As I write this, my eyes are suffused with tears, tears of sorrow and anguish as my beloved country, my place of birth is in a turmoil. The whole land is embroiled in a war. Nigeria is not just the poverty capital of the world; it is the most terrorized nation in the world right now.The stories filtering out of the country Nigeria are blood-chilling. We have heard gory tales of killing, gut-wrenching stories of kidnapping and torture. We have watched video footages of massacre, genocide and carnages perpetuated by dare-devil terrorist. Every day, it is the same macabre story without any scintilla of hope in sight. It is all like a movie script from a hypothetical land of lawlessness. At present, life has lost its value in Nigeria. We are no longer talking about poverty and economic hardship foisted on the citizenry. Nigerians have come to accept that as fait accompli. Nobody is talking about formulating good policies to move the nation forward; that too is like outlandish reverie.
Indeed we cannot rule out official complicity and negligence, insidious collusion, lack of will power, incompetence, lack of patriotic zeal in this matter. All boil down to failure of governance, mediocrity and ineptitude. Added to this is the issue of misplaced priority, misconception of role, corruption and abuse of office. In all of these, it is crystal clear that those in government do not know what their mandate is.
They do not understand the concept of social contract. The do not understand the difference between national interest and personal or primordial interest. There is the ethical dilemma of sectional interest and general interest. Our present government seems to pander to sectional interest as against public interest and that accounts for the escalation of insurgency, banditry and terrorism. Why would our government not call herdsmen to order but react swiftly when there is harmless civil protest? Why would the government not deploy troops to flush out the terrorists from the Sambisa forest but quick to deploy fighter jet to bomb the forest of Imo State for ESN operatives? Why would a government that could not protect its citizens frustrate the plans of the people to get their security? These and more are some fundamental questions that we must seek answers for.
The current security challenges facing Nigeria point to ominous fact that security is not about brute force but intelligence. Crude command and control policies have its limitations and they have failed us woefully. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo when he was in power erroneous thought he could suppress “resource control” agitation with brute force by deploying troops and destroying Odi but it backfired giving rise to militancy in the Niger Delta Region. It took the wisdom and intelligence of the late Umaru Musa Yar’dua to restore peace in the Niger Delta through the Presidential Amnesty Program. In the same vein, President Muhammadu Buhari thought he could suppress civil advocacy through brute force and swinging policies but this has proved counterproductive. It is clear that Nigeria does not need a jack-boot general to provide security. All we need is purposeful leadership. We need to free ourselves from the cult of generals. This is what the likes of former vice-president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Wazirin Adamawa, has been advocating.
As it is now, Nigerians your destiny is in your hands; defend yourselves, the army is weakened, and the judiciary is compromised while the National Assembly is simply not there, the politicians and those that pretend to speak for you are all self-seeking pettifoggers. As the 2023 election beckons, will you learn any lesson? Will you vote right and avoid tribal and religious sentiments? Will you allow yourself to be used by selfish political jobbers and turn back to regret later? Again, I say your destiny is in your hand.
Hajia Mohammed, actress, social activist, politician, writes from London, UK via