By Abba Dukawa
In the 2015 General Elections, one of the major promises the APC used during its campaigns was the restoration of security to the northeast which at the time was the worry of every single individual in the country. Five years later, the situation has not improved; it has in fact escalated and extends to Northwest and North-central. Today, these two regions have turned into war zones with bandits, kidnappers and terrorists killing, kidnapping and raping innocent unarmed civilians unchallenged.
Looking at the gory security situation in Nigeria today, a serious national emergency for which President Muhammadu Buhari was voted into power, we can say without mincing words, that Nigerians have been failed by this administration. And woefully so.
In the early stage of Buhari’s administration, he boldly declared on national television that the militants had been “technically defeated”. Well, that “technical victory” is fast turning a Pyrrhic victory with the renewed wave of attacks by the insurgents on soft targets. Initially, the military made some gains, recovering lost territories. But the honeymoon did not last long. Boko Haram regrouped and carried out vicious attacks, overrunning military posts and killing security operatives.
The question remains: what transpired between then and now? President Buhari’s promise was to ensure effective and adequate security of lives and property. Nigerians believed him based on his former status as a retired General, a war veteran and one-time General Officer Commanding (GOC). These credentials should ordinarily suffice to tackle insurgency and the high rate of crimes in the country. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened. The current situation is a complete betrayal of the role the state in the lives of the people.
Today, only few opportunistic appointees of the federal government are not able to see or admit the failure of the administration particularly its inability to fulfill this elementary duty. The constitution of course grants the power over the security to citizens under the exclusive list; in other words, security is the responsibility of the federal government. But the federal government seems not to be doing enough. Both the leaders and the led recognise that the citizens need for security was the basis of the social contract between the citizens and the state; therefore citizens’ security should be a fundamental right and entitlement for every citizen.
Just recently, Katsina State governor, Aminu Masari openly admitted that they have failed the people adding that he never expected the behaviour and the attitude of the people living in the forests, the bandits, whose behaviour is worse than that of animals. According to him, “in the forest, a lion or a tiger kills only when it is hungry and it doesn’t kill all the animals, it only kills the one it can eat at a time. But what we see here is that the bandits come to town, spray bullets, kill indiscriminately for no purpose and no reasons whatsoever like the recent massacre of the people at Faskari and parts of Dandume local government areas. They just killed the people”.
How does one explain the prevailing situation in the country under the watch of the president and state governors under which scores of people are being killed on daily basis, with countless hundreds abandoning their homes?
More intriguingly, despite his lamentations about the worrying security situation, he still retain the service chiefs, whose strategies have not won the country any victory against criminals. The question, therefore, that President Buhari and his team of praise-singers must answer is – why has he chosen to retain his service chiefs even in the face of deteriorating security situation and why would he come to the open to express such shock, when he has blatantly ignored all advice and suggestions to bring in fresh hands in the military echelon?
When I read President Buhari’s broadcast to the nation on Democracy Day, I was in serious confusion; it was as if the speechwriters are not really conversant with the deteriorating security. It is the same old boring repetition; we’re yet to see any significant change. It shows that the administration and the security apparatus are not on top of the situation because each passing day, lives of Nigerians are lost to the senseless killings by armed bandits and other insurgents.
These bandits, displaying a certain degree of impunity, scatter themselves and are walking freely. When and how security agencies will pursue the perpetrators and bring them to swift justice have remained questions that Nigerians can only wonder about. The government should wake up its duty: comb all the forests and eliminate these bandits.
President Buhari promised Nigerians that he will lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity; that he will ensure that administration reforms the economy and security. But none of this has been achieved in the five years of the administration. While management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could. The Buhari administration unfortunately lost this chance especially after its first one year in office.
As a country, we have many problems to solve – problems of political structure and organization, of the economy, social life and cultural life and most importantly, security of lives and properties. The President must find people who are good, honest and knowledgeable enough to represent his vision, and who can be trusted with huge responsibilities. He needs to trust more.
Almost every day, there are stories that make one shiver at the way the administration is handling critical issues that affect Nigerians. Nigerians are alienated, angry and fed up with the way things going on in the country. People are tired of excuses when all they experience are open threats by criminal elements. The escalation of attacks by bandits, rustlers and insurgents leave one with the only conclusion that the North is now completely at the mercy of armed gangs who roam towns and villages at will, wreaking havoc. It would appear that both federal and state governments have lost control in protecting the people, a constitutional duty that they swore to uphold. The situation is getting worse by the day. Bandits and insurgents appear to sense a huge vacuum in political will and capacity which they exploit with disastrous consequences on communities and individuals.
- Dukawa wrote in from Kano.