Once again, Nigerians faced further attacks in the northern part of the country that has left over 43 school children dead. This is another great loss of innocent lives at the hands Boko Haram in the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi.
This month alone, we have lost more than 300 lives to the activities of these militant attacks. As a father, I feel every condolence message that is sent to grieving mothers, fathers or siblings on this wanton spate of killings personally.
As with all insurgencies, fighting Boko Haram is not just for the military to tackle. The success for Nigeria in fighting Boko Haram and terrorism in general is largely dependent upon two other key issues: leadership and political cooperation.
The first, leadership, lies squarely in the hands of the President. President Jonathan says the situation will improve but this isn’t instilling confidence in the rest of his countrymen. He must now urgently provide all the necessary resources allocated by our Government to help ensure our nation’s security. The President must also work together with the Governors of the State to ensure a unified approach to combatting this menace.
The second, political cooperation, is the responsibility of all politicians. We all must understand our duties as elected representatives of our people and cooperate politically to bridge region and religion. We must also appeal to the Governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, to all leaders from the region and to all opposition leaders to cooperate with federal Government. We have to fully support the military and provide all funds required by the security agencies. This must be a priority for both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
I believe that with the continued attacks in northern Nigeria, the support from each and every Nigerian is vitally important for combating violent extremism.
Nigeria will soon be approaching a Presidential election period but in my humble opinion the fight to protect people should be prioritised over domestic politics. Disputes between the central Government and local Governors will not help the already desperate situation.
As the scale of the problem in northern Nigeria is only just being grasped, we should welcome the offers of support and expertise for outside of Nigeria. The United States and other international partners have pledged support and assistance, but this will only work if we are unified. For the sake of the innocent lives our political resolve must be as strong as the military option.
The demands of Boko Haram can never be met because Nigeria is a multicultural, open and welcoming country. The military can fight them but defeating them will take more than guns and bombs. Success will only happen when every leader, Governor, Senator and the President sit together and combine their political will to put an end to these senseless killings.
Dr. Bukola Saraki, two-term governor in Kwara State, is a senator in the National Assembly. He contributed the article from Abuja.
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