Last weekend the insecurity bedevilling our society went a notch higher with ther direct attack on an incumbent governor, Chief Samuel Ortom of Benue State. Recall that his state, a largely Christian state, has been under siege of suspected Islamist terrorists for years running. The situation got very terrible in 2015 when the incumbent Federal Government under President Muhamamdu Buhari came to power. Lives have been lost in hundreds in just one attack on sleepy village communities at the invasion of barbarians at night.
Last weekend, precisely penultimate Saturday, Governor Ortom who has obviously incurred enmity for stoutly defending his constituents against what is definitely externally induced aggression took time off to go to his private farm located at the outskirts of the state capital, Makurdi. The visit that was primed to last one or two hours would have lasted eternity if not for the hand of providence which Ortom identified as God.
Ortom was going round to see things when men bearing weapons burst out from all corners shooting at him and his team. The security men who were no cowards responded to veryunwarranted attack and in the melee succeeded in taking away the principal who was the main target. So Governor Ortom survived what was an assassination attempt, giving us something talk about with a mindset that can comprehend the event and what it portends for the people and residents of Benue State in particular, Nigerian citizens, residents and of course the general stability of the bigger society. Imagine if the vandals succeeded in killing Ortom.
It has become customary, we like analysis and it is not surprising we are becoming paralyzed by over talking on situations that require instant action. We have jumped into analysis mode with everyone postulating and building up conspiracy theories and scenarios without foundation. In other climes where such colossal abdication of state responsibility would not be tolerated, the central government responsible for security, protection of lives and property would have faced severe challenge of legitimacy. Opposition parties, known names and the civil society would have been on the streets asking the president to step down. They would not allow the members of the National Assembly to drink champagne while the society burns; the people would insist on definite line of action.
But in our case nothing of sort happened. The National Assembly it would seem didn’t know or think a very odious development happened with the attack against an incumbent governor. Perhaps they reasoned that with the Bornu State example against Governor Zulum, the attack on Ortom was nothing new yet the Benue assault raises new but very deep questions because the area is no theatre of insurgency; more than 48 hours after a sitting governor with all protection was attacked no statement came from the direction yet the National Assembly is the truest representation of the people.
The President condemned the development saying an attack on one citizen is an attack on all. He directed the Inspector General of Police to investigate. Normal refrain to calm nerves in our clime and buy time to make the stress of daily pursuits divert the people’s attention from what is another level of affront on the people’s sensibilities. One expected the security agencies to go in hot pursuit of the felons, apprehend them in record time and use this high visibility case to show the world we are serious about finding solutions to this problem of insecurity and more than that dispel the growing thinking that a section of our elite have a hand in what is happening to us.
Benue attack makes the situation more perplexing. As I said earlier, Benue is not beset by insurgency like Bornu State, yet people can gang up, confront an incumbent governor by way of gun attack and successfully escape from scene of the crime; my people it tells a story and paints a very ugly picture. It is time we told ourselves the truth about what is happening to us and why it came about. For long we held onto deception and lies and this is causing us incalculable harm in human lives and property. This is exactly because lies give instant relief, and help bad governance continue to thrive and for its beneficiaries to eat at the expense of the people and society. Call it blood gains and you won’t be wrong. Deceit and the like leave so much side effects. On the other hand truth is painful but cures. It is time we embraced the balm of truth. Now this is very important.
Anatomy of every violence is rooted in expansionism and dominion. I read an aged Algerian nationalist who said French colonialists attempted to maintain hold by instigating violence so they could find excuses for inhumane crackdown. He said: “We resisted”. The lesson is not in the resistance but knowledge behind it very important. . In the book “The President’s men” by Lawrence Leamer , great grand parents of the Kennedys in American politics revealed it was the tactics employed by Red Indians to deal with the occupation invading groups from Europe, Indians by violence made the settlements unsafe. Iran, China, Russia, French, Sudan, Iraq and Syria it is the same story of violence and dominion. In Mozambique just last week an Islamic group rose up and started cutting off the head of children. What do they want? Autonomy!
The motivating factors behind our insecurity is not different;there is dirty politics and religious expansionism. Hungry boys have sophisticated weapons and are ready to die. How come? Bushes all over Nigeria have been taken over by people of same training and orientation, many of them hired mecernaries, playing their game same style, simultaneously across the land. It is no happenstance. See the tactics: kill and sack, stop farming, ensure food scarcity and hunger, wait for auspicious time to clamp a food blockage, and after sometime give terrified people options including settlements for culturally strange people gathered from all parts of Africa. Refuse restructuring, reject state and community policing just talk of community policing under centralized Nigeria police. Keep heat of insecurity and bloodbath on as key to unerving everyone. It is the joker card. Meanwhile take control of all security command posts, what we desire is what happens.
In well secured places, security set up is in layers. Even big business concerns have independent armed police, hotels, universities and business concerns also have armed guards. It can’t happen here because it is not in the interest of system manipulators to do the right things. Remove one man today and security challenges in our society will drop by as much as 70 per cent. Evil has thrived because we have all become “conquered people.”