Governance: Mistakes President Tinubu has made – Prof Sagay

What is your take on the killing of 17 Nigerian soldiers in Delta State recently? It is a horror, it is unbelievable that such could happen. The killing of soldiers who represent the state, the strength of authority is condemnable. It is like you are decimating the power of the state itself because who else do we have if we have problems with security?...READ FULL ARTICLE

That is number one. Secondly, the way the bodies were mutilated as if it was one of this ritual groups that did the havoc. To attack a soldier or a police and kill him is not all that easy not to talk of attacking 17 soldiers of that nature, and wasting their lives.

It’s unbelievable. So, I am really horrified and it gives me a sense of insecurity because that is the last resort, security particularly, external aggression. So, I am horrified, very angry, and very upset at such dastardly act.

I join the government, the entire nation in mourning them. It is an issue that must be thoroughly investigated. The President Tinubu-led APC government and the National Assembly are tinkering with the idea of state police. What is your take on it?

2I have always supported state police. I have always been an advocate of state police. As a federation with sub-federal units they are entitled to have police. So, it has always been wrong that they didn’t have police. It is sure aspects of the short-comings of the constitution that they are now trying to correct.

In fact, I think we should go beyond states to other levels; local government, communities, local regions need to have their security outfits for proper policing. At a recent ceremony in honour of the late Prof. Ben Nwabueze, there was a call by the intellectuals and statesmen at the occasion that the government should revisit the 2014 confab report, for its adoption. How will you react to it?

I have not really seen or perhaps read that 2014 document. I wrote to Mrs Fatumbi who was the secretary to send me a copy which unfortunately, she never did. So, I have not really read it, but from what I gathered, it seems to contain a lot of promise that accentuate the federal nature of this country from what I have heard about the document.

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The only thing I disagree with is the attempt to create more states that is what I do not agree with. All the other part of the federalism issues appeared to have been tackled appropriately in that document.

I support it although I have not read it. Looking at the quality of people that have given thought to the document and that have supported it, you will know that the issues discussed and solutions provided were well-thought out to move the country forward, but as I said, I do not think I support the issue of creation of more states.

But some regions, for instance, the Southeast with five states is making a case for additional state to have equal state with the other geo-political regions?

I understand where they are coming from in terms of sharing of resources of the country and I don’t mind them having an additional state. There is nothing wrong about that.

You know in Nigeria we always have this mentality of this is my turn or this is our turn. No rationalization, but I noticed the strong feeling they have about having an additional state. They can consider them for that.

I have no objection about that, but it’s not something that one will want to die for, but if it happens fine, but I am not going to argue against such move. If they (Southeast) get it, fine. There is so much hardship in Nigeria today and most Nigerians did not see this coming as they believed that the Tinubu-led government cannot be worse than that of President Buhari. What wrong step, if any, did you think the Tinubu government took?

I think this government has good reforms that can transform this country. We have the competence and the manpower that can make life easy for Nigerians and our economy will improve.

But as I have always stated the mistake that President Tinubu made was removing oil subsidy without planning for local replacement of petrol or local production of fuel. That has always been my advocacy. What is the cause of the high cost of petrol? Transport abroad to and fro, port charges, various taxes at the port etc, those are the things.

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But if we produce locally, all those things are gone and so the price will remain the same or even go down. My argument has always been; once local production starts, the issue of subsidy removal will be tackled. For me, that is the mistake of this government.

They could have waited a bit. The production from Port Harcourt refinery which I think should be at the end of this month and the Dangote refinery with its millions of crude already stored… if they had waited for this refineries to start production, we will not notice the removal of subsidy because as one goes, the other one automatically replaces it. So, local production is the answer because once we start local production, the price of petrol will come down and all our suffering will reduce and will also come down. There have been strikes and more strikes trailing the President Tinubu tenure…?

(Cuts in) I am not happy about these strikes. Those university administrations embarking on strikes should become more responsible and not behave like children who don’t know the consequences of their misconduct. Look at the students who have lost one year already and you want to start strike again.

What is wrong wish them? Why don’t they behave like adults? You have problem with the Federal Government… just payment of the arrears of some period, which, anyway, you didn’t work, which you don’t even deserve, but which is being given to you out of abundant kindness. Why can’t you negotiate quietly and wait patiently and get it when the government can accommodate it? They (government) have given the promise and committed itself, you can continue to have discussion so that they can start making the payment gradually, over a period of time.

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To go on strike because of that doesn’t make sense at all. Staff of universities have been presenting a very frivolous and irresponsible conduct to the public and we are losing a lot because of their behaviour. I didn’t support it at all, I think it’s irresponsible. Still on insecurity, Nigeria seems to be going down by the day with activities of kidnappers, a situation where 200 school children will be kidnapped by bandits and taking hostage for weeks…?

(Cuts in ) It’s a serious issue and I am equally worried . Even though, I am a layman on security, I have my own kind of solution to this menace and I think the government should consider it. My personal view given all that has happened to us, at least the last three years about insecurity; the government should divide Nigeria into security units; every part of Nigeria, it maybe 700 security units by local governments or any other method because security should not be politicised. Security is not good with politics, so we should have security units.

All over the country, we should have security personnel and capacity attached to a number of units. For example, you can say either in a division, you can then divide our security apparatus into say; one security apparatus will cover 50 units and in addition to that, you use drones all over the country to be covering the entire country and you will be getting reports of what is going on in different units. If there is any problem, it will be noticed early.

In most cases they attack schools for instance, so you ensure a unit covers or mans those critical spots. They can call other units to assist if they are being overwhelmed. This is my idea because we have noticed that when these bandits or kidnappers attack, there is no immediate response.

They can be there for 3 hours ravaging the place and nobody comes for rescue mission. But when you divide the country into security units and if anything happens in an area of authority, you will know who to hold responsible....READ FULL ARTICLE

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