OPINION: Abaribe And The Task Of Speaking Truth To Power, By Michael Onjewu
Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe on Wednesday, January 29 called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over the sorry state of security in Nigeria.
The Abia South Senator while contributing to a debate on the deteriorating security situation in the country said Buhari should resign because his government had failed to proffer solutions to the high rate of insecurity across Nigeria. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker said those in charge of the country’s security would rather rely on propaganda than do their jobs.
His Words: …"Nigeria did not elect the IGP, we did not elect the chief of staff, we did not elect the joint-chiefs or national security adviser, we elected the government of APC in 2015 and re-elected them in 2019. The reason we re-elected them is that they continued to tell us that they had the key to security.
“When you want to deal with a matter, you go to the head so we will go to the government and ask this government to resign because they can no longer do anything.”
Abaribe's call comes amid increasing attacks by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists, Banditory, Kidnapping, Farmers/Herders clashes, Armed Robbery and Cybercrimes in Nigeria.
One cannot be quick to forget how Boko Haram insurgents beheaded Lawan Andimi, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government of Adamawa State after he was adopted on January 3. The terrorists also executed Daciya Dalep, a Student of the University of Maiduguri who was kidnapped on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Highway while returning to school on the 9th of January. Thousands of Nigerians including soldiers have either been killed or abducted by Boko Haram terrorists with many rendered homeless since the insurgency started in 2009.
The people of Plateau State were thrown into another round of mourning after suspected militia herdsmen stormed Bokos Local Government Area killing over 20 people in the process, including a pregnant mother. The people Nigeria's North-Central States cannot be quick to forget how suspected herdsmen unleashed mayhem on farmers destroying their homes, farmlands and sending others to early graves. The people of Zamfara and Katsina cannot be quick to forget the activities of armed bandits in their domains.
President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015 and 2019 based on his promise to tackle insecurity, fight corruption and fix the economy. Though some moderate achievement has been made, it is not yet 'Uhuru' for Nigeria if recent reports are anything to go by.
In 2018, Nigeria overtook India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, with an estimated 87 million people, or around half of the country's population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day.
The Transparency International Corruption Perception Index recently ranked Nigeria the second ‘most corrupt’ country in West Africa. We now place 146 out of the 180 countries considered.
According to the Nigeria Security Tracker, 25,794 people were killed during Buhari's first term (2015-2019) due to insecurity. At least 245 persons were killed in violent attacks across Nigeria in January 2020, according to ton available records.
Like Abaribe, Nigerians must begin to hold governments at all levels to account if we must move on as a nation. It baffles me when citizens drum up ethnic, religious, partisan, premodial and parochial sentiments when addressing critical issues that bedevil us as a nation.
It got to a boiling point over the weekend when Nigerians went for each other's throat over the religion of the would-be Kaduna church Bomber. The president appears to be fueling this narrative with his assertion that over 90 percent of all Boko Haram’s victims in the past years have been Muslims. The president should be informed that all lives are sacred irrespective of whether they are Christians or Muslims.
Rather than debating over the religion of the perpetrators of crime and those killed over insecurity, what should concern us at this point is ensuring that we reduce the senseless killings in Nigeria to the barest minimum. The president must ensure that this is achieved at all cost even at the expense of his service chiefs. THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!
Most Nigerians now see the death of fellow countrymen as a medium to score cheap political points instead of calling those responsible for the protection of lives and properties to order. The situation is now so pathetic so that we no longer place any value on Nigerian Life. People are killed in their numbers and nobody is bothered. To us, it's just mere statistics and life goes on. No national mournings, no peaceful demonstrations, nobody is brought to book. WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THE NIGERIAN LIFE?
World over, citizens have played very critical roles in influencing the policy decisions of their nations. Citizens in Hong Kong, Sudan, Lebanon, and Finland are good examples. The time has come for the Nigerian people, especially the youths to start holding leaders accountable for their actions.
This can be achieved through active participation in the state of affairs, bi-partisan and constructive criticisms against bad government policies/decisions, embarking on peaceful protests and if necessary making demands for those in charge to resign or be impeached.
Nigerians especially the youths must begin to change their orientation regarding national issues and relegate ethnic, religious, political and parochial sentiments to the background.