To recapitulate the words of Ralph Nader, an American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney: “There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship.” Nader’s wisecrack is indeed a truism and a time-tested philosophy which every discerning Nigerian should begin to appreciate considering the times we are in.
The times we are in truly call for serious caution and introspection at a time many disgruntled Nigerians, have decided to support bloodletting, call for arms struggle and complete balkanisation of the country as the only solution to the myriads of problems plaguing the most populous black nation.
As much as one welcomes genuine concern of patriotic citizens over the parlous state of the economy as well as the porous security situation, that doesn’t give room for taking up arms against ones fatherland.
Of course, while it is the inalienable right of every citizen to so criticize the government of the day as the public space permits freedom of expression but definitely not open-ended action of felony as has been mooted by some people in different quarters.
It bears stating that all acts of mutiny are treasonable as the duty of the state is to protect the sovereign space at all times and that is not negotiable anywhere. Expectedly, elders and citizens of state as Nader rightly advised at the outset of this write-up must understand that there can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship.
As true citizens, we should understand the implications of making divisive utterances.
Anyone still in doubt about the intended backlash of a possible pogrom needs to attempt a horse of recall back in time to the #EndSARs saga which fueled widespread protests across the country, the outcome of which will remain with us for a pretty long while if the destructive tendencies of that sad episode is anything to go by.
Lamentably, what gave the #EndSARs protest some fillip was the complex political dimension to the saga which found clear expressions among regional militia groups and self-help approaches that deployed gorilla methods.
Indeed, for the clearly discerning the signs are ominous everywhere about a possible sinking of the ship of state by unpatriotic elements that don’t have the overall public interest at heart.
The situation appears a tad messier as the much dreaded ethnographic sentiments have found expression among the military rank with morale dangerously low and the defense space getting help- less daily.
Interestingly, the received wisdom from different opinion molders out there is that there is no part of Nigeria that is safe and impregnable from attack and worst still is that Nigeria’s top security apparatchiks, including the Service Chiefs, have become too deficient to withstand the current onslaught against the state.
The point to ponder is that except the country’s security effort deploys fresh initiative, we may never recover from the impending danger that looms. The silence of certain major voices spells greater danger.
There are, however, low hanging fruits, which can help the government secure some quick wins. Indeed, some of the quick fix is to carry out some action plans to remedy an irredeemable situation.
Specifically, we need to profile all cult and regional groups’ leaderships immediately. Their youth followers constitute a potent force of threat. We will build further on discussions.
The government needs to interrogate her diplomatic intelligence to possibly weed out fifth columnists and agents of the enemy camp.
Besides, we need a Special Forces Team adequately equipped, re-engineered and given force of function just as we need to engage the media in a way that will rebrand reporting styles and methods.
We also need to create special monitoring teams that are responsible to the chiefs alone on a direct reporting as well as booster agenda to be developed to ensure morale restoration among the security forces. In line with democratic tenets, a sovereign authority should not at any cost; render itself helpless just as a government should have the political will and courage to defend her institutions and must not be timid as has been the case during the #EndSARs protest.
The experience of countries like Cambodia, Guatemala, Somalia, Eritrea, and Columbia, to mention just a few that became lawless started on lesser scales than the Nigerian situation.
All said, methinks the Service Chiefs have their jobs cut out for them and for which they are mentally, materially and physically prepared to take on board.
One best way we can help them to succeed to constructively engage the top hierarchy of the security personnel by sharing intels as and when due to fast track the process of reconnaissance and control of our security architecture.
Adio writes from Lagos