Rising Political Activism To Save Nigeria

the essence of any government worthy of its salt is to fulfil the social contract with its citizens.
Salihu Garba

By Salihu Garba

Let me start this phase of discourse by exploring viable ways we can collectively act to save Nigeria. Albert Einstein said:

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

Insecurity is no doubt a monstrous and pervasive evil that must be prevented or stopped at all times. It destroys people’s precious lives and livelihood, denies us adequate food and energy production, supply and distribution, and leave the poor people amongst us – hungry and often angry – with likely resultant health crisis of a malnourished body, troubled and unhappy soul or spirit, and then comes the ultimate push for survival, often devising ungodly ways to stay afloat, thereby helping to increase and expand the vicious circle or membership of criminal gangs that are pervading the Nigerian society today – more than ever our history as a people.

We are daily undaunted by unpleasant reports, gory images and videos of ungodly ventures of atrocities committed almost on a daily  basis via armed robbery, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, insurgency and the agitated militancy.

God Almighty will continue to be our guide and protector, as we rise to take planned actions to save Nigeria from lawlessness and destruction.

It is in this context that H.E. President Obasanjo spoke during his paper presentation titled: “COVID-19 Pandemic and Nigeria Security Issues: The Way Forward” at 2020 Annual Sobo Sowemimo lecture at the Abeokuta Club and took a leading role by calling on activist to join hand in setting up an effective patriot’s movement he named: “Security Matters To All – No security, No Nigeria.”

It’s a movement of patriotic Nigerians from all walk of life and from all regions, tribes and religious affiliation to come to the rescue of Nigeria. The movement by God grace will see to Nigeria and its people being free from the present challenges of insecurity that is threatening to stagnate development or destroy the nation.

Interestingly, we have been on this path for a long time, together with the former President. We were on the same dissatisfied train that kick-out the failed president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ/PDP) administration based on insecurity, religious bigotry and incompetence to lead Nigeria in the times of insecurity and crisis. President Jonathan was rightly voted out by majority dissatisfied Nigerians led by Chief Obasanjo on the basis of incompetence to lead and tame the insecurity and bigotry that was threatening to destroy Nigeria. Shepherd leaders and patriots do not shift ground on their integrity and principle driven activism for good governance and it is in the same spirit that we have again met on the same train today with Baba Obasanjo and millions of other Nigerians to call for action to stop the incessant killings and wanton destruction of people’s lives and property of voiceless Nigerian citizens living in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Borno, Adamawa and many other states.

As responsible citizens, we did not and we would not abandon our civil and religious responsibilities of being sincere, truthful and becoming active security guards against evil and injustices which had continued to this day.

We will proffer sincere counsels, viable and practical solutions – freely, to ensure that the leadership is able to overcome our numerous security challenges. We can’t afford to let Nigeria fail again.

And we do not only criticise, but also give credit, where credit is due.

In all the gamut of trust and security expected to be provided or catered for,  ranging from; security of live (including health and safety, followed by food security, energy security or rather fuel security, job security, border security etc.

Out of this security needs, the Buhari administration was only able to successfully ensure an adhoc energy or rather fuel supply security and that was achieved in its first year in office in 2016. They inherited fuel scarcity and ques has disappeared. And credit must be given for that and the people behind its success, principally Malam Mele Kolo Kyari and his team that assisted, which I was a key member.

Well, maybe they can learn from the current leadership of NNPC which is anchored on the principle of self-policing (transparency) and accountability to the public, in tackling the country’s security challenges.

As a UK trained Business/System analyst, and software builder, and in all my roles and experiences, working in highly confidential and trusted engagement, committee, department and units, which were all assigned to me unsolicited, but based on our pedigree of trust, integrity and capacity to deliver on the mandates given to us we were not found on the side of failure, deceit and conspiracy to defraud or abuse the public trust entrusted in our hands. This quality can be seen in the recent revelations coming from Malam Mele Kyaris. For the first time ever, in the history of NNPC, it’s audit report is being made public.

However, for an insider or pundits who can analysed business health by its performance indices, would be able to know that there isn’t anything new about the loss and wastages being recorded in the refineries run and manage by NNPC.

Let me not focus on my personal encounters and experiences for another day. The take home message from this: as informed citizens, we should always have our eyes open while choosing quality leaders who have integrity, capacity and record of sincerity of purpose and had a good track record of integrity and performance.

This is why we do not have any hesitation for following Baba Obasanjo to lead this movement based on his track records and experiences leading change in Nigeria. I have taken time to briefly remind us and to refresh our minds about who H.E. Chief Obasanjo is and his humble achievements as a two times leader: Military Head of State and 4th Republic democratic president and the need for all Nigeria to forgive his pasts mistakes and move Nigeria forward.

But before we get to that, I believe that the oil industry being the major revenue earner of the country, which is also a mini Nigerian state with National character outlook and despite its numerous challenges, we can hopefully learn one or two lessons from its sustained success in the security mandate for wetting the Nation with fuel 24/7 and 365 days a year for almost 5 years now, without any major incident.  What is the principle behind such huge success? It’s is servant or shepherd leadership exemplified by Malam Mele Kyari. His good leadership driven by transparency and accountability, Nigerians would hopefully continue to see and learn from the current GMD of NNPC leadership style. We should never be afraid of saying it truthfully as it is, for, that should be our spirit in all public leadership. We are servants of the people and we are entrusted to lead, so why should we be hiding audits reports of NNPC or any other institution including the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air force etc.

Let’s make the message go round about the need for all public institutions and businesses to open up about their finances, not necessarily about confidential security data or information that is classified as top secrets.

Let’s see to it that during our campaign to save Nigeria, the Mele Kyari’s leadership model of transparency and accountability is also promoted so that all heads of MDAs can follow in the footstep of Malam Mele Kyari’s servant leadership style by throwing open all the challenges and problems in their domain and start looking for best solutions – that should be the spirit of public leadership.

We don’t hide public challenges to make us look good while the Nigerian state is dying. Public leadership is all about rendering service to citizens in an open, transparent and accountable manner so lets all head of public institutions in Nigeria follow the Mele Kyari’s model of transparency and accountability to ensure performance excellence and growth.

Having learned or reminded about quality leadership that we should look forward to, lets now look into the main topic of our discourse, which is answering a clarion call to save Nigeria from senseless killings and insecurity, a call that was made by the former president Chief Obasanjo, while taking a lead to our united, one voice movement to rescue Nigeria.

This is a movement that should be welcomed by all activist and well-meaning Nigerian citizens. No sensible citizens – elders, youths and women should ignore this onerous need to beat the bad guys killing people senselessly and awaken our current leadership to its responsibilities of protecting lives.

Nigeria is the only country we all have. Leaders must wake up to their leadership responsibilities to serve the citizens sincerely and effectively. And lest we forget, the essence of any government worthy of its salt is to fulfil the social contract with its citizens.

Provision of adequate security by the government should not be an exclusive privilege for a few public officials and their families, and or wealthy businessmen and women living in Abuja, Lagos and or in the secured areas of our various federating States.

Rather, states must provide adequate security to all law-abiding citizens, from Abuja to the remotest villages or towns of Tigno in Lamurde Local Government Area of Adamawa, Kadisau in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State, Ketu / Mile 12 market in Lagos State, the Niger-Delta region, Ogbomosho, Lafia town and to all other lands within the Nigerian geographical borders.

All citizens are entitled to a non-negotiable right to adequate security of their lives and properties.

The former president Obasanjo who had recently, given his wisdom and counsel on a series of lectures including the one on a post-COVID-19 developmental areas also mentioned security of lives, food and jobs amongst others in his 6-point focal areas that need attention.

We can’t agree more with Baba Obasanjo on all the areas he mentioned which summarily or broadly can fit into the need for the provision of adequate Security.

Our calls to actions, to restore security in the North and in Nigeria at large, viz-a-viz my recent open letter to Arewa governors and legislators, to set up a befitting security outfit that can complement the failing Federal or central security structure and apparatus. And thankfully and statesmanly, His Excellency Chief Obasanjo the father of democratic and political activism in Nigeria had bolstered our morale and take our little voices for ensuring good governance, justice, unity and provision of security for citizens, to go places. It is pleasing to have Baba at age 83 years actively leading us as usual, to ensure Nigeria is saved for our collective and shared the common good, by God’s grace and power.

As activists, our calls to actions were borne purely out of our civic, religious and humanitarian cravings to always prevent or stop, eschew and speak against evil and injustice, and or at least dislike it where we do not have the power or privilege to act effectively. Our calls are born out of our love for humanity, truth, justice and common good to all law-abiding citizens of Nigeria. These calls come directly, from the heart, and we are certain and encouraged by the unchanging fact that God Almighty will always be with the truthful persons and those who love justice and fairness. It is our hope and prayer that God admits us into the honourable company of those who do good to humanity for His glory and not the company of those who exploit and harm our common humanity for selfish motives.

It is my hope and prayer that God Almighty will empower us with the wisdom, strength and grace to accomplish our task of collectively rescuing Nigeria from imminent collapse. Of course, we should make no mistake, that this is not a journey for mere pomp and play, nor is it for mere political scores or gluttonous materialism that lead to unhappy life – because we ignored the principle is distributive wealth via charity and goodwill that ensures equity and a balanced societal well-being; rather all Nigerian citizens should consider this important and timely journey or movement: “security matters to all – no security, no Nigeria” – a daunting, but rewarding journey that we should all participate in person and in spirit and prayers ensure that our efforts yielded desired outcomes – restored equity, justice and unity of purpose in the Nigeria project and secure it from the evil tentacles of insecurity via the right and effective mass actions guided by prayers, wisdom, patriotism and the rule of law – as provisioned in the Nigerian constitution.

These ethics and principles should be emphasized, as responsible citizens with intelligence and conscience, for we cannot afford any more, to fold our arms and watch some unserious rulers – pushing (wittingly or not) the Nigerian state (that is hosting over 200million citizens), into a pit of hopelessness and statelessness going by the tacit and deliberate complacence that seems to only empower various groups of ragtag criminals to continue terrorising citizens across the Nation, while officials continue to budget huge amount and claim to be fighting a monster that seems to be turned into some sort of India’s cobra effect.


Salihu Garba writes from Yola