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Insecurity, leadership and the people

By Matthew Agboma Ozah
13 April 2022   |   3:44 am
Once upon a time, no speech of President Muhammadu Buhari was complete without a promise to defeat the bandits or insurgents, now christened terrorists through sheer pressure from every quarter in the society for government to declare them as one.

Iwollo burnt police station

Once upon a time, no speech of President Muhammadu Buhari was complete without a promise to defeat the bandits or insurgents, now christened terrorists through sheer pressure from every quarter in the society for government to declare them as one.  President Buhari’s other promises to reposition the economy through agriculture by creating jobs for the teaming unemployed Nigerian youth and lift millions out of poverty among others, remains static in the face of the unacceptable rising insecurity in the country.

Notwithstanding the administration’s good intention, and the prediction that the economy would improve within a short space of time; In the past seven years or so, Nigerians remain worried as always for lack of basic human needs and are constantly threatened by insecurity. However, the biggest danger is that those in positions of leadership have lost the battle of ideas on how to make the economy solid. As always, governments around the world particularly in Africa give dodgy claims especially when things are not going right.

Therefore, the best the Buhari government could come up with in the last trying years is to blame previous administrations and continue with its empty threats to deal with banditry and insurgency. Of course, the aim was to burnish the ruling government and make it look good in the eyes of the people. As we all know, Nigeria is not at war but people are being kidnapped, raped or killed on daily basis as a result of attacks from bandits and insurgents. The fight against insurgency is not going well as the insurgents are having a field day to unleash mayhem on Nigerians. Security in Nigeria today is at its worst. Even Ukraine that is currently under siege from Russia’s missiles and heavy bombardment is safer than Nigeria. This is frightening but true. The country is growing harder to live, to invest or to travel around. This has caused fear in the minds of investors and majority among the young population are emigrating to safer climes for good.

Nigeria’s insecurity is largely born out of poor leadership and insensitiveness to the plight of the people. It is sad to note that government’s responsibility to protect the lives and property of Nigerians, especially when hostile forces are operating within or around the country is only but a paper tiger. Again, it is regrettable that the political leadership has grown so rotten that it struggles to tame insecurity just as it is in romance with corruption at every level. Nigeria has long tolerated an anomalously high rate of corruption in the society. This has led to derailment of infrastructural developments across the country and nothing seems to work out for the good of the people.

Instead of the leaders to propagate and work out how best to defeat the insurgents, the government and its agents are picking holes from who said what. They chose to process contrary views through a jaundiced lens and come up with wonky excuses to punish the messenger rather than hearken to the message. The other day, the management committee of the National Assembly Legislature quarters’ mosque located in Apo, Abuja sacked Sheikh Nuru Khalid, the Chief Imam, who is popularly known as ‘digital Imam’ for criticising the government over the spate of insecurity in the country.

To show that the disengagement of the Imam was in bad faith, the crudeness and incompetence of the mosque committee was exposed in their termination letter as it takes effect from April 4, 2023. In the so-called sack letter, the mosque management committee wrote: “We regret to inform you that from today, April 4, 2023, you have been disengaged from the services of the above mentioned mosque…..leadership demands a great sense of responsibility. If our words do more harm than good in the larger interest of the country or public, we have a responsibility to maximum restrain for the good of the public…” In the above sense, does the mosque committee see any great sense of leadership on the part of those leading the country presently?  Why is it that those in government are being so indifferent about what is happening to the people they swore an oath to serve and protect? It was Thomas Carlyle, a 19th Century historian that wrote, “…the history of the world is but the biography of great men…” Unfortunately Nigeria’s history will be the biography of poor and heartless leaders.

The crux of the matter is that those in government seem to lack the idea that leadership is about reading intelligent trends of things and taking a proactive action. It is this insensitiveness of the political class that continues to determine the extent or efforts government is putting to fight terrorism in the country. If one may ask, with the current state of insecurity, does anyone really understand what is going on in the country? Nobody is safe or sure of the safest route whichever way one turns, there is danger in the name of insurgents.

At the moment, the desire for a safe society through the nation’s military effort to win the fight against insurgency is everyone’s hope. But Nigeria’s military has been dangerously exposed to the malign forces troubling the society. There has been attacks on military formations and barracks and any society that allows insecurity to affect its military at their door steps and kill soldiers is not only defeated but finished. As it were, the people are beginning to lose faith as the military seems clueless on strategies to rid the country of the rising terrorism. It is regrettable that government and its officials that repeatedly claim to have technically defeated the bandits or Boko Haram are not saying anything in the face of the audacity displayed by bandits.

I hope we overcome this ugly omen soonest and never have to see another like this again. But first, there is perhaps no greater understanding to our crisis than the fact that government is not showing any seriousness and commitment to end banditry in the country.