By Adio Waziri
The biggest joke of the century is the so-called Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) which issued an ultimatum to President Muhammadu Buhari to stem the tide of insecurity in the northern part of Nigeria or face mass protest. Ironically, the group is one of the reasons insecurity persists in northern Nigeria.
A bunch of gerontocrats, who in their old age are claiming to belong to an age they have long crossed and are usurping the chances of the real youths in the society, have done more harm to the north than even some of the violent groups that have taken up arms against the Nigerian state. These mercenaries who hide under the guise of ‘youths’ to offer their services to political recidivists have again offered their discredited platform to the highest bidder to discredit the current administration. Their aim is to make the President Buhari-led administration look bad so they latched on to the recent security breaches witnessed in some northern parts of the country to make their kill. Unfortunately for them, however, this is one area people know they lack moral ground to issue any warning on as the leaders of this so-called Coalition have been the major cause of insecurity.
Apart from encouraging laziness through thuggery, they have by their over-reliance on renegade and self-serving politicians built an army of followers from among an otherwise innocent, hardworking and unsuspecting lot and have come to make them believe the only way they can make ends meet is through violence and sabotage.
This group has done the worst service to northern interests by taking away the minds of the youths from usefully engaging in productive activities like farming and another semi-skilled labour and putting them on the streets in the name of hired protesters and some times nudging them into acts of violence. They are like Boko Haram that made young and promising northern youths to abandon school and tear their certificates with a promise of an Eldorado in brigandage and opportunism.
The CNG cannot be absolved from the corollary effect of the drug abuse that is killing northern youths as they have made these young and hapless recruits believe that the only way they can do the bidding of these misguided elements is to take mind-bending substances.
The height of the chicanery of this group, however, was the ultimatum they gave citizens of Nigeria some time back to vacate the North not minding the social, economic and security implication of that statement. To them, satisfying their paymasters to have more zeros added to their cheques was more important to them than the peace and unity of this country knowing fully well that their statement would have led to a major crisis of great proportions if not for divine intervention.
It is this same set of people who want people to take them serious about the security situation in the north when it is clear to everyone that they are the problem. They cause a problem to happen and then hide behind one finger to pretend that they are doing something about it.
If that had been the only damage it would have been tolerable, but everybody knows that in this particular outing as in others, it is the voice of Jacob but the hands of Esau playing out and there’s no denying the fact that they are being sponsored by the failed presidential candidate of an opposition party, who is doing his best to discredit the current administration.
But that is not even the height of inanities. The stupidity of their position is exposed in the fact that they are issuing a threat to an administration that has done more than any other to secure Nigeria and every of its citizen wherever they find themselves.
The CNG does not know and will not appreciate the much the government has committed to ensuring peace and security in Nigeria because they have been busy going around collecting money from political opponents and making all manners of careless statements to check.
Neither would the group appreciate the much the government has done in terms of security when its leaders are busy misleading youths to abandon their lawful jobs to line up as thugs for politicians in the bid to line their pockets with filthy lucre.
However, CNG, even with its nonsensical posture and infantile pretence cannot say it did not know the efforts the current administration has put in place to ensure peace the last time it was asking certain citizens to vacate northern Nigeria.
If only they know the shuttles top government officials had to engage in to suppress the angst of people and the number of efforts by security agencies to proactively nip the threats in the bud, they would not have been opening their mouths to comment on anything concerning security in the next five decades!
To be sure, the current administration does not need any reminder, least of all from an irresponsible bunch of useless adult delinquents to show commitment to security in Nigeria. President Buhari made it clear even in his inaugural speech that security, alongside the economy and fight against corruption would form the focus of his administration. He has not disappointed.
The current administration has taken steps that dealt heavy blows on insurgency, banditry and related crimes. Troops recaptured all the local governments under the control of Boko Haram and checkmated the activities of criminal all over the country.
CNG cannot pretend not to recognize the efforts of the Inspector General of Police Special Team led by ACP Abba Kyari which busted several hideouts of criminals including that of the most notorious kidnapper in the country, Evans, and arrested him or Nigerian troops sacked the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists from Sambisa forest and established a base at camp Zairo and rescued school girls that were captured in Dapchi, Yobe State.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai to show the seriousness of the government towards curbing insecurity, relocated to the Northeast and has been fighting the insurgents with great success. Last week, when there was a security breach in Katsina, all the Service Chiefs went to reinforce their commitment which led to counter operations that destroyed the base of the criminals and many of them were captured.
The government did all these without waiting for any hired group to remind it of its responsibilities to its citizens. The Federal Government is alive to its responsibilities towards citizens and does not need a bunch of lazy adults who prefer to see themselves as ‘youths’ to remind it, hence they can keep their advice to themselves.
At the juncture, however, it is right to advice these elders who want to see themselves as youths that the best way they can help in addressing the problem of insecurity is to stop running to politicians for sponsorship on mischief and begin to seek gainful employment. They can lead the youths by example through farming and agriculture or by engaging in other skilled or semi-skilled labour.
Waziri is a development expert based in Kaduna.