‘Why Niger Delta youths crisis requires some caution’

Alhaji Suleiman Maja

Alhaji Suleiman Maja

Alhaji Suleiman Maja is one of the leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State. He spoke with Abiodun Fagbemi on the need for Nigeria to sustain its Presidential system of governance, which he described as the most efficient means of democracy in the world. Besides, he believes that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will eventually serve as a model for his successors if given more time before being assessed and condemned. Excerpts:

Buhari’s first year

It has been a moment of mixed feelings, but above all, we should be grateful to God for the emergence of Buhari otherwise, most of the shocking revelations we are witnessing today, especially those who are returning the looted funds would not have been exposed.

One may complain of escalating prices of essential commodities at present, but I believe it will be a momentary thing. When all the conduit pipes in the nation’s economy are perfectly blocked, and new economic blueprints released, Nigerians will laugh last.

Buhari deserves more time before a true assessment of his government could be made. But one area in which he has made a tremendous progress is in the security of lives and property. At least the spate of bombings by the insurgents has drastically reduced. Therefore by frontally facing security issue and putting it on the pinnacle of his blueprint pyramid, he has sent a message to the world that he would do well in power.

Bombings of oil pipelines, kidnapping and the Fulani herdsmen

The issue of Niger Delta youths requires some level of caution. They are not fighting for secession unlike the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). What they want is more care and the protection of their environment. But are these too difficult for any government to meet? Certainly no. One beautiful thing with them is that they are not faceless and are therefore not evading dialogues. With more time the issue will be sorted out.

The Fulani issue is the one that may be of a great concern to the APC because no one seems to know the mission. Their spread is another area of concerns. Besides, why should the people who had peacefully lived with other tribes over many years ago be taking up arms against other Nigerians at this moment? Our security operatives should unravel the causes of the sudden hostile relationship and put a permanent end to it.

However, I think the nation needs more synergies among the three tiers of government, especially in the relationships between the executive and the legislative arms. A situation where this robust relationship does not exist will constitute a clog in the wheels of governance and the masses will be the ones to suffer the consequences.

Executive, legislature relations

If you look at the compositions of the ruling APC as a party you will observe that people from different political groups, orientation and ideologies formed it. The inter relationship among members of these sub groups before and even after the victories at the polls has not been long. This has not afforded members of the party a very strong platform to interact and make headway in many sensitive issues. I don’t believe in them parting ways at this moment but will rather advise them to continue to tolerate and understand one another until the much desired unity is achieved. Even the other party that had been together for over a decade now is not in total harmony with one another. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s recently botched national convention could point to the fact that all is not well in the party.

Parliamentary system

I will say no to it. What is wrong with the Presidential system as it is being practised today in Nigeria? Nigerians are the ones that will practise either of the two systems and not angels. I want to say that we only need to change our attitude to governance and embrace patriotism towards taking Nigeria to the next level of her socio, political and economic development. So whether presidential or parliamentary, unless we see this nation as ours, we will not make any headway.

Having said this, we may advocate a homegrown democracy for Nigeria. This means a presidential system patterned after the needs of Nigerians. For instance, we may try a unicameral legislature and cut the number of lawmakers to say one senator per state rather than the three we are currently having. This will enable us to cut costs of running government and boost our reserves.

Besides is there any outstanding law dictating to us on how we should govern ourselves? Are we not an independent nation? Based on these questions and apparent answers I think we can bring an aspect of parliamentary system into our presidential system by giving a constitutional role to our highly revered traditional rulers. I will leave that to our academics in our various universities to fashion out a suitable Nigerian home grown democracy.

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