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Nigerians must support Buhari for peaceful transition – Adegbenro, security expert

High Chief Otunbalaje Adejare Adegbenro is a security expert, good governance advocate and founder of First Planet, as well as the DDSS International Company Ltd.…

High Chief Otunbalaje Adejare Adegbenro is a security expert, good governance advocate and founder of First Planet, as well as the DDSS International Company Ltd. In this interview, he spoke on the need for Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari for a peaceful transition, the need for the government to cut down wastages for improved governance, Buhari’s fight against insecurity and corruption, among other national issues.

What do Nigerians need to do for a peaceful transition ahead of the 2023 general elections?

We have to assist the president to minimise security challenges. We want President Muhammadu Buhari to leave a better legacy behind, but would the saboteurs allow him? Can the so called cabal let him do so? He has to pull himself out of their grips. He should bring out the long stick and start flogging anybody that would not allow him to do the right thing.

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To be honest, this man has done a lot for his country, and posterity would judge him accordingly. But it is sad that things are going on this way.

Please, let us put our hands together to make this country truly great. Look at Ghana when compared to us now. It is sad that in the whole of West Africa, we are where we are today.

Traditional rulers should be contacted to rob minds on what to be done to stop the security challenges. They know what is going on and that is why there is the need to bind everybody together with a view to combating the menace collectively.

On corruption, how would you describe the activities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC)?

I think they should be allowed to do their work without unnecessary interference. They should be independent.The EFCC boss is a young man who appears to be very energetic and hardworking, but he should not be disturbed from any quarters with overbearing tendencies that would want to influence dropping of some high profile cases. We should allow him to do his work. And if he does his work properly, which I believe he wants to do, Nigeria will move forward. The ICPC is also there doing its own job, so let us allow them to do their job. Let the judges also be free and independent to give right judgements.

Let us forget about being afraid of anybody, no matter how highly placed he or she may be in the society.

There are concerns over wastage and huge spending by the government, which is affecting governance; what is your take? 

Nigeria is very wasteful in resources. For instance, the president went to the United Nations (UN) recently and he was the only person that would speak there, but he is entitled to aides, ministers of finance and the governor of the Central Bank, National Security Adviser (NSA) and the minister of trade and investment. If you look at the people that went to the UN, you would see that it was a jamboree from Nigeria. And the world would laugh at us. Governors and other ministers who did not have the mandate to talk at the UN were there. Even those who do not have mouth to talk at the National Assembly were all there. What was their business there? Why couldn’t they make use of the money they wasted in their states?  Why couldn’t the ministers utilise the money for the welfare of Nigerians or give it to security organisations to fight insecurity? We know the benefit of utilising such wasted money but we would not do the right thing. It is sad. I don’t want to see such things again on television. I want to see my president and hear what he wants to say to his good people. Everything needs to change. We need to overhaul ourselves and hold ourselves tight. Why is it that we amass a lot of wealth? Why is it that we have four cars? Would they be on the road at the same time? What happens to the even and odd number system? That was how we grew up. If you had two cars, one would go out today and the second one would go out another day. Now we are so rich and don’t know what we are doing. We are spending so much that we don’t think about what we are leaving for our children. Do you think they would be secured? They would be worse than us because of what they are living in and what they are seeing. And if they do not see, they would take to other things.

As security expert, what do you think about the security situation in Nigeria today?

Nigeria is no doubt going through challenges, especially on security and it is normal to tackle it. And since the coming to power of President Buhari, he has given the nod to tackle it headlong. He has done all the necessary things to do the job. He has approved money to buy the required weapons to fight the challenges. It is baffling where the setback is coming from. I mean it baffles me that we are not winning the battle. 

The last service chiefs faced great danger, and the current ones are also working tirelessly, day and night to battle the challenges.  We still need to encourage them, morally, financially and psychologically. 

In Nigeria, some of what we do are always politically motivated. There is no doubt that there are saboteurs against the current administration’s efforts.  The president has done all the needful, but those who fail to take actions, we don’t know who they are working for. Are they really working for the president and the country or themselves? For the country to move forward and for Buhari to succeed, Nigerians have to discard the politics of pull-him-down. 

How can the security situation be improved?

Unfortunately, we don’t have sufficient manpower for security in this country, but look at the convoys of governors, ministers, heads of parastatals, the VIPs going round the town with security personnel attached to them as private individuals! It is not supposed to be like that. We are supposed to cut down those attitudes. May God help this country. I am sick and tired. Any time I go to Abuja or any big city, everybody behaves as a big man. It should not be like that. 

We should all sit down and look at what we can do to make this country better and working. As I always say, I am a Nigerian and my tribe comes second. Tribal sentiments should be thrown down the drain. We don’t need that. 

Security challenges are to be fought collectively, so we should join hands to combat the menace. We are talking about patriotism. We are not talking about another country. Nigeria is the only country we have.  Let the National Security Adviser (NSA) advise the president and let everybody do his or her job. Let the security chiefs sit down and synchronise their operations and seek information without minding their ranks because we have the single objective of bailing out the country from its predicament. The battle is to be won collectively.

What is your advice to Nigerians ahead of the 2023 elections?

People should not look at stomach infrastructure in voting because if they give you money today to vote for them, you would not see them again till the next four years. 

Are you comfortable with the list of recipients of the recent National Merit Awards?

National Merit Awards are to be given to Nigerians that have helped Nigeria and still helping. And there are so many of them. But looking at the list of people the minister brought out, are some of them worthy of being given national awards? Some of them have questionable characters.  Some of them have cases all over the place. Even the ex-service chiefs who could not save the country from security challenges before they were posted out as ambassadors in some African countries were included in the list.

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