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Where are the elders in Nigeria?

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Sir: There appear to be many quixotic ideas being dished around by elders. Just take a gander: you will see elders warring everywhere in Nigeria. Whilst some call for restructuring, some harp on the fact that Nigeria’s unity is negotiable, others suggest new ways to select presidential candidates, again some want a regional breakaway.

What is sad is that the elders in Nigeria aren’t submitting efforts to fight militancy, kidnapping, cannibalism, ritual killings and the free-booting of the treasury being reported everyday.

A country needs very strong laws and a body of strong elders for the stability of the state and to protect it from men of straw keen on the destruction of the state.

I can’t reconcile the statements of some elders giving authority to agitation even where some of the jags around agitation have polarised ideologies not easily discernible by the man on the street.

Hardly do they campaign for the respect of laws of the country. They are united in confusion. The seeming beef between northern and southern elders is tearing the country apart. Both go off at a tangent tearing each region apart ensconced and frescoed in their regions seeking regional relevance.

This country needs men of will in government to shape this country. Ideas alone do not change a country, but the will of leaders and those of the people. We have seen too many idealists without will for anything and those classes of people are to be feared because they distract government from following a just course with their hidden agenda. Nigeria cannot be great only by the rankling of ideas but by strong laws and authority supervised by tough men.

Elders must be clear to campaign against wicked criminality in Nigeria. And because they shape the social process, they need to be careful about what they say in tempestuous times. They may be misread by people who love conflict, for division. A country cannot grow without political stability.

Elders must be strong-willed, just and avuncularly kind. Elders would be respected if they supported tranquility and not chaotic disorder. A tiny segment of the population enjoy this country not the under 40 per cent of the population. The elders in Nigeria need challenge that tiny segment to provide the environment to make life bearable for all. I hardly see them do this. Where are the elders in Nigeria?

Simon Abah wrote from Port Harcourt.



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