Bode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in this interview with journalists, spoke about the state of the nation, especially the spate of insecurity and the future of PDP. Iniobong Iwok who was there brings the excerpts:
What is your assessment of the spate of insecurity in Nigeria?
The situation in the country today as per security matters is horrendous and it is heart-wrenching. Everywhere, nobody is safe. There is a lot of modern equipment that the military must buy.
Drones should be used to take our enemies out without any collateral damage. If the government is keen on fighting the insurgency, we can procure these equipment and train our military personnel on how to use them.
Even Yemen uses drones. If they say there are kidnappers, hoodlums or bandits somewhere, our people can be trained to combat them because grammatology cannot save us anymore.
My suggested solution is simple. Is there a need for state police? Yes. Tinubu must not shy away from it. We copied the American but rather we didn’t copy them fully. We only took the part that suited us and left others.
In the US you have a central government and you also have the FBI which is the national government. This constitution is part of the obstacles that are recklessly disturbing the growth and development of our nation today.
It is a military concept allowing only one man to decide. The governors have limited powers to fight insecurity. The impact of a community police is unimaginable because they will speak the community’s language, interact with the people and they will also be familiar with the acceptable norms in that community.
Right now, we are on the precipice of a total collapse. A report had been written. We must take that constitutional conference report and implement it now.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan handed the full report to former President Muhammadu Buhari and I remember his comment ‘please, put it in the archives.’ The result of that statement is what we are experiencing now.
We are failing and whatever money can be spent should be used in acquiring new technology. You don’t use common eyes now to watch, there are drones and our officers can be taught.
The President must invite all elders who have held one position or the other in the military for a discussion because this insurrection has become a national calamity. It is very urgent.
We assisted Liberia, Sierra Leone and we were also there in Somalia. Let the President handpick some of the retired generals because the current situation isn’t for one man to think through.
Though it is scary, with honesty of purpose and prayers, this raging storm will be quiet if we are absolutely committed to this country.
The constitution is part of the obstacles that are recklessly disturbing the growth of our nation. It is a military concept allowing only one man to decide. The governors have limited powers to fight insecurity.
The impact of community police is unimaginable because they will speak the community’s language, interact with the people, and they will also be familiar with the acceptable norms in that community.
The security situation has scared investors and some companies are moving out of the country.
It is very urgent. The president must invite former Heads of State, Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, and Ibrahim Babangida, among others.
Many Nigerians are worried that security agencies are not using intelligent reports to fight crime. What is your take?
If it is true that there are people in the systems that are also links, he should find them out. What is the national security adviser doing? That is his job. In each state too, we have the equivalent.
The governor would know that they are not doing everything to keep him. We have come to the precipice now, is it going to derail Nigeria. This is a country respected everywhere, they don’t speak well of Nigeria now.
If it is true that your people are compromising the system, it is so bad. Some people were arrested. Where are they now? If they don’t face the law, it means you are playing with the lives of Nigerians that you are supposed to protect.
You are in government to manage the security of the land for the benefit of the citizen. There is nobody strong now to travel, because you are not sure you would safely come back.
The President must seek advice; it has nothing to do with politics because it is no longer one man that can solve this problem. Look at the killing in Ekiti where two Obas were murder and school children and their teachers kidnapped.
What is your take on the state of the economy and current hardship in the country?
Each time I wake up, I look at the economic indices. It is nerve-wracking, everything the government does they say gives them money. The first lesson in economics class is; if you have too much money chasing a few goods, that is hyperinflation.
Where are the finished products? My wife told me, if you go to the market to buy something in the morning, you better buy it, because in the afternoon the price would change and everybody is saying the dollar is changing.
This reminds me of Zimbabwe, remember how much their money crashed some years ago. A big nation like this, what happened to all the money accruing from crude oil? Some people took the nation’s money into private accounts.
But we don’t need a humanitarian ministry. Do we have the data for them to work?
The first culprits I saw was Yemi Osibanjo, a professor of constitutional law physically distributing money. But I was shocked that such an educated person could do that.
When Joe Biden wanted to give us support during the Covid period they used data and some Nigerians who wanted to defraud the system were arrested and put to jail.
That is a system that works. You just go out; you don’t know who you are going to give money to. This economic system is not working. We have to move. The story of round tripping broke out recently and we were told how people were having access to dollars at their rate.
The banks are not doing serious commercial banking. What does it take to borrow money? They don’t give loans, no matter how good your project plan is. What we keep seeing is bank chiefs riding big cars, where did they get the money?
All the free lunches they used to have, the first shock in my life was when the central bank was giving loans, we lost it.
What is your reaction to Atiku urging Tinubu to resign over the state of the nation?
The nation is in a state of quagmire, who is well now, whether you are in PDP, APC? Already we are in 2024, but people are saying they want to contest in 2027.
Why say that now? Why such arrogant? I said that because the founding fathers of the PDP, the zoning concept has been the best solution for Nigeria.
I can’t tell you not to contest, but I can say that our party must produce its presidential candidate from the south in 2027.
The party constitution recognises zoning. I hope we have learned, because of the way we handled the last election.
The ambition of one person cannot be bigger than the nation, we have to learn. I heard somebody talk about a mega party, which mega party? You think you can just do a fast one and win. Do you know how long it takes to have a solid and big party?
I still think that INEC chairman was not fair in the last election, which is why I said it is not the work of the judiciary to select for us who should be president, they can only say go back and re-conduct the election.
We manipulated the zoning arrangement and we see where we are now. Atiku is 77 years old, by 2027 he would be 81 years old, Atiku should be in a situation where he plays the role of a big uncle in the room or elder.
Let us mentor the young ones, let us be consistent with our party norms, or it would be a shame. Those who want to start a mega party can go away, the party would remain, and we know what we would do to attract people. We still have time to fix the quarrel in the last general election.