A number of state governors, including those in opposition, are having the “eyes of their understanding” opened, as it were, to see the enormity of Nigeria’s security challenge and what needs to be done. Before now they had seen it as the problem of the federal government or President Muhammadu Buhari alone. They began a blame game while their states burned. But now they appear to “have seen the light”, that is, the truth. This long delayed revelation may be the beginning of a solution to the insecurity in the land.
The first to come to this realisation are Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai and his Sokoto State counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal. The two on Tuesday called for “a collective action to end banditry.” They were reflecting on the security situation when the Kaduna governor visited Sokoto to condole with Tambuwal over the death of Hajiya Aishatu, daughter of the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello.
The two governors stressed the need for states to cooperate in tackling banditry and kidnapping. In a statement by Tambuwal’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Malam Muhammad Bello, El-Rufa’i commended Tambuwal’s commitment to the pursuit of peace and security, especially in the Northwest. He said the region’s governors have been working closely with President Muhammad Buhari to end banditry and kidnapping in the zone.
El-Rufai said the Sokoto governor’s role in tackling banditry has been fraternal and unbiased. “I want to express my appreciation to Governor Tambuwal for cooperating with us in a totally, brotherly and non-partisan manner to bring the whole of the Northwest together… There is concern on the sufferings that people face, as they have been going through difficulties because of these attacks occasioned by bandits. In Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and parts of Kebbi and Niger states, our people have been going through trials and tribulations arising from the activities of bandits.
“As governors, we have been meeting, putting our heads together to do the best we can. The last meeting we had was last Thursday with the President. We expressed our concerns and came up with a critical road map to end this banditry in our region once and for all.”
Tambuwal said the security challenge in the zone was worrisome, adding that “it is a great source of concern to all of us.” He lamented the murder of a Divisional Police Officer and eight policemen in Kebbi on Monday and the recent attack on people in Dange local government area of Sokoto state, where lives were lost. He added: “We must all put our hands on deck to ensure that we nip this thing in the bud. As you rightly said, we have been working together and collaborating. There’s no issue of partisanship. Our security and development has nothing to do with party. It is all about the people that we represent. I’ve always said there should not be politics in development and dealing with security issues. We must remain one to confront the bad elements among us. They came together to fight us, so we must come together to fight them.”
Those are the voices of reason, not blind political aficionado. Their partisan colleagues like Benue’s Samuel Orton would do well not to see insecurity as President Buhari’s problem alone but work with him to solve it. It is only this self rediscovery that will save us all.