Continued from yesterday
Assuming without conceding that some opinion leaders may not contemplate the impact of their negative socio-political comments and the extent to which their followers, allies and associates may want to act on them, such claims do not entirely divest them of the moral responsibility of decency of speech expected of them in the first place. In my honest opinion, secessionist movements have their opinion leaders, strategists and foot soldiers and this stratification is emplaced for the purpose of achieving their common purpose.
It is unassailable that Femi Fani-Kayode through his publications and statements in time past demonised the country and its leadership in such a way and manner that eroded public confidence and portrayed the government as weak and insensitive; this he did while equally identifying with these separatists in his capacity as an influential Nigerian but as of today, he enjoys the privilege of a relationship with the President. Premised on this and in the spirit of fairness as bon pour l’oie est bon pour le jars_- what is good for the goose is good for the gander, I strongly appeal that this same hand of fellowship be extended to Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho in the spirit of nation-building and peaceful co-existence.
Finally, on this point, let me stress to all that secession is not within the contemplation and competence of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and no President has sworn to an oath to uphold the Constitution will support same. Without prejudice to the genuine underlining issues, there is no gainsaying the fact that agitators resorted to a poorly conceived methodology; they are however not unrepentant enemies of the State that cannot be called for dialogue and subsequently forgiven, given the large-heartedness of President Muhammadu Buhari. This perhaps is the simple political solution that has eluded our decision-makers for a long time. It is equally important to note here that the convoluted nature of insecurity in Nigeria suggests that it will be in the overall interest of Nigerians to adopt some alternative ways of solving this protracted issue that has lingered on than necessary.
At the risk of sounding monotonous, I refer to the political symbolism of the Presidential acceptance of an erstwhile ‘enemy’ of the All Progressives Congress; Femi Fani Kayode. To be quite honest, my “friend and brother”- apologies to the dramatis personae of this piece Chief Fani-Kayode who has all but copyrighted the foregoing manner of expression in describing his friends and acquaintances-, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State confidentially gave me an insight about this reconciliation a long time ago but I doubted that it will ever materialize. The rest as they say is history and we await more cross-carpeting in this political season.
In this similitude, I strongly urge and appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, the father of the nation that as a matter of utmost national importance, he should extend forgiveness to agitators, repentant terrorists and bandits who are up in arms against the State. As the principalem repraesentativum_ and _numerus unus civis_ of the Nigerian State, it is well within his right to show clemency. I, therefore, implore him to give heed to the timeless message of that Shakesperean character, Portia, who eloquently waxed thus in Act 4, Scene 1 of the classical work, The Merchant of Venice:
“The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
_It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven_
_Upon the place beneath it is twice blest_;
_It blesseth him that gives and him that takes_:
‘_Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes_
_The throned monarch better than his crown_;
_His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
_The attribute to awe and majesty,
_Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
_But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
_It is enthroned in the hearts of kings_,
_It is an attribute to God himself_;
_And earthly power doth then show likest God’s_
_When mercy seasons justice”.
This intervention should not in any way be construed as suggesting an end to military operations in the affected states across Nigeria and especially in the Northern region. The psychological dimension of the warfare presumes that the Nigerian military can ramp up their operations by paying close attention to the current disposition of some of the already fatigued terrorists and their leaders. This of course is in line with the de-radicalization efforts of the military and beyond these efforts, it is suggested that the President can change the narrative of the war by offering a one-time peace-pact to some identified leaders and financial sponsors of terrorism as well as leaders of secession movements in Nigeria such as IPOB and Ilana Omo Oodua.
I conclude this piece by stating what I know is already obvious to astute and discerning, minds lest the perception of less-perspicacious persons seek to make of this suggestion what it is not: this proposed move cannot portray the President as weak but as an empathetic leader who is keen on ending the war in his final days in office thereby setting Nigeria on the path of sustainable peace and economic progress as a legacy for posterity.