47 ‘Nige­ri­ans should unite and avoid hate speech’

Weekly Trust - - News - Dr. Garba Abarim: Abbas Jimoh Al­haji Inuwa Ab­dulka­dir: Ab­dulka­dir: The Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Na­tional Ori­en­ta­tion Agency (NOA), Dr. Garba Abarim, in this in­ter­view, urges Nige­ri­ans to unite and de­velop the coun­try and avoid hate speech, es­pe­cially, on the soc

Ibra­heem Hamza Muham­mad & Lat­i­fat Opoola

Daily Trust: Are you sat­is­fied with Nige­ria’s in­ter­na­tional image at the mo­ment, and if not, how does the Na­tional Ori­en­ta­tion Agency plan to

Ba­si­cally, there are so many things in­volved in re­vamp­ing image, but, how did we get to where we are now? Gone are the days when the name of Nige­ria tran­scended the level of be­ing rec­og­nized as only a foot­balling na­tion, the largest black coun­try on earth, full of po­ten­tials, an oil pro­duc­ing coun­try, a strong OPEC mem­ber, a coun­try that is blessed across the di­vide, ma­te­rial and hu­man re­sources and all the re­sources that will make the coun­try great are avail­able in abun­dance. Sec­ondly, the coun­try has made im­mense name in the main­te­nance of in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity. Con­sider our very com­mend­able roles in the restora­tion of peace globally. Nige­ria’s voice was quite a re­spected voice on the front of the UN and of course AU, when Nige­ria spoke, the con­ti­nent used to line up be­hind it. How we got to where we are? We al­lowed the val­ues that should have made us greater than what we are today to de­gen­er­ate, a lead­er­ship that over the years did not ac­tu­ally de­velop a com­mon vi­sion of nur­tur­ing the coun­try into a big hub or a value sys­tem that was de­vi­ated from be­ing an in­te­grated value sys­tem to a di­vi­sive value sys­tem where cit­i­zens started mov­ing into their re­spec­tive co­coons, iden­ti­fy­ing them­selves with other com­mu­ni­ties or with eth­nic­ity or with tribe in­stead of see­ing them­selves as Nige­ri­ans. This is hap­pen­ing be­cause we have not been able to en­trench what we call the forces of good gov­er­nance that ben­e­fited the coun­try, the cit­i­zens, the com­mu­nity and our neigh­bors within the ECOWAS sub-re­gion. How can we change this image beyond NOA? First and fore­most, the image of a coun­try is

DAILY TRUST: Why has the lead­er­ship crises in Kano and Kaduna states lin­gered af­ter at­tempts to re­solve them, and why do you think Gov­er­nor Nasiru El-Ru­fai is against you? There is noth­ing per­sonal in the whole thing. What hap­pened has hap­pened. It is some­thing that you come across when you have a re­spon­si­bil­ity. When you are a leader you have to be very ac­com­mo­dat­ing. You have to be prag­matic in your ap­proach and out­look and what you do. I don’t like dis­cussing peo­ple in any sit­u­a­tion.

Daily Trust: Don’t you think it may not be in the in­ter­est of the All Pro­gres­sives Con­gress (APC)?

Af­ter the elec­tions, the gov­ern­ment at the state and fed­eral lev­els were try­ing to set­tle down. There were cam­paigns and promises, and peo­ple worked for the in­ter­est of the party. A sit­u­a­tion where you have many peo­ple as­pir­ing to so many po­si­tions, only one per­son will emerge. When the elec­tion is over, it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the gov­er­nor to man­age the whole sit­u­a­tion through the for­ma­tion of the gov­ern­ment. Peo­ple would have pref­er­ences which they may not have got­ten, and so forth. There would be cri­sis as a re­sult of that, and it is ex­pected. Some peo­ple noth­ing other than what its cit­i­zens project for them­selves. The image of a coun­try is what the cit­i­zens project. When we go to other coun­tries, we re­spect their laws, reg­u­la­tions that gov­ern be­hav­iors, we over­time queue into that, but back at home, you see a ci­ti­zen en­gag­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer in fisticuffs, not even a sin­gle re­spect for the sym­bol of author­ity, the uni­form. There is no coun­try where high gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have no re­spect for rules, they beat traf­fic lights, they don’t care, they drive against traf­fic or what some call against one-way lane, this is one coun­try where there is ex­ces­sive abuse of pro­to­col. The cu­mu­la­tive sum of such a ci­ti­zen de­picts a neg­a­tive pic­ture.

Daily Trust: Does the NOA plan to en­lighten Nige­ri­ans on the dan­gers of hate speech?

Thank you very much. The is­sue has gen­er­ated a lot of con­cern among Nige­ri­ans. We have a cit­i­zenry that com­plains so much, we have a cit­i­zenry that wants to see gov­ern­ment per­form­ing with accountable lead­er­ship and by na­ture, we are used to may not be happy, and be­ing the leader ev­ery­thing would be lumped upon you, and you should be ready to un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion and deal with it ac­cord­ingly.

Daily Trust: In Kano, this sit­u­a­tion has still not been dealt with, what is the sit­u­a­tion right now?

What hap­pened in Kano was that the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee of our party for what­ever rea­son de­cided to re­move the chair­man. Due process of the con­sti­tu­tion was fol­lowed, but the chair­man was not sat­is­fied. The con­sti­tu­tion of our party stip­u­lates that he should come to us, and he com­plained to us and the zonal office. Ac­cord­ing to our con­sti­tu­tion, we are ex­pected to send a fact-find­ing com­mit­tee to, among other things, find out whether due process was fol­lowed. We set up the com­mit­tee un­der Se­na­tor Muham­madu Magoro. They went to Kano, met all those con­cerned in the mat­ter, and re­ported that the Kano State exco com­mit­tee fol­lowed all due pro­cesses re­quired by the con­sti­tu­tion in re­mov­ing him. This re­port was dis­cussed when the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee met in Dutse, Ji­gawa State in De­cem­ber last year and ap­proved the Magoro re­port.

Daily Trust: Can the same be said of Kaduna State where there are com­plaints by party stake­hold­ers of be­ing side­lined in the run­ning of the state and the good life. Even at this chal­leng­ing time, it is still a good time. We want a cit­i­zenry that feels free, un­re­strained but un­for­tu­nately, a cit­i­zenry that does not know that there must be Nige­ria be­fore they have peace, data and other things to use for the bet­ter and not for hate speeches, when cit­i­zens don’t see al­ter­ca­tion be­tween Gov. El-Ru­fai and Se­na­tor Shehu Sani?

Kaduna’s is a dif­fer­ent prob­lem en­tirely. There were lots of dis­agree­ments among key party mem­bers even be­fore the elec­tion. This has con­tin­ued till now. What is wors­en­ing our sit­u­a­tion in Kaduna is the vac­uum cre­ated in the lead­er­ship of the party in the process of 2015 elec­tions where the chair­man be­came the deputy gov­er­nor and other party of­fi­cials them­selves as be­long­ing to a larger fam­ily, but to co­coons, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Fu­lani, Chris­tians, Mus­lims, an­i­mists, then def­i­nitely you are re­duc­ing the strength, the po­ten­tials for great­ness. You need to have a coun­try and be as­sured of sleep­ing with your two eyes closed, where your chil­dren can go to school and be sure that they will come back free. Re­cently, in Abuja, it was not easy for peo­ple to as­so­ciate with places of wor­ship. Be­fore you could go to church or mosque, it was as if you were go­ing to a bat­tle front. So when you hear or read hate speeches on the so­cial me­dia re­fer­ring to one an­other not as Nige­ri­ans, ev­ery tribe or na­tion­al­ity is as­so­ci­ated with it, crime and crim­i­nal­ity against Fu­lani herds­men and farm­ers, Fu­lani against oth­ers, or you hear of com­mu­nal clash has bro­ken out and 200 Chris­tians or Mus­lims are killed. No one is re­fer­ring to them as Nige­ri­ans. The di­ver­sity is sup­posed to be a source of strength, but un­for­tu­nately, the so­cial me­dia has ac­tu­ally held the coun­try cap­tive. There are other coun­tries that don’t al­low this, they have censorship and don’t al­low this garbage to come their way.

Daily Trust: How do you re­act to the con­vic­tion of the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of On­tario oil Mrs Ada Ugo-Ngali over a 1.9 bil­lion sub­sidy claim?

Like I said, what is wrong is wrong, what is right is right. Peo­ple should be accountable for their ac­tions. If there are is­sues of in­frac­tions, our in­sti­tu­tions must be seen to be dis­pens­ing jus­tice justly, no mat­ter how highly placed you are.

Al­haji Inuwa Ab­dulka­dir is the Vice Chair­man North West Zone of the All Pro­gres­sives Con­gress (APC). In this in­ter­view, he speaks on the lin­ger­ing crises within the party in Kaduna and Kano states, and prof­fers so­lu­tions.

were ap­pointed into key ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions which dis­qual­i­fied them from be­ing exco mem­bers. Be­cause of these va­can­cies, there was dishar­mony among key mem­bers. We ap­pointed a com­mit­tee to me­di­ate and re­solve these is­sues which we see as very sim­ple, sim­ple in the sense that we are mem­bers of the same fam­ily. We just need to sit down and what­ever any­body feels about gov­ern­ment or any mem­ber, let it be said and re­solved.

DT: How is the zonal office ad­dress­ing the spe­cific al­le­ga­tion of marginal­i­sa­tion in run­ning the af­fairs of the state?

Ab­dulka­dir: The party pro­duced the gov­er­nor and lost a Sen­ate seat. It is the only place we lost a Sen­ate seat in the zone. We can say we have a com­fort­able ma­jor­ity in Kaduna, what is left is for this com­plains by our party mem­bers to be ad­dressed. Their com­plaints cen­tred on the gov­er­nor not car­ry­ing them along. To me, it is a very sim­ple is­sue. The gov­er­nor should cre­ate a fo­rum to be dis­cussing with other key party mem­bers, es­pe­cially those who lost the pri­maries to him, those who worked for and con­trib­uted in one way or the other to the vic­tory of the party, elected APC mem­bers of the Na­tional As­sem­bly from the state. There should be a kind of con­sul­ta­tive fo­rum where the gov­er­nor would meet with the party mem­bers. That is the main is­sue. It would be very help­ful to him; it will as­sist him in run­ning the state.

I have been ap­peal­ing to our mem­bers who are ag­grieved to be pa­tient; to con­sider the party’s in­ter­est fore­most. I have been ap­peal­ing to the gov­er­nor to be mag­nan­i­mous in tak­ing these peo­ple along. I have met him on sev­eral oc­ca­sions and even en­cour­aged him to call a meet­ing of stake­hold­ers and party lead­ers in the state.

Al­haji Inuwa Ab­dulka­dir, Vice Chair­man, North-West APC

Dr Garba Abari, DG, NOA

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