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Southwest Security And Our Governors’ Dilemma By Abiodun Komolafe



Osun Economic and Investment Summit is reportedly  put on hold! Earlier scheduled to take place   between   25th  and   27th,  June   2019,   reports   had   it   that   the  postponement   was   not unconnected with the security situation   across the country from which Osun State is not isolated. 

If this is the true position, then, the decision was a buck well spent. Without being immodest, the Southwest as a bloc is in need of programmes and policies that can  help   it   recalibrate   its   socioeconomic  consciousness.     But   can   there   be  economic prosperity in the face of diverse development challenges on the socio-political-cum-economic front?

So,  needless to repeat that the just a concluded Southwest  Security Summit, organised to “sustain the status of” the region “as the safest to live, invest and recreate”, was timely.

In  their   separate     addresses   on   the  occasion,   Governor   Kayode     Fayemi   of  Ekiti   State advocated state police in “policing lapses in the country”  while Governor Gboyega Oyetolaof Osun State urged his counterparts to “invest heavily in technology  to be ahead and winthe war” because “security wars are fought and won on the altars of intelligence gathering,planning and implementations.” 

Well, it is no longer news that security is a current issue that has become relevant globally. The presence of it brings about prosperity while the absence of it leads to general social instability! Even in its narrowest sense, investments are secured only when the people feel secured.   

For   us   in   the  Southwest,   insecurity  has   for   some   time   become   the  greatest geopolitical threat and it is as if the powers-that-be are caught napping. 

Basically, growing population amidst  hemorrhaging economy, high rate of unemployment,poor,   or   decaying  infrastructure,     and   unholy     alliances    between   poor   budgeting   and implementation   are   some   of   the  hindrances   facing   security   in   this   part  of   the   country. 

Besides, bad governance, influx of light arms from neighbouring countries, porous borders,coupled with our politicians’  ‘use-of-thugs-and-dump’   attitude have also been seen to be responsible for  a climate of fear and insecurity. 

Others are unprofessional conducts that are capable   of   tampering   with   intelligence,  lack   of   21st   century-compliant equipment,   poor selection process and training, poor salary and motivation, and lack of intra and interagency collaborations among those that are statutorily saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property in the region.

Indeed, Nigerians expect President Muhammadu Buhari to proactively degrade this sense of shame that is currently troubling our Israel before he returns to Daura with his “reputation of integrity” in 2023. 

But then, history has shown without fail that the Southwest is one region whose rich heritage can't be blackmailed or contaminated with illegitimate steps.  

Owu war(1820-1827), Ijaye  revolt   (1860-1865), Kiriji  conflict   (1877-1893),  Ogun  Adubi(1918), Operation Wetie (1962),  Agbekoya   uprising (1968-1969), even the violent protests which   attended   the  outcomes   of   the  1983   elections,   have  presented   the   region  as  a   no-nonsense zone when it comes to the protection of lives and property of its people.

Let the marauders know that if Gani Adams wants to live true to his office as  Aare Ona Kakanfo, it is possible to invoke the primordial powers to come to the rescue of Yoruba land;but   that   may   not   augur  well   for   a   society   as   modern   as   ours.   

Why  did   I   say   so?   The geographical spread of the Southwest is not one where hoodlums cannot be fingered and flushed out because there are no abandoned or uninhabited lands in the whole region. Even,the hills belong to somebody! 

So, whoever doubts the powers of these ancient gods to act when their help is sought may end up blaming himself. It is therefore time the president woke up from his classic castle-in-the-sky  mode and does something before this crisis snowballs into wars   that are capable of consuming the entire country. 

Take it or leave it: if there is peace in the Southwest, there will be peace in Nigeria. It is as simple as that!The ‘DAWN Strategy Roadmap’ urges “the Southwest people” to “use the current national situation … as an opportunity to raise awareness and enlarge surveillance capacity”, based on  “local knowledge and community ownerships.” 

While I have no problems with State or community   Policing   as   a   way   out   of  this   crisis,   can   this   prescription   be   a  ‘cure-all’,indigenous strategy and how do we define its selection process and  ‘rules of engagement’,especially,   in   a  deeply confusing   clime  that   recklessly   places  personal   benefices   above communal  togetherness?  

Won’t  its   broth   detect  the   fragrance    of    the     frustration     and ‘order-from-above’   that corrupted similar efforts in the past? Can restructuring do the trick of tenderness and the freedom of healing in this interesting microcosm,  where ethnic and political divisions are deep; and where life is with each passing day becoming cheap? 

Above all, how far can the creation of vigilance groups   go as   a remedy   for insecurity in our region?As   Fayemi  remarked   at   the   event,  “all   criminal  activities   are   heavy   but   they   are   not unsurmountable.”  

To get out of this security mess therefore, the welfare of the officers and men who  are  putting  their  lives  on  the  line  to  secure  the lives and property of Nigerians must be prioritized while legislations which prescribe stiffer penalties for perpetrators of, and willing  collaborators in crime  must  be put in place and  seen  to be effectively operational. 

While not sparing social media users with bad intentions, activities of fifth columnists and disgruntled politicians who are criminally bent on rubbishing the government because it is being led by a Fulani man should also be looked into. 

The possibility of the so-called bandits being active members of the Boko Haram on a mission to source funds from the Southwest for its activities in the North East is another angle that must be interrogated.

If resources also permit, investments in technology to determine who rules us as well as  the establishment of Security or Traffic Radio to give information on the security situations   in the region   will  go  a long way in curbing the menace of  insecurity.   

Lastly, benefits  of installation   of  massive hidden   security   cameras   (CCTVs)    in  strategic   places   across   the southwest are also enormous. May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in the Southwest!


KOMOLAFE writes from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk) Abiodun KOMOLAFE,O20, Okenisa Street,PO Box 153,Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

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