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Security as nerve centre of patriotism, governance,and national development By Professor Olu Obafemi.

Prof. Olu Obafemi

 Being text of a lecture delivered at the Global Patriot Newspapers / Nigeria Consulate, New York / Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, New Jersey Chapter INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PATRIOTISM, SECURITY, GOVERNANCE AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT By Professor Olu Obafemi, a Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) award recipient and a distinguished Professor of English.

I considered it an honour to be asked to participate in this very timely and crucial International Conference organized by the online Global Patriot Newspapers. In the first instance, it is a vindication of the Media, particularly the social media, widely perceived and cast in negative and pejorative mould.

It also fulfills an essential function of the Media of agenda setting, proposing a path out of the doldrums.

I must congratulate the organizers of this patriotic intervention for assembling some of the best minds across vocations, calls, governance and interests on the national landscape for a National conversation on the way forward from the trauma in our body politic.

To begin with, I take security as central to the project of nation building.The nation is bedeviled with frightening challenges that threaten its stability, engendered by terror, violence and dystopia of dangerously, unprecedented proportions.It comes in myriad shapes: in the sanguine colour of Bọkọ Haram since the last decade and on-going, through which millions of lives- have been wasted, essentially in the North east zone of our nation, and across gender, creed and sect: mindless banditry, criminal abduction of large population of our youth, male and female, in the hideous forests of Chibok, Dapchi, Kagara, Jangebe, in Borno, Yobe, Niger and Zamfara states, and so on, by ransom- seeking criminals across the country. Such is the enormity of the abductions and kidnapping of our school children that the Federal government is said to be considering, in apparent justified concern, to relocate pupils from those hotspot states to other zones, which are themselves hotbeds of other acts of criminality. The herders’ and farmers’ conflict has assumed warring proportions. This situation has raised the national temper to the level of cynicism and despondency in the capacity of the state to secure the citizenry.

Insurgencies, insurrections, and self deterministic outcries by ‘people who may have lost faith in attaining their political objectives through formal and regular structures to resort to protracted, assymetric violence, ambiguities, the use of complex terrain ( jungles, mountains, and urban spaces to pursue psycho- social warfare’ (Obafemi and Galadima, 2012)– to subvert or dislodge the balance of power in the nation.

In sum, we are in a state of massive insecurity and the monopoly of violence may be shifting considerably, from the state security apparati to non-state and insurgent groups.

Besides physical insecurity, there are other dimensions which devolve on poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment, escalating social tension. The time is beyond rife to address the dynamics of insurgencies and other forms of anomy on our land. Factors engendering insurgencies, violence, the preoccupations, grievances, hate and its speech, resentments, the dearth of hope, aspirations, desires and cultural variables, rendering the nation vulnerable to insecurity and making, what a political scientist once aptly couched as the ‘stability of instability’ in our beloved country a pathetic reality.

If the nation is insecure, and the powers that be appear hapless, patriotism will be a far-cry. Patriotism abounds where there is a sense of fulfilment, safety of persons and property guaranteed and freedom from want and lack is assured as made imperative by our constitution. Patriotism equates unqualified love and loyalty to a nation.

Patriotism is double-edged. A situation where the governing elite is perceived in unpatriotic conditions through dysfunctionality, covert violation of law and order, patriotism and love from the governed will be hard to seek and to find in abundance. If the governed is both cynical and wearied by inadequate ministering of governance perquisites, their patriotism cannot flow. A nation where little value appears set to human lives and rendered meaningless, as death gallops in our streets, fellow- feeling, and direly needed sense of belonging die inexorably.

The nation’s commonwealth is widely adjudged unevenly and inequitably disbursed, to the detriment of merit and capabilities. Good governance is negated by acts of imbalance and inequity, which delete patriotism from the national radar. Faith and loyalty, in such setting, are transferred to sub-national and sectoral domains, at the expense of the nation.

The economy is in doldrums. No thanks to the Pandemic, two recessions in two consecutive quarters reflect a traumatized economy needing urgent salvaging.

This conversation and crucial dialogue is a clarion call for national reconstruction and renaissance.
Professor Olu Obafemi. PhD. NNOM. FNAL.


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