From NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna
Elder statesman and pioneer National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), Chief Solomon Lar, has said that unless Boko Haram members unveiled themselves and their sponsors before Nigerians, it would be a fruitless exercise for the Federal Government to go for the much touted dialogue.
Lar’s advice followed last Thursday’s call by the sect to enter into dialogue with the Federal Government with conditions such as meeting in Saudi Arabia, mediating through retired General Muhammadu Buhari and other prominent Northerners.
Speaking with newsmen on the state of the nation following the killing of retired General Mohammed Shuwa in Maduguri, Borno State by gunmen, Chief Lar said the Federal Government should tarry a while on the dialogue until the sect emulates the Niger Delta militants by coming out to show their faces and tell Nigerians why they were killing innocent people.
The PDP chieftain, who was in Kaduna at the weekend for a wedding, noted that the killing of retired General Shuwa was most gruesome, having fought the civil war to keep the country one, adding that the acclaimed representatives of the Boko Haram should be patriotic enough to disown the sect if they had no link with the suicide bombers.
On whether the ruling PDP could still make it in 2015 presidential elections, Chief Lar said in democracy, anything could happen, stressing that Nigerians were reasonable people who should be able to tell during the election which party should be voted into power.
He said: “I disagree completely that there should be dialogue with Boko Haram, unless they show their identity that Mr, XYZ is the Boko Haram. For them to name some people that they want them to be their representatives, who are these people? They are faceless people, let them come out and say we are the Boko Haram.
“Then, we will definitely do the dialogue. Even General Muhammadu Buhari, Ali Moguno they mentioned as their representatives have not agreed with them. If their representatives have agreed with them, let them come out for dialogue. In the Niger Delta, when we had militant crisis, some people came out and said they were the leaders of the militants. That was very reasonable, and the last President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, dealt with these people. Why wouldn’t Boko Haram follow the same example, the same way.
“The killing of retired Major-General Mohammed Shuwa is an unfortunate incident. I read in the newspapers that one of Nigerians who fought very seriously to keep the country one during the civil war was shot by gunmen. I am really disturbed. He is one of Nigeria’s unsung heroes. He was a hero, but nobody talked about him. Government after government never did anything to bring him up and recognize his past performance. I believe this is one of the most unfortunate incidents. General Shuwa is still an unsung hero. Nobody sing his heroism.
“That is why I called him unsung hero. It is unfortunate. The authorities should do everything possible to find out those responsible. The government of President Goodluck Jonathan is doing his best and the securities under him are doing their very best, and I am sure the question of Boko Haram is a matter of days to get them out. “I don’t agree that the Federal Government has lost control of the situation, the government is in absolute control of the situation, and that is why you are meeting with me here in Kaduna. If the Federal Government has lost control, it means Nigeria is a failing State, and Nigeria will never be a failing State.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is doing well, but we should do more and see that we live in peace. I call on all Nigerians, let them be patriotic, let them sing Nigeria, and once we do this, there will be no problem, “There is hope for PDP in 2015, but 2015 is a long way to go. Don’t take Nigerians for granted. This is what I always tell people that we are in democracy.
I, Solomon Lar strongly believe in democracy, I am always for democracy. People will decide, Nigerians will decide, it doesn’t mean that PDP will be there forever. When Nigerians decide that they should change another one for better, they can do so. But PDP is doing everything wonderfully well, and the National Chairman of the party, Dr Bamanga Tukur is doing extremely well, and I think Nigerians are reasonable people, and they will appreciate him.”