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Beyond leaders, Nigerians must share the blame for leadership failure – Aguene

Solomon Aguene, president Ohanaeze, Lagos chapter, an administrator and businessman. In this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, he assesses the state of the nation, spate of insecurity, among other issues. Excerpts:

How would you react to the assumption that Nigeria’s greatest problem is leadership?

Of course, but leadership does not fail on one side, it fails on two sides, those that are governing and those that are being governed. There are so many things that have gone wrong in terms of leadership in Nigeria based on those that are outside and there are so many things that have gone wrong based on the wrong decisions of those in positions of authority.

There are equally so many things wrong now due to the idea and policy of the colonial masters; like Britain and the rest.

If they want us to organise we would organise, it is a question of a few months. What I am trying to say is that; the politics of the colonial masters who feel that they can only continue to reap in Africa by supporting the wrong persons for election and position of authority is part of the problem. For example, America is seen as a giant of the world, if you deal with them you have subdued part of the world by challenging their technology and policy towards Africa. It is difficult for me to apportion blame now.

Nigerians are part of the problem, come 2023 we would still vote for the wrong person despite what we have gone through in the last few years. Some people believe and listen to words coming out from politicians; they campaign for someone who has no capacity and nothing to offer, no love, most of the investment is outside the country.

Some of these politicians have more interest in foreign land than this country, because of their interest. So, I put the blame on those who are voting in the politicians based on their own personal interest and not collective good.

But some Nigerians have also blamed the electoral system and the political parties. What is your take?

I have told you why the government would fail, if the right things are not done in Nigeria immediately. For me, there must be an amendment to the 1999 constitution to make it pro-Nigerians and we need to restructure, conduct credible elections and remove money politics in the system. I mean credible elections to be conducted to bring in responsive leaders.

You are from Ebonyi State, how do you assess the performance of your governor?

My governor has done better than any other current governor in the South-East in terms of infrastructure, employment, jobs in Ebonyi. If you talk about good governance you talk of David Umahi. A lot of youths have been employed into different offices.

Read also: Nasarawa top list in World Bank infrastructure spending index, says governor Sule

But he has received criticism for defecting to the APC lately. What is your take?

I don’t know why people would be against a democratically elected governor who can move to any party he likes. It is like an association, members can switch to any group they like if they are not happy with the way things are done. Well, I believe he must talk to them before deciding on defecting to the APC.

Such is the case in Lagos State, where the governor is like God-sent to the people; he has been working with the grassroots and politicians. That is why there is no politician I respect like Bola Tinubu. When Tinubu came into politics he removed those families that have been ruling Nigeria for a long time, running the Yoruba Empire for a long time and moved to the street to start picking intelligent people to serve.

He would pick those that would go to the Senate, House of Representatives, State Assembly, nobody should jealous him. Others were thinking how they would carry Nigeria’s property to Dubai. Some are going to buy houses in Russia, go to several countries in Europe and have houses there.

This Tinubu has tried to bring and unite Yoruba people, by going to the street and bringing in a lot of men. I mean trying to bring the Yorubas together so that they can come together and speak with one voice. And today, people would talk about him; that Tinubu is this and that, when he was building the empire where were you?

I give him kudos for bringing up unknown Nigerians’ children, he did not go to the house of former Nigeria’s colonial masters and tell their children to come and rule.

That is what some leaders do, when they leave office, the only people they would know are former senators’ sons and daughters and people they have association with. They would not think about the future of the country and the less-privileged.

Those who are calling Tinubu greedy, where were they when he was building his empire? He did not hold anybody. Look at Umahi, his father was not a minister; he was not the first governor of Ebonyi State but he is doing well.

What is your take on the spate of insecurity in Nigeria?

For me, the government can only solve that by giving power to the indigenous security who knows the people in and out of the villages. You can’t bring somebody from Sokoto to pilot security in my village. They would not get the job done properly because they may not know the place.

For example, in Europe, there are assigned people who move around to see when there is a problem and the police are called upon and informed.

But here we limit information, the information a police officer would want is information from a Senator who comes home in three months.

I mean someone who does not know how the security apparatus of a place runs. They stay in Abuja; they would give you security information where they do not leave. How can you start giving security information about Ghana because you visited the place and you are a former vice president? So, because you went to Ghana and lodged in a five-star hotel for a week you can conclude on the security information of the place?

We limit information in our country. We often ask who gives you the information. Who is his father? What does he do? What family is he from?

Security is something that even a man of 90 years can give you to liberate the country and it can come from anybody.

Are you clamouring for state police?

State police is important. For me, the best security anywhere in the world is indigenous security, because if we are born in the same village, you are the best person who can say something about me and it may likely be hundred percent. You have to do proper investigation, I think the police know what to do; they are trained but here limitation of information is what Africans are paying dearly for.

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