Why Boko Haram persists, by Ciroma
The Convener of the Northern Political Leaders Forum, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, yesterday said the Boko Haram menace has persisted because the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has failed to listen to suggestions on how to curtail it.
He also said it is too early to presume that Senator Ali Ndume, who is standing trial for alleged association with the dreaded sect, had a deal with Boko Haram leaders.
He said the travails of Ndume have made some Northern leaders to stay away from finding solutions to the Boko Haram insurgency.
Ciroma, a former Minister of Finance, broke his silence on the Boko Haram insurgency in a no-holds-barred interview with Newsdiaryonline.com.
He said: “Security matters and security issues are always problems which government has got to deal with. The Boko Haram and the spread of this insecurity, in my view, originated from how parts of this country were mismanaged. The mismanagement, I believe, has spread and the resultant insecurity has also spread. So, it is for government to find solution for dealing with this insecurity.
“When the issues began to be serious in Borno, the elders and leaders of Borno advised the government that they should talk to these people, that they should withdraw the troops from the streets and that they should find a solution to ameliorate the complaints of the Boko Haram elements. A spokesman of the government dismissed their recommendation.
“Since then, similar recommendations have been made in Kano and elsewhere and they have been equally dismissed. The meaning of this is that the government has stuck to its position, in spite of the advice being given from various parts by citizens who want to see peace and security.
“So, the government has to learn how to listen to people because insecurity is a problem which government has to deal with. It affects people in their normal day-to-day life. So, the number one issue is for government to listen to what people are saying because their present policy so far has not succeeded.
“Two, the Boko Haram issue has been related to poverty and other things which affect the well- being of the ordinary people. This issue of poverty has been repeated several times in official circles. Government has got to deal with that.
“Three is about the state governments. They are always having ceremonies and talking about issues but they have not dealt with the problems of education, health, agriculture and other things which affect the ordinary man actively on a daily basis. The state governments have got to deal with this matter in a way which everybody can see that some results are being achieved.
“Every time people compare, what is happening today, they compare with yesteryears. What they are saying is that yesteryears with less resources than we have now were better managed than the present. The government has got to think very hard about it and to do what is right in order to eliminate the problems which people are talking about.”
Ciroma explained why most Northern elders have stayed away from finding solutions to the Boko Haram menace.
He said with what happened to Ndume, Northern leaders decided to tread softly on the insurgency.
He added: “The problem with security matter is that as an ordinary man, if you start intervening, the government people will accuse you of creating the problem. Look at a senator who was part of the Borno Elders who were handling the matter. Now, he is being charged to court for involvement in Boko Haram. So, that is why individuals have got to be careful what they do because government can accuse them.”
Asked if Ndume had no dealing with Boko Haram, Ciroma said: “Well, he is only being charged; you cannot say that he is guilty.
“And for somebody who is a member of the Senate, even if he is talking to someone, he is a member of the Senate; he must always use his contacts and information for the benefit of society. If you arrest him, other lesser people must be more careful.”
Pressed to comment on the political situation in the country, the elder statesman said: “I have no comment to make (A little pause).The general political situation is very confusing and the parties are not well organised. The organised party is the PDP but even the PDP; generally people don’t believe it is doing well.
“So, Nigerians, in my view, want better organised parties that are accountable for what they do and are intended to assist the country move forward.”
On the deteriorating level of governance nationwide, he said:
“It is for Nigerians to elect people who they think can do the job. If they elect people who can do the job, then at the next election, they should choose those people who can do it. You have to keep on doing it until you get it right. That is what democracy means.
Concerning the allegation that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo might be goading President Goodluck Jonathan to seek another term, Ciroma simply said: “I don’t want to talk about Obasanjo.”
Regarding the plot by the PDP to manipulate the opposition, he said: “The PDP is there to gain power; it has gained power. It is trying to retain its power. There is nothing abnormal about that.
“It is for other people who do not agree with what the PDP is doing or how the PDP is doing it, to make their effort in order to succeed where they failed and PDP succeeded which is to have the chance to exercise power. We hope this will be for the interest of the ordinary people.”
Source: Why Boko Haram persists, by Ciroma