Jackson Olalekan Ojo, a security expert and member of the American Society of Industrial Experts (ASIS), is the National Coordinator of the Yoruba Youth Alliance (YYA). The chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State, in this interview with LEON USIGBE, offers his views on various issues critical to national development. Excerpts:
WHAT is your position on the bill seeking to give immunity to the Senate President, his deputy, Speaker of the House of Representatives and his deputy currently on the floor of the Green Chamber?
The leadership of the National Assembly is seeking immunity to legalise its impunity regime. These people cannot change. The only solution is to fish out the criminal elements among them and use the judiciary to sack them and that is why they are seeking to get immunity.
Some senators allegedly threatened to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari over the case of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, who are facing trial over alleged forgery of Senate Standing Rules. But the Senate has refuted the allegation. What is your take on the matter?
That was indeed a joke. But the threat has made Nigerians to know that most of our senators are merely jesters. What are the impeachable offences committed by Mr. President? Because the leadership of the Senate is being tried by the CCT, on the one hand, and is being tried for forgery, on the other hand, they wanted Mr. President to sweep it under the carpet as usual?
Nigerians are watching with keen interest now and we have interest in what is happening among the three arms of government. The time of stealing or looting our commonwealth by these kleptomaniac lawmakers in form of constituency projects and later nicknamed as constituency allowance has come to an abrupt end. So, threatening to impeach Mr. President because he is trying to stop all the abnormalities that have become a practice in the law making business in Nigeria is nothing but day dreaming.
President Buhari made some appointments recently but some Nigerians observe that the appointments were lopsided. What is your view?
I am a realist and a first class pragmatist. There is a serious lopsidedness in the appointments of Mr President so far. This is very bad and sad, as it is capable of causing more restiveness that will further aggravate the unfortunate security situation we have in the country. To mention just a few, why will Mr. President double as Minister of Petroleum from the North and he could not find a competent person from the entire South and the South-South in particular but appointed another man from the North as MD of the NNPC?
Those advising Mr. President are not advising him correctly on the issues affecting our federal character or may be the President does not listen to his advisers. Why would Mr. President appoint a former Chief of Staff to the Kaduna State governor who is purely a novice in the maritime industry to become MD of the very sensitive Nigeria Ports Authority? That young lady will be there as a figure head and those that are well experienced in the field will manipulate her administration.
There are appointments that do not permit on-the-job training because of the sensitivity of the operations. And why is this also from the North? The main criteria for appointments now under this administration is your tribal mark, merit is going into extinction now. No longer meritocracy but favourtocracy. Mr. President should have a rethink.
Some Nigerians from the South-West have expressed disappointment with the recent comment by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo that Nigeria does not need restructuring. Does this mean the South-West is losing hope in the present government?
Yes, most of our leaders in the South-West are already calling for restructuring and that has been my position as a person, but Osinbajo must speak the mind of his principal. He is not even speaking the mind of his political principal or the mind of his region and or ethnic group.
Nigerians are crying out because of what they call mass poverty in the land. What can you say here about APC’s approach to it?
What is happening now is the consequences of the past but it shall not continue like this shortly. Yes, Nigerians are crying and I must be pragmatic about it. Since I became an adult, it has not been this tough, economically. I know it is not what this government planned for but they inherited a very badly battered economy from the previous PDP government.
Yes, Mr. President is fighting corruption and it is okay ,but corruption is still going on massively under his nose. Fighting corruption is not a policy that can build or improve our economy. While fighting corruption with one hand, try and build the economy with the second hand. Fighting corruption when people are not able to put food on their tables is going to create room for further corruption at every level, as people will take to self help, and self help is in the realms of negativity. The solution is for the President to listen to people who know better in the area of economy to help this country. Putting one minister in charge of three ministries will not help.
Attacks by herdsmen have gradually become a national issue with some Nigerians accusing the Fulanis of reckless killing. What’s your thought on this?
Attacks by herdsmen are not being looked into from the security angle and this is becoming a major issue now. As a security expert, I want to say that our soldiers are fighting gallantly against Boko Harram and we are seeing the success. I believe the sect members they killed have gone to hell already but where are the destinations of those they dislodged? It is as simple as saying they have found the North-East an unsafe territory and they have spread randomly across the country now.
They will kill the real Fulani herdsmen and inherit the cows, rearing the cows and striking from time to time. When they attacked the Middle Belt and the South, we were all crying foul that they are Fulani people but now they have gone to Zamfara and Adamawa states whose people are mainly Fulani. Can we say they hate their people too? I want to clearly say that the Fulani herdsmen of Nigerian extraction do not and cannot be this callous and wicked. Where will a typical herdsman get AK47 riffle from? Boko Haram has infiltrated the herdsmen and we must be careful and act very fact.
PDP is in crisis. What does this portend for the future of Nigeria considering that the nation as at today, does not have a viable opposition party?
I think the current crisis will kill and bury the PDP. The party is totally mutilated now and coming together is an impossibility. The only solution is for one faction to change name and drop the satanically known name for the other faction. But honestly, we need a very strong opposition party to help our democracy to grow well. Without a very strong opposition, we shall be witnessing an autocratic critical system soon and I can say a despot can be let loose. But my advice is that the PDP should put its acts together as an alternative platform.
There are various agitations in the land, what is the solution?
The solution is for government to recognise each of the zones in the country in everything, listen to what the people are saying and act well. If restructuring is the answer, so be it. Go to the Niger Delta, listen and negotiate with them. Mr. President must see himself as father of all without favouritism and nepotism.