- Advocate legalisation of bearing of arms by citizens
From IHEANACHO NWOSU and FRED ITUA, Abuja
Insecurity again dominated debate at the ongoing national conference, even as Ogoni rights activist, Ledum Mitee accused leaders of being behind the emergence of Boko Haram.
Mitee said government has shown that getting educated is not worth the effort of young Nigerians by failing to provide jobs to millions of graduates in the country. Other delegates also recalled with nostalgia how the dreaded Boko Haram insurgent group was created by activities of the government at all levels.
Mitee who is at the conference as a federal government delegate, said his area, the Ogoni kingdom has become the metaphor of what injustice means in Nigeria.
Tracing the cause of Boko Haram and other forms of arms struggle across the country, Mtee took delegates through memory lane of how promising Nigerians who were willing to acquire education were awarded scholarships. He added that there were jobs for graduates, contrary to the mass of unemployed graduates currently permeating the streets.
He submitted that with the frustration over the inability of young people to get decent sources of livelihood, the youths embraced other forms of survival. He said this and several others gave birth to arms struggle and Boko Haram in the country.
He said: “Beneath the clashes of arms we see across the country, there was a voice crying for justice. If we must move this country forward, we must address the issue of injustice. It is also possible that youths burning churches in the north have exhausted their patience.
“Sometimes, I think we all have to exhibit the Boko Haram in us. I think there are many injustices we need to fight. If we want to leave an legacy behind, let us build a place where nobody will be oppressed.”
Professor Femi Mimiko, a delegate from Ondo state spoke in a similar vein. He reminded delegates how Nigeria got to this current level. He blamed the problems of the country on the structure of the government. Professor Mimiko argued that it was wrong for the military to have bequeathed a unitary system to the country.
The respected professor of political science and current vice chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akure, also took a lonely path and advocated that the constitution should be amended to accommodate the carrying of arms by citizens. He said this is one of the ways to ensure that everyone is safe.
“I think it does not pay anymore to be lawful. I am suggesting and moving a motion also that the constitution should be amended to accommodate the bearing of arms by citizens. That is one of the ways to stem the tide of violence in the country,” Professor Mimiko added.
Former deputy senate president, Ibrahim Mantu spoke like a pan-Nigerian. He said Nigerians should put religion and ethnicity aside, arguing that no one has the right to chose his place of birth.
Mantu said: “In the last few days, I have listened to speeches from delegates about the speech of President Goodluck Jonathan. God has blessed Nigeria with so much resources. Therefore, we do not have any business with poverty. We are supposed to be the greatest country in the world. But we have allowed certain factors to stand in the way of our greatness.
“The religion you belong to is just a case of geography. The religion you practice is influenced by the place you were born. Our faith is influenced by our geography. Poverty and lack do not know tribe and religion. Why do we allow things stand in our way of progress?”