FEATURE ARTICLE

Wednesday, June 15, 2022
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SUBMISSION FOR AN URGENT RESOLUTION OF THE INEXCUSABLE FAILURE OF NATIONAL SECURITY, & 2023:
"THE NORTH OR NOTHING"??

he continuing, recurring killings and abductions in the country underline the failure of our national security. At the same time, reports of the results of the various primaries for the presidential, governorship, the senate and other elected positions were being announced and published as if all was well. Killings and election preparation are so different and should be so incompatible events that should be happening in two different and separate environments and time spans. But, sadly and lamentably many persons are being killed, yet as a nation, it does seem that we can afford to ignore the deaths and get on with our preparations for the elections. However, the mass killings that have been visited on our nation are such that it is practically impossible to conduct safe, free and fair elections while these are happening. The objective of this article, therefore, is to make a submission to the Presidency and the National assembly that it is their inescapable fundamental responsibility to restore national security well before the conduct of any elections, if the elections are expected to be safe, free and fair.

Giving the recurrence and nature of the dastardly and despicable killings, massacres and abductions, the failure of the Federal Government is inexcusable as briefly illustrated with these examples:

Terrorists opened fire on worshippers on entering the church during mass on Sunday morning, June 5th, at St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, in Owo area of Ondo State, Southwest Nigeria. As many as forty people were killed.

Comments: What could be obvious is that the killers did not come to steal or kidnap but only and deliberately to kill the people worshipping in the church.

Kidnap of Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr Samuel Uche.

The Prelate was kidnapped alongside two others, the Bishop of Methodist Church, Owerri Diocese and the Prelate's chaplain, on Sunday, May 30that about 2pm on their way from a church programme in Okigwe Imo State to Isuochi in Umu Nneochi Local Government Area of Abia State. He stated that neither the Federal nor the State Government, nor the military nor police intervened. The Prelate reported that Fulani youths were mostly responsible for his kidnapping and that N100m was paid as a ransom before he was released.

Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. General Onyema Nwachukwu, questioned " the insinuation that troops were complicit in the kidnap incident." He continued, ""Given the spate of insecurity in the region, was the issue reported to the unit covering the area?"

On the other hand, youths of Umu Nneochi Local Council, staged a peaceful protest to the local council headquarters at Nkwoagu Isuochi. They expressed worry over the recurring incidents of kidnapping, and other acts of criminality within the council and neighbouring Uturu axis in Isuikwuato Local Council, where many students and staff of Abia State University Uturu have fallen victims.

Comments: It is worrying and dangerous that Brig. General Onyema Nwachukwu, and the youths of Umunneochi Local Council both agree that the area is replete with insecurity and recurring incidents of kidnappings, killings, etc., of which many students and staff of Abia State University Uturu have fallen victims, over many months. Yet, the Nigerian Army and its officers have failed to eliminate the killers causing the insecurity.

Helicopter attack by bandits in Kaduna on Sunday, June 5

Gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, attacked some communities in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing at least 32 villagers. They reportedly invaded the Ungwan Gamu, Dogon Noma, Ungwan Sarki and Maikori communities with helicopters, also burnt several houses. The District Head of Kufena, Titus Dauda, told Channels Television that the attacks occurred on Sunday and that 32 people were killed while a church and several houses were destroyed in the process.

He explained that the bandits, in their large numbers, first attacked Dogon Noma in the early hours of Sunday morning and killed several people, mostly men, before proceeding to Ungwan Gamu and Maikori villages, where they also killed people and burnt down houses.

Reacting to the massacre, Apostle Suleman of Omega Fire Ministries: "Terrorists now use helicopters? Who gave them the flight clearance?"

Further observations on the massacres and abductions

The foregoing accounts underline the crass and culpable failure of the Federal Government and security agencies to eliminate the insecurity posed by the ever growing hordes of the Fulani bandits. These days, they have not just grown in number but also in the sophistication of their weaponry. It is becoming obvious that our police officers cannot match the evil killers since now they combine ground forces with helicopter attacks.

In an earlier article published, about a year ago on June 8, 2021, with the title: "THE PRIMACY OF HUMAN LIFE AND FREEDOM - A NIGERIAN LIFE MATTERS", some of the following questions were asked:

  • Why are the Fulani herdsmen not being arrested by the security agencies even when it is clear that they are killing and destroying peaceful communities?

  • Operation "python dance" was visited on the South-East; why should the Presidency not use such an operation to stop all the killings?

Lastly, indeed, why cannot the Presidency use the "python dance" which was carried out with deadly military strike to attack the South-East, to clear the hordes of Fulani killers who live in the various forests in the country? "Attack," it is said is "the best form of defence." Why cannot the Presidency order the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force to attack and eliminate them in the forests rather than the half-hearted response which is carried out after the killers have wrought their wanton and evil destruction and returned to their forest base? Until this is done, the failure of our security as witnessed by the recurring killings of innocent Nigerians remains inexcusable and an abiding failure of the current Presidency and the Federal Government. This is more so that the Presidency knows what to do to eliminate the killers and stop the killings but has refused to do it.

2023: 'North or Nothing' Slogans

A coalition of Northern youth groups of the All Progressives Congress, APC, reportedly disagreed with the decision to cede power to the southern part of the country. On Sunday, June 5, they carried placards that read slogans such as "It's North or Nothing", "We are not in support of power shift to South", "We the Northern youths do not think it is time for any Southerner to assume the mantle of leadership.

"What the governors did is for their selfish interest. We the Northern youths, who are about 70 percent of the total population of the country, are saying no".

"We are not going to support any Southern candidate. These 11 governors that made the decision are not the only people in the North".

On his part, leader of the APC Youth Forum, Ibrahim Hashim Abdullahi, alleged that the governors opted for such option so that one of them would benefit from being appointed as vice president. He lamented that with the hunger, insecurity, poverty in the region, power needs to be retained for development."

"We will not endorse any candidate from the South, except from the North. We are far left behind," he warned.

"Power Will Not Leave The North In The Next Three Decades By Muhammad Lamido Sanusi"

Before this protest, Muhammad Lamido Sanusi had stated: that "Power Will Not Leave The North In The Next Three Decades."

He was quoted as saying: "Bola Tinubu made political miscalculation in 2015 to support Buhari. As it concerns the 2023 presidency, it should be clear to anyone with a functioning brain that President Buhari's North has no intention of relinquishing power to the South-West or any zone for that matter. What many may not have realised, however, is that for the next three decades at least, if ever, and should Nigeria remain one, power will not leave the North. But in projecting, one must always leave space for the law of unintended consequences and the God factor. "

Reference: Power Will Not Leave The North In The Next Three Decades By Muhammad Lamido Sanusi - Portfolio Media Activities, April 22, 2022

Comments and Observations

The comments and observations in the following paragraphs are made to address these unhelpful statements and slogan:

1. Unhelpful to the North and South: This assertion that power should remain in the North for the foreseeable future is neither in the interest of the North nor of the South. It is a disservice to the country. President Buhari has done all he can since 2015 to deny the South what should be their due by deliberately and persistently ignoring the federal character principle in making Federal Government appointments. In spite of this classic demonstration of premeditated disobedience to the rule of law, the benefit to the Northern youths has been minimal.

2. "2023: North now a human abattoir, power should go the Southeast, -Arewa groups, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF)"

This is a constructive statement from a Northern Group. Some parts are here cited.

Quote: It is noteworthy to restate here, that the position of our group, the Arewa Concerned Civil Society Organizations of Nigeria (ACCSON), calling for the rotational presidency among the six geo political zones of the country was as a result of our peculiar regional experiences. Both past and present crop of elected and appointed leaders from within our region have failed us completely. They have failed to meet up with the expectations of our people, and have continued to betray our trust, confidence, and respect for them.

  • For instance, from 1999 to date (which is 22 years now), the North West and North East Zones have produced president, Vice president, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senate Presidents, and Speakers of the House of Representatives. The North Central Zone alone has produced two Senate Presidents in 12 years; a Deputy Senate president and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. Our three zones of the northern region, in total, have produced more Ministers, Services Chiefs and Heads of Governments Agencies more than any other region, yet there is nothing on ground to show for it.

  • Our northern region today has been reduced to a human abattoir, to say the least, where all our communities have been converted to a mass grave due to the failure of government at all levels. For instance, between October 2021 till December 2021, over 150 citizens of northern extraction have been murdered by terrorists in Sokoto state alone, not to talk of Zamfara, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Benue, Borno and Yobe States. Despite the claims by government that terrorism and violent insurgency is aggressively being fought, the north has remained a killing field.

  • Our country is about the highest importer of arms and ammunition in Africa and our region is seemingly the poverty capital of Nigeria, yet our people occupied and are still occupying the most sensitive positions in government from 1999 till Date.

  • It is therefore the position of our northern umbrella youths coalition, the Arewa Concerned Civil Society Organizations of Nigeria (ACCSON), that since our people in leadership positions in Nigeria cannot bring development, peace, progress, and prosperity to our region, let us try people of other regions, particularly the region or geo-political zone that has not produced a President or Vice president of Nigeria in other to further promote fairness, equity, unity or oneness of the country. Long Live, Nigeria!"

  • Reference: "2023: North now a human abattoir, power should go the Southeast -Arewa groups, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF)" By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo, Vanguard, Saturday, December 11, 2021

3. Victory at the Primaries is not the ultimate Presidential election victory: Winning the nomination of any party as their presidential candidate does not straight away confer the presidency to anyone. It should be obvious to everyone that the winner of the presidential election becomes the President. Therefore, it becomes wise to tone down their triumphalism and work towards wining the presidential election. Moreover, it is clear from this writeup that every contestant should be wary because nothing is guaranteed until the presidential election is conducted.

4. A Suggestion to our Northern compatriots: I have worked with and studied with a number of Northerners both in Nigeria and overseas. I accept and respect them as colleagues because some of them are quite good. To exemplify, there were three Nigerian PhD students at the faculty of engineering of a British university in the late 1980s to early 1990s. Two of the students were from the North and had state government scholarship but I, from the South, had none. One of the two obtained his PhD degree the same time as I did. A few years later, I met him at a conference in the UK, he was a senior director at a federal government ministry in Abuja. The foregoing case in point is relevant to my suggestion because they can do it if they want to. I wish to suggest that they should please learn to take pains to train their children to become educated and responsible. Many Southern parents work and live on the principle and practice that they want their children to be better than they, the parents, are. They therefore work hard to educate and train their children to ensure that they become not just educated but responsible and productive youths who make useful contributions to the society.

Seeking to confiscate the presidency of the country is not constructive because it is not the silver bullet, or an answer, to the problem of underdevelopment of Northern youths. The Federal Government will not come to each individual home to train their children to become responsible and productive irrespective of however long they seek to seize the presidency, it is not the solution of their problem. It remains the inescapable and non-negotiable responsibility of a parent to train their child to become productive and an asset to their society.

5. Necessity for a disciplined, responsive and caring Federal Government

There is certainly a point about youths seeking to be progressive and successful. While there is the inevitability of the role of a parent to lay the building blocks of career success by bringing up a disciplined and diligent child, there should be a role for the government.

Ours is a country in which politicians are not only extremely very well paid, but it is also that when their allowances are included, they become probably the most highly paid legislators in the world, perhaps second only to the US Congressmen. Yet, the media are awash with accusations of misuse of public funds and corruption. The dubious handling of projects is another source of corruption and acquisition of ill-gotten wealth. This subject is discussed comprehensively in the book: "Achieving Successful and Sustainable Project Delivery in Africa" published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis

It is therefore the case that the wealth of each politician is in multimillions to billions of Naira. Meanwhile millions of our countrymen go hungry. On poverty in Nigeria in 2022, according to Doris Dokua Sasu, a research expert for Statista; it is estimated that 88.4 million people in Nigeria live in extreme poverty. This means the number of people living on less than 1.90 U.S. dollars a day.

It is understandable that Northern youths; indeed, every Nigerian youth should want to progress and succeed. Youths should not be roaming the streets because of no jobs. It is completely unacceptable that people should complete their education and have no jobs.

Politicians, whether from the North or South, over the years have enriched and actually mismanaged the wealth of this country. The way forward should be how to stop it and install a government that is responsible and responsive. A government that will cater for everyone. It should plan for the career of every Nigerian who is willing to work and put in place a system for career development from the primary school through the secondary school their tertiary education and work.

In this year's election, politicians have spent millions in the primaries and expectedly many have lost their money, as only one person can be voted for in each position. If their parties win power, the corruption will continue as their colleagues who lost their elections will be compensated with government appointments or contracts so that they can recoup their lost wealth and make more money. In this scenario, the corruption will continue, the poor and unemployed will continue to suffer.

The way forward is that to do away with this crop of millionaire-billionaire politicians and elect a government that is responsible and responsive to the problems in the country. It should not therefore matter whether the President is a Northerner or a Southerner but a Nigerian who has the strength of character and record of accomplishment of having carried out a successful government and a personal track record of honesty and integrity in the use of public resources. The person should be fit enough to carry out their assignment. It is not just a person who made himself a billionaire but someone who has demonstrated the credentials of a servant leader.

Conclusion

Please Mr. President, as the Commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and the nation's chief security officer, you have the responsibility to eliminate the killers of Nigerians from the forests. That it remains undone is because you have failed to do so. Experience has proven that they are not seeking to farm but to kill native Nigerians and take over their ancestral land. This is not progress; it is committing evil crimes of murder and killings. That you can eliminate them if you choose to do so was demonstrated by the "operation python dance which you visited on the South-East. It will remain an abiding failure on your part if you choose not to do what you can to eliminate this evil from the country.

The North or Nothing is a destructive and not constructive policy that is neither good for the Northerners, nor for the Southerners nor for the whole country. Our Northern compatriots should learn to take pains to educate and train their children to become responsible. It remains the inescapable responsibility of a parent to train the children they brought into the world to become responsible and productive. Also, importantly, we should all seek to vote in a Nigerian who can establish a responsive and caring Federal Government that will take care of every Nigerian, whether Northerner or Southerner. We should all have equal stake in the success or failure of every Nigerian.

Lastly, the overarching objective of this article is to submit to the President that he has a responsibility to restore security urgently by eliminating the Fulani herdsmen, bandits, and the so-called unknown gunmen wherever they may be found in the Nigerian forests, bush or wherever. From their activities, it is clear that they wish to destroy the country. If the country continues to survive their evil and deadly attacks, it is practically impossible to conduct safe, free and fair elections in the environment of killings and abductions that has pervaded the country since 2018.

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