The former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba, has said that Nigeria’s attempt to use military solutions to solve the issues of insecurity and insurgency in the country will fail, saying that the way to solve these issues is through discussion with the relevant parties.
Agbakoba made this statement while in an interview on ARISE NEWS PRIMETIME on Thursday evening, where he also emphasized that despite all the happenings in the country, the only person who has the power to give the orders to turn Nigeria around for the better is President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The former NBA president, while addressing the issues of insecurity in Nigeria, said that the government should focus on political governance with peace as he said, “We are not going to win the insurgency war by military option, we are going to win the problem of insurgency and insecurity by discussion.”
Agbakoba went on to say that the use of military in tackling insurgency has been used since president Goodluck Jonathan’s time in power with little results seen in the Nigerian space. As he said that “the military solution to Nigeria’s problem will fail,” he advised that it would be better for the government to invite people involved in the violence and conduct a peace meeting so as to be able to solve the problem of insecurity.
Agbakoba then said that the structure of Nigeria is very weak, saying that there are several problems in governance, saying that “President Tinubu needs to put his best foot forward to govern the country. If he does that, in four years, he can turn things around.”
He then said it is up to only President Tinubu to give specific orders and exercise his authority as President to resolve the issues in the country as he said, “It is in the hands of President Tinubu to turn Nigeria around, nobody else. The Chief Executive Officer of this country is President Tinubu, nobody else.”
He went on to say, “I urge him to exercise the full powers vested in him by section 5, to turn the country. People are all suffering. People are dying, I’m sure he can see that. So, let him exercise the fullest powers given to him by the constitution. Anyone that stands in his way, crush him, remove him.”
“Democracy or no democracy, we have suffered enough in this country. How can I pay my driver 100,000 for him to buy rice of 60,000 because we have? People in Abuja chopping all our money? The nonsense must stop, and the President of Nigeria must be the person the lead this crusade in the context of a constitutional process,” he said.
Agbakoba then noted that President Tinubu needs to resolve the Nigerian constitution, which has been in the process of being resolved by the National Assembly for over two decades, in order to be able properly govern the country.
“The first thing that President Tinubu will need to do is to ensure that Nigerians all agree to be one country. You recall that Bola Ige asked those two questions. Do we want to be one? It’s not by force. If we want to be one, how? We haven’t answered those questions,” he said.
The NBA president then said that the NASS has excluded the relevant stakeholders in the constitution process, which had inevitably delayed the process, as he said, “You may well find when you gather the right people in the room, that they have no problem with the constitution. You’ll be very shocked. They have a problem with exclusion. You remember that it was Abdulsalam that invoked decree number 24 that created this constitution. So, Nigerians, led by those who own it, the sub-national entities and the Afenifere groups are saying we feel excluded. So, I’m not saying that if you bring all these relevant players into the field, they may do something different from what we have today. The problem is the process, the problem is legitimacy, the problem is ownership.
“The issue here is the exclusion of the relevant groups. And I’m sure when the relevant groups are consulted and they endorse the process, they might have a few things to say, oh, could you amend this? Could you add this? That’s all that is required, it’s a piece of cake. But the problem is that the powers that be in Abuja sit in a caucus and exclude everybody, whereas, it is easier to invite these people and make it easier. You’ll be very surprised if this my formula were to work, if National Assembly were to invite all of the relevant stakeholders, it may take only a week to come to agreement what has lasted 23 years.”