INSECURITY: TIME FOR STATESMEN TO SPEAK UP
Our nation is on fire. This was a declaration on May 1st 2012 by the former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma, (rtd) He is not a man of many words nor can anyone accuse him of recklessness whenever he speaks. That declaration from a man who has been in a position to know better, must be taken very seriously by all patriotic Nigerians especially the elder statesmen who have served or still serving in whatever capacity.
The hour has come to speak out boldly and truthfully for the love of our beloved country, Nigeria. As church ministers often declare in wedding of any couple, 'speak now or forever hold your peace' for the peaceful co-existence of all Nigerians and for the condemnation of senseless killing of hapless Nigerians.
Interestingly, many prominent Nigerians have started to speak out though with more of blame game rather than proferring workable solutions to many challenges confronting the Nation, including insecurity of life, poverty in the land, hydra headed monster called corruption and massive unemployment amongst others, last but not the least is the Nigeria question.
In the light of the recent happenings which include suicide terrorism in churches and even in the market places, it is becoming increasingly necessary to review Nigeria Federalism and determine through a referendum the basic units of the Federation.
States or regions as being canvassed lately, the people must decide and decisions must be predicated on fairness, equity and on the basis of democratic tenets including the Rule of Law. The religious status of Nigeria must also be re-affirmed and permanently settled. Any violation must be treated as treasonable. Any attempt by anybody or group to remove freedom of worship from the statitute of any part of the country in order impose any religion on the people must be openly condemned and resisted.
Nigerian masses are eagerly waiting to hear their opinion leaders, the political and traditional elites as well as religious leaders of the two major religions, (Christianity and Islam) as well as informed academics and business men and women.
When statesmen and leaders of various stakeholders in Nigeria project speak as patriots of one country, Nigeria, Mr. President will be better guided and Nigeria will realize its vision come the year 2020. Should the majority of the leaders engaged on blame game and bulk passing instead of finding viable lasting solutions to the Nations numerous challenges, terrorism and wanton corruption will make somalisation a child play.
As we await patriotic views of more Nigerians, we may have a glimpse of what have been said so far by some elder statesmen. In his contribution to the state of the Nation, Gen. Danjuma (rtd) observed that our Nation is on fire. He called for a meeting where northern leaders would look themselves in the face and tell themselves the truth and find solution to the problem.
He further observed; 'the security situation is telling on us. Borno state is today a failed state and Kano in moving towards becoming a failed state'. He went on to observe further, 'the security of every state is the responsibility of the governor. Northern governors have not done enough to resolve the problems affecting their states'.
In conclusion the General noted the news of multi-billion naira spent to erect fences around government houses and wondered what happens to the citizens. He charged the governors to take stock and also responsibility.
No doubt General Dajuma spoke as normal in his character, very blunt and strictly to the point. Nigerians well appreciate the General for what he is and what he stands for. We, however, want him to speak out on many other burning issues apart from security and come out with his own suggestions as the solutions or way forward.
Another elder statesman, Alhaji Maitama Sule observed that what holds Nigeria together was gradually being eroded and insisted that the only way Nigeria could attain unity the country so desires is to entrench love in the fabric of the polity. For the first Republic politician, love is the answer. We are to teach love, preach love and live love.
He said 'we are no longer our brother's keepers. That is not how it was in the past. Our past, leaders went into politics to serve and not to be served, to give and not to take. The rated Nigeria above their personal interest; they respected themselves irrespective of their tribes and religions differences because of Nigeria'.
Offiah writes from Lagos.