By Reuben Rine
Public office holders are always under the flashy lights of journalists’ cameras and microphones, not only in Nigeria but the world over. Their words are well interpreted, debated and expanded (by different interest groups) even far beyond the motive of such utterances. Over the years, careless utterances by some of our politicians have cost them their re-election bid while for others, their political careers got terminated. Words indeed have power.
Any commoner can say anything he/she want anytime, anywhere and anyhow without much brouhaha by the public. In fact, in Nigeria, citizens outcry, complains and murmurings are often not regarded, no matter how weighty and sensible they seem to be. But a sneeze by a public office holder (especially those seen as controversial or largely regarded as incompetent) always generate wild interpretations and reactions.
IGP Abubakar Adamu
For some couple of months now, Nigeria has been embroiled with unprecedented cases of kidnappings, renewed attacks by Boko Haram terrorists and the Fulani herdsmen, frequent and highly coordinated attacks by bandits, theft, gangsterism, ritualism, intercommunity and intertribal clashes, arm robbery, soaring cases of extra judicial killings by the military as well as security personnel, politically motivated attacks and reprisals and so on…..
All the above-mentioned cases continuously lead to the loss of human lives. Everyday in Nigeria, unaccountable number of people are either killed or kidnapped, or raped or attacked or injured or maimed or properties stolen, destroyed or forcefully taken (often at gun point). All these avoidable security issues are a cause of worry and concern to every right-thinking Nigeria, especially those saddled with the affairs of leadership.
But unfortunately, the poor masses are left at the mercy of blood soaking bandits, terrorist, killer herdsmen, kidnappers, thieves and even ritualists (who among other methods now forcefully steal female underwear) while the politicians and elites fenced themselves with battalions of gun wielding, fierce looking security personnel, and now as the case is, soldiers. The irony of this whole saga is that, these body guards attached to our politicians and favoured elites further compound the plight of the common man by trampling on their rights while their masters look the other way.
In spite of all these wanton killings, the security chiefs hold closely their positions without either halting these killings or honourably relinquishing their offices for more competent and tactful fellow with better skills and solutions. When for instance the former IG’s tenure was coming to an end, his body language never showed he was prepared to leave, although emerging and reemerging cases of crimes fare so well during his stewardship. He was finally shown the door after much outcry, protests and agitations. For naija, no one dey ever resign ……..this is fondly said in Nigeria.
Even our political leaders that conspicuously failed in discharging their constitutional duties of protecting the lives and properties of the citizens will dare not attempt resigning their offices. Those indicted or caught red handed in corrupt practices will often use tax payers money to hire myriads of lawyers to defend their ‘evils’ in courts even if they know too well that they are guilty.
The mentality with Africans laying hold of power at any level without giving it up even amidst gross incompetence and failures is a thing of regional or continental concern. It is an immense problem that must be dealt with. The case of Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Omar al Bashir of Sudan are few among several others. This also cuts across leaders at all level of governance and agencies of governments.
I and many other Nigerians were so dumfounded and disappointed with the response of president Buhari on his arrival from his private trip to UK. To start with, you don’t leave your house when it is on fire without first curtailing the malaise, and bringing normalcy and stability. That apart, Mr president went and return successfully.
When asked by a reporter; “Are we likely to see a different approach in the fight against insecurity, especially kidnapping, which is a big issue now Sir?”
The President responded: “You know, I have just seen the IG, he is… I think he is losing weight; so, I think he is working very hard.”
The president’s response was greeted with wild unsavory responses from all nooks and crannies of Nigeria. Also, opposition political parties and their candidates who recently contested presidential election fed fat on President Buhari response.
Well, how does losing weight by a security chief depicts success or effort made against the raging insecurity in Nigeria? When weight loss by security chiefs become synonymous with fighting insecurity then Nigeria is in a big trouble.
By the way, Mr President did not even attempt answering the question thrown at him by the reporter. Well, Mr president has in several occasions given different responses to direct questions thrown at him.
Can we now conclude that Mr President don’t have a road map to restoring peace and security within Nigeria? With this lingering insecurity, one would have thought that our leaders have good ideas and foresight to restoring peace and security.
As stated in my previous article “A leader creates an inspiring vision of the future, motivates and inspires people to engage with that vision. The case of Nigeria seems different in this regard. Our politicians learn on the job. It’s while in office that they try to get their ‘act’ together (should they even have any) as they often get stretched out and encumbered in all fronts”.
Nigeria’s insecurity problems predated this regime. In fact, fighting insecurity was one of the cardinal agenda used by this present government to get elected in 2015. As such, the president’s inability to vividly and explicitly tell Nigerians the new approach his government will from now on use in fighting soaring insecurity, especially kidnapping got me worried. This is because Nigeria is more insecured now than when the president took over leadership in 2015.
Immediately after the deadly Easter bombing in Sri Lanka, urgent and drastic actions were taken; over a hundred arrests were made, Some social media sites were blocked , all forms of face covering in public were banned, the 2 groups linked to the bombings i.e. NTJ and Jamathei Millathu Ibraheem (JMI) were immediately banned by presidential decree and their properties confiscated, preventive measures against possible recurrence were implemented, the main culprits were later arrested, FBI were allowed to immediately assist Sri Lanka authorities with probe of bomb attacks, national day of mourning was declared.
Above all, the Inspector General of Sri Lanka’s Police Pujith Jayasundara, resigned over failures that led to the deadly Easter bomb attacks. Similarly, the country’s defence secretary also resigned after security forces failed to prevent the spate of bombings, and finally, Sri Lanka’s
President vows security reorganisation.
The case of Sri Lanka should be a standard for our nation to learn, even if we fail to learn from other decent countries of the world.
Enough of these deaths, enough of the killings. If the government fails to stand up to its responsibilities, I see a wild and fierce revolutionary force rising. Rising from among the peasants, poor and the commoners. Drastic actions and changes are needed within the Nigeria’s security apparatus. We can’t continue as though all is well.
Nigeria, lets arise!
*Rine writes via e-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org