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Opinions of Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Columnist: Felix Oladeji

Insecurity and Nigeria’s leadership crisis

SIR: Insecurity has challenged Nigeria, her economic development and leadership, like never seen in the recent history of the country apart from during the Civil War. In truth, everything seems to be at a standstill in large parts of the country.

People are groaning under the yoke of anxiety, and there seems to be no listening ear or solution in the horizon. Hopelessness permeates the land, and everything seems to be failing; our strength and courage are deserting us.

Apart from the frequency and intensity of deadly attacks and carnage, the insecurity situation in Nigeria cuts across cities, towns and villages, such that there is hardly anywhere to run to for cover. Lives and properties are not safe for urban dwellers, as well as for the rural dwellers. People live in grave fear and apprehension almost every day.

One of the responsibilities of government is the provision of security for the citizenry, which means freedom from the danger of threats to public safety. It also means the ability of the state to protect and promote its cherished values and legitimate interests, and the enhancement of the wellbeing of its people. The populace should be protected from both internal and external aggression. Currently, the country does not face any credible foreign threat of invasion, so our problem is majorly internal security.

When the government provides security for her citizenry, there exists and persists freedom from or the absence of those tendencies which could undermine internal cohesion and the corporate existence of the nation, and the ability to maintain vital institutions for the promotion of the state’s core values and socio-political and economic objectives, as well as meet the legitimate aspirations of the citizenry. It implies freedom from danger to life and property and the presence of a conducive atmosphere for the people to pursue their fair means of livelihood.

Nigerians must collectively come together and jointly find a solution to these challenging security situations that have put all of us on the edge. Government has a role to play in facilitating this national engagement. It is time to forget politics, ethnic divides, and ideological and religious grandstanding to seek solutions to this scourge that has held us captive.

Nigeria needs exceptional leadership at this point. Leadership during quiet and prosperous times is essential, but it does not bring out the best in us. It is at a time of national crisis like the one we have at hand that exceptional leadership stands out. It is at such a time that you will know leaders who have three of the essential qualities of true leaders – the ability to listen and understand the pains of the people they lead, empathy and willingness to accept that they do not have all the answers.

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