Chibok Girls: Never Again!Articles/Opinion, Latest News Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
By Uzodinma Nwaogbe
The abduction of about 200 Government Girls Secondary School students last month by the Boko Haram insurgents has shown that our problem is not in religion, nor in ethnic leaning but on the leadership and management of this country. There is no part, religious group in this country that is not praying, wishing the return of these young girls to their family members. Many persons, groups, within and outside Nigeria have shown deep concern, organized protests demanding from the Nigerian government and their home countries to do more in the rescue of these little children. Nigerians, the world are worried, disturbed at what could be happening to these girls in the thick forest of Sambisa? It is a month now since these innocent girls were abducted by this mindless sect.
Though, this ugly incident of Chibok girls should arouse the Nigerian government at the centre and states to begin to have a change of heart at the way we paddle our affairs. Nigerians are very loving, caring and kindhearted people, we are ever patriotic and loyal to Nigeria but our leaders are the biggest problem we have. It was late Chinua Achebe, who put it very succinctly that, ‘the trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.’ He went further to buttress that, ‘the Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.’ It is then right as many have put it that when our leaders organize and manage the endowed human and natural resources here we can transform like other developed countries.
Sometimes, I wonder what, why it is so difficult for our leaders to fix Nigeria. Many have submitted that corruption is the canker worm destroying the fabric called Nigeria while the government would deny such. But, a close look would reveal that truly corruption is it. With all the available resources to the security agencies since 1999 till date, the trainings and re-trainings, equipments requested for, bought and made available, array of senior officers, we still have not tamed the Boko Haram militants. Certainly, government is made up of human beings, Nigerians from all nooks and crannies are likely to be aware of the problems bedeviling their communities. One then ponders why our elected representatives would continue to provide us with borehole water and be advertising it as an achievement or dividend of good governance in this 21st century. In this country, those we elected into government office will buy wrapper, ram, rice, ground-nut oil to share amongst citizens and claim they are performing wonderfully in government.
The government must use this Chibok girls abduction as an eye opener. It has come to the point our leaders must be firm and resolute in pursuing the transformation of Nigeria. We need to learn from the Singapore experience, leaders who are patriotic and loyal to Nigeria would be dedicated at its genuine transformation. Our institutions must be allowed to get stronger than individuals for optimum result. There is purposeful killing of the institutions to personalize government and governance in Nigeria at the altar of mediocrity, underdevelopment and economic woes. Virtually no institution in Nigeria works with its rules and regulations except the few individuals in power at the centre and in the states give orders which in most cases runs contrary to laid down principles.
The National Orientation Agency ought to be well funded and used by the government to educate the minds of the people, sensitize their social consciousness, religious tolerance and encourage them on economic self reliance. Our leaders can really re-build Nigeria the moment they attach seriousness in governance, remove corrupt tendencies and persons. Truly, Nigerians are very accommodating, they live together, transact businesses, irrespective of ethnic leaning they attend the same church and mosques, their children play and go to the same schools. The government can then use these opportunities positively in building a very safe country for all.
This is another opportunity for the government to again look at our security challenges and begin to re-organize it. We must say it loud and clear, there is a great lapse on our security at the moment, not because we do not have the men, cannot acquire the facilities to aid our security but, because misappropriation of funds and corruption has made nonsense of its leadership. It is time we de-politicize our police and military to allow them work professionally, no country survives any external aggression while politicizing its security. Citizens must be involved in the security of their communities. They need to be mobilized, enlightened, supported to understand the importance of security and be educated on some very vital tidbit about it.
Finally, the world is watching and are interested in seeing how we manage this security crisis at our hands. Yes, we want the girls back and alive but, the process at getting them back, how we curb the often attacks by the insurgents appears very important also. Most mathematics teachers usually give extra marks to their students who are able to show convincingly how they arrived at their answers. So, the onerous task before the federal government now is principally to checkmate the Boko Haram sect. the promises of government is not enough rather, the practical solution to the menace is what every Nigerian is after.Uzodinma Nwaogbe Program Manager, Community Defence Law Foundation Ikeja, Lagos.
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