Patriotism, commitment to nation building, selflessness, honesty and
love of the country are factors that distinguish nation looters
from nation builders. The recent #EndSARS protests which initially
commenced with patriotic demands ranging from addressing over-zealousness of the now disbanded police unit, Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS), and othercorrupt activities in the force later culminated into the wanton
destruction of lives and properties.
Although some people welcomed the idea but the likes of Asiwaju Mashood Shittu, a onetime presidential candidate of the Alliance National Party (ANP), saw it from another dimension which informed his attendance as a guest lecturer at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Media parliament in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital. He raised issues ranging from causes of violence and conflicts, communal crisis, youth restiveness, unemployment and the genesis of other societal vices. Before digressing into Asiwaju Mashood Shittu’s patriotic submissions at the dialogue meant to sensitise, educate and re-orientate the youths onthe importance of unity, peace, security and patriotism, the earlier
citizenry roles played by Shittu, especially in his home state of Kwara, cannot be put aside.
Recently, a team of experts from the Salute Nigeria Initiative paid a familiarisation visit to the Mopol Squadron in Offa,Kwara state with Asiwaju Mashood Shittu as their management board
chairman. During the visit, Shittu identified some dilapidated
infrastructural facilities like bad road, lack of electricity and
lack of proper architectural fencing. The visit was borne out of the
citizenry commitment and devotion of Asiwaju Mashood in the area of
security in the aftermath of the Offa robbery in the town recently.
The issues here are patriotism and commitment to nation building which have nothing to do with class, wealth, religion or tribe but patriotism andselflessness which are lacking in many Nigerians today. Above that,
same Asiwaju Shittu led a six-man team to Apomu in Osun state and Offa, in Kwara state on sensitization on insecurity, gender violence andCovid-19 at a time the country is facing menace of these three
factors mentioned. This confirms the astute leadership qualities of
Shittu who in his private capacity as a businessman has deemed it
necessary to contribute his quota to nation building at all times.
Shittu saw the #EndSARS protests as being blown out of proportion at a time when hoodlums seized the platform to loot,vandalise and steal properties. Consequently, he swung into action by giving the worthy
lecture as a guest at the NUJ Kwara State Media Parliament lecture. Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria started like this before theybecame failed states. So if the youths were not properly sensitized, the protest could spell doom for the country.The community policing initiatives of the incumbent Inspector General
of Police Abubakar Adamu Mohammed was not left out by Shittu during the salute Nigeria Initiative Sensitization in Osun and Kwara states. The topic also focused on the need for various Nigerian communities to rally round, support and embrace the community policing strides of the police in order to fight crime and criminality in all the nooks and crannies of the country.
The fact remains that the country is greater than anyone, no matter how
highly placed which is why the NUJ parliament sensitization recently
held in Ilorin needed to be taken serious. This is because going by the
submissions of Asiwaju Mashood Shittu, one could see that what peace
fails to achieve, the possibility of violence achieving it is zero.
This is a clarion call on all and sundry to embrace a patriotic nation
building instinct. Nigeria, according to Shittu, can be better again if we all join hands together to achieve development through voting for only credible candidates that can deliver democracy dividends. Since independence in 1960, no administration whethercivil or military has been free from unjustified criticisms. If we all embrace patriotism, selflessness and honesty, we would have drawn developmental blueprints rather than division along tribal and religious lines.Presently, some unpatriotic Nigerians are being sponsored in order to
destabilise the country; if Nigeria disintegrates, who bears the
cross? That is why community policing at this time is key where,
irrespective of class, religion and tribe, inhabitants of the various
communities across the country can also contribute their quota to
fighting crime and criminality. The Asiwaju example should be
emulated by Nigerians in the private sector, civil service, military,
police, civil society as well as other endeavours in order to move the
country to greater heights. Every citizen has constitutional role as
citizen police but are we living up to expectation? The answer is no.
Reasons for this are not far-fetched. Whatever the issue may be, not
everyone can become president, senator, minister or governor, which
goes to demonstrate that we are all important in nation building if
really we appreciate our togetherness and sovereignty as a nation. We
travel to other countries across the world and see how patriotic their
citizens are when it comes to the defence of the image and interest of
their country. If, according to Asiwaju Shittu, we all embrace peace, unity and self-reliance, relying on government will not be apoint of consideration. There exists a distinguished class of dignitaries in the military, civil service and private sector; it is all that possess credibility and patriotism? We have to get to theremote causes of demonstration, protests and unrests across the
country. Shittu emphasised the need to create employment for
the youths, empower them with soft loans and skills, prepare them for
leadership as future leaders of tomorrow’s Nigeria. Presently, youths
are being under-utilized which is why at every slight provocation
they react. It is time the government drew out plans to include them
in both the executive, legislature and the judiciary as top players
and not messengers. With the present arrangement, Nigerian youths are
not in position of leadership but position of followership which ought
not to be going by the adage that youth are the future
leaders of tomorrow’s Nigeria.
Baba writes from Abuja