Youth empowerment, revival of local government administration will end security challenges – Waziri Bulama

Architect Waziri Bulama, the immediate past Acting National Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), played a prominent role as Deputy Director (Coordination) at the President Buhari Campaign Office, which actualized the re election of the President during the 2019 election. In this interview with a select media, the Borno state born politician looks at the efforts of his state government, the presidency, including the way forward in tackling the economic and security challenges in his zone and the nation. The AUTHORITY was represented

How would you react to the current pace of development and changes in your state, Borno, amidst security challenges

That state, which in fact was known as Home of Peace has been in crisis for well over ten years. But Governor Zulum has brought in capacity, deep knowledge, commitment and passion to not only in addressing the humanitarian crisis in that state but to also bring the entire security challenge and crisis to an end by closely collaborating with the federal government, security agencies, stakeholders and everybody towards bringing this crisis to an end and restore peace and normalcy to Borno State.

Governor Zulum is a product of providence; he’s not a product of privilege. He worked hard to achieve whatever he achieved in life. He’s like many of us, from a humble family. He is very close to the grassroots, he knows the problem of the local people, the youth, the women, the indigent men and women, the elderly and how people have been suffering in the last ten years. And he is very close to the ordinary people.

Ours is just to continue to encourage him, to wish him the very best and to urge him to continue on the very part of providing authentic leadership that he is providing.

Our party APC is pro poor, pro youth, pro women, a party committed to egalitarianism and welfare of the greater majority of the people, a party committed to addressing the problems of the people. Our party is very happy. Governor Zulum along with other young governors is providing the style of leadership that addresses the real problem of the ordinary people in this country. As senior citizens of Borno State, we appreciate his efforts, commitment, sacrifices and the risks he is taking to ensure that the problems are addressed. And so far what he has done has endeared him to the ordinary people in the state.

The governor spoke out recently when he faced a very serious security challenge, his convoy was attacked. Some in the government felt embarrassed, but he wears the shoes, so he knows where it pinches. What do advice him going forward

Well I would urge him to seek greater collaboration, there are many stakeholders, national, international and local that have a part to play in the affairs of the state. So I would urge him to bridge the communication gap with all the stakeholders. As the chief security officer of the state, I will urge him to seek to bring all stakeholders together, all security agencies operating in the state, all the humanitarian bodies that are operating in the state, the citizens, the various structures of leadership of society, from the small communities to local governments and so on.

Prof Zulum has been hailed for bringing something different in solving the security problem he met in the state

Yes, leadership of course, entails and requires a lot of investment in collaboration, coordination, cooperation, so as to achieve synergy. I know that he has already set up structures for harmonizing for instance, intervention of humanitarian agencies. I know he has set up many committees to cater for the welfare of displaced people across the state, some outside the countries that are sharing borders with Nigeria and with refugees and many displaced persons across the country.. So he has already within the last one year, done a lot to promote coordination, collaboration. So greater investment and effort in bringing all these stakeholders, groups, security agencies, humanitarian agencies, different local, and business communities and beleaguered groups who are living in various refugee camps across the country cannot be overemphasized . Through such robust effort, there will be less conflict and greater harmony and understanding. Everybody is committed to ending this conflict, all the stakeholders from the federal government, the security agencies,, the local people, the international community everybody is tired.

The worrisome thing is that the youth of these communities are seriously involved in the distabilization of the area. What message would you pass like to pass to them.

There is little one can tell youths in terms of words because these adolescents are victims or products of limited opportunity. They resort to drug abuse, they resort to banditry and violence to get money, what comes to their minds really is either steal, rustle cattle, abduct people and resort to all illegal ways to extort money to survive. What would you tell such person by simply saying “Don’t do this “. That is simply not enough.

What we are supposed to do or reinforce as leaders is to ensure that our communities are well secured, we provide opportunities for youths and everybody, so that people can have meaningful thing to do, such as in farming , various activities in agriculture value chain, trading for them to have legitimate means of livelihoods. We also have to ensure that we have a society where there is law and order, where there’s accountability that people should learn to prevent crime from happening. Right now, crime happens because people commit crimes and get away with it. They commit crimes and it takes time before they are tracked and caught to face the law. This is what is tempting others to abduct people or to steal or even kill and go. So we must improve on the security situation in the country to such extent that people should fear that when they commit crimes, there are consequences.

And we should really ensure that our leaders should get close to the grassroots to provide opportunity to people, to youths, for them to have hope, to have a start in life. If it requires that people should be given stipends and loans to start businesses, government should do it to ensure that every young person has ten thousand, fifty thousand, hundred thousand to start a poultry, small farm or small trading business. Yes, we must do that. By just saying that it is not good to be smoking hemp or taking intoxicants is not good is not just enough.

For instance one of the things I have been reading is the glaring lack of governance at the grassroots level. We have 774 LGAs in this country, but we know that there is no sign of governance at the local government level properly as it should be. This is the place citizens live and learn, when there’s no accountability, no identity management, people just live and get away with what they do. So we must promote proper functioning of LGA. We must have functional leadership, both proper functional local government system, as well as traditional local leadership system.

We must ensure that society is well organized and life is formalized at the local level because that’s where people live. There must be monitoring of what citizens do. The identity of everybody must be known. We should have organised society at the local government level, working in tandem with the community police

What is your assessment of the fight against insurgency, has it met your expectations considering the manner this administration came, many believe the crisis should have ended by now

Clearly, as at 2013/2014 there was hopelessness among Nigerians and they voted APC to give new leadership to solve particularly the security problem, impunity problem and others.

For security, there has been progress and improvement in addressing this problem of insurgency in the northeast. I’m from Maiduguri, I was born and raised in Maiduguri and I have lived in every part of the city all these years, and I have been a witness to when this crisis started and when it exploded and later developed into an insurgency and so on.

Clearly this government has done a lot in fighting the insurgency, especially around our major towns and so. For instance in 2015 Maiduguri itself was totally isolated and cut off. It was like a refugee camp, no flights, no economic access, no schools nothing. But now, the situation is different, life has returned to normal in Maiduguri, Damaturu, Mubi ,Yola and all these places in the northeast. So there has been a great deal of improvement. And also the government has taken measures to reconstruct the northeast by creating the Northeast Development Commission. Many displaced persons have been resettled. But even as the military and federal government have done a lot, there is need, going forward to strategically map out a plan for bringing this crisis to an end and resettling people once and for all..

I think this is what we must do. There’s need to bring this crisis to a closure by all means, because the continuation of this crisis (yes there are sporadic attack here and there), the escalation of this crisis raises a lot of questions over the capacity of our security agencies or the commitment of government to completely bring an end to insurgency in the zone

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