Insecurity: Obasanjo or Jonathan, who should Nigerians believe?

I grew up in Ibadan, one of Africa’s most densely populated town, then, just few years ago, the sound and sight of bomb explosions were alien to us, except the ones we heard were happening in war-torn countries and the ones we probably watched in movies.

Today, terrorism and insecurity are right in our midst and those of our children.

Terrorism is incontrovertibly very deadly but the growing parlous insecurity situation is not limited to this alone; armed robbers are on the prowl, raping/gang-raping, maiming, cult violence and killing of innocent people on the roads, in their houses and even inside places of worship.

Killing for ritual purposes, political violence during which many Nigerians have been gunned down by the bullets of assassins to settle political scores. Kidnapping has become a lucrative business, maritime and airspace insecurity had claimed very many precious lives.

No place is safe, none is exempted; unborn babies, kids with promising future, helpless women, people of high and low status are affected daily by the insecurity malaise, in the only country they claim as their own.

Exactly when and how we got into this labyrinth is opaque but the effects stare us all in the face. Socio- economic implications of insecurity include loss of lives and properties, damaged psyche of the citizenry, rural-urban migration, dearth of skilled manpower and reliable data, more unemployment, low rating of the country, lack of foreign direct investment, negative effects’ on National Budget, distorted National Planning and myriads of other detrimental impacts.

As insecurity hit the nation, several solutions had been offered. These had included identifying, demystifying criminal groups, better policing with the use of intelligence reports, proper funding of security architecture, transparency and accountability in governance, food security, re-focused press coverage, dialogue and amnesty.

As there exists strong nexus between unemployment and insecurity, unarguably, jobs must be created to engage the hordes of youths roaming the streets.
In a Cable News Network (CNN) interview recently, while responding on how to tame the Boko Haram insurgence, former President Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) opined, “to deal with a group like that, you need carrot and stick.

The carrot is finding out how to reach out to them. When you try to reach out to them and they are not amenable to being reached out to, you have to use the stick”.

Ex- President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) had continued to give assurances to Nigerians that his administration would soon be on top of the situation. That culprit would soon be apprehended. Bla, bla, bla…

Is OBJ Right or can we trust GEJ?
The state of insecurity has worsened since President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan won the presidential election in April 2011. Many believe that the growing terrorists activities and sectarian violence in the land were caused by some of those who contested against Jonathan.

President Goodluck Jonathan is not oblivious of the insecurity challenges in the land. The much touted national transformation agenda of the Jonathan administration came to nought when there was no solution to the menace of insecurity ravaging the country. In fact, policy analysts had posited that the ability of the past administration to nip in the bud the problem of insecurity and improve electricity supply would be major indices to evaluate the Jonathan administration at the end of his tenure.

GEJ had his good points; his rise to political ascendancy had not been, with any remarkable achievement in the area of good governance.

OBJ’s critics are quick to point out that in the first place, he foisted GEJ on Nigeria as President of Africa’s most populous country. That retrospectively, many of the factors responsible for insecurity now started during OBJ’s tenure and that some reached their peak when OBJ was President. Issues like corruption, super-ministers, assassinations and other malaise thrived under Obasanjo with reckless ignominy.

Nevertheless, OBJ as a statesman was right as he sure knows that security is central to development. His summation on Boko haram confirms this, “Boko Haram undermines security and anything that undermines security, undermines development, undermines education, undermines health, undermines agriculture and food, nutrition and security”.

From the vintage viewpoint of a country he had been opportune to govern over many years, for OBJ to posit that Nigeria has been caught in the web of high network insecurity and that obviously efforts to disengaged the nation from these social maladies had been futile are positions worth giving keen considerations.

The level of insecurity in the country is worrisome. Urgent steps need to be taken to address the problem. Nigerians had almost lost count of the number of terrorists’ attacks that had hit the country, in the last few years. Presidential condolences are not assuaging the pains; only a final stoppage can bring gain to the citizenry .

The Nigeria Police Force appears to have a little or no control over the situation; a situation that has made the ordinary law-abiding, tax-paying citizen to lose confidence in the ability and capacity of the State to protect lives and property of the citizens. It is on this weight that some people had advocated the creation of state police to tackle the security problem in the land.

There is a strong sceptism that if the level of insecurity in our country is not scaled down, Nigeria’s vision to be among the best countries of the world may be a mirage. The generation of leaders to which OBJ, GEJ and Buhari belonged, would be in history of the country, a failed generation. This is a fact that OBJ, GEJ know; this is the reality Buhari must face decisively.

By Dr. Ajibola Esuola.

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