Clive AkinsolaSunday, March 18, 2018
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hen the news of mass shooting hits the airwaves in any of the States that comprise the United States, my heart plunges into despair. When this shooting involves children, it makes already tenuous situation worse. One can only imagine the harrowing agony the parents go through at those moments when they realize that their wards or children attend the school where the incident took place. One nagging question that crosses the mind relentlessly is to query if this is a consequence of being in the so-called first world. Probably yes. Nonetheless, let's assume foreign terrorists perpetrated this heinous act, like the 9/11 cowards, the United States would be all more than ready to crush the country where the terrorists originated. What hypocrisy, to this writer, murder has no color, it should be perceived the same way, whether by a homegrown terrorist or foreign one.

Now, when the news surfaced about the kidnapping of 110 pupils from a school in Dapchi, Yobe state in Nigeria, the same question held the mind ransom, however on the flip side. Could this be a consequence of being in a third world country? The answer was in the affirmative.

It is quite surprising however that most people dismiss this horrific event like a scratch of an itch. Others are not even bothered because it happened in the North and the apathy probably due to the earlier unresolved incidence of the kidnaped Chibok girls. The previous occurrence does not make the current pain less real.

The fact that the terrorist abducted a large number of children is emblematic of a failed leadership. Mark Twain said "I have reached the age where dark clothes have a depressing effect on me, "he said. "I prefer light clothing, colors, like those worn by the ladies at the opera" In this clime, we have adorned dark clothing of putrefied leaders for such a long time that it becomes utterly depressing. It is about time we begin to desire light clothing of people with vision and passion who understand what leadership means and entails.

It was an unpleasant surprise, and I was taken aback by the response of this current administration in Nigeria to this horrible event. Candidly, the citizens of Nigeria expect the president to go to town on this and make it a priority to bring back these girls in a matter of days and weeks. As a supporter of this president, this writer finds nothing complimentary in Mr. President's lackluster engagement in a myriad of issues bedeviling the nation. He did not show empathy, compassion, and astuteness where it was desperately needed. At this time in our nation's life, we should not encourage men and women with nepotistic tendencies. Neither should we allow those that are working to pixelate the fragile union for selfish gains. We need an intrepid leader who will call it as it is, not minding whose ox is gored. A leader who will help declutter the old mindset and give the people their "aha" moment, a feeling of self-importance and relevance. A hallmark of a good leader is caring for others and seeking their happiness.

It was not long ago that this administration announced the arrival of new military hardware from the United States. The likes of Apache helicopters, fitted with drone equipment. If this newly procured hardware has found no use at this time of war; what other mitigating circumstances are being adduced for spending this humongous amount to acquire the equipment if not to protect Nigerian citizens? It is apt to say that anyone who is threatening the peace of this country has inadvertently declared war on her. The citizens of Nigeria should pose serious questions to the President at this time instead of sitting forlornly on the sidelines wondering why and remaining comatose on this issue. To be honest, we have had enough of the spouting rhetorics from the administration spokesperson. We need to be rightly appraised by this administration about what happened and how the security became so watery after spending so much money in every military operation to keep the northern border secured.

It does affect every one of us, especially those in the diaspora. Consequent to the failings of this pot belied service chiefs; It will be appropriate for this President to relieve all the service chiefs of their post if they cannot produce these girls in 100 days.

It is a no-brainer that there is disturbing depravity in the land which is birthing untoward pain and suffering. Hence, there is an urgent need to engage the youth in the Niger Delta, Arewa, and the Igbo through the services of an anthropologist, psychologist, and the social scientists. The reason being that these professionals possess the soft skill to turn the tide on this rudderless youths. For example, a friend of mine narrated how a young Ijaw man fancied her and was seeking a date with her. She refused point blank, not because he was not good looking or what not. She refused because the guys wake up in the morning with no job and no education, all he thinks about is busting pipelines to make a living. She told him that what he does is not sustainable and that she could not base her life on a man who has no education and means of livelihood. He was despondent about his situation and that he never gave it a thought before her mentioning it. Unfortunately, this is how many youths in that region spend their day.

This president and his vice need to start re-strategizing on so many fronts, for example, in the Judiciary which happens to be the Vice-President's domain. He should work assiduously to get a bill passed in the lower house and the Senate to mandate the attorney general to prioritize any trials bothering on corruption which by implication will expedite all the pending cases in the nation's courts. According to Barrister Akin Ogunji, this effort will not require any amendments to the Nigeria Constitution. We the people are sick and tired of prolonging trials of this corrupt elements.

Most importantly, this administration should strongly focus entirely on job creation and entrepreneurship which could help to appease the disenfranchised un-employed graduates of various institutions in the country, if done with sincere intentions. Lastly, this administration should explore the idea of coalescing around offering a comprehensive national pension plan to make sure that the teaming retirees are well taken care of and not be so dependent on their children.

In conclusion, let no one be under any illusion, we are in perilous times, and it requires very drastic measures to bail the country out of the putrid mess of successively failed administrations.