It has been a momentous turn of events in the last week. Disturbing events and public clamour for a redirection has led to a shake-up in the personnel at the apex of the security apparatus. This initiative has been well received.
Recent upheavals have resulted in the expected showmanship mixed with rank opportunism as disparate tendencies, not all of them acting out of patriotic considerations, have jockeyed to gain public attention.
These times call for restraint and thoughtful responses. Mercifully, a most considered view has come from the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. Sage like the minister correctly pointed out the economic implications of the deteriorating security situation amidst the dislocation already caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This, he sensibly noted, has increased “the growth of anxieties about issues of life and death”.
What is important about Aregbesola’s position is that as a progressive, he is acutely aware that real peace can only be sustained with attainment of social justice and equity. Here, we are reminded of the central ethos of the United Kingdom’s Labour government under Tony Blair, the unambiguous commitment to be, “tough on crime and tougher still on the root causes of criminality”. A progressive, like Aregbesola famously associated with the need to create social safety nets as part of the internal security mechanism, is acutely aware of this and the government must put this at the center of policy thrusts.
This is the context in which to place the clarion call of the minister for proactive dialogue of “stakeholders” into a purposeful dialogue that will bring effective resolutions to the problem within “constitutional and legal frameworks”. His conclusion that we should be our brothers’ keeper is within the striving for social solidarity, so that “we work towards building a peaceful community that works for all, irrespective of ethnicity, religion and other forms of differences”. It is also within the admonition of the thoughtful prayer of St. Francis that, “were there is discord, let us look for harmony and when there is a dispute, let us look for the truth”. Kudos to the minister for a calming intervention.