By Segun Ige
After the mild unrest of schoolboys and schoolgirls in the North, typically the same narrative of banditry and terrorism is fast beginning to surface in Oyo State, in the South West region. It is clear that this zone itself has been silently suffering from killers and kidnappers. It is a done deal that it is not only the North that has exclusively been experiencing mutating monopolisation, after all, especially with the wake of Iskilu Wakili in the growing discourse of insecurity in the polity.
It was on Sunday, March 7 that Wakili was reported to have been apprehended. It has been speculated that Wakili has been an ardent and adherent opposition Fulani figure wreaking havoc in Oyo State, a warmonger, fomenting outrageous acts that narrowly suck breath out of men and women. These bad pictures, really, are subtle reminders of how, on the one hand, brazen brigands continue to bull innocent souls in the “uncompleted buildings” of the state and how, on the other hand, we’ve not taken full responsibility of the whole country. Seriously speaking, I think the issue of security should be our utmost concern, now, and that necessity is laid upon us to fight the battle for the soul of the nation.
Many people would immediately admit, wrongly, that “fighting the battle for the soul of the nation” is only an American dictum of restoring peace and order, tolerance and equity. Surely, as of now, the sine qua non does behoove us, and it’s quintessential to restoring Nigeria back to where the principle of “ubuntu” is particularly a political practice.
Ideally and tactically, it could be argued, apart from the Wakili wake-up call that we should begin to fill up loopholes and potholes putting the lives of Nigerians at risk and peril, that sooner or later this second-wave outbreak of banditry is likely to spread across other states. And to be sure, the issue of insecurity is increasingly become a political pandemic we need to vaccinate, every which way. It wouldn’t have been a success story when vaccines are being distributed pari passu people being vaccinated, and yet something somewhere similar to COVID-19 in character and composition is claiming the lives we seem to be saving.
It’s a shame that the essence of Amotekun has been hijacked. It’s a shame that institutionalising community policing for easy and smooth governance would instantiate gross displeasure, disapproval, and disagreement, yet among the leaders. It was Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami who declared how counter-productive, constitutionally, the establishment of Amotekun is. To me, that has been the Nigerian problem of perpetually but perniciously being subservient to one documentary dictator of the affairs of the country.
It could be dire, you know, embracing the Constitution hook, line and sinker, without a careful consideration if it’s still in tandem with our present political demands and purpose of existence. Until we dare to “bend history,” I do not believe we can progress in any significant way. And I do not side with Malami, in this case, because Amotekun could have actually curbed the foaming and ranging atmosphere of abduction and butchery in one way or another.
To a responsive and responsible government, I feel Buhari meant well in putting Amotekun on board. However harum-scarum or militaristic such gesture might be (and it should not be surprising considering Mr. President’s background), the rebuttal or harangue should have been a behind-close-doors or corridors-of-power reconciliation overture – and not overwhelmingly overthrowing, even publicly, the intentionality and intensity behind the creation.
We need, then, to be more “explainable” in our (un)constitutional exercise and enforcement. For example, if the executive arm of government sees the need to implement certain security reformations in the country, explaining to other arms – say, the legislature – could be mandatory, in that, though “separated,” their roles and duties might still be “checked” to avoid excessive or abusive use of power. That’s why President Donald Trump could be impeached twice. Even the U.S. President is not above the Constitution. And since our democratic process is an express image of the American anthropomorphised democracy, I think the president’s power is still limited and questionable, regardless, but that’s not to say the civil and legitimate processes of proposition or opposition should not be duly observed.
Furthermore, we need to make inclusive governance part and parcel of our system of leadership. During election, and what have you, the youth, for example, shouldn’t be deployed as tools of perpetrating payola or pork-barrelling, and the women shouldn’t be seen as “always seen but not heard,” because they actually do so when they begin to exchange their right to vote for maybe one bag of rice.
And even more important, decision making is not a one-off thing, one-man thing: Remember. Democracy is a process, a pattern, a procedure, involving the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the bourgeoisie and proletariat. So, when making crucial decisions, not only on security, of course, everybody ought to be carried along, from the vital organs in government to the organs at the grassroots.
Ige writes from Lagos via [email protected]