From  Muh’d Kadade Suleiman

@MBuhari- Can our president keep us safe when we travel to any part of this country? Is your life better today than it was six years ago?- 19th January, 2015

It is hard to begin without reference to the now infamous tweet of then Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Muhammadu Buhari, who solicited a moment of introspection from Nigerians on the actual role of the President with regards to the security of lives and properties of its citizens. For a Party who seemed to have every answer and solution to the insecurity bedeviling the North-East region at the time, we must lament the sheer magnitude of their failure to adapt itself for the intrigues and dynamics that come with governing a Country as dynamic as Nigeria. The sitting Government wasmade to look clueless and out of touch with the painful realities of the average Nigerian. This is by no means a revisionist attempt at rewriting 22 years of Nigeria’s current democratic experience.

The Northern part of the Country has gained the spotlight due to the almost unfettered discretion at which bandits have operated along its major expressways. Not a day passes without devastating stories of kidnappings and deaths in the hands of these rag-tag dimwits. However, a careful look at events of the past 5 years paints a cursory picture of a nation deeply entrenched in insecurity. As Nigerians, we are at cross-roads of our very existence. We are all of a sudden realizing that insecurity does not care about your tribe, religion or financial status. How do you explain to the farmers in Zamfara that the same bandits killing, raping and destroying their farmlands are fighting to bring attention to years of Government neglect and injustice?! The industrious and entrepreneurial people of the South-East are all of a sudden grappling with heinous activities of unknown gunmen. The hitherto peaceful South-West is also witnessing unsettling clashes between farmers and herdsmen. As a country, Nigeria has never felt so unsafe. We have no choice but to unite and fight against these forces of evil.

Recently, 42 innocent travelers on their way to Kaduna were burnt to ashes in Sokoto. It begs the question, when do we draw the line? And to whom is the duty/responsibility/obligation to protect and secure lives and property bestowed? The State Governors are quick(rightly so) to point fingers at Abuja. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, despite recent amendments still retains the President and Commander-in-Chief as the Chief Security Officer of the Country. The seemingly enormous powers wielded by Governors all of a sudden pales in comparison when compared with their helplessness when faced with security challenges. This brings to realization that Nigeria’s biggest undoing as a Country is the nominalization of the role of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. This been reduced to a largely ceremonial role involving briefings weekly security briefings by the Military Chiefs and laying of memorial wreaths. The Constitution gives the President all the powers to delegate responsibility but it is the view of this writer that the security of lives and properties of Nigerians is one responsibility too big to be delegated and reduced to condolence statements. The President and his spokespersons give an impression that a true and holistic response to insecurity and respect for basic human rights are mutually exclusive. History has proven this position to be false, unfortunate and merely escapist. After all, the United Kingdom and the United States of America were able to fight off the Axis Powers while maintaining their democratic set-up. What Prime Minister Churchill lacked in Military powers, he papered up with “blood, toil, tears and sweat.” What President Franklin Roosevelt lacked in absolute powers, the United States Congress provided in a unitary declaration to execute the war as the United States of America and not Democrat or Republican Parties.

We have to admit the present division amongst Nigerians has reached unprecedented heights. A little foray into social media everyday reveals the extent of division along our fault lines. Nigeria, Nigerians and its Armed Forces are in dire need of dedicated and visionary leadership. Like the legendary writer, Professor Chinua Achebe so empathically puts it, “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.” There is no doubt we have the best Armed Forces on the continent. However, failure of leadership has managed to paint a rather embarrassing picture of our gallant men and women. Also, the lack of unity amongst Nigerians is the biggest platform for insecurity to thrive. There is need to begin to have a nationalistic outlook to these problems holding us back. From the East, West, North & South. Every Nigerian needs peace and stability to thrive. Nigeria with its enormous population is filled with too much potential to fail but we must realize the strength in our numbers. We must overcome trivialities like tribalism and sectionalism because all they do is drag us back and make this blessed land look like nothing but a vast killing field. If the APC claimed they met a bad situation in 2015, public opinion is unanimous in agreement that they have achieved the enviable feat of making a bad situation completely worst and almost beyond salvation. President Muhammadu Buhari must dedicate the remaining years of his tenure to providing leadership to a nation in dire need of one. Even though, we have come to have little and modest expectations as to output of this Administration. The APC have been consistent in keeping up with the legal maxim-“ Nemo dat quod non habet”- You cannot give what you do not have!


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