The Imperative of Dialogue In Resolving Nigeria’s Urgent Issues, By Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar

3 min


0
The Imperative of Dialogue In Resolving Nigeria's Urgent Issues, By Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar


Today, we are at the brink again. In the last few months, tempers have run very high; reckless statements from ethnic champions have provoked all manners of reactions, which have subsequently led to the loss of human lives, and the property and livelihoods of many citizens. While this was fueled by the social media, the inaction of government has allowed many avoidable loss of lives to happen.
Nation building has always been a slow and painstaking process. This is particularly so when nations are created by colonial fiat. The colonial authorities used the divide-and-rule techniques, where insinuations of suspicions among different peoples and tribes were the main tool of governance. By disrupting the slow but sure process of social integration, they generate social tension which needs to be managed over time to avoid conflicts.
Our founding fathers have done a lot to ameliorate these challenges, heal a lot of these wounds and suspicions. Even when the bitterness planted led to civil war, the military leaders who brought the civil war to its end quickly created policies like that of ‘No Victor No Vanquished’, which did a lot to assuage the bitterness and douse the tension. Similarly, policies like the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), which gives young people the opportunity to live and know other fellow citizens, the unity schools located in different parts of the country, and the visits between leaders of the traditional institutions, including the holding of joint meetings, dialogue, etc. All these and many more went a long way to bring about healing, understanding and accommodation.
Our role as traditional and religious leaders is to educate and restrain our followers and other citizens, many of whom have not witnessed a civil war and hence glorify it with their reckless speeches. War is not something to wish for, even when you think you will eventually win it.
Unfortunately, some of these gains were eroded over time. Today, we are at the brink again. In the last few months, tempers have run very high; reckless statements from ethnic champions have provoked all manners of reactions, which have subsequently led to the loss of human lives, and the property and livelihoods of many citizens. While this was fueled by the social media, the inaction of government has allowed many avoidable loss of lives to happen. We must quickly learn our lessons. State actors who have the primary responsibility to protect lives and property must be alert and prompt in their duties and responsibilities.
Our role as traditional and religious leaders is to educate and restrain our followers and other citizens, many of whom have not witnessed a civil war and hence glorify it with their reckless speeches. War is not something to wish for, even when you think you will eventually win it. During my career as a military officer, my tour of duty took me to Pakistan and the borders of Afghanistan, where I saw conflicts and deaths and disruptions of lives, with people who were otherwise comfortable finding themselves in IDP camps with all the indignity and sufferings. Before then I was in Liberia and Sierra Leone, where I saw the results of a ravaging civil war, with inhuman atrocities afflicted on fellow citizens, which left deep scars on the psyche of these nations. And the most recent examples of happenings in Syria and Yemen are still fresh in our minds. In all cases, the conflicts disrupted their progress and destroyed their opportunities and they are still struggling to catch up with the rest of the world.
As educated elite, we must reflect deeper and learn from the history of other countries. Societal problems are human and we should be educated enough to know that we can solve our problems without having to carry a stick, much less fire a gun. No problem is beyond dialogue, even when you go to war, at the end of it all you must sit around the table to work out peace.
We need to appeal to our senses to realise that no one has a monopoly of violence, and returning violence with violence only multiplies violence. It is not bravery to attack vulnerable people when you can resort to the dialogue and the law; it is savagery. As the great African leader, Nelson Mandela observed, ”Great anger and violence can never build a nation.” Or as Jalaluddin Rumi, a 13th century Sufi would say, “Raise your word, not your voice, it is rain that grows flowers not thunder.” As educated elite, we must reflect deeper and learn from the history of other countries. Societal problems are human and we should be educated enough to know that we can solve our problems without having to carry a stick, much less fire a gun. No problem is beyond dialogue, even when you go to war, at the end of it all you must sit around the table to work out peace.
We need to reiterate our calls on government at both federal and state levels to act promptly, swiftly and decisively. Any inaction may be construed as weakness. Government must send clear signals and walk its talk. Traditional institutions, even as they have no control of the coercive instruments of state, can do a lot to restrain their people from taking laws into their hands, for these institutions enjoy the trust and confidence of their people. It is my hope that we shall all rise to the challenges, each doing his bit, and together we shall surely salvage our country and bring it back to the path of greatness that its potentials promise. We pray to God, the Almighty, to give us both the wisdom and the courage to do the right things, among which is the urgency of dialogue.
Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar is the Sultan of Sokoto.
This is the text of the remarks of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto at the 2021 Obafemi Awolowo Lecture, held on March 6.

Support ‘ journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to , you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401…



Source link


What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
6
hate
confused confused
4
confused
fail fail
2
fail
fun fun
1
fun
geeky geeky
0
geeky
love love
5
love
lol lol
6
lol
omg omg
4
omg
win win
2
win
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
Choose A Format
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format