Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that the goal of Boko Haram sect is geared towards “African Fulanization” and “African Islamization”.
The former President therefore urged the Government of Nigeria to immediately device more robust approach to bring the current challenge of insecurity in Nigeria to an end.
Obasanjo said this while delivering the keynote address at a ceremony held in Oleh, Isoko South council area of Delta State. The ceremony was the 2019 Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
He further urged the government to always seek the opinions of all Nigerians on issues of security. Obasanjo spoke on the topic ‘Mobilizing Nigeria’s human and natural resources for national development and stability’.
Obasanjo said that Boko Haram insurgency and cattle rustling in northern Nigeria have evolved over time, and gone beyond a local issue to assume international dimension.
Chronicling their origin, Obasanjo said on Boko Haram and cattle rustling:
“They have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone. They are now combined and internationalized with ISIS in control.
“It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria which it began as, it is now West African fulanization, African Islamization and global organized crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change.
“Yet, we could have dealt with both earlier, and nip them in the bud, but Boko Haram boys were seen as rascals not requiring serious attention in administering holistic measures of stick and carrot.
“And when we woke up to the reality, it was turned to industry for all and sundry to supply materials and equipment that were already outdated and that were not fit for active military purpose.
“Soldiers were poorly trained for the unusual mission, poorly equipped, poorly motivated, poorly led and made to engage in propaganda rather than achieving results.
“Intelligence was poor and governments embarked on games of denials while paying ransoms which strengthened the insurgents and yet governments denied payments of ransoms. Today, the insecurity issue has gone beyond the wit and capacity of Nigerian Government or even West African Governments.”
Obasanjo said the way out was for the government to get every stakeholder onto the discussion table and allow each group to make their contribution. He advised that all hands must be on deck if the fight against insurgency must succeed.
The former President even went ahead to suggest possible participants in the discussion.
“There should be no sacred cow. Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: Traditional rulers, past heads of Service Chiefs (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of paramilitary or organizations, private sector, civil society , community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past heads of states, past Intelligence chiefs, past heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.
“After we have found appropriate solution internally, we should move to bilateral, multinational, regional, continental and global levels. With ISIS involvement, we cannot but go global.
“Without security and predictable stability, our development, growth and progress are in period.”
Obasanjo regretted that the level of education in Nigeria was unacceptable, calling for a revolution in the sector.
He opined: ”A situation where almost 40% of our population are not equipped with education to be able to make meaningful, positive and rewarding contribution to development in this day and age is bad almost to the point of criminality.
“Education both in quantity and quality must be seen as the first pillar of our development after we have delivered on politics of unity in diversity in concrete and sustainable policies and actions.
“We need a revolution to deal with our great backwardness in literacy and popular education. I believe that a two-year preparation to send all children below ten years of age with two streams of 8am to 12.30pm and 1pm to 5.30pm with teachers taking on two streams, getting additional 25 to 30 per cent salary will break the back of illiteracy and set us on the path of education for all.
“Community leaders, traditional rulers and local government chairmen should be held responsible for any parents or guardians preventing their children and wards from going to school. I have heard it said in some quarters that if everybody goes to school, who will be the servants. My lord Bishop, I dare say that if everybody goes to school, we will have more competent, efficient, effective and better servants.”