The spread­ing, de­struc­tive wave of in­se­cu­rity in var­i­ous parts of the coun­try and which is the theme of the sum­mit, or­di­nar­ily claims a pride of place as it is a sen­si­tive is­sue that de­mands prime at­ten­tion

Sunday Trust - - VIEWPOINT - El­, Twit­ter: @el­nathan with El­nathan John ec­ceneljo@ya­ with Mon­ima Dam­inabo email: monidams@ya­ 0805 9252424 (sms only) El­nathan John.

as suc­ceed­ing ad­min­is­tra­tions failed to key into the en­ter­prise of their pre­de­ces­sors. As it is in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor so is it in health as well as vir­tu­ally all other sec­tors of the Nige­rian so­cio-econ­omy.

In deed it does not re­quire a sooth­sayer to pro­claim that much of the present wave of un­rests in the coun­try along with their at­ten­dant se­cu­rity chal­lenges de­rive from deep seated re­sent­ment among many Nige­ri­ans, which now find ex­pres­sion in ag­gra­vated protests and anomy - the very rea­son for the Na­tional Assem­bly Se­cu­rity Sum­mit. By it­er­a­tion it re­mains valid to ask if the present state of in­se­cu­rity could have been averted if the causative ten­den­cies of dis­or­der were ad­dressed early enough through di­a­logue. Per­haps the coun­try could have been singing a dif­fer­ent song by now.

It is there­fore by the same logic that the Na­tional Assem­bly needs to ex­plore the prospects of ini­ti­at­ing more sum­mits in other ar­eas of dis­or­der in na­tional life as the cen­tral in­sti­tu­tion for pro­mot­ing di­a­logue in the coun­try. It is not out of place to see the fed­eral leg­is­la­ture go­ing out of its way to launch sec­toral “man”. It makes it harder to achieve the one mil­lion num­ber. Not that any­one will be count­ing when thou­sands of per­sons storm Abuja to de­mand that you run for of­fice in 2019, but I just want to make sure that we get it right.

My sug­ges­tion is that you re­name it the one mil­lion march. At first I thought one mil­lion per­son march might open it up to women and chil­dren but then I re­ally think that if for ex­am­ple, some pas­toral­ists want to march along with their cows, we should have the de­cency to count their cows as part of the march. Be­cause it is hard to force a cow to do any­thing and their will­ing­ness to march for you should not be taken for granted. Also think of the peo­ple who will stroll out with their fancy for­eign dogs. I hear that in the po­lice force, dogs in the ca­nine unit have ranks and are treated as part of the force. So we should be able to count the dogs which will ac­com­pany their han­dlers to urge you to save Nige­ria by rul­ing us un­til 2023.

Also, these days that we have a lot of peo­ple who are nei­ther male nor fe­male it is im­por­tant to in­clude all of these in­di­vid­u­als in the march. And we can­not name it one mil­lion in­di­vid­u­als march. First, for the an­i­mals I men­tioned above and even if you call the an­i­mals in­di­vid­u­als, it is such a messy name. The One Mil­lion March is short, punchy and dis­crim­i­nates against no one. out­reaches in the con­text of sum­mits on var­i­ous as­pects of na­tional life. If noth­ing else the level of an­guish among Nige­ri­ans in re­spect of which the av­er­age ci­ti­zen feels aban­doned by the gov­ern­ment dic­tates so. Con­tem­po­rary street life in Nige­ria has de­gen­er­ated to an abysmal level that seems largely un­no­ticed by the op­er­a­tives in the ex­ec­u­tive branch. Who comes to the res­cue of the com­mon man is the leg­is­la­ture. And when the leg­is­la­ture fails in that re­gard, the peo­ple suf­fer without respite as it is in Nige­ria to­day.

The im­per­a­tive for the Na­tional Assem­bly to reach out to Nige­ri­ans as a body and di­rectly is jus­ti­fied by sev­eral fac­tors. Pri­mar­ily as the con­sti­tu­tion­ally des­ig­nated first arm of gov­ern­ment at the cen­tre it has a more than a vi­car­i­ous re­spon­si­bil­ity to guide the process of gov­er­nance at ev­ery tier of gov­ern­ment. The con­sti­tu­tion gives it the pow­ers to act as duty bound to demon­strate more vis­i­bil­ity be­fore and as­sertive­ness on be­half of the pub­lic. It can there­fore de­velop pro­grammes with which it can col­lab­o­rate with vir­tu­ally any other stake (s) in the coun­try, to push the agenda of good gov­er­nance for­ward.

Leg­isla­tive sum­mits in other parts of the world serve as ram rods for push­ing through crit­i­cal po­lit­i­cal agen­das whose suc­cess de­pend on con­sen­sus. For a coun­try as rich in va­ri­ety of plumages as Nige­ria in the con­text of the var­ied an­tecedents of its con­stituent eth­nic groups, the ul­ti­mate div­i­dend from the leg­is­la­ture is to blend them in the spirit of unity in di­ver­sity. We need to do this march for many rea­sons. First, it will help hun­gry Nige­ri­ans who do not have em­ploy­ment. We all know that when you are busy you can some­times even for­get that you are hun­gry. Also, the colours of the mil­lion will make those who are mourn­ing --- from hav­ing rel­a­tives who have been kid­napped, rel­a­tives who have been shot dead by rob­bers, rel­a­tives who have been slaugh­tered in herder­farmer clashes --- for­get their sor­rows and cel­e­brate your right to rule Nige­ria un­til it be­comes al­most phys­i­cally im­pos­si­ble. We also need a march for health rea­sons. I mean we may not all lose weight, but it will help with blood flow. A walk­ing man can­not be an an­gry man. It is my hope that there will be singing and danc­ing at this march. I can’t wait. I am al­ready think­ing of which com­fort­able footwear to use for this amaz­ing oc­ca­sion.

Pps. My weekly re­minder: Please think of the Shi­ite man who is still in prison, whose chil­dren and fol­low­ers we mas­sa­cred and buried in Kaduna. Do not let him die in your cus­tody. It is never too late to do the right thing. Es­pe­cially now as we en­ter 2018. Re­lease him, his wife and his peo­ple. Es­pe­cially as we flag off this 2019 cam­paign sea­son. We can even use it to score po­lit­i­cal points. I know you want to. Hugs.

Yours un­til 2023 and for­ever

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