Lt-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd.),
By Chuks Okocha and Paul Obi
Former Minister of Defence, Lt-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd.), has said Nigeria is on fire and called for a halt to what he described as “somalianisation” of the country.
He also said Borno, Kano and Jigawa States have failed within the Northern part of the country.
Besides, former vice-chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, has faulted the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Nigeria by Lord Fredrick Lugard and described the exercise as a “great and tragic mistake”.
Both men spoke at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja yesterday, where the publisher of Leadership Newspapers, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, celebrated his 50th birthday.
Speaking as chairman of the event, Danjuma said the violence in some states in the Northern part of the country was a sign of bad times.
According to him, “Nigeria is on fire; this house is on fire; the North is on fire. Nigeria is becoming like Somalia. The ‘somalianisation’ of Nigeria is taking place right now
“I am an optimist as far as Nigeria is concerned. Each time we appear to be struggling as a nation, I tell myself that we shall muddle through. In the last two months, I began to wonder, our house is on fire. Nigeria is becoming a Somalia; s’omalianisation’ of Nigeria is taking place right now.
“We have to sit down and face the truth, get to the root of our problem and find a solution to this problem. Those of us who call ourselves Northerners, our house is on fire. Let us not deceive ourselves, let’s look at ourselves, face ourselves and tell ourselves the truth and find solution to our problem.”
On the governors, he said: “The chief security officer of every state in Nigeria is the governor, where are our Northerner governors? Where are they/ Right now, Borno is a failed state, Jigawa is almost a failed state. Kano is threatening to be a failed state. Kano of all places, Kano, where are we going? Where on earth are we going?
“You hear talks of multi-million naira fences around government houses. What about the citizens? We have to search our minds and find solution to this problem.”
Nigeria’s former Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, Alhaji Maitama Sule, in his comment, preached peace and love for one another.
According to him, “All the religions of God teach us the same thing, the moral values told by all the religions of God are the same thing; peace with your God, peace of the mind, peace of the fellow man is the teaching of Christianity, the word Islam means peace. Love your neighbour as thyself is another teaching. Be your brother’s keeper is common to both religions.”
In his paper titled: “Nigeria 1914 to date – A Chequered Journey So far”, Abduallahi faulted the amalgamation of Nigeria by Lugard, describing it as the greatest mistake that had befallen Nigeria.
He urged leaders to take a quick resolution to correct the mistakes created by the amalgamation, as "delay would be late and dangerous".
He cited the case of India where the British committed a similar mistake, but the country's example, according to him, had been resolved through the creation of the states of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
In similar cases, he urged Nigeria to take a clue from what is happening in the United Kingdom, where Northern Ireland and Scotland are fighting separation as sovereign nations, while drawing example from the recent development in Sudan, where the country had divided into the Sudan and Southern Sudan.
Abdullahi said the three examples are all British colonies and that the earlier a decision was taken on the continued status of Nigeria, the better.
According to the former vice-chancellor, “things are more likely to become complex in the future. Until the correct things are done, we cannot ignore these facts or we continue to pretend as our leaders that this is a passing phase. The question of a likely disintegration is not a too distant future.”
He also faulted the growth rate in the country, stating that "though Nigeria is growing at the rate of seven per cent per year, but it does not reflect the actuality on ground as over 100 million Nigerians still live below $1 per day, with a life expectancy going down at less than 48 years."
In his speech, former Senate President Ken Nnamani called for the prosecution of Nigerians behind the third term agenda, saying, “If we don’t prosecute those behind the shameful act of the third term, some people will not have the guts to be denying their role.”
He said some people should be languishing in jail for mismanaging the sovereign wealth of Nigerians.
According to him, “some of our leaders tell lies without any pinch of shame”.
He also commended the House of Representatives for the steps taken in the probe of the oil subsidy, saying those found culpable should not be allowed to go unpunished.
In his comment, the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lt-Gen. Jeremiah Useni (rtd.), blamed the growing insecurity in the North on the Northern governors, asking, “What are they doing with the money they are collecting. How can we say that we don’t know who the members of the Boko Haram are? They are attacking churches and mosques and killing people.”
Former governor of Lagos State Bola Tinubu alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is behind the problems of the country.
He cited the case of the suspension of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, without the approval of the Senate. This, he said, had put fear into other justices of the Court of Appeal.
According to him, “the suspension of Justice Salami has put fear into other judges as they may not have the strength of justice to denounce the PDP or give remarkable judgment because of the fear of what happened to Salami.”
The occasion was also attended by former Head of State, Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.); former governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Mauzu; Ahmed Joda; former Minister of Communica-tion, Zango Sani Daura; Adamu Fika and Isiyaku Ibrahim.