Ordinarily, Borno State Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, a professor of agricultural engineering, is of a gentle mien and a pragmatic public officer cum politician most of us are proud of. He is hardworking, transparent, calm and always in pursuit of the common good of his people.
Unfortunately, he lost his cool penultimate week. Why? Whilst his convoy was returning from Baga in Kaka Local Government Area close to the endangered Lake Chad, he came under heavy artillery attack allegedly by Boko Haram terrorists.
He escaped death by the whiskers. Indeed, he cheated death, once again. And, that was it. He queried and chastised the military for its inability to guarantee security despite its heavy presence in the area. Security which should be a social contract between the government and the citizenry has become insecurity which is now not only our albatross but has become the bane of the nation.
The uncertainty and anxiety in the land, the danger and threat, the lack of protection, the inability of our security forces to cope with the security challenge facing the country, etc. are now making us a pariah state and rudderless ship. Insecurity has led us to physical insecurity, political insecurity, financial insecurity, economic insecurity, religious insecurity, civil insecurity, social insecurity and general systemic failure.
Our growth and development, local and foreign investments, and emancipation are being stifled as a result of insecurity. Billions of naira that should be spent on revamping the economy are being expended to tackle insecurity with little or no success to show for the expenditure. How do we account for the lives of country men and women being lost to insecurity?
Like President Muhammadu Buhari said, the performance of our security forces is less than satisfactory. And, like Governor Zulum alleged, sabotage could not be ruled out as the rag-tag Boko Haram terrorists and other insurgents and bandits appear to be ahead of our security forces.
Moreover, the various security issues in the North west, North Central, South west, South south and South east, apart from the North east all point to the fact that insecurity is deeply rooted in the country. But what are the factors promoting insecurity in the country? Many of them are well known.
However, for our purpose, we should reiterate them. These factors are but not limited to: bad governance, religious bigotry and mind management, insurgency and terrorism, corruption and corrupt leadership and followership, banditry (robbery and kidnapping), injustice, inequality and inequity, poverty in the midst of affluence, social exploitation, political marginalisation, arms proliferation, drug abuse, political thuggery, and unemployment.
While most of these factors are not peculiar to Nigeria, we are however, not effectively and efficiently tackling insecurity owing to corruption, sabotage, conspiracy, inadequate security personnel, nonuse of latest warfare technology, inadequate intelligence gathering, and prevalence of fatigue within the security forces, among others.
To address insecurity, we may need to rethink and reinvent. Good governance is a sine qua non to fighting insecurity. The way public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources is critical. Our process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented should be beyond reproach.
We must be transparent in our daily activities. When the citizenry is constantly assaulted and visited with bad governance, it is an invitation to insecurity sooner than later. We must eschew corruption like the plague. As long as we promote and glorify corruption, insecurity would continue to be with us. Most victims of corruption find a means of defending themselves by revolting and making governance difficult.
Injustice has been known to also contribute significantly to insecurity. The extra-judicial killing of the leader of Boko Haram sect, Mohammed Yusuf and some of his members no doubt exacerbated the crisis in Borno State, extending to contiguous states, and now nearly consuming the North east and depleting the human and economic resources of the nation. Researchers may also discover that this was the precursor to other ‘evils’ in the north.
Our security architecture requires jigging. Modern warfare management requires more than our present performance. We must go back to the drawing board. So much has been said and written about the desirability of changing the leadership of our security forces. They are indeed expired and should be allowed to take their overdue retirement.
Their continued retention by PMB is a disservice to the nation. If the service chiefs would not turn in their letters of retirement, those behind them would continue to be demotivated and their morale would continue to dwindle.
They have each served for over five years as service chiefs and others should be given the opportunity to prove their military prowess. Scientific intelligence management is also desirable in dealing with insecurity.
Competency, reliability, efficiency, effectiveness, justice, equity, patriotism and good conscience, among other virtues should be our national ethos. Let us eschew marginalisation and fraud from the polity.
Lastly, the government should embark on additional moves to reduce poverty and unemployment as a way of curbing insecurity. We do not want to be consumed by insecurity. It is time to be pragmatic. We must avoid the situation in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and other rudderless nations.
This column has been moved to Tuesday | Fassy Yusuf, Ph.D. | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Mobile: 0809 615 8530 (SMS only)