President Muhammadu Buhari
Buhari

The wanton loss of lives and properties in recent times in our beloved country Nigeria is pathetic, uncalled for, barbaric provocative and above all, a collective insult not only on our security agencies, but on our sovereignty as a nation.

A lot has been said but little or nothing has been done to address the very deplorable security situation in the country. The security situation in the country, like I had alluded in several of my pieces, has gone beyond mere changing of service chiefs.

There is a fundamental problem with this country and until all the issues are holistically addressed, we might just be toiling with a major disaster waiting to happen. The time to make the call for a national dialogue, aimed at setting the agenda to properly restructure this country is now or never. It is crystal clear that those perpetuating the evil are enemies of state and should be treated as such. The federal government must go beyond the usual rhetorics and spring into action in order to salvage the situation.

I strongly believe in the indivisibility of this country, and as a matter of fact we are better off as one united country as against a fragmented entity. But for us to foster unity, we must be ready to tell ourselves the bitter and unavoidable truth that the country is currently not working as expected. Once that is done, we can then take it a step further by identifying why the country is not working, after which solution should be proffered to address the age long challenges facing the country. However, this kind of conversation can only take place in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

Moreover, the dialogue must be a no holds barred conversation touching all facets of our national lives, discussing our collective fears and reservation about our unity. The dialogue must involve thought leaders; both Christians and Muslims, past and present political office holders, all political party leaders, security chiefs, traditional institutions, professional bodies, youth, civil societies etc. across the land from the south down to the north must partake for us to make headways.

This is not the time to sit on the fence, it’s either you are for or against the unity of the country. All well-meaning Nigerians must rise up in unison and speak out in order to stop the carnage going on in our country. It is also important to mention that where there is injustice, there can never be peace. Efforts must be made genuinely to heal the open scars that have refused to heal for several years.

Let us have this at the back of our minds, whatever happens to this country be it good or bad, it is in our hands. Prophets of doom can be proven wrong, if and only if we will come together to confront our fears once and for all.

Do not be deceived, Nigeria as a country is too precious to be divided along ethnic and religious line. Whenever the much-anticipated national dialogue will hold, I hope it will happen very soon, one critical and very important area I will like to suggest should be looked into and must be deliberated upon and expunged immediately from our national life is the issue of state of origin, it should be replaced with state of residence, this is just one among the several issues that must be discussed. For now, I will like to leave it at that, without necessarily going further. But one thing is certain, the dialogue will set us on the path for the much-awaited rebirth that this country urgently needs.

I dare to say, we as a nation are indeed, racing against time. Nigeria is currently sitting on a keg of gun powder waiting to explode any moment from now. This can only be diffused through a pragmatic, strategic and timely intervention by all the stakeholders in the project called Nigeria, where ever they may be on the surface of the earth.

In a time like this, one will have no choice but to appreciate, that artistes are indeed prophets, therefore I leave you with the song of Bukola Elemide popularly known as Asa:

There is fire on the mountain,
And nobody seems to be on the run.
Oh, there is fire on the mountain top,
And no one is’ah running.

I wake up in the morning….
Tell you what I see on my tv screen:
I see the blood of an innocent child,
And everybody is watching.

May this country not be consumed by the raging fire!

John Kokome
A Communication Strategist and Public Affairs Analyst writes from Lagos. [email protected]

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