REMARKS BY THE COMMISSIONER, INTERNAL SECURITY AND HOME AFFAIRS, SAMUEL ARUWAN, AT THE END OF YEAR CELEBRATION HOSTED BY THE KUDANSA/RIDO GBAGYI YOUTH DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION, 12TH JANUARY 2020.
I thank you very much for inviting me to this occasion, and for the privilege to address you today. You are a vibrant body within a vibrant group in this State. I wish you all a happy new year, and I pray that we will experience significant progress in leaps and bounds in 2020.
Of course, a new year brings an opportunity for a new way of thinking, and this is what I carefully wish to stimulate in our minds as we proceed.
This great gathering is put together by a youth organization, and I will start from there. Out of nearly 10 million people in Kaduna State, about 85% of those are youth, under the age of 35. This State belongs to the youth. This means that the abundance of talent and potential that the youth carry is tied up within these boundaries waiting to break out in the next decade. Over that period, with the way things are set up, you can fully expect Kaduna to become the destination of choice in Nigeria when it comes to investment, entrepreneurship, innovation, socio-cultural appeal, you name it.
However, we are still fighting some in-house monsters. These monsters are not necessarily of our own making, because they pre-date us, but in many ways our generation has enabled them. And those monsters have given birth to the problems of insecurity, criminality, banditry, political and ethno-religious tensions, among others. We will not fulfill our highest potential as a State until we defeat those monsters.
The development of any seriously minded nation on the surface of the earth is hinged on its ability to ensure its security, and nullify all threats to peace, stability and law and order.
Security guarantees purposeful development, economic growth, wealth creation and social integration. These are things that every rational individual aspires to, no matter their background or belief system; a society that promises better opportunities and a better quality of life. It is only a foundation of security that guarantees this. That is where government comes in.
The primary function of any organized government is to ensure the presence of security and stability for economic activity, trade, innovation and development. The way the government does that is by establishing or strengthening security architecture and providing a robust legal framework for prosecution and punishment of crimes. If you are conversant with the activities of the Kaduna State Government since 2015, you will realize that this has been given top priority, with several laws enacted to protect our collective well-being as a society.
Also, the most recent step was the creation of the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, to boost the capacity of the State to coordinate responses to the current security challenges.
However, when Government provides the security structure and legal framework, that is only half of the task. The other half rests on the shoulders of the citizens. It is among the citizens that unrest, social tensions, intolerance and criminal activities can grow. This means that it is the citizens who can either enable these monsters, or take sufficient action to suffocate them.
Kaduna is a diverse, pluralist society and this expresses itself most clearly in the ethnic and religious distribution across the State. Plurality of backgrounds often means plurality of opinions and where this is not handled with maturity, insight and full knowledge of the underlying facts, it can create fault lines and conflicts. Therefore, maintaining peace and harmony within that society now rests on the ability of the inhabitants to interact with one another cohesively.
The beauty of living in a pluralist society is that we will have to coexist with views and cultures which do not match ours. That is the price of pluralism. It is even the whole point: it builds social and moral maturity in all of us.
It is on this premise I deliver my message to the Kudansa/Rido Gbagyi Youth today, and it is simply a message of moral revolution. We must begin to think and act responsibly. Values like discipline, service, sacrifice and respect must be brought back to the table, we must begin by examining ourselves and our actions as individuals.
In this age, we are witnessing abdication of responsibility, and more people are engaging in public games of blaming and shaming. We have technology now, so it is even easier. Everyone can go online to generate attention and whip up sentiments in a matter of minutes. Outrage is the new social currency. Grandstanding is fashionable. People want to become heroes, so they create divides and trade blame from one side to the other. Not only is this taking attention off our real problems, it is weakening the fabric of our society.
Make no mistake about it, the surest way to greatness is to have a mentality of service and sacrifice. We must embrace this fact as young people and move our minds away from quick fix methods and online heroism. When we imbibe service, sacrifice and patriotism, a stronger and more harmonious society is formed as a natural consequence.
It is important that we keep this in focus, and that we pick our battles carefully. Instead of creating enemies, let us embrace empathy, and not simply demonize all those who are not like us.
Unfortunately, we the youth have been so caught up in the prevalent culture of abundance and instant gratification. Nobody wants to serve honestly and diligently, but many aspire to greatness. It is a grave violation of the principles of nature. There is great virtue in planting a tree you know you will never sit in the shade of. We must start to think more about virtue, about building bridges and about creating a positive legacy within and amongst ourselves.
Let us step back for a moment, from wanting to be right all the time, from moral indignation and self-righteousness. Let us put on empathy, understanding, honesty, transparency and self-examination. It may be difficult, but we must accept responsibility and nurture them regardless. As young people, we own the future, and that future depends on how we think today.
There is so much emphasis on freedom these days; freedom of association, freedom of expression… many freedoms. But the ironic thing is that the only true way to enjoy freedom is when it is mixed with responsibility. Sadly many of our youth want the unfettered freedoms without applying the necessary reins of responsibility to guide them. There is no freedom given to anyone without accompanying responsibility. We want freedom to carry out enterprise, but don’t want to pay taxes to support the machinery which makes it possible. We want freedom to express ourselves but don’t want to deal with views that upset or offend us in some way. We want freedom to elect representatives, but we don’t want to compromise when it doesn’t go our way. We will only buy up frustration for ourselves.
The only way for all of us to collectively maintain that balance of what we call freedom and human rights is for everyone to collectively agree that things cannot go our way 100% of the time, and that the next person has just as much rights as we do.
Having that attitude is fundamental to achieving peace, and protecting our security through harmonious coexistence. We can no longer afford to hold on to narrow thinking; we must open ourselves up to the richness and advantages that progressive thinking offers, and by so doing guard our peace and harmony. Without them, we lose our security. Without security, we lose our future.
The government may provide the structure and systems for security, but it is the people who must protect that security from within. Upholding peace and harmony falls largely on the citizen. Collaboration with government with regards to intelligence gathering, exposing bandits and denying them the cloak of ethnic or religious protection; these are all roles the citizens must play, and especially the youth who have it all to gain or lose. That is the challenge I throw out today.
Thank you very much for listening.