Daily Courier – Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, has expressed fear about the forthcoming 2023 general elections in the country.
Falae, who noted that the country was precariously on the edge of a precipice, expressed doubt on whether elections will hold come next year.
He disclosed that the country needed someone who understands that Nigeria is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and very complex country as a president.
He said ethnic campaign as currently seen in the country was inevitable “when you have a government that does not present itself as a government for all the people. If a government presents itself to be a champion of a section of the people, naturally the others will begin to defend themselves.”
Speaking with journalists in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Monday, Falae, a former Finance Minister, said: “I am praying that the terrorists will allow elections to take place in Nigeria.”
According to him, “a few days ago, they still burn down one of the INEC offices in the South-East and they have been doing that for a long time. We hope the elections will be possible.”
The elder statesman further stated that if elections would take place at all, they may not be credible and the outcome may not be acceptable to the general public.
He added, “If during voting, shooting takes place and riots, the outcome will not be credible. I am hoping that we would not be able to have an election next year.
“I am praying that if we would have elections, God Almighty will intervene and pick a president and government that can lead us out of the crisis that we are in. Nigeria is precariously on the edge of a precipice. I hope it would not be toppled with her bees below.”
While saying Nigeria is not a difficult country to govern, Falae said, “we need a president who shows genuinely that he is for all Nigerians, he does not just say it, he acts it in all his decisions and shows that he cares for all Nigerians and Nigerians will worship him.”
He, however, called on the communities in the country to mobilise and defend themselves from those attacking them.
Falae said, “Once every village is secure, then Nigeria is secure. Let the individual communities, families arrange their defence.
“Security is a local matter. Every community should mobilise its people for its security. Every village, every hamlet should mobilise its people to defend themselves. The police would do their work, and DSS would do what they can do, but every community must have their security.
“For example in my community at Ilu Abo where I am the Olu of the town, we have our vigilante group and they have the instructions to comb all the surrounding forest. If you see any strange person, arrest him and bring him to the police station.
“Let the individual community, families arrange their defence. Security doesn’t necessarily mean shooting. A critical part of security is prevention, information, monitoring and intelligence. Before terrorists can strike in any community, they must have been mobilising and hanging around the place for some time.
“So, people must be vigilant and continuously monitor their environment. If they notice anything strange person, they should go after the person. If anybody attacks you, you have a right to self-defence.
“If anybody attacks me, I will attack the person back with whatever I have. But I will not be the first to attack anybody. Because self-preservation is the first order of creation. The most important part is the surveillance, intelligence, monitoring of your environment and keeping strange elements out of your area.”
Speaking on the issue of ethnic agenda, Falae said, “It is stupid to be sectional as president. Because that is an invitation to the crisis. We need a president that knows and acts that Nigeria belongs to all of us and that knows that it doesn’t please all Nigerians, he is destroying the country.
“That is what Nigerians want. A fear-minded person. It does not matter where he comes from. After all whoever is Nigeria’s president must come from one particular family, one particular tribe and one particular town.
“All he needs to do is to know that apart from his people there are also other tribes as well that have equal claim to the Nigeria patrimony. If he acts accordingly, Nigerians will hail him.
“Unfortunately, most politicians we have now are tribalistic and they are not exposed at all to still be thinking that they are from Kanuri, Ibo, Fulani or Yoruba. But if we have a Nigerian who sees all has Nigerians, that is the way out of our problem.”