With a Dazzling Gaze on the Sky, “Where Do We Go From Here?” Nigerians Cry Aloud – Kefas Lamak

More than at any other time in the history of Nigeria, the country’s security, stability, and freedom has been threatened, endangered, and tampered with in the last few years. Terrorism and banditry have regularly increased in the North, the Middle Belt, and some parts of the country’s southern regions. It is clear on the faces of ordinary Nigerians that they are helpless, having faced continuous insecurity challenges. Nigerians are helpless in all facets of life.

First, they have no direct access to people in authority when their lives are endangered. Second, they have few resources or the means of reporting their experiences to media houses and even the international community. So, they are voiceless and helpless. Last, there is a limit to how they can defend themselves when attacked by terrorists or bandits. As of early 2023, there are Nigerians in different states across the country whose ancestral homes have been snatched away by terrorists and bandits, especially in villages. Most victims of terrorism must live in IDP camps with nothing, and only food provided in the camps. In search of a solution, most Nigerians are asking, “where do we go from here?” in a thunderous voice.
Martin Luther King Jr. was the first to coin the phrase, “where do we go from here?” which is also the title of a speech he presented to the SCLC Convention during the Civil Rights Movement of 1955-1968. He presented this speech in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1967, raising questions on national issues like racism, marginalization, injustice, and segregation of minority groups in the United States. Ever since, many international social justice groups and national freedom fighters have used this same question to reflect on challenging times in people’s lives, especially when dealing with national issues. So, since Nigeria’s current security challenges are not improving, we all need to come together and ask ourselves this same question: “Where do we go from here?”

My thinking differs slightly from Martin Luther King Jr. because I am asking questions on issues relating to migration, immigration, and transmigration. Should we flee our homes, villages, and cities because our lives are no longer secure? Should we continue to live in fear even in our ancestral homes?

Historically, Nigeria was applauded by other West African nations for the heroic role it played in their nation’s peace and security architecture. The Liberian War, 1989-1997, remains historical to Nigerian veterans recruited in record numbers to help restore peace to the borders of Liberia. We lost veterans to that war, but our brave and heroic acts will always be remembered in West Africa and beyond. Today, those veterans sit at home and read many news headlines on how ordinary citizens threaten to break apart Nigeria’s security and stability. Perhaps, they have also asked this question: “If Nigeria, our country, is not secured, where do we go from here?”
Sadly, I hear governors and service chiefs say nebulous things about the current security situation in Nigeria, such as, “we do not know what to do about it.” “We will bring the perpetrators to book.” “Bandits are foreigners who have a stronger network.” In a video clip online, we saw members of one state House of Assembly crying because their people were being killed and displaced, and they did not know what to do about it. But some politicians take numerous strong policemen to guard them, their children, and their families against terrorists and bandits. Sometimes they also recruit the strongest, tallest, and most intelligent civilian security guards found among the Nigerian populace to guard them and their families. This tells us that the solution to terrorism and banditry is to have many well-equipped security guards in every community or provide the community with a functional and equipped security network. Nigerian politicians, if you only guard your families and children with the best and most robust security personnel, how about the ordinary man or woman? To whom shall they go for protection?
“Where do they go from here?” I implore you to think profoundly and seek a working security solution for the Nigerian masses. They voted for you, so they deserve better. The ordinary Nigerian does not mind if you ask for help from other nations to help us curb terrorism and banditry. Remember, the country can make little progress if not made safe for tax-paying citizens.

The Nigerian people have no country to go to and call their own besides Nigeria. They hope and pray for Nigerians to unite and prosper despite our ethnic, religious, or regional differences. No matter how far Nigerians go internationally, they are still called Nigerians in ‘the Diaspora.’ Interestingly, even some children of Nigerians born outside Nigeria who have never visited Nigeria still think of Nigeria as their home. Many bear Nigerian names and are proud of their roots and heritage.

To the international community, it is disturbing to see how you have turned a blind eye to what has been happening in Nigeria for years, as if Nigeria does not belong to the United Nations. When crises occur in other parts of the world, you immediately respond to those regions and nations, but not Nigeria. Nigeria dearly needs you now. I know you have contributed material support to victims of terrorism in many parts of Nigeria. Your material support is much appreciated, but the ordinary Nigerian wants you to intervene like you have been doing in other parts of the world. We need your presence in Nigeria. Citizens from Plateau to Kaduna, Zamfara to Katsina, Benue to Enugu, Edo to Rivers, and Ogun to Ibadan want to feel secure in their homes, workplaces, and religious gathering. Unless you do this for Nigerians, we will continue to question the status and place of ordinary people in the eyes of the United Nations and whether or not you value our lives.
But it is worrisome to see how you dine and wine with many Nigerian politicians instead of pushing them to be good stewards of the people they lead. We thought that when they approach foreign countries for a loan, you will use that opportunity to have them give an account of what is happening in their state and region. No governor should be granted foreign loans if they do not secure the lives and property of their citizens. Perhaps this could help the ordinary Nigerian citizen enjoy the dividends of democracy. We are not asking for too much, only peace, security, and stability.

To our gallant soldiers, policemen, and women, thank you for all your sacrifices to join the Nigerian Police Force and the Army. You would have chosen a different career other than the police or the military. It takes a brave person to remain in the army or police when terrorists target innocent uniformed officers. I salute your courage. I implore you to continue working hard with the little resources you have to protect the ordinary Nigerian. I implore you to live up to your calling and pledge. Remember, you are making more of a sacrifice than working for the little money you are paid. Nigerians watch every sacrifice you make, and they appreciate it. Do not let yourselves be used by loose leaders and politicians for their selfish interests against the majority.

We occasionally hear sad stories about how security officers compromise their consciousness for monetary gain or religious biases. That is sad. If you do not protect the ordinary Nigerian, “to whom shall they go, and where do we go from here?”
If we all come together and work toward a new Nigeria, a working Nigeria, everyone will enjoy it, politicians, security men and women, and ordinary people.
God bless Nigeria!

Sir Kefas Lamak

count | 35

With a Dazzling Gaze on the Sky, “Where Do We Go From Here?” Nigerians Cry Aloud – Kefas Lamak

| Opinion |
About The Author
- Friday Bako is Certified National Accountant (CNA), Blogger, Social Media Influencer/Strategist, Youth Activist and Advocate for good governance.