On Buhari, Southern Governor’s Security Meetings

With regards to what is reported about the recent Security Council meeting called by President Buhari on tuesday and what was reported on it by the press, I am afraid, I may wake up to a bad dream. See this : Buhari called a Security Council meeting on Tuesday. Southern Nigeria’s Governors (17 of them) also coincidentally met on almost the same subject; insecurity and other matters of governance in the country. What was the outcome of both meetings?

All Buhari and his Council could see is how to deal with the insecurity in the South-east and South-south( as reported in the Press).They came up with measures (only known to them), on how to tackle insecurity in the the South-east and South-south geo-political regions. It is a known fact that the insecurity in those regions has extended from banditry, kidnapping and other criminalities to burning of government infrastructure, and killing of uniformed men. There is nothing wrong with those measures because the criminalities are in the public domain. But interestingly, nothing has been said about the insecurity in the South-west, north-central, north-west and north-east of Nigeria. Could it be that it is so, because what is of interest to them, is the situation in the South-east and South-south? If the Council had decided not to make known security measures taken generally, why did they mention measures taken for the two geo-political zones only? Could it be that due to self interest, they could not hold back the emotions that in their case, government infrastructures and personnel , like them are affected ? What of infrastructures and insecurity in other parts of the country ? That they could come out of a meeting and make specific pronouncements on those two regions give cause for concern. Insecurity is insecurity, no matter what is affected , or where it takes place, so long it occurs on Nigerian soil.

Having said that, now, contrast this with the communique issued at the end of the Southern Nigeria’s Governors meeting in Asaba, the same day the Security Council meeting took place. They came up with a ten-point communique dealing with diverse national issues, including the general insecurity in the country , inclusiveness, recognising diversity in governance and appointments at the federal level. They emphasised not only inclusion in a diverse country such as ours, but the exercise, as well ,of equity, justice, fairness etc in all that the federal government does. Then the Governors made a pronouncement which, I am sure , will not go down well, with some sections , in this country. As painful as it seems to be, it is important that we talk truth to ourselves. There have been clashes between herders and farmers in all parts of the country. It is, as they say, over grazing on farmlands, owned by the indegenous land owners. What I fail to understand is the labelling of those clashes as” conflicts.” For example, you come into my farmland with your cattle and destroy my crops which, legally, is a criminal trespass, punishable by our laws and all government would say is that it is “CONFLICT”. Conflict with who and by who ? The earlier we begin to label criminalities well the better justice would be achieved. There are so many things wrong with our society. We never had things so bad like this before, until the foreign herders were imported. Now, some people hide under that to commit all sorts of criminalities.There is no accountability.

The southern governors recommended a lot of things. Then some people have the temerity to say that the Southern governors have secessionist agenda. For seeking inclusiveness, justice and fair play in governance ,some abnormal Nigerians would begin to read secession into it. Remember they ( the Governors ) ,had said they were committed to the indivisible unity of the country, as one nation. As between the governors and those who see nothing wrong with the present situation, who would we say have secessionist agenda ? Haba jemma’a !

I am inclined to think that government listens to such discordant voices who pretend to be with the government, but who, secretly, are plotting the down fall of the government.
Government must have the will to impliment those suggestions for the peace, unity , and progress of the country. Yes, government can have dialogue with all sections of this country, but I disagree with the suggestion, which says, we can sit down again, on a constitutional conference table and talk again . That of 2014 and others before it ,can be dusted and used. For the survival of this country, government must have the will.

Joshua D. Ephraim writes from Abuja

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