A former Senate President, Anyim Pius has written President Muhammadu Buhari an open letter, advising his government on ways forward on the security challenges besetting the country.
The senior politician in his letter on Monday advised the President to create a commission of inquiry that will hear out the grievances of Nigerians and look into the violent and non-violent agitations to make recommendations on immediate – short-term and long-term – solutions.
Pius stated that Buhari will be making history doing so because, according to him, it would help to de-escalate the rising tension in the land and set a process for the renewal of our march to nationhood, noting also that the attempt to carry the people along in the process will be applauded.
He added that no action is deemed successful or completed until the buy-in of the people is secured through a democratic process.
The former Senate President warned against shutting the people out of the process of finding solutions to the conflicts, stressing that a permanent solution would be a mirage.
He supported his point with reference to the various processes by the colonial administration that led to the independence of the country which all failed to allay the fears of the minority tribes.
He also recalled a similar commission of inquiry chaired by Harry Willink that produced a far-reaching report after extensive hearings of the complaints and suggestions from the people.
“It can be argued that no other document in the history of Nigeria has had a far-reaching impact on our political structure than the Willink’s report,” Pius said.
The letter partly read; “The perilous threats to our national sovereignty at the time you took over the reins of power in 2015 were the Boko Haram insurgence in the North East; the armed agitation in the Niger Delta Region, and the IPOB agitation in the South East.
“Mr. President, on your assumption of office the most striking promise you made to the nation was to tackle insecurity with emphasis on reclaiming the territories occupied by Boko Haram. I must admit that you did approach the insecurity challenge with commendable determination but unfortunately, the challenge, with time, became hydra-headed and no doubt went beyond your control.
“Before I proceed with my suggestion, may I first put in perspective the basis of the position I will canvass in this letter. I wish to note that every violent agitation originates from a non-violent agitation that was not attended to. Today, Nigeria is bedevilled with violent and non-violent agitations.
“In the build-up to securing the Nigerian Independence, the colonial administration was confronted with reservations by minority tribes in the three regions of Northern, Eastern, and Western Nigeria about fears of domination by the majority tribes. In other to find a lasting solution, the colonial administration appointed a commission to “ENQUIRE INTO THE FEARS OF MINORITIES AND MEANS OF ALLAYING THEM”.
“The Willink’s Commission of 1957, named after its chairman Mr. Harry Willink, produced a far-reaching report after extensive hearings of the complaints and suggestions from the people. It can be argued that no other document in the history of Nigeria has had a far-reaching impact on our political structure than Willink’s report.
“It guided the debates in subsequent constitutional conferences before the independence; gave structure to the emergent Constitutions and indeed gave health to the socio-political structure of the nation at independence.”