By John Amoda
THE Assembly described by the conveners of the confab on insecurity as the “national family meeting” was scheduled for July 2 and 3 at Uyo. It was also called a political summit on the future of Nigeria. The Vanguard Monday, June 24, 2013 titled its report thusly:
Confab on Insecurity: Soyinka, Sule, Anyaoku, Clark, others storm Uyo
The national family meeting has been reschulded to enable the conveners accommodate requests of those who want to be part of the Assembly of the Nation in Uyo.
The two day summit has as its theme: “National Security and Political Stability.” According to the conveners, the summit is being convened to douse the tension created by the emergency situation in the country.
Kura, Head of Communications, the summit secretariat, says: “The summit is being convened against the background of the current challenges facing our dear country, Nigeria in the areas of national security and political stability.
The emergency national consultative meeting is designed to bring together distinguished statesmen, government functionaries, political and religious leaders of thought from the six political zones, to discuss and negotiate an agreed modality to securing the stability and future of Nigeria”.
The gathering will indeed be a representative assembly of the nation’s most valuable asset of intellect, visionaries, experience, proven integrity, and patriotic zeal.
The list begins with the President to lead the distinguished presence of former presidents/heads of state, their deputies, leaderships of the National Assembly, state governors and ministers, including First Republic Minister and Chairman, Northern Elders’ Forum, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, the Chairman of The Patriots, the legal icon, Prof Ben Nwabueze (SAN); Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka (lead speaker); General T.Y. Danjuma, Dr Alex Ekweme, Chief Edwin Clark,Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Ambassador Christopher Kolade, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Alhaji Aliko Mohammed, Chief Philip Asiodu, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), Prof Akin Oyebode.
The list is a representative assemblage of the nation’s best, brightest and passionately and courageously committed not only to the survival and stability of the nation but to its thriving and enduring prosperity. It is a veritable ‘Who is Who in Nigeria’. All zones, all sectors, private, media, technocratic, governmental and political are represented. All are proven and effective articulators of the interest of the nation. The danger to the nation contained in its present circumstances compels the convening of this “national family meeting.”
The report’s Introduction is an economic summary of the purpose of the conveners. “Disturbed by worsening insecurities and political tension in the country ahead of the 2015 general elections, eminent leaders of thought, statesmen and politicians across the six geo-political zones will converge on Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Capital, next week to chart the way forward.
They will gather at Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts between July 2 and 3 for a political summit on the future of Nigeria, convened by Project Nigeria-National Consensus Group”.
At this point it is pertinent to ask what exactly is the present condition and crises of Nigeria and what opportunities for redirection does the nation’s condition provide for this particular intervention and how are the nation’s crises to be managed to allow for planning and piloting of ways forward? The objectives of the Confab are not modest.
The Assembly of the Nation is called with “a view of kick-starting a profound process of national consultations and political negotiations capable of fostering enduring solutions to the heightening tension in the country”.
It is therefore of critical importance to ascertain what are the assumptions with respect to the prevailing national crises that inform the convening of the consultation meeting to plan the way forward for the country. Events in the country portray the Nigerian society as a society threatened with anarchy and a government fighting an insurgent civil war.
The insecurity to be addressed at the Uyo conference is therefore not a challenge to be fixed through reform. What confronts the citizenry is a society described in terms of anarchy. The Sunday Comment on THISDAY May 12, 2013 editorial page written by the Editor, Peter Ishaka is titled: ‘Averting a Slide into Anarchy’: “These are trying times as criminal gangs are on the rampage.
There is urgent need to contain the danger”. Peter Ishaka writes: “No fewer than 55 persons were killed last Tuesday when suspected Boko Haram militants invaded and attacked separate security formations in Bama, a border town in Borno State, freeing 105 prison inmates in the process. Among the victims were 22 policemen, 14 officials of the Nigerian Prison Service and two soldiers.
On the evening of the same day, another group of religious militants said to be worshippers of a local deity called ‘Ombatse’ ambushed and killed 43 policemen and several operatives of the State Security Service, SSS, in Lafia, Nasarawa State. At the time of writing this editorial, many policemen were still unaccounted for. So within the period of 24 hours, 65 policemen, 14 prison officials and two soldiers were officially confirmed to have been murdered by some bandits in two states with the fate of several others still unknown….
Against this backdrop that men and women in uniform embody the state, it should be obvious to the authorities that the situation where official armed personnel could be so cynically executed poses a serious threat not only to the security of citizens but also to our corporate existence as a nation”.
These two killings occurring within the same day involving two radically different killers in two different states are alarming in their scope and ordinarily are indicative of a society ill secured. The societal crisis in Nigeria is characterized by the fact that these two killings are not extraordinary or shocking events but part of what has now become a routine of armed violence.