A Nation in Search of Peace

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Saturday letter1

As the country begets ministers to pilot the affairs of the nation for the next four years, one hopes the President had the same thoughts as the people. That, truth be told, Nigerians could not be called upon ‘to pray’ for a peaceful nation in his second term.

There’s nothing bad in supplicating to God for protection but Heavens help those who help themselves. And the holy way is to prepare meticulously ahead as it’s no longer enough to highlight the challenges bedeviling this country. What’s most desirable is developing plans to tackle the menace which includes picking right men to implement them effectively.

 It’s about time we picked the speck and show the eyes. And that is stating the obvious, that, the Nigerian Army despite their best efforts has failed to curb the growing insecurity as a result of bad leadership, dearth of sophisticated firearms and indiscipline. A fish they say decays from the head. Therefore, President Buhari as the Commander-in- Chief should be circumspect in correcting these anomalies.

One wonders what Nigeria army learns from allied if not tactics and strategies. It is yucky that Nigerian army, which has participated in many treaties globally, lose dozens of soldiers and civilians to bandits almost every week. There is a need to change gear.

 It’s imperative that federal government equips the army with improved ammunition befitting of their cause. The reports indicating that terrorists boast of advanced ammunition compared to our men is discouraging. That is setting them up on an almost lost mission. A soldier’s gun is his/her life. How do we hope to win the war when they are clearly ill- equipped?

There is also unascertained level of indiscipline in the army’s ranks. But it is quite obvious for the discerning to adjudge that Nigerian security agents grew more in indiscipline than in art of peace- keeping in the past few years. The Police-Army-Wadume debacle and the emerging revelations is a big pointer to how far things have gone haywire in the system. It is immaterial to lounge into history now but worrisome how the usually coveted thick, green khakhi shirt is being worn by immoral and dishonest lots. The fulcrum of soldiership is discipline. How could there be an army when the men are not upright?

 The corruption pervading the society has successfully crept into our military. The supposed defenders of citizenry now do not only wine and dine with only the ultimate oppressors; the political class, but also the messengers of death on the streets. How bad a society could degenerate may no longer be mere thoughts because Nigeria is a living example.

Little wonder, death is the most possible thing in the country. There’s no means of dying despised by our proverbial hen. Suicide, murder, kidnapping, bombing just name it. The sanctity of live is no more sacred. The goats and cows stand better chance of safety than human beings. Something drastic needed be done not only drastically but strategically.

Therefore, PMB must be ready to take hard decisions. Chiefly amongst them is checking his fabled body language believed by many to be in support of the ravaging herdsmen. The C-in-C should come to terms with the fact that there are some chaff in the wheat needed to be fished out for God and country.

 For God and country, incapable officers should make way for passionate, proven ones for fresh breath to permeate the system. Alexandre the Great said of the importance of military leadership thus; “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion”.

Henceforth, there should be stated reward for bravery and stern punishment for erring military officers. This is not unwritten in the act of establishment but the sheer number of cases bordering on indiscipline and impunity covered for ‘padi padi’ is duplicitous. Ours is the only army I know hoping for discipline with lax enforcement. Stephen Covey said, “the undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions”. Unfortunately, we make no scapegoats of immorality not to talk of injustice.

There’s a need for re- awakening sense of patriotism and nationalism in the army. This can be achieved by improved training, modified code for operations and bettered incentives. There’s no time a disciplined Nigerian army is more desirable.

The federal government may also devote more funds to security as necessary. An unstable nation can never attain stable economy which is a precursor to growth and development. We can no longer afford to die in multitude.

Nigerians could no longer be called upon to pray to God for safety in Buhari’s Next Level.

Ibraheem Abdullateef,

 Kwara State University, Malete