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Carrying our cross

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Buhari. Photo: TWITTER/ASOROCK

“The initiative is in the hands of the president of the nation, but he can’t do it alone.” These are the words of the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in his open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari advising him to make hay while the sun shines on security issues.

With the presence of heated transitional issues and uproar all tied to insecurity, killings, and kidnapping in the Nigerian polity, there is a dire need for possible action rather than talks without action. The apt ex-president Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari described Nigeria’s issue as a “momentous concern to all well-meaning and alright thinking Nigerians.”

Stressing on the need for the letter to be made available to all those who can help in proffering effective solutions to the insecurity in the fatherland in which I believe he is one of the most qualified persons to assist in peace and security related solutions in this country.

Wholeheartedly, I believe Obasanjo as a career soldier, a head of state (twice), a military ruler from 1976 to 1979. Equally, one among the first fifth battalion to be selected for the Congo operations due to credibility performance of training and internal security exercise in southern Cameroon to mention few of his competence and experience; instead of writing just an open letter even though highlighting key issues and remedies should have accompanied the letter with a security or peace strategies to PMB on key actions on how to tackle the issue at hand. For he rightly said, “a stitch in time, saves nine.”

Is the stitching or saving nine? Or only accusing the government of abandoning Nigerians in the hands of criminals? Notwithstanding, OBJ equivocally pointed out that public debates and dialogue should be opened and adopted by the PMBs’ administration which is indeed welcoming advice towards attaining integration and peace in the polity and that is commendable.

Buttressing this, all we need per se is to brainstorm and find majors to counter these issues from the grassroots before moving to the larger society. Interestingly, building local knowledge of peace and stability from grassroots can contribute enormously to national peacebuilding initiatives and policies

The issue of killing and kidnapping people for ransom in the polity is indeed worrisome either by the ‘Fulani herders’ or not! It is uncalled for and needs to be dealt with seriously. It is disheartening when certain politicians champion the killing of innocent lives for political experiments in achieving certain political goals knowing that it heightens tension and chaos. Yet, they still arm hoodlums to kill for them damning the consequences. Pa Reubens’ loss is indeed a painful one. His daughter, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin was murdered in cold blood for no just cause. My deepest condolences to his family.

A Hausa adage says “da zafi-zafi a ke dukan karfe” meaning “it is only when hot, a metal can be bent/reshaped.” It is high time the president find lasting solutions to kidnapping and killings in the country because condoling with Afeniferes’ family or other victims of kidnapping cannot in any way bring them back but bringing the faceless killers to justice can be soothing perhaps.

Decisions of the Northern Elders Forum has brought about different reactions from southern leaders, the Afenifere and a host of other critics. Simultaneously, their decision is inappropriate because instead of heating the polity, we should try in our utterances to be patriotic as words have power and people have a varied perspective to understanding and interpreting issues.

The NEF should advocate for long-lasting peace to help keep our diverse population together as our predecessors have struggled to maintain it. Also, the NEF should caution bad eggs among the accused people rather than asking them to return to the north. This country belongs to us all, we should carry our cross.

Both North, East, South, and West. But to achieve this, the president should work with or solicit the assistance of past leaders and experts (both civilian and military) and come together to design active peace and development plans. Also, the media should not only set agenda for public discussion but engage in more realistic investigative journalism to find out facts of people behind the scenes and those perceptible in the crime.

We should not only sit and talk, but we should also rather be active in our intentions with reactions to precede our travails. To reduce the rate of insecurities we must however from the grassroots collectively find and put in place lawful peace mechanism to protect our families and society at large. A lot has happened to innocent people. Some killed while some extorted; it could be any one of us tomorrow. Thus, the government should wake up from slumbering and strive amid these tribulations to restore peace and unity in the country. Inarguably, peace cannot be levied from the top to the bottom. Advisably, if the grassroots approach for peace and conflict resolution is embraced, undoubtedly, we will head to the pathway to stability in our country.

Gagarawa is a youth corps member, serving in Abuja and a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano.


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