PRESIDENT Buhari has made it clear; he wants to keep Nigeria one at all cost. He is overly prepared to wrestle any attempt to make him another Mikhail Gorbachev (on whose watch the Soviet Union collapsed).
Quite commendable, as no leader would want to see the country he/she presides over, disintegrate on his watch. At what cost? Human and material is the question most people are asking.
President Buhari campaigned on fighting corruption, curbing insurgency and boosting the economy, the Biafra agitation was never on the agenda. In any case, Nnamdi Kanu was relatively unknown to many outside the south east in 2015, so one could forgive the lack of preparedness. However, great leaders are often a product of the decisions they make when faced with situations they never anticipated.
The last few months have been tensed, Kanu’s following has soared, northern youths issued a quit notice (retracted a few weeks ago), and today there is curfew in Abia and Jos, an aftermath of the clashes between members of the IPOB and the Nigerian military.
To say that the country is gradually approaching a boiling point is simply stating the obvious with a bit of caution. The South East intelligentsia have expressed their discontent with what they believe to be an intimidation by the Nigerian Armed forces and have since called for the withdrawal of the troops in the interest of all. The south east governors have also banned further activities of IPOB and have admonished their youths to remain calm and civil.
In justifying the ‘operation python dance’ in the SE, one is usually asked, ‘if you were the president, what would you do?’. Well, if I were president, I would do the following:
- Visit the South East
The president has been in office for 28 months and has still not paid a single visit to the east. This only makes the people of the east feel like outsiders in a country they are supposed to be a part of.
- Deliver on the second Niger Bridge at all costs
Having interviewed close to a hundred Igbo friends, neighbours, colleagues and total strangers, the abandonment of the second Niger bridge, is to them an easy proof of the unfair treatment by the Nigerian government. Delivering on such a project will definitely win hearts and minds.
- Healing the wounds of the civil war
The lives lost during the war (particularly the 1967 Asaba massacre,) can never be brought back but much can be done to draw a warm embrace. Just like the Germans paid repatriation to Greece, Yugoslavia, Netherlands, Israel, and Poland, for damages during the world war, the Federal government can and should compensate the south east. This could be monetary or infra structurally.
- Avoid double standards
When you declare IPOB a terrorist group and fail to do same for a Fulani militia that has killed more Nigerians (close to 3000) in the last two years than even Boko Haram, it would be perceived from the prism of marginalisation.
- Engage Engage Engage
The president should be father to all and must be seen to make an effort to reach out. This is about engaging with the people personally and not by proxy (via press releases or spokes persons). The people want to hear their president speak to them with empathy and compassion.
But then, l’m not the president, so what do I know?
The post 5 things President Buahri can do to ensure peace, stability in South East appeared first on Tribune.