Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, an administrator and politician. A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and minister of several ministries at different times and a northern apologist.
|Alhaji Adamu Ciroma|
In this interview with Daily Sun, he declared pointedly that “no one is afraid of restructuring.” He stated this while responding to growing agitation for the restructuring of the country.
You are one of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party. Since its defeat in the last general election, the party has become a ghost of itself and in crisis. Are you happy with the state of your party?
Well, everybody is aware that the PDP has been in trouble since it lost the elections in 2015 and they have internal squabbles and the leadership is being claimed by different people. They had some kind of convention in Port Harcourt which eventually, everybody agreed didn’t succeed and recently again, they organised another convention in Port Harcourt which also didn’t sail through. How it is going to end nobody can tell. But at least they are trying to solve their problems.
Let’s talk about the unity of this country. Do you, in all honesty think Nigeria is still one?
Nigeria has done well, we are one country, we quarrel sometimes, we have insurgencies and other security problems but when the British came we were different bits of countries. When the British left, they left us as one country and we are still one country. So, we are doing well in my view. We are learning how to live with one another and I know that Nigerians like to keep their country as one, no matter what complaints people have, they still want Nigeria together but every country has her problems.
Europe has problems, England is still having problems with Europe, and Europeans are still having problems with immigrants from Eastern Europe, from the Middle East, from Africa. America is having the problem of black people, which everybody thought they have solved but black and white problem is arising. If you go to Latin America, they are still having criticism of corruption and how they mismanaged oil money and things like that. If you go to other countries they are still fighting in the bush. So, don’t think that it is Nigeria alone that has problems, Nigeria has survived up till now and to me, Nigeria so far has succeeded; so what is your complaint?
With the vibes coming from Niger Delta Avengers and other pockets of insurgency around the country, do you still think Nigeria can remain as one country?
Why not? The Avengers know what problems they have, they are articulating the problems and sometimes they do it violently. Boko haram also did theirs violently, now they are talking about Fulani-farmers dealing with the problem violently; but we have always had these problems and we have survived and I believe when you have problems, then you should direct your mind at the problem and find solutions.
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Should government negotiate with some of these groups? I mean the Boko Haram, the Avengers and any such group, because some people believe that government should not negotiate with them. Do you think that it is appropriate for government to negotiate with them?
Government belongs to everybody, it is for the benefit of everybody and every problem has a way of dealing with itself. Sometimes, it is wise to negotiate, sometimes it is weakness to negotiate. You always have to pick which way is going to solve your problem.
In the circumstance that we are in today, which option is best?
I am not the government but if I am the government I would know what to do.
If you are to advise, what would you advise should be done because human lives are being lost, people are being killed everyday?
You are only a journalist asking me, if Buhari asks me I will tell him but you, what is the use of talking to you. There is no point talking to you. If you have an idea, you go and talk to Buhari.
Some people have called for what they call restructuring, to negotiate rules of engagement of the Nigerian state but each time the issue comes up, the North seems not to be comfortable with that concept, do you know their understanding of this concept? Is the north scared of restructuring?
Me, I don’t care about restructuring, I don’t fear restructuring. What I know as an educated man is that human beings, no matter where they are, as long as they are more than one person, there will be problems of how to live together and Nigerians have been learning how to live together since the British brought them together as one unit.
The problem varies from time-to-time and if you want to survive, you must know how to solve your problems; there is nothing fixed, there is nothing permanent, and the problems keep changing. So, Nigerians, to me, have done well.
Some months ago, some people were saying ‘kai Buhari, leave us with our corruption’ because they thought the alterative they have under corruption was better than under Buhari but it is not true. Every age has got its problems and you have to learn how to solve problems; if you don’t learn how to solve problems, you will die.
It does appear that you are not in support of any form of separation between the entities that became Nigeria; but the Britons that fused the nation together just got tired of the European Union and pulled out. So if any part of Nigeria wants to pull out, why shouldn’t they?
Any part of Nigeria that feels tired of Nigeria; that believes that Nigeria is not going to solve its problems and the alternative is to break away, break away is only one option. If you try to break away, somebody else is going to try to prevent you and the result may be bloody or it may succeed. So you haven’t got ready-made problems or ready-made solutions; anybody who wants to break, let him break. Didn’t it happen before, wasn’t there a civil war? What happened?
The Federal Government, not British government, the Federal Government of Nigeria went to war with some parts of the country attempting to break away and some part of the country attempting to stop the break away and in the end, Gen. Gowon said no victor, no vanquished.
Next time, the people who want to break away may succeed, it may be good for them or it may be good for all of us but so far, we cannot foretell the consequences of any part breaking away, that is the problem. When you don’t know the consequences of what is coming, you try to find solutions, sometimes in a violent way and sometimes through negotiation.
What I understand from what you have said is that anybody who wants to break away can do so but they should be prepared for the consequences?
Yes, we all have got to be prepared for the consequences.
Ordinarily, shouldn’t people have right to self-determination?
Everyone has right to self determination, it means I have a problem and I want to solve the problem… I am the one to solve it, if I want to follow that path to solve the problem, who are you to tell me not to take that way? But if I decide to take that way, how can I predict how you are going to act? That is why I tell you that you are always trying to solve problems and because you fear the consequences of what will happen. Has every country in the world got oil? Not every country has oil. Some have more problems than those who hasº, so what is it?
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