Culled from Compass newspaper
MOST of us who knew when the first civilian government was in place are now appalled by what we are seeing. Our dreams have been shattered …
“There is the problem of unemployment, where teeming millions of university graduates are just there without any job whatsoever. There is also the issue of Boko Haram, which is the same issue. We have never seen this type before and the government is not doing much to contain them.”
With these words, the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, yesterday took a swipe at the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, and came up with a damning verdict: Except in the civil war years, Nigeria has never been this insecure.
The group, at a media briefing yesterday in Lagos, condemned the general insecurity in the country and lampooned Jonathan for dreaming up amnesty for members of the Boko Haram Sect.
Its leader, Chief Reuben Fasoronti, who led other members to the briefing, said it was contradictory for the Federal Government to be condemning Boko Haram and at the same time planning to reward members of the sect with an amnesty. He said that there was a clear difference between the situation in the Niger Delta that warranted the amnesty to militants in the area and what is happening in the north.
He said: “Never in the history of the country, except in the civil war years, have our people been more insecure than they are today. Hardly is any news segment complete without the word ‘kill’ in it. Life has become short, nasty, brutish, like the Hobbesian state of nature. There is little or no value again for human life in our country as casualty figures would have to be in scores for any tragedy to make front headlines in our news bulletins.”
The Afenifere continued: “The regular killing of defenceless and innocent citizens by blood-thirsty Boko Haram terrorists has been unfortunately complemented by the nefarious activities of kidnappers, assassins, armed robbers and other petty criminals, who, seeing themselves as deprived and abandoned, are always poised to take a pound of flesh.
Sadly, there has not been any concrete, serious and effective effort to nip these crises in the bud and assure our people that they can sleep with their two eyes closed”
It added, “Most of us who knew when the first civilian government was in place are now appalled by what we are seeing. Our dreams have been shattered. We must find solutions to some of these problems, if we must continue to sustain our stand.
There is the problem of unemployment, where teeming millions of university graduates are just there without any job whatsoever. There is also the issue of Boko Haram, which is the same issue. We have never seen this type before and the government is not doing much to contain them.
“We are worried about the Federal Government’s stance on Boko Haram. These are people who have been lawless and have been killing people all over. You now want to tell us that you want to pardon them and reward them. We feel it is a contradiction in itself.”
The Afenifere further urged the people of the South West and security agencies in the country to be more vigilant and ensure that there is no incursion by the insurgents into the zone. It further warned the Federal Government against starting another money sharing spree with the insurgents as has been done with the Niger Delta militants.
Fasoranti said: “Our people should be vigilant and the security agents should step up their game to ensure that the South West is secured. We are also worried that Northern Leaders have not spoken up against Boko Haram. They have been very ambivalent in what they are saying. They have not decried the violence, they have not condemned it. They are very accommodating.”
The group was also of the view that the southwest has not fared well under the leadership of Jonathan.
It said that in terms of Federal positions, appointments and order of protocol, the southwest has been totally shut out in the present arrangement.
Although, Afenifere noted that it had previously discussed the marginalisation of the zone with the president nothing had been heard about the complaint from the president.
He said:“We are worried that the whole of the south west is more or less excluded from, for instance, the first ten positions in the order of protocol of the country, in the judiciary, in the top hierarchy of the civil service, and so on.
We have made our stance known through the Yoruba Unity Forum and it has been published and we said that we were not getting our fair share in this country. That is where we still stand. We cried to the president and he promised to do something about it. He has not done anything. We are still waiting.”
The Afenifere also condemned what it called the crippling level of corruption under the administration. The group said under Jonathan, corruption appears to have assumed the status of state policy. It said nothing could have shown the depth of corruption more than the pardon granted a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepriye Alamieyeseigha by the president.
“While we recognise that our constitution provides for prerogative of mercy, it is our position that such has not been exercised judiciously and for public good in the instant Case. And it has bombed our sense of value, sound judgement and wise discretion in the conduct of public affairs.
Afenifere further told the president to pay more attention to addressing the high unemployment rate, stop the discussion of fuel subsidy removal and also moderate the plans of the country to celebrate the 100 years of its existence scheduled for next year.
The group also warned politicians against heating up the polity for the 2015 elections.
Fasoronti was flanked at the briefing by some members of the group, including Chief Olu Falae; Secretary, Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa; Senator Iyiola Omisore, Comrade Rasaq Oladosu, Abagun Kole Omololu, Chief Supo Shonibare and the Managing Editor/Editor in Chief of Western Publishers Limited, Mr Sina Kawonise.