BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
A Cross River state born business tycoon and a philanthropist, Mr. Ben Akak, has attributed lack of leadership at the three tiers of government as the major cause of insecurity in the country.
Akak stated this in an interview with newsmen through a telephone chat.
He said, “lack of leadership is Nigeria’s problem as far as insecurity is concerned”.
According to him, “we are not taking drastic decisions to curb it. I am one of those who do not believe we need foreign interference. Let’s check out all those countries where foreigners have come in to help, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and others, we have had an unending crisis. What we have is a domestic issue and even with foreign infiltration it is not going to stop us”.
Akak said, “there is something we must do and those areas that have been proved to be neck deep in this crisis especially the Northern part of the country should have our borders shut down”.
“We have trained personnel and let’s not forget the fact that Nigeria is known for being the best in Peace Keeping Mission. Where is that expertise that we used outside and why can’t we apply it domestically? It’s lack of political will, it’s lack of leadership”.
Akak in furtherance said “I have advocated in several occasions that we have to review our leadership recruitment policy in this country. I know that there are people who happen to be in leadership, they should not be there because I see no reason why we should be entangled in this kind of crisis. We are no longer safe. Even the high and mighty cannot guarantee safety now. That is one aspect”.
Secondly, he added, that the other aspect of insecurity is the issue of unemployment which is tied to poverty. I have advocated that for a country like Nigeria, what we need to do is to begin the process of domesticating most of our economic policies and programmes to the point of making sure that we begin to produce because every country that consumes cannot break even”.
“Here in Nigeria, he noted, “we consume so much and produce less and because we are not producing much, you are not generating employment and most of the jobs are transferred. So insecurity is tied to unemployment and poverty”.
Advancing more reason, said, i want to end it with this that “there is no man made effort that can solve Nigeria’s problem no matter what we do. We must go back and say God where have we gone wrong and how can we fix these issues and it must be a leadership decision”.
Akak emphasised that “whether you are going to call the Imams and the Pastors but put them together and say while we are doing the scientific one you also do the spiritual one because the two work together. When we do this, Nigeria will be bright again. I believe in Nigeria and I believe Nigeria has all the potentials to be great again”.
He however warned that “if these are not done, Nigeria is drifting towards a state of anarchy and civil war. Not even anarchy. I am beginning to suspect that we may not have a Nigeria again. In fact, I am also beginning to suspect that there is a foreign hand fueling these crisis to ensure that Nigeria disintegrate. I am suspecting that but again how can they succeed if they do not have local collaborators. So the way we are going if we do not tell ourselves the truth and patriotic enough to forget about tribalism, nepotism, and look about competence, which boils down to what I said before that our recruitment process of leadership is faulty but was criticised, we are finished. I said no, look at France with all its sophistication, they entrusted leadership in the hands of a young man. Even America entrusted leadership in the hands of a young Leader, J F Kennedy at a young age of 34. Newzealand has her Leader in his thirties. We must bring young minds, young brains, fresh minds and fresh brains to reinvigorate, revamp and restructure the Nigeria of the future”.
“Our fathers and their forefathers have done their best and we need their experience with the energy of the young people and Nigeria will get there. It’s so unfortunate that even those who know that they are part of where we are do not want to listen, he retorted”.
In answer to further questions, he recalled, “I said it before that the EndSARS was a glimpse and we are getting there. It was a signal for the leadership to say come sit down and talk of the young people and let’s listen to them. No matter how you bring in America, Russia and all the super powers, they will not solve these problems. It must be the people or the indigenes that must solve this matter. When I am talking of leadership, it cuts across the local governments, states up to the federal government. They say the young people are not good but that is an exception, just begin to entrust leadership on them. They know their future and most of the people carrying out these crisis are part of them. They can easily talk to themselves and solve their problems”.
On restructuring, Akak said “the restructuring is good because you will begin to talk about what you have and earn in your locality and make it work. But again what kind of restructuring are we talking about? Is it economic or political restructuring? If we must restructure, the people must understand what restructuring is all about because everybody is not on the same page with a restructuring. If you speak to the man in the North or South, he speaks differently of restructuring. So restructuring means you develop at your pace and it will make you more viable and dependent on yourself and you become more prosperous and will also help in checking unemployment problem”.
He said “for instance in Cross River, you can begin to talk about our agricultural produce, solid mineral base and our oil and gas and several others. We can independently run as a state. We have wonderful water and it is only Cross River that is open to the Atlantic Ocean, yet we are poor. An access to the Atlantic Ocean is an access to wealth, that is my take”.
He however sued for peace and unity amongst the agitiating and aggrieved geo-politlical groups in the country and urged them to sheathe their sword and embrace dialogue at all times.