With the highest sense of responsibility I am not sure Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari still has a reason to hold on to his office and I say this not just because we are in a time of crisis occasioned by insecurity but because he has demonstrated over again that he does not have answer to the many intractable problems facing the country.
On a personal level, I believe that leadership is fundamentally about responsibility, idea and solution, but in real time what we have in Nigeria is a President that lacks the capacity for all fundamental qualities essential for effective leadership. I mean how else can one explain the recent mass abduction of over 300 school children in Kankara, Katsina, the President’s home state, few hours after the President arrived in the same state, one would also recall that the abduction is coming barely 2 weeks after more than 43 farmers were killed by Boko Haram in Zabamari, Borno State.
The pattern of killing, banditry and kidnapping speaks to only one fact, the failure of Nigeria’s leadership to take responsibility and the obvious lack of the needed idea and solution at this critical time. The other day I was on Channels TV to discuss the same insecurity situation and its effect on food security, I was instructive that peace is a major prerequisite for prosperity, where there is no peace and stability there cannot be development, peace is important particularly at this time of recession that the country needs to be self-sufficient with food production to meet local demands, discourage importation and ultimately protect the Naira from further loss of value, we cannot afford a situation where farmers can barely go to farms because they do not feel secured.
What I find particularly disturbing is the failure of Nigeria’s leadership to admit that we are in a time of crisis, even when people continue to die daily, many kidnapped and others driven out of their settlement and communities, President Buhari continues to fail to give this insecurity situation we are talking about, the kind of urgency that it deserves. I cannot imagine that any serious-minded leadership would still maintain this attitude that is indifferent and inept when people are dying in their number. Have we now normalised killings in Nigeria? because it appears there is no primacy and value for human lives.
The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary responsibility of government is what the constitution says, I believe that any government that fails based on this simple constitutional expectation has no business there in the first place. Leadership is meant to make the life of the people better not throw them further down into hardship and in this situation insecurity. To make the situation worse, there is this feeling that President Buhari is completely isolated and barely understands the enormity of the present crisis.
In a time of crisis like what we already have, a decent leadership would have taken responsibility, offered hope and demonstrated that it is doing everything possible to make the people secure again. Clearly that is not the situation, after the Kankara abduction happened, the President who was in the same state, still had to ask a delegation from Abuja to come to Katsina to assess the situation, while he is still there in the same state, that is completely unexplainable! how long will Nigeria continue to be governed by proxy.
The other day the House of Representatives out of strong ‘deference and respect’ for the President had to go and plead with the President to honour what should have been a summon, a day to the date the President agreed to honour the invitation news started flying around that his party members have advised him not to honour the invitation and even queried the leadership of the House for allowing it to be ‘used’. Matter of factly, I was most disappointed to watch a senior member of the APC come out to amplify what is the most ridiculous thought in 2020, when he said the President should not honour the invitation because according to him the President can be embarrassed. As you may already be aware, the President did not honour the invitation, but for a President that much has been said about his assertive nature, asides that his action is a clear disregard for the Nigerian people, it is also a very dishonourable thing to do!
While we have normalised a lot of absurdities under this government, none has been more obnoxious than this one about the potential embarrassment of the President being more important than the lives of Nigerians whom we daily lose to insurgency, banditry and kidnapping. I mean when did we get to a point when our president has almost become deified by the people around him, it seem to me that the people are no longer the essence of governance under this present government, it looks like the image and perception of the president is even more important than the lives we have lost and still losing.
When will President Buhari resign? You cannot continue to do the same thing and expect a similar result, if the President will not ask the service chiefs who have clearly overstayed their usefulness then he should resign. I believe it is not so hard to see the correlation and link between the morale of the fighting troops and the prolonged stay of the security chiefs. The troops are demoralised, leadership is everything!
At present there are a number of illogicality that should be immediately addressed, I have said this before, that each time the government deploy the military for civilian mop ups in an arbitrary manner like in the case of the #EndSARS protest, we degrade and decimate the capacity of the military to tackle real security challenges like banditry, kidnapping and insurgency. The security is even clear on the terms and workings of the military, this shenanigan must stop, the role of the military must be limited to protecting the territorial integrity of the country and in the case of insurrection, at no point should they be deployed to quell a protest that is constitutionally guaranteed.
The same illogicality is what has driven our model of policing the entire country from Abuja, it is an absurdity, the federating units (State and local government) which are closer to the people, should take responsibility for their security. This is where I expect the National Assembly to take a leadership role, the conversation around state and community policing should be on the front burner.
As a country, we cannot continue to do the same thing and expect to achieve results, what we need is a comprehensive reform of the security apparatus from top to bottom, the situation has become untenable, that the President only expressing his shock and grief is no longer enough.
I believe that the President should start considering his own registration if he is not already doing that, we need action and not empty promises, people are dying!