By Our Editorial Board
Universally, the military is eulogized for her ‘formlessness and spiritlike’ prowess. This attribute has stood the military far apart from other professions.
In the same vein, Sun Tzu, a great warlord of old reinforced this position when he once described the military as ‘’a Tao of deception, and thus, when able, manifest inability; When active, manifest inactivity; When near, manifest as far, and When far, manifest near’’.
But with the recent development coming from a great institution like our armed forces that prides itself as ‘the best of man’, calls for concern and has obviously become a reality that the entire nation now worry about.
From Operation Python Dance in the south-east region of Nigeria that left in its trail tears, sorrows, and blood, to now a decision to extend the military drill to the south-south and south-west in another operation tagged Crocodile Smile.
What the Federal Government should realize is that the above decision, as well as the steps taken so far, are not part of the solution to our nation’s nagging challenges but misguided and ill-advised. Using the military to handle a civil disturbance can only aggravate the situation.
Our leaders should realize that “Nigerians cannot afford to forget that public order, personal security, economic and social progress, and prosperity are not the natural order of things, that they depend on ceaseless effort and attention from an honest and effective government that the people elected’
It is GBARAMATUVOICE position that the federal government drops this military option and go around the hub to find a pragmatic solution to the nation’s challenges with the sole intention of reaching a truce with all the agitators littered in the nation’s political geography.
It is surprising also, as a conscious effort to unravel the picture of these enemies revealed that most of these so called enemies exists only in the imagination of the federal government. A useful example that points to this fact is the press statement recently issued by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and was signed by the group’s Coordinating Secretary Dr. Alfred Mulade which read in parts
‘’The threat of hostilities should not come at all, as PANDEF is committed to the attainment of peace and sustainable development of the Niger Delta region, hinged on equity and justice, by constructively engaging the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders, on behalf of the region’’.
If this statement is coming from the Niger Delta region, where then are the enemies the Nigeria armed forces are planning to drill?
Again, there is a very popular saying that what you love, you protect. We all know that our economy is crude oil dependant. Yet, the Federal Government want to move our military to the Niger Delta region where oil exploration is taking place. Chances are that this planned ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ if executed may disrupt the crude oil production and we know the implication on our economy.
Finding a workable solution to this national problem that is gravitating towards becoming a national calamity shall require all hands to be on deck: the Federal Government, State, Local Government, traditional rulers and the Civil Society Organizations (CSO).
On the part of our state governors, they should be reminded that ‘’there comes a time in life when silence is no longer considered golden but betrayal”. If there are states where some of their subjects are behaving in such a manner that will undermine the security of lives and order, it is their constitutional responsibility to call such group to order. Maintaining a grave-yard silence can never bring solution to this nagging problem.
In the same manner, our traditional rulers should rise up to the occasion by calling their subjects to order. We are well aware that every Nigerian no matter how highly or lowly placed is an indigene of a particular village or town as the case may be.
Similarly, the federal government should take a bold step and be shameless in approaching all these regions that are crying marginalization and find out what their challenges are in order to take solution oriented steps to addressing those issues.
Part of the above steps that the federal government needs to take, in order to calm completely the tension that may arise from the Niger Delta region is by ensuring a smooth take off of the planned Nigeria Maritime University sited in the region and the proper execution of the Ogidigben Export Processing Zone and Gbaramatu Deep Seaport also in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state. The Free Trade Zone, when completed according to report will provide over ten thousand jobs. That alone is capable of getting the youths gainfully engaged and by extension, quell the perennial agitation in that region.
In addition to the above is the fact that no community will be agitating when they are being provided with basic infrastructures.
For Maxi Nnamdi Kanu and his Independent People of Biafra, IPOB issue, let the government drop the military option completely and continue with dialogue as the only option. It is also time for the Federal Government to get the traditional rulers of the affected region involved in the conscious search for peace.
For the Nigeria armed forces, it is time to become professional again. It is not a very good development that our armed forces will be competing with our Ministry of Information and other information management agencies on who will issue more press statements. For some time now, the nation has heard so much from our military and our humble suggestion is that the hour has come for the military to maintain that needed silence which they are known for.
To buttress the above, it is of note that most of these jobs that our esteemed soldiers are leaving the barracks to do can better be handled by the Nigerian Police. We are very much aware that the military by their training ‘’do not know how to relate civilly with civilians and this has been responsible for the deadly clashes between them and the civilians’’
All factors considered, let the Federal Government start thinking ‘restructuring’ and start planning ‘devolution of power’ as our nation is currently structured and standing in an inverted pyramid shape with more power concentrated at the top and the base not formidable enough making collapse inevitable if urgent and fundamental steps are not taken. This state of our polity as it stands urgently needs to be revisited and possibly reversed.
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