By Prince Ugo
In Nigeria today, a lot has been said about the level of insecurity with regards to the spate of kidnappings and civil unrest as witnessed in some parts of the country. While this might sound like a genuine concern, it must be noted that there are indeed undertones and undercurrents that must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
I say this for the very fact that not until we as a people learn to play by the rules and put national interest above personal interest, we would still be grappling with insecurity in the country. The politicization of issues has seen an increase in the level of insecurity in the country. Those that are saddled with the task of ensuring that the proper orientation is inculcated in their subjects are the very one instigating violence in the country through the instrument of unguarded statements, outright insinuation, and illogical conclusions.
This is on the heels that security is one of the cardinal projects necessary for engendering an organized society, and everybody is a critical stakeholder. However, it appears that this project has been politicized in Nigeria and the politicization has led to sporadic emergence of dangerous ethnic and religious militias who have equally become tools in the hands of the elite political group for achieving what was impossible at the polls.
In my opinion, there is a grand plot by some mischievous elements to ensure that Nigeria does not know peace for reasons best known to them. This much they have strived to achieve by the promotion of violence across the country through covert means.
These set of people have introduced religious and ethnic sentiments in their quest to make Nigeria ungovernable. But what they seem to have forgotten is the fact that their actions and inactions would serve Nigeria as a country no good and at the end of the day if care is not taken we all would be consumed by the seed of discord that has been planted now daily.
The generality of Nigerians must wake up to this stark reality staring at us in the face. The security agencies have been battling day and night towards ensuring that Nigeria stays united and free from security threats. But the task at hand requires that all hands must be on deck in this task. As unpleasant as this might sound, our leaders must as a matter of national interest stop playing politics with the lives of over 200 million people.
In my opinion, tackling insecurity in Nigeria has gone beyond what the relevant security agencies have done or should do. It is more of understanding the dynamics inherent in our actions and inactions and those collective steps that ought to be taken in the overall interest of the country.
Our ethnic champions also have a huge role to play in solving this challenge. Those that are quick to point accusing fingers in specific directions even without any tangible evidence further complicates than solve the problem. They point accusing fingers without minding whose ox is gored. They generalize, they accuse and then pass judgment without regards to the sensibilities of others. In so doing, the problem isn’t solved. Instead, it escalates and further fuels ethnic tension amongst the various ethnic groupings in the country.
This is also same for the religious groups that have used religion as a bargaining chip in the fulfillment of their desires. They cry wolf where non exist. They preach inciting messages to their followers who have proven to be veritable tools in the advancement of negative narratives in the country. And the interesting thing is that this style hasn’t helped in any way but how they see this as a part of religion is the more baffling.
I believe that the first step towards actualizing relative peace and tranquility in Nigeria is when our religious and ethnic leaders rise to the task of nation-building by ensuring that the messages and narrative they pass across to their adherents are not such that would insult the sensibilities of adherents of other religion. Their messages must seek to unite rather than divide. And they should be responsible for their actions and inactions.
The second step is when our tribal leaders realize that it behooves on them to ensure that their subjects are guided in proper conduct at all times, and they must also lead by example.
The third step is for all and sundry to stop giving political, ethnic, and religious coloration to events as they happen. We should strive to be circumspect in our utterances and actions in an attempt to douse the tension that has already been created in the country through mutual suspicion.
It must also be noted that no-one can live in insolation and as it behooves on us regardless of our ethnic and religious affiliations to always see the bigger picture and as such we should be guided in our actions and inactions. This is not the time for the politicization of issues and events as this has proven to be the bane of insecurity in Nigeria.
Should Nigeria go up in flames, we would all have ourselves to blame. As the opportunity to make this country work lay in wait for us, we must take the bull by the horns in ensuring Nigeria defeats its adversaries. This would only be possible if all and sundry see the task ahead of us as a collective endeavor rather than a religious or ethnic one. The ethnic and religious narrative should have no pride of place in the scheme of things in Nigeria.
Ugo, a patriotic Nigerian wrote this piece from Colindale, United Kingdom.