By Andrew Huboshi, Jos
A Peace Advocate and Founder/Convener, the Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, Reverend Gideon Para-Mallam
has said the President Muhammadu Buhari led government seems to be suffering from a colonial mindset which requires an urgent reset.
Para-Mallam in an exclusive interview with Our Correspondent in Jos the Plateau State Capital, spoke about the suspended Federal Government’s Ruga Policy, among other issues.
He said, “The President Muhammadu Buhari led government is almost turning into a control freak!
“Ruga, unless it is revisited, redefined and subjected to rigorous healthy national conversation is sadly pointing in this direction.
“How does the government seek to solve some problems by creating more social combustion?
“How could our government appear so insensitive in strategic decision making? He asked.
According to him, “This government seems to me suffers from a colonial mindset which requires an urgent reset.
“Do I see any hidden motive in the executive bill? Well, I haven’t read the bill so it’s difficult to say. However, I dislike the smell of it. Coming so soon on the heels of the ‘suspended RUGA’ saga is needless overheating of the polity by the same government. What’s the rush for?
Para-Mallam who is an
Ambassador with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), maintained that, “We will just have to wait and see if the National Assembly members will serve the interest of the nation or not.
“Political party interest may not always align with our collective national interest. Worst still, an individual interest which is predated on parochial interest will only end up creating distance and alienation among the populace.
“Nigeria can do better, but lack of 21st Century creative problem-solving leadership is so glaring.
“Let the government humble itself and invite constructive ideas from well-meaning Nigerians to help guide this nation in such a turbulent moment.
“Crisis moment if well managed by the leader could result in transforming the nation. Winston Churchill did it in Britain during World War 11. It is possible also in Nigeria but only if our leaders put their hearts in the right place. God bless Nigeria! I remain for one indivisible Nigeria”.
Para-Mallam said, according to St. Augustine of Hippo, the great theologian from Carthage, Tunisia:“People hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is that they love more than the truth. They love truth when it shines warmly on them, and hate it when it rebukes them.”
“The Nigerian government should be grateful that people are still willing to tell them the truth however hard it is. Eventually, only the truth will set the leader and citizens free. Nothing less”, he stressed .
Speaking on the state of the nation’s security, the Peace Advocate said, “There are two dominant narratives. One is pro-government which suggests that the security situation is a normal challenge. Therefore, with this normative view, people should not be exaggerating the security situation in our country. Some even go to the extent to suggest that some Nigerians are portraying the country in a bad light both in and out of the country.
“Barely two months ago, the statement by our Vice President Prof Yemi Osingajo, in the US, over the hue and cry about the security challenge in Nigeria, which was followed by a more audacious statement by the Nigerian High Commission in the US; which went as far as to call Leah Sharibu’s mother and others liars regarding the security situation of Nigeria falls into such a narrative.
He further explained that, “More recently, is the statement released by the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria on the need for the government to take a tougher stand in addressing the problem of insecurity which is creating fear in the nation. I was deeply concerned, to say the least, when President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Femi Adesina issued a statement suggesting that the Catholic Bishops are instead creating fear on the minds of Nigerians by their statement and not the government’s handling of the security challenge. This is both shocking and painfully embarrassing.
“Are we back to the days of Abacharism and the Chukwumerije’s press shenanigans? He asked.
“The issue of security is too serious to be politicized in the way the government is doing”, he warned.
According to him, “The other narrative is those group of Nigerians who say that all is not well with Nigeria and that the security situation is frightening; making travels and even living in your own home unpredictable. Anything can happen while in your home or out on the road on travel. Therefore, Nigeria is very unsafe.
“Just recently, a Catholic Priest was killed in Enugu, in Kasuwa Magani in Kaduna State, a Catholic Priest missed both being killed or kidnapped very narrowly, but his security man was killed.
“Then 5 Pastors belonging to the RCCG Church and others were kidnapped on Ore Road in the South-West while this was on during the same week, some commuters in a bus were attacked on the Kaduna-Kachia Road not to talk of those kidnapped on their farms and homes in Kajuru Local Government in Kaduna State”, he lamented.
“Let’s act wisely and responsibly to make such attacks history in Nigeria. This to me is the only common sense and responsible thing to do.
“Today, such lingos as Islamophobia, Christophobia, Fulanization are showing up. Let’s call a spade a spade. If someone hates Muslims, condemn it as such. It is not right. Similarly, if someone hates Christians, condemn it. It is also not right. Naming it sometimes leads to shaming it.
“If you value your ethnic identity, then work to promote the right values and not insist on political correctness which only hurts us all as a nation”_ he advised.
“Those who live to protect the interest of these attackers and kidnappers today will leave to regret in future. The Nazis in Hitler’s Germany were urged into a frenzied ‘get-rid-of-the-Jewish’ mentality due to the dark clouds of anti-Semitism which hovered over Germany.
“But today such supporters must always cover their faces in shame as their conscience remain seared for the rest of their lives.
“Why carry such a hate-filled identity? He asked.
“The irony of it all is that those who hate are themselves hated which makes it a vicious circle”, he stressed.