Saturday, 17 April 2021

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By Matthew Agboma Ozah: Nigeria in dialogue with history

Posted On Thursday, 25 February 2021 23:29 Written by Matthew Agboma Ozah/ GUARDIAN.NG
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The world will not be destroyed
by those who do evil, but by those
who watch them without doing anything.
–Albert Einstien

Let us pause for a while and remind ourselves of what it would look like, if Nigerians lose their sense of reasoning and embrace anarchy in this age of technology advancement and the great awareness that the 21st Century has exposed mankind to. Also, we should ruminate that after half a Century years of Nigeria’s servitude to three years of civil war, it is a matter of regret that some misguided political elite since inception of President Muhammadu Buhari administration have been in constant ethnic and religious dialogue with history in negative ways.

Sadly, some prominent members of the political elite unguided utterances seem to beckon the above ugly experience witnessed in the country to repeat itself. This underlines a big problem, hence, the chairman, National Peace Committee (NPC) former Head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar recently cautioned state governors who are brandishing their tongues carelessly to be more temperate in their utterances in order not to instigate civil unrest in the nation. He said: “People who are old enough recollect what happened during the civil war. What were the things that led to the civil war? People from different states were being attacked, killed and their property destroyed, and people started migrating to their states of origin. And this is what is happening now…” The above warning is clearly lost just as the lessons of the civil war seem a child’s play in self hating Nigerians who would exult at such a despicable incidences of killings across the country to degenerate into a civil unrest. That the nation has been under the mercy of insurgents, bandits, kidnapping and herdsmen atrocities name it, for over a decade is absolutely disturbing. But what makes it even more worrisome is the paucity of fund that has become the annual harvest of security services budget. Hence, their constant romance with inadequate equipment and their inability to arrest the security challenges. In the face of their handicap, government officials keep saying our security services are up to the task. Yet, the crave for economic progress, peace and stability in the country continue to get slimmer by the day while the lust for anarchy, chaos, bloodshed, destruction and perpetual domination and subjugation of others seem to be the order of the day. It is shameful that the federal government’s body language and inaction continue to ignite the perpetuation of evil in the country, from its craftily blurred line between partisan or ethnic interest over the nation’s overall interest. Of course, that brings to bear the spate of bashing criticism of the ruling party over its poor handling of the security challenges among others facing the nation.

Surely, when there is clearly no path to peace, when every cause of action leads to chaos and anarchy then unity and proclamation of one Nigeria we so crave for would become partial. One of the most impressive aspects of President Buhari inauguration speech in 2015 is his declaration that he is for nobody but for all. Regrettably, as the administration progressed, President Buhari seems to allow himself to be held hostage by ethnic and religious sentiments. This is obviously illuminated from his predilection in appointments and siting of major projects in the northern region. And the growing grave yard silence and toothless statements from federal government about tackling insecurity, lawlessness and herdsmen brouhaha across the country.

As President, Buhari bears a special responsibility for every Nigerian life and property which he swore an oath to protect. In the short term, herdsmen and cattle business seems more important than tackling the burning issue of insecurity, unemployment and infrastructure deficit facing the country. Hence, the unnecessary pettiness and sympathetic allegation by the presidency the other day when it echoed that criminal herders are being tried and convicted in the South West. By the way, is the law suppose to protect criminals, that the federal government had to raise an alarm over criminal herders prosecution? If found guilty, should criminals whether herders or otherwise not pay the ultimate prize as defined by law? As it were, the calumny of facts occasioned from unguarded statements mostly from Miyetti Allah, is helping to heat up the polity. The group which is defined not by any political ideology but by an affection they have towards their business of cattle rearing have become so daring in recent times. However, the blithe assumption by Miyetti Allah arguing with audacious confidence that Nigerians (herders) are free to carry arms for self defence can only encourage the upsurge in small arms and light weapons in the country. It is even more worrisome that some state governors from the north express their support to weaponise the herders through their body language and public defence.

It is particularly disheartening to note that governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state who recently said: “They (herders) have no option than to carry Ak47 because the society and government are not protecting them… it not their (herders) fault, it is the fault of the government and the people, you don’t criminalise all of them…” In the face of all these, the federal government chose to turn a deaf ear and refuses to recognise the legitimate danger of such careless statements therefore, denounce and caution proliferation of arms promoters.

The measure at which insecurity bore the stamp of panic in the country has not only drawn international attention but has spawned and encouraged ethnic regions to set-up their own security architecture for self defence. In the northern region, we have the Hisbah, while Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) operates in the South West, now side by side with Amotekun, formed recently in the same region. Of course, the South East is drumming to everyone’s hearing that it has no intension of truncating the already moving train of its region’s security network. The South East committee chairman, Major General Obi Umahi said: “…the South East is the most secure geopolitical zone in the country today…the region governors have banned open grazing…they have done things about the security infrastructure. I am also aware that each state has motorised its security network…” What all these inflammatory dialogue and regional securities imply is that the window of unity to show that Nigeria is truly one, is rapidly closing. And it is hard to imagine how peace and unity that once defined Nigerians as the most happiest people on earth could sink any lower from the antics of those perpetrating evil. Therefore, President Buhari should overcome his flaws and use his charming charisma to urgently bring back Nigeria on the stead of peace and unity.

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