by Stanley Azuakola
Most Nigerians are still divided on what factor(s) is really responsible for the menace of Boko Haram. While some argue that the sect is bent on foisting an ultra-Islamic constitution on the rest of the populace, others believe that it is quest to regain lost political power. A majority of Nigerians believe, however, that it is a combination of factors.
One person who seems certain of the root cause of the sect’s continuous growth is the Rivers State governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Rotimi Amaechi. According to him, the failure of leadership in the country to govern properly is responsible for Boko Haram.
The governor stated this in Port Harcourt at a retreat of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the review of the 1999 constitution. He said the young people mostly between the ages of 18 and 21 years who are involved in Boko Haram related activities were only responding to the political and socio-economic violence meted on them by the political elite.
“If you don’t want them to react with physical violence, then you must provide for them free education, water, roads, and light. When you are busy in your school, you will not have time to be actively involved Boko Haram activities. If you provide these, the next thing is to ensure that the states are properly policed,” he said.
This isn’t the first time that Amaechi is blaming the nation’s woes on leadership or “the system.” At The Future Symposium organised earlier this year by The Future Project in Lagos, Amaechi had made a similar assertion. It led to murmurings within the audience as the governor is seen as also a part of “the system.”
Governor Amaechi also called on the lawmakers to among other things: include measures in the constitution that would check the excesses of agencies like the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); make an office of the accountant of the federation as different from that of accountant to the Federal Government of Nigeria; and the production of a truly federal constitution which has a weakened centre.