be given a breathing space. You have taken all the money in the state to the point that you are richer than the state, now you are using it to fight us. You can pay bandits, you now call them unknown gun men; these gun men are known. We should stop calling them unknown gun men. Security agencies should go in and find them”.
Prodded further, Iwuanyanwu insisted that “Of course it is being fueled by politicians; funded by them. I just gave you Imo example. Did Hope Uzodimma allow his house to be attacked, or he would allow, under normal circumstances, for that to be done? These are people who have lost out in the power equation and they have to key into this insecurity situation in the country”.
On the contrary opinion by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, he said “I expected that response from the PDP and there are things I will better explain to you in proverbs. If you get to Imo and ask most people on the street where this thing is coming from, they would not think and reason the way and manner the PDP person who spoke to you. If you use your tongue to count your teeth, you would know who those people are. Of course they are opposition within APC in the state. There are few of them who have lost one way or the other. Then you have the larger opposition”.
Establishing a nexus between the violence in Imo State and that of the entire southeast, Iwuanyanwu said “I started by telling you that terrorism has been imported into Imo State and indeed the southeast by the opposition; by the politicians. Look, you will have to de-market the place; you have to make the place look as if it has become ungovernable. That is what is happening to the citizens. They don’t think so; they know that this is not in their character…The average Ibo man will not want to be distracted. Even this presidency that people are talking about; if you fix the country well, allow equity, good conscience, justice, an Ibo man is not interested whether Fulani man or the Yoruba man keeps this power for 100 years. But allow everybody equal access.
“So, what is happening in the southeast, let nobody change the narrative. It is not in our character. These things are imported, take it to the bank”.