13th September, 2017
It’s a known fact that the role of elders in ensuring social stability cannot be over-emphasized because like our people say, when a young man is cutting a tree in the forest, it is the elders that know the direction that the tree will fall due to experience.
Thus, according to a popular Yoruba people of South West Nigeria proverb, “Agba kii wa loja, ki ori omo tuntun wo” literally meaning that the role of elders in any society is to guide and mentor the young generation in conformity with societally approved conduct either in speaking or activities for general well-being.
However, going by recent developments in our land, there is need for all hands to be on deck to prevent these elders from plunging the country into chaos by taking advantage of the innocent and unsuspecting youths through incitement to violence for interest other than the collective.
Since the assumption into office of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration on May 29th, 2015, we are all witnesses to a sustained campaign of blackmail and calumny by persons and groups who have been politically and economically displaced to incite and cause public disaffection at the slightest opportunity.
Having failed woefully to sell a dummy to the people prior to the 2015 general elections by threats and inducements and following the loss of their candidate and interest at the polls via the votes of the citizenry, these persons and groups have been strenously and futilely executing plots of Nigeria will not know peace by comments and actions which threaten national security, but by God’s grace they will continue to fail.
Only recently one of the members of one of these groups in the South West of Nigeria, hell bent on mischief and provoking chaos was so frustrated by the futility of their plots that he was quoted as saying that there will be no election in the South West of Nigeria in 2019 if the country is not restructured.
The irresponsible and barbaric statement of this elderly citizen can be aptly summarised and captured in the words of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who at the twilight of his administration, described some elder statesmen as behaving like motor park touts, nothing can be further than the truth which the statement reinforces.
And just yesterday, Ohaneze Ndigbo was reported in the media as calling on the Nigerian military to withdraw from it’s operation Python Dance II in the South East states, meant to address issues of insecurity such as assassinations, attack on security personnel, theft of weapons, violent agitations, armed banditry and kidnappings.
The group alledged that the operation of the military which is in line with it’s constitutional mandate of ensuring national security is meant to intimidate the people of the South East because of their agitations.
What an irresponsible, barbaric, reckless, provocative, crude and an affront to the national security and soverignty statement from this group that has shown clearly with time that it has lost focus and responsibility to the collective interest of the people of the South East region of Nigeria.
For the education of this group and it’s followers, the primary responsibility of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is to ensure the safety of lives and property within the geographical territory of Nigeria and where a government fails in exercising this function, that government is deemed to have failed.
The armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria symbolizes the integrity and sovereignty of the Nigerian state and the territory of the South East states where this operation Python Dance II is taking place is within the geographical jurisdiction of the Nigerian state.
For all we know, the South East region of Nigeria is made up of Abia, Enugu, Imo, Anambra and Ebonyi states and so one wonders why the Ohaneze Ndigbo is using the excuse of the alledged skirmish between it’s affiliate organization IPOB and the military in Abia state as a tool of blackmail, intimidation and affront to the sovereignty of the Nigerian state which is condemnable.
As the military operations continues in the South East states to address the insecurity in the region of which every part of the country is affected, one would like to admonish the military authorities to harp it into the consciousness of its personnel to remain focused, professional and unprovoked by the antics of agents of destabilization and their sponsors.
One also calls on the Federal Government to remain resolute and committed to the peace, unity and development of the country and not succumb to threats, intimidation and blackmail by persons and groups threatening national security.
However, one wants it placed on record that Ohaneze Ndigbo should be held liable for any breakdown of law and order in the South East states of Nigeria as a result of it’s inflammatory, reckless and threat to national security call on the military to withdraw from addressing insecurity in the region.
On a final note, one would like to call on men and women of conscience to educate, sensitize and prevail on the youths in the South East region not to allow themselves to be used as instruments of violence by interests who are more concerned with parochial interest other than the economic development of the people and the region which has for long suffered untold neglect until now.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nelson Ekujumi, Executive Chairman, Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM)