By Segun Afolabi
The call for a review of Nigeria’s security architecture by the Governor of Sokoto State and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, is coming at the right time and with the right tone and emphasis. It is also coming from someone who, I am sure, many Nigerians have been waiting to hear from for a while. His tenure as Speaker portrayed him as broad minded, cosmopolitan in outlook and also as someone who is far more interested in achieving results that would benefit everyone.
His recent call on President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the desperate cries of Nigerians and end the mindless bloodbath going on everywhere today can only come from a man who has patiently waited in vain for clear leadership direction at the national level and, seeing none, decided to say “enough is enough”. His own achievements in the area of security as Governor of Sokoto State, which ended the dreadful banditry of restive youths he inherited when he was sworn is as Governor in the state, leaves him in no doubt that is all a question of method, strategy and the will to follow things through.
The occasion and circumstance of his comments, the 18th National Executive Council Meeting of the Nigerian Union of Journalists was also obviously well chosen. Governor Tambuwal knew that it is only through a partnership with Nigeria`s major stakeholders, especially the Fourth Estate of the Realm, that a broad national consensus can be built for a new order.
The concern he expressed for the wanton loss of lives due to incessant killings is predicated on two cardinal principles of his. The first is his personal belief that a single human life is a terrible thing to waste and that life is sacred and must be seen to eternally remain so. The second is his view that a nation that allows avoidable loss of life is actually divesting itself of the human resources needed for national development. The Governor`s cry for an end to the massacre is, therefore, more a call for Nigeria to scale up to global paradigms of the 21st Century leadership. We live in a world where only evil men, or those not sincere in their concern for the common good, would keep quiet in moments of grave national malaise.
Tambuwal’s reference to the helplessness of a State Governor who has no direct or indirect control over the police and other security personnel in his state showcases a dreadful national security framework. Is he not right in calling for a review of the nation`s security strategies? Is he also not right in calling for a re-examination of even the very concept of national security itself, the way it is currently managed in the country? Is it not clear, as he pointed out, that whatever national security strategy the Federal Government is working with at the moment has failed spectacularly in dealing with herdsmen farmer conflict, kidnapping, opportunistic banditry, armed robbery and sundry acts of criminality?
Was it not against the background of all this that he spoke of “a seeming justification for a state police, even if it means community policing or minimum level of control on security agents by governors? Was his citing the case of Governor Yari of Zamfara State who, out of frustration, recently declared that he was no longer the Chief Security Officer of his state not in order? Is Rt. Hon. Tambuwal not right in asking whether our nation is being run as in a modern 21st Century world “If as a Governor you have an unfriendly Commissioner of Police, or a Commander of Civil Defense, there is nothing you can do?
If, as the Governor said, “The situation at the moment calls for caution”, it means that we should all carefully think through what must be done, and in such a way that it will benefit all and lead to the grater stability of the Nigerian State. This is a call from the heart of a man who cares for his fatherland. It is also a call borne out of the painful realization that the Federal Government has failed abysmally in playing its primary role of securing the lives and property of the citizenry.
Beyond all that, this is a clarion call for all Nigerians to wake up from their slumber and take their lives (not the law) into their hands. A reversal of the current trend of events in the country rests on anew and forward-looking leadership that is in tune with the rest of the world. That is not the type of leadership we have at the moment.
Afolabi is of African Examiner.com