In my previous essay on our lost villages and communities which has currently threatened the existence of our roots, I raised a question on how to take back our communities and restore our original life styles
which our forefathers inherited from their ancestors and eventually passed on to us.
From the various conversations and commentaries on the nagging security situation in the country, it is obvious that the entire country and people of Nigeria have come to a dead but not helpless end. The government agencies and security agents have capitulated and given up to the point of negotiating with bandits, insurgents, kidnappers, militants, dangerous herdsmen and other life threatening criminals in the
The consensus call is now on Nigerians to defend themselves. Since the beginning of the year and even for a greeter part of last year the print and electronic news and commentaries have been awash with
calls for restructuring, true federalism, state policing, regional security outfits etc. as a response to the current crisis. Even the minister of defence was recently quoted to have urged Nigerians to defend themselves from the various attacks prompting many to recommend that government should allow the citizens to own and carry guns.
The critical questions to ask now is, do Nigerians need further convictions that our government and its agencies are overwhelmed and unrepentantly seeking help from the citizens. Can the citizens continue
to rely on the government and or security agencies to protect lives and property, can Nigerians seek external help to bail them out. The answers to all these is big NO.
The stark reality is that these insurgents and life threatening criminal elements operating in our communities do not out number the indigenous people (inhabitants of the villages). If a community has a population of five thousand people, how can ten or twenty people threaten them simply because they
are carrying arms? Whether these criminal elements are Nigerians or foreign machineries, they cannot know the nooks and crannies of villages and communities better than the indigene. Hence in any war
situation the indigenes of every village must emerge victorious. The only missing link here is for every Nigerian believed to have originated from a particular village or community to accept that we are in a war situation and must emerge victorious. To be able to fight this war, every Nigerian must think home, embrace back to my roots ideological framework and back it up with the requisite resources.
In the last twenty years many Nigerians have made the cities their homes and abroad addresses and only travel to their villages during burials and festivals. Some do not even visit for several years during
their lifetime. There had been several instances where those in the cities request their parents and uncles to move over to the cities, abandoning their farmlands and petty trading lifestyle in the villages.
Retired civil servants no longer relocate to their communities after service to use their long years of urban, life and job experiences to contribute to the development of their communities. Do we now blame anyone else for the sacking of the villages by insurgents when every reasonable human being had
abandoned the villages to be continually threatened by few criminal elements.
The current crisis is a wake up call on all Nigerians to rise up and take back our villages and communities from these blood tasty hoodlums before our roots and villages of origin get extinct while we are still
living. It has now become urgent and important to recover our villages from these bad elements using the ‘back to our roots strategy ‘. The implication of this strategic philosophy and framework is that,
though Nigerians are down at the moment but not finished and cannot remain down. According to Stephen Richards, ‘the only time you (a people…. emphasis mine) fail is when they fall down and remain down’… I do not think Nigerians want to remain down hence the need to rise and defend
ourselves and take back our villages and communities. Bring back our brothers and sisters presently in IDPs across the country to their communities for normal lifestyle in farming and trading. When we do
this, the economic potential and activities of our communities would bounce back to contribute to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which our fragile economic profile now needs.
Currently cities are incapacitated to accommodate more people migrating from the rural communities to engage in commercial motorbike businesses, prostitution and or become destitute. There are
sufficient farmlands and friendly weather conditions to make agricultural activities profitable to engage
our teaming unemployed youths.
The good thing about the back to our roots strategy is that it encourages every Nigerian to identify with his/ her village or community of origin which we must all visit at critical moments of our lives. We can no
longer allow any stranger to dictate displace or terrorise us in whatever guise. It is easier to displace us in the cities because cities are artificial creations, our villages are our roots and natural gifts to our existence and any attempt to deny us this should and must be resisted. I do not think there is any
Nigerian without a village or community of origin. From the President to the lowest political office holder, the chief justice to lowest judicial staff, the senate President to local government legislatpermanent secretaries to lowest civil servants, Those in public and private sector organisations, military,
police and other security agencies and even the insurgents, we all have one village or the other of origin and must now go back to our roots. We do not have any other reliable solution but to individually and jointly go back to our roots which we must certainly return to either alive or in caskets. The likely but ridiculous alternative may be to remain and die in the cities and be buried there, and by so doing subject our future generations to searching for our burial graves in cities and locations where we did not originate from… what an embarrassment.
Analogously, elder citizens especially those who had served the country in various capacities and retired (65 years and above) should relocate to their communities to assist the traditional institutions and local authorities to maintain law and order. The rural communities can benefit from their many years of experience and expertise to deal with security threat that might arise. At this age residing in the cities is no longer productive as such would congest the cities and distract the productive class. Their presence
in the villages would lift the moral of the younger generations to become greater in life.The communities need their presence to uphold the culture and traditions of the people as elders.
The indigenes of every community know all the nooks and crannies of their geographical boundaries and strangers cannot lay genuine claims to this. What the inhabitants of our rural areas need now from all indigenes is support with necessary resources to keep the areas safe from intruders. Wherever you are and whatever you do give your contributions to your village authorities to equip the local vigilant personnel and youths to enable them secure our rural communities. Do not relax in your comfort zones in the cities or abroad and seek external help , our existence and destinies are in our hands and no body, not even the government and its agencies can guarantee adequate security of life and property more
than the citizens themselves.
If you think you are safe in your comfort zone and ignore this call, in no distant time, what goes round,
(they say) comes round and may be too late to confront. The time to takeover of roots is now…
Are you still wondering what Nigerians should do at this critical time to salvage this nagging security situation?
Professor Amagwu Ibeawuchi Francis Ph.D, HCIB, WAAD is Faculty Micro & Development Finance, Apollos University, Montana, USA,
Email Frank.Amagwu @gmail.com