A former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has cautioned the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), and the various state governments against treating genuine critics as perceived enemies.
Similarly, Makarfi also cautioned Nigerians against allowing their emotion to lead them into unguarded utterances against each other over the security challenges in the land.
This, the former governor noted, could be a recipe for loss of focus “which ultimately leads to doom.”
Makarfi argued that ultimatum and counter ultimatum to Nigerians living in various parts of the country was not the solution to the insecurity challenges bedevilling the country.
However, the two-term Senator noted that Nigerians possess the right to raise their voices against criminality perpetrated by anybody or group “while leaders must rise above sentiments and emotions” to tackle the situation.
This was just as he said politicising the current security challenges could be tantamount to the existence of Nigeria as a country, adding that no investor, both local and foreign, could venture into the country amidst security challenges.
Makarfi, a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, stated these in a statement titled ‘Tackling the current security challenges and the need for caution,’ authored and released by him in Kaduna on Tuesday.
The former governor expressed concern over the spate of insecurity across the country, noting that “Of all the challenges, to me, the biggest and most scary is the seeming breakdown of security in most parts of the country.”
According to Makarfi, issues of security require that all hands must be on deck and that governments can only tackle banditry, kidnapping and other related crimes, collectively with the people.
Makarfi said, “Governments at all levels must therefore lead the quest for us to get out of this quagmire by upping the ante and tempo of this fight against insecurity in all its ramifications. The rejigging of the security architecture and equipping it with all the necessary wherewithal is paramount.
“We, the led, must also realise that we have a part to play to ease the burden on the governments. And this we can all do by coming together, setting aside all differences, be they political, religious, tribal, geographical and any other, to launch a massive onslaught on this monster, which does not discriminate on who, where and when it attacks.
“A situation in which we allow emotions to rule our decision-making faculties, leading to incendiary remarks by some of us from all parts of the country who ordinarily ought to have known better is a recipe for loss of focus, which ultimately leads to doom.
” I, therefore, call on all of us, the leaders and the led, to put on our thinking caps and realise that we are all in this mess together and it takes the coming together of all of us to get out of it.
“All of us, across all the partisan and other divides must also guard against the temptation to politicise the issue of security. We must realise that we have to have a country before we can play politics.
“Leaders, political, religious, traditional, socio-cultural and others must also be smart and guard their utterances and actions, as the handling of some of the issues arising from some of the problems requires sensitivity, delicate balancing as well as the capacity to operate above the fray.
“It is in this light that I consider the issuance of ultimatums and counter-ultimatums to Nigerians living in various parts of the country by leaders and cultural groups across the divides as counterproductive and a far cry from the real solution to the problem.
“This is not to say, however, that agitations against criminal elements are to be ignored. People have the legitimate right to raise their voices against criminality perpetrated by anybody or group, while leaders must rise above sentiments and emotions by looking more broadly and more holistically at issues and their pros and cons, in order to ensure justice to all.
“I welcome the statement by the Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum to the effect that no ultimatum has been given to anybody by any Governor.
“I also call on the Federal Government to intensify its partnership with the states and other leaders to bring an end to the banditry, kidnappings and other criminalities across the length and breadth of our dear country
“Governments at all levels would also do well to be more accommodating of critics and criticisms and avoid falling into the trap of always looking at and seeing critics as enemies.
“Critics are not necessarily enemies, not even opponents; they just happen to see things from different perspectives.
“By engaging positively had him with critics, governments have the dual advantage of analyses from alternative perspectives as well as the opportunity to educate the critics on the insights to their own perspectives that the critics may otherwise be unaware of.
“I condole with families who lost dear ones to the various crises and criminalities arising from this situation of insecurity and also sympathise with those who lost properties or suffered any economic loss and also call on us all to support governments at all levels as they grapple with this challenge.”