TAI SOLARIN, the irrepressible social activist and critic of blessed memory, once said he would prefer to be flown by a pilot who had survived an air crash before to one who had not. Asked why, he said the experienced aviator would easily overcome any threatening challenges, while the unexposed one might fail. The experienced pilot had seen it all, and wouldn’t panic at the occurrence of a mighty turbulence, unlike the other who, in a state of mortal fright, might plunge the aircraft and its human cargo into the abyss of darkness.
This great nationalist and educationist was simply saying that experience is the best teacher. He was telling his compatriots that we must respect men and women in our midst who, in the course of their long public and private engagements, have amassed great know-how the society could count on to salvage its citizens and institutions from grave problems.
These were the considerations of the promoters of the Sultan Maccido Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja, as the body staged its 2nd Annual Colloquium on Wednesday, April, 7, 2021 in the nation’s capital. The talking point was the country’s security challenges and their toll on the people and its economy. The Maccido Institute, following the counsel of Solarin, reached out to Gov. Gboyega Oyetola whose state, Osun, has been ‘’widely regarded as one of the safest states in Nigeria’’ to apprise us of his experience.
Oyetola told the nation that the quest for a sustainable peaceful society must be prioritized as the collective responsibility of all citizens. After Oyetola asserted that security breeds peace, economic and other developments, political stability and good governance, he provided the converse: insecurity is a destroyer of these desirable indices.
The governor then opened up on how Osun has earned its fame as a peaceful state: ‘’Delivering security is not a task for the government alone. Corporate bodies and Non-Governmental Organisations need to partner with government to achieve success. Business thrives in an atmosphere of peace. Business concerns must join government to restore peace to the regions of the country…
“Our Administration organized town hall meetings in all communities under the leadership of our traditional rulers to brainstorm on how to mitigate crisis in those communities and to ensure peace and good neighbourliness. We also leveraged on our existing Committee on Peaceful Co-existence between Bororo/Fulani and Farmers to resolve issues between herders and farmers to ensure smooth relationship between them.’’
According to the governor, these arrangements were also in place by the time the destructive EndSARS protests erupted in the final quarter of 2020. He said his administration summoned these conflict-resolution mechanisms to put the situation under control. The government engaged them to dialogue with the enraged youths brought back peace to Osun. As he led us into how he is 8transforming Osun into a safe haven, Oyetola also called for the decentralisation of the Nigeria Police in dealing with insecurity, more effectively, nationwide.
It is clear, from the experience of an administrator who has seen it all with evidence of success in his state that the way out of the present insecurity quagmire is to work out a synergy of stakeholders who would come to the table of partnership with government with their ideas and enthusiastic patriotism.
This is no longer a season when governments and their bureaucrats and politicians should assume a monopoly of wisdom. Rather, we are at a point, where, as shown by Oyetola at the Maccido Institute lecture, ‘’our leaders and professionals, including traditional rulers, political leaders, academics, religious leaders and corporate leaders (must) constantly collaborate to brainstorm on ensuring peace in the nation.’’
That is the template that pushed Osun into the league of one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria. It has engendered a stable polity which in turn is allowing for an atmosphere to create jobs opportunities, social cohesion and economic growth. It is formula that can work for other states and the country at large.
OYATOMI is the Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in the state of Osun
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