WHEN I saw the Failed State Index done by the United States Think-Thank Fund for Peace and which ranked Nigeria as 14th under the alert section, I was overwhelmed with sadness as this shouldn’t be so for the giant of Africa. Under the surge of emotion I was prompted to write this little piece on what I feel should be the best  way out of Nigeria’s challenges.
Prominent and most troubling of these challenges is the Boko Haram terrorism presently afflicting the nation. The activities of this extremist Islamist sect have seriously undermined the peace and tranquillity of this great nation and it is my belief that if nothing is done urgently, we shall soon see the rise of more terrorist groups. Not only is terrorism threatening the continued existence of  the nation, the rate of robbery and other violent crimes  is on the increase. We can’t go about our business without the fear of our lives.
It is obvious that we need good leaders who have a different set of values. We need leaders of impeccable character and integrity. Enough is enough of leaders using what belongs to the nation for their personal use. One thing that is prominently lacking in Nigeria is integrity.
Our leaders have failed to show and exhibit this quality, so the citizens have no choice but to follow the examples of those leading them. That is the reason for the increase in fraud cases.
Everybody now wants to have a share of the “national cake” and this should not be so. We need leaders who will deliver their agenda for the nation and not just use it for campaign purposes only. Until our leaders begin to live in transparency and integrity, true democracy can never be practised.
God said whoever desires to be great must first learn to serve. Greatness is not about how much wealth you can amass for yourself but in how much you can give out. That is another thing we are missing in this nation.
Everybody wants to amass wealth but very few people are willing to live for the betterment of others. I believe very strongly that if the mind-set of the youth is changed toward true service to the nation and her people, Nigeria would be out of the turmoil in no time.
This mind-set will help reduce the stink of corruption as public servants will no longer occupy offices just for their own benefit, but will use every opportunity to empower their followers in every way. Let us not forget that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. We need to learn that being the president or governor doesn’t make you the number one citizen but the number one servant. Service is one of the fundamental keys to greatness and a nation built on service to its people will always prosper.
Also, I believe that the issue of amnesty being given to terror groups shouldn’t be one up for debate. Amnesty giving will only lead to more terror groups who have seen that being a terrorist will only lead to wealth with little or no consequences.
I believe that the state should carry out her responsibility properly and secure its citizens and fish out those who are responsible for the violence within. I believe that the Boko Haram violence was influenced by the perceived reward accorded the militant group MEND whose members went scot free after killing so many innocent citizens.
The best this nation can do for the innocent that have been lost is to let justice prevail by jailing every identified and arrested member of the group. The security agencies should be empowered to carry out their job diligently and end this nightmare of terrorism in this nation.
Nigeria should never negotiate with terrorists as doing so can only but encourage more terror groups to spring up.
Lastly, we are all Nigerians and as such everyone should be charged with the responsibility of looking out for the other. If we do not create language barriers or geographical barriers, we would be on our way to becoming the giant of the world. Let us not dim the potential that we have in this nation with unnecessary ethnic and religious battles.
Every Nigerian should be viewed as a brother and in our entire endeavour let us work towards making Nigeria as a better place to live in. We should develop love toward one another, as love covers a multitude of sins. Just like our anthem says, “peace and unity” remain the basis for moving Nigeria forward. God bless Nigeria!!!
The Easier Way Out Of National Security
The need of an efficient social security and reform of the Nigerian police force are some of the panacea recommended to the federal government to address the recent surge in the nation’s security challenges as against suggested called for a break up.
This was the postulation of an emergency conference of ethnic groups within Nigeria. The conference was organised by the Coalition of Ethnical Nationalities in Nigeria (CENN), last week in Lagos, to deliberate on the nation’s precarious internal security and it was attended by representatives of 16 ethnic groups, with each group airing its grievance in a no-holds-barred manner.
The high-point of the conference noted that the idea of secession, being mooted as the ‘only’ solution on the recent security imbroglio in the country will continue to prosper if the country does not find a way to give all of its ethnic groups a voice that count at a roundtable.
There were heated arguments as each group strived to make a resounding case for its people but the need for co-existence with other ethnic groups was a major feature of the discussion. The prime resolve demonstrated by them all is that Nigeria can succeed as a nation as no group harbours a definite resolution for secession; although, deference was made to it at some point during the meeting, but only as a second alternative.
“It is very obvious here that the ethnic groups themselves can cohabit and resolve their differences if allowed to do so and if represented by those who speak the mind of the people,” said CENN’s chairperson, Frederick Fasehun; the founder of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC). According to him, this has always been the trend each time there is an opportunity for ethnic groups to meet and discuss their co-existence.
Representing northern Nigeria at the conference, the president of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Shetima Yerima raised the issue of marginalisation of all the ethnic groups as he cautiously noted that “no northerner wants to secede.” “That is why we are supporting every initiative that will bring justice and fairness to Nigeria” he added.
Admitting that the northerners have ruled the country for the longest period in the country’s history, Mr. Yerima hinged his marginalisation on the extreme poverty that ravages the north. “It is true we have been in power for many years but it is also true that we are the poorest. Each group has a story of marginalisation to tell, only on a different scale and timeline” he explained.
Cult of business people
Though, the participants tried to avoid the issue of convening a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), as the conference preferred to proffer solutions to the national security problems in the present political context, the clamour for a political reform in the mould of a SNC as the only panacea to Nigeria’s problems kept roaring its head during the discussion.
The charge for the SNC was led by Asari Dokubo, founder of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, who claimed that “nobody will give us (Nigerians) a Sovereign National Conference, we have to demand it” he affirmed.
He also expressed his disappointment in the failure on Nigerians to make demands off the government.
The former militant leader noted that “kerosene is scarce for no explainable reason and we are not doing anything. We ought to be on the streets by now.” Mr. Dokubo further explained that Nigeria’s problem is not ethnicity, neither is it religion but leadership. “The problem is that the country is led by ‘a cult of business people,’ whose hegemony, until broken, will always hold down the country” he said.
Regional police force
The coalition then proffered that, if Nigeria is to continue to operate its present political system, the ‘implantation of a functional budget’ and ‘urgent restructuring of the Nigerian Police’ is vital to bring peace and unity amongst other resolutions.
According to Mr. Dokubo, there is only one government in Nigeria and that is the Lagos State government. “All the 774 local governments, other 35 state governments, the FCT administration and the federal government are no government at all” he stated.
He argued that only in Lagos is budget prepared to meet the need of the people. “What does Rivers State need a mono rail for?” he asked, citing an example. “Governments in Nigeria implement project only to soothe political muscles and boost egos, not to meet the need of the people,” he said.
On restructuring the Nigeria police, all the discussants favoured the establishment of regional police alongside the Nigerian police. They condemned the deployment of commissioners of police to states they may have never visited before noting that “one can only fight crime in a terrain that one knows very well and among a people whose way of life you understand”
“As a regional police officer, it is easy to gain the confidence of the people and therefore establish an intelligence base. You will also know the nooks and crannies of the place,” said Alex Sikaboro, a representative of Izon community.
Though the Nigerian police is largely seen as corrupt and inept by the public, the coalition said the government’s prevalent social structure made it so and therefore should be blamed.
“How does a policeman send his brilliant kid to Covenant University or does a policeman’s kid not deserve quality education?” asked Mr Fasehun, adding that Nigerians should learn to spare a thought for police officers as fellow humans.
It was also suggested that communities should be allowed to operate its own private security under a regulated authority.
“I live in Ajegunle and I knew what the place was before OPC came and what it is now. The same thing can be said of Bakassi Boys in Anambra,” said Mr. Sikaboro. According to him, even Nigerian governors now employ private security; therefore, communities should be allowed to operate private security because “everyone in the community knows who is a criminal.” Employment generation, at the heart of which lies power supply, was another resolution the group adopted.
“A hungry man will easily take up arms against his rich neighbours. He will query why they should eat three square meals, with leftovers when he has not eaten a single meal. Electricity affects every aspect of our national security,” Mr. Fasehun said, suggesting that “a heavy tax be imposed on importers of generators.”
Absence of social security
The coalition blamed the rise of ethnic militia groups on the absence of social security, noting that each Nigerian youth wades through life practically without any aid from the government.
“We spoke to the government, they didn’t listen, then we gesticulated and they started listening,” said Mr. Fasehun, who advised the government from making it seem like it only understand the language of violence.
The coalition urged the Nigerian government to implement a nationwide social security system rather than wait until a region takes to arm.
They warned that if a region gets largesse from the government, as in the case of amnesty in the Niger Delta, then a clear message is being sent to other regions on how to get their own largesse also.
“Every Nigerian youth deserves social security. No Nigerian should be angry because he is hungry,” Mr. Fasehun warned.

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