Who is in charge of the Southeast?

Ogunsakin Mustapha
4 Min Read

By Sam Amadi

Who is in charge of the southeast? The Governors should be. But they are not. They lost that power through their lack of leadership. Their failure to respond to the agitation of their people and to communicate compassion, resolve and courage has led to a situation where a non-state actor now determines when to stay at home and when to go to work.

This is terrible. I understand that our children are supposed to take a national examination today. Parents will be petrified to send their children to school to take the exam because of the possibility that some non-descript persons may harm them. Of course, there will be no security for them. Security officials protect government people and institutions only. These children will run the risk of losing one year of their lives , not to a pandemic or natural disaster, but to a man-made disaster- failure of leadership.

If I am the governor, I will be the one in charge, not IPOB or any other person or group. I will protect the rights of these children to take their exams. Being in charge starts from taking action to protect the lives of the youths in your state from extra-judicial killing.

It is a terrible failure of leadership that hundreds of youths , including IPOB members, have been killed in the southeast and no Governor has instituted a judicial inquiry and asked his AG to file criminal charges against some high officials of the security agencies who are implicated.

This is what I am trying to do by a private citizen action at the Federal High Court Enugu., in respect of the Emene killings. The hearing comes up later this month, after many procedural delays. But that should be the work of the AG not me.

Because the Governors have largely betrayed the hopes and aspirations of their people they lack the credibility and public support to play their statutory role to be fully in charge of their states. They lack the social capital for real and effective leadership. A few do not have a real mandate to become responsible and respected leaders. A few have depleted that credibility through series of unforced errors .

Let’s state the truth. People and groups should have the right to peaceful protest. But no one or group should have the right to shut down a state and prevent citizens from undertaking legitimate private businesses. That is lawlessness. Not even the government has a right to shut down a state and prevent children from taking national examination.

The most governments can do is to declare public holidays. People will still have to right to determine what to do on a public holiday. You don’t force people to stay indoors. That is crazy and violative.

But we are here now in situation where there is neither leadership nor logic. If there was either, the Governor of Abia should have written to the Federal Attorney General to explain how its citizen was illegally brought to Nigeria to face trial. He would be actively defending the right of that citizen against an illegal trial.

We have abandoned the rule of law. And where there is no rule of law, there is no leadership. And where there is no leadership, the people become victims of dictatorship, by the state and non-state actors.

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