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EDITORIAL: TACKLING OUR NATIONAL CHALLENGE

From the events of the past weeks, it has become evident that we are facing a national challenge-and we are fast as a nation disintegrating both idealistically and holistically with our ethnic and tribal loyalty now stronger than our sense of nationhood. From the thoughtless killings by the Boko Haram insurgents to deadly protests by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), over the detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, that is already taking its tolls on the lives of innocent Nigerians.

But the latest episode signposting the reality that the nation is going through trials, tension and resentment is the recently organized roundtable by General Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, to among other things proffer solutions to some of our nagging problems, but was greeted by massive boycotts by the southern, middle belt and other groups.

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In our views, this development points to how deeply divided we have become as a nation and most fundamentally brings to the fore the inability of President Mohammadu Buhari to manage our diversity, peace, security and restructuring of the nation.

Like other well-meaning Nigerians, why we are worried about this occurrence is that while President Buhari continuously mouths his determination to preserve the union, the feudalistic and oligarch nature of his government is doing this country more harm than good and quickening its disintegration.

For example, right from May 2015 when he was inaugurated for his first term in office as a democratically elected President, President Muhammadu Buhari had left no one in doubt of his penchant for disregarding the Rule of Law.

To prove to Nigerians that nothing has actually changed, ”Abubakar Malami, one of the reappointed Ministers stood before that Senate and gave a general interpretation of Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution in an attempt to justify the Buhari’s government routine disobedience of court orders. ‘He made a disingenuous case for the superiorisation of national interest over private interest in a manner that ridicules the sanctity of court orders and Chapter 4 of 1999 Constitution on Fundamental Human Rights”.

The implication of this flagrant disregard of court decisions resulted in thoughtless detention of Colonel Sambo Dasuki (RTD) and Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the former National Security Adviser during former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration, and leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) respectively.

Specifically, this continued incarceration of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky has as a consequence, led to the recent violent protest in Abuja by his member and supporters- an action that left scores of people dead including Usman Umar, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and a National Youth Corp Member serving with the Channels Television reporter, Mr. Promise Owolabi.

As the Editorial Board and the entire staff of Ika Weekly Newspapers commiserate with these families that lost their dear ones, the truth must be told to the fact that; this was a tragedy deepened by the fact that it was avoidable if Mr. President had obeyed the court directive and released Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).

This is a failure that the Federal Government must share in its guilt.

What the President should also recognize in this leadership style is that his disobedience to the Rule of Law is presently depleting our nation’s reputation at the global stage.

As we know, just a few days ago, it was widely reported that dozens of Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) members held a solidarity demonstration against the continued incarceration of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, in London yesterday. The protest took place outside the Nigerian High Commission by Trafalgar Square

In the face of all these national challenges, we recall that the nation has a well functioning Ministry of Information and Public Relations Units as well as Mr. President having his Media Assistant.

This is commendable; we add that information management goes well beyond issuing Press statements. As a glance at the Mexican statement postulation on Public Relation will reveal that it involves analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counselling organization leaders, and implementing planned programs of action which will serve both the organization and the public’s interest’

The above should be the way to go. It will not be out of place if Mr President’s handlers go a step further to monitor and analyze these incessant agitations with the aim of unravelling their root cause and advising Mr. President accordingly.

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