By Lilian Nwachukwu
I sat in anxiety as the yuletide season approached us. Thoughts ran riots in my head. I played out many scenarios as regards the likelihood of a disruption of the festive season by men of the underworld, as in times past. I refreshed my memory to the bomb blasts the rocked previous years on Christmas day and in churches and recreational centres in the FCT and its environs. I could only but nod my head in absolute disbelief.
Disbelief you might want to ask. Yes, I meant every bit of the word disbelief because of how time flies and indeed how when there is a will, there would always be a way. I counted three with my fingers (2016, 2017 and 2018) and not a single disruption of the yuletide season in Abuja. Not a single bomb detonated anywhere. There was no uproar amongst merry seekers in recreational spots all around the FCT and its environs. People went about their normal businesses without fear. This is unprecedented.
I have longed told all that cared to listen that God indeed loves Nigeria. The outcome of the 2015 elections that produced the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was indeed a divine intervention in my opinion. I believe the discerning minds would agree with. It is also not by accident that we have had three consecutive years of peace and tranquillity in the festive season in Abuja. And it is also not luck. Some people somewhere have paid the price, and this brings me to the very essence of this piece.
In some quarters, some have always questioned the constitutional role of the Nigeria Army in the sustenance of peace in any given society. They have also erroneously believed that the role of the army in Nigeria should and always be confined to the barracks. They haven’t given a thought that the enthronement of internal security and peace falls within the purview of the Nigeria Army. And this much they have strived to achieve from time immemorial. But the last three years have seen a more proactive and robust Nigeria Army in the enthronement of internal security and peace in Nigeria, and Abuja is just a case study.
If anyone told me some four years ago that there would be such a time where the security architecture in Abuja would be top-notch that people would go about their various business without fear, I would doubt it because of the reign of terror that has accompanied festive periods in the FCT. This fact is corroborated with the way and manner many people relocated from Abuja due to the high level of insecurity. I recall I stumbled on a piece written by a former Abuja resident who had to relocate in the wake on the high level of uncertainty but recently returned to Abuja.
As mentioned earlier, these things didn’t happen by chance, somewhere and somehow the price was paid just like Jesus Christ paid the price for us sinners on the cross of Calvary. If no one gave credit to President Muhammadu Buhari, I would give him high credit. If no one would also appreciate the efforts of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, I and my household would appreciate him. Some might be wondering why I am particular about President Muhammadu Buhari and Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai. Some might also be wondering what it was a spectacular thing that they have done to deserve such high praises. But I would say that, and just like I have always said that the solution to the myriads of challenges facing Nigeria is when our political leaders exhibit that political will. And once that is done, there would always be a way.
And one of such ways that President Muhammadu Buhari has exhibited a political will is in the appointment of the service chiefs, especially that of the Nigeria Army, which has never been so engaged in the enthronement of internal security in the annals of the country as in the past three years. In the past three years, the Nigeria Army has stretched beyond the elastic limit with various operations around the country simultaneously. But yet it didn’t flop. From the ongoing war against Boko Haram terrorist in North East Nigeria to the militant Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) in South East, and others too numerous to mention. The Nigeria Army has stayed true to its constitutional responsibility.
They have sacrificed their all to keep the country safe and secured. They have decimated the Boko Haram, even at great sacrifice with the number of casualties recorded. While this is unfortunate, it just goes with the terrain in warfare situations. They have also kept other violent groups in check. They have done quite a lot to keep the country safe and secured. And like I mentioned earlier, when there is a will, there would always be a way.
In my opinion, the best we can do in the very circumstances is to continually remind the troops that they are the real national heroes of Nigeria. And their sacrifices would never be in vain. For every night they patrol and lie in trenches keeping watch over us as we go to sleep, for the long days and months they spend away from their families and loved ones, every tears they shed for Nigeria, the majority of Nigeria and Nigerians would forever appreciate. It is only those that are ignorant that would not see this great work. And it also those that are myopic that would not agree that indeed President Muhammadu Buhari is God sent to rescue Nigeria from the brinks of collapse. If not for anything, let us learn to call a spade and spade in Nigeria. This is just a word of encouragement to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai and his soldiers.
Nwachukwu is president, African Mothers of Virtue.