It worth mentioning again that the diverse majority in our country must resist the thinking that only in our separation can our peace be ultimately found. It is a wrong thinking aptly refuted by the success of nations such as Singapore, The US and even post- apartheid South Africa. These nations have managed to subjugate their diversity to a common national interest and have displayed great wisdom in handling their diversity.
I mentioned in the last post on diversity that their success rest on five ideologies – Identity, Legitimacy, Penetration, Participation and distribution.
Identity implies a subordination of your original identification with a religion, tribe or location to a unifying national identity. We are to view ourselves first and foremost as citizens of a nation above tribe, ethnic or religious sentiments. Legitimacy speaks to a display of commitment by the people to a government they have selected and accepted. It suggests that we must accept the wisdom of a government when it delivers the value we understand and prefer while when we are totally rejecting its foolishness, we must have the character to seek to understand it.
Penetration demands that government must reach out to all people everywhere on the land and get them to want to follow (desire) and to follow (act on) its ideas, rules, laws and commands. Penetration will be realistic when government demonstrates a visible willingness and commitment to meeting people’s basic needs and satisfying the freedom, the right, attention, peace, welfare and resources their individuality deserves.
Now, Participation discusses people’s needs to participate and have a say in the affairs of their state and government. Here every atom of talent, gifting and individuality is represented in all affairs of state. Please I mention only talent, gifting and individuality not colour, ethnicity, religion, race or tribe. Participation demands that everyone is carried along in the creation and sustainability of resources and opportunities within the nation to achieve the kind of peace and prosperity that in itself meets the individual and collective aspirations of the people.
It includes equal opportunities for children to grow up, to hone and grow their careers without manmade barriers and limitations. It is an ideal that supports the freedom, creativity and individuality every citizen deserves regardless of the language they speak, where they are from and the religion they practice. It promotes meritocracy while regarding the less privilege that providence has not naturally endowed to compete favourably within the strict demands of excellence and merit. It poisons the pettiness and prejudices that discriminate opportunities for people based on class, religion and ethnicity.
Lastly, Distribution is about who gets what, when and how. However, if the principles of identity, legitimacy, penetration and participation are already in force as the primary experience of every citizen, distribution becomes a very simple and automated experience of the people.
Let’s call the bluff of the falsehood that our diversity is a weakness or limitation. What we need now is to accept that we can think and solve problems. We need the courage to define and accept our diversity as a unique blessing and embrace the mental rigour and exertion to convert it to great value. We must press for creative interdependence without hatred, bias or sentiments.
I will mention it again, to deny the great possibilities just because the effort has not been invested will be unfair to our national integrity and peaceful coexistence. We are where we are only because we have not stretched enough to find out the other great places we can be. THIS IS THE LIFE!
Obviously, a LOT of things are wrong in our nation BUT we must REJECT the temptation to look away from our meaning, our honour and our dignity simply because we want to underscore our struggles. While some claim to hate the nation, they still will not allow you steal their personal belongings to justify our economic struggles. This is a pointer to a consciousness within us that SEARCHES FOR MEANING AND FULFILLMENT even right IN THE MIDST OF PAIN AND STRUGGLE.
This is IMPORTANT- society MUST find its rhythm and balance in the INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTION of every stakeholder in the system. INDIVIDUAL RELEVANCE IS THE STRENGTH OF COLLECTIVE PEACE. And this brings us to an issue of collective concern – THE POLICE FORCE. Yes! The police force.
If Nigerians have built their ability to worry, complain and criticize the system, then the police force is that one system that provides a veritable source of issues to harp on. It is obvious that the police force is the EASIEST TO CRITICIZE, considering its INFAMOUS REPUTATION for INSTITUTIONAL CORRUPTION and lack of pride and professionalism.
On a second thought, let us examine OUR PARADIGM. Have we seen the Police as an institution that puts her LIFE ON THE LINE for you and me? Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his fellow citizens. If we shift our paradigm, then we will recognize the INTRINSIC WORTH of that institution regardless of our justifiable perceptions about them.
These men whom we expect to trust for the protection of our lives and properties are the same people the system has REFUSED TO CATER FOR appreciably. We pay peanut SALARIES that are DELAYED and refuse to provide the INFRASTRUCTURE and SYSTEM that will engender pride in the force. Imagine a police office that looks like your business office with STATE OF THE ART EQUIPMENT, efficient human resources functions and DECENT SALARIES. Wouldn’t you think of joining the police too?
POLICE MEN HAVE DREAMS LIKE YOU AND I. Man is not entirely altruistic. So by the system we have today, can we ask WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM? What’s in it for them is hunger, unfulfilled dreams, inability to cater for their families and meet basic needs. If he is shot on the street defending you against armed robbery, he DIES FOR NOTHING. WOULD YOU subject yourself to this kind of fate?
THIS MIGHT SOUND CONTROVERSIAL- when a police man asks you for BRIBE, it’s an act of kindness. You give a man who is hungry and hasn’t paid his child’s school fees a gun, and expect him to protect you? What if his DESPERATION COMPROMISES his JUDGEMENT and makes him steal from you or kill to satisfy his immediate needs. PLEASE RECONSIDER!
Henceforth, see it as a PERSONAL SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, having understood the pains and struggles of the average policeman to hand out a BOTTLE OF COKE or CHILLED WATER when you meet them in the hot sun AT THE CHECKPOINT. GIVE to officers even BEFORE THEY ASK. Go to their offices to donate bags of rice, so they can FEED THEIR FAMILIES. Being a PROACTIVE CITIZEN means that we can’t wait for the government to do this. Police must be well taken care of, so much so that the gun they carry means nothing to them but a tool for PROTECTION of innocent citizens.
Our POLICE FORCE is an ENDANGERED SPECIES! We cannot correct the evil of the police force with an equal evil of continued negligence. OUR POLICE OFFICERS NEED LOVE. They need to be treated with DIGNITY AND RESPECT. When the police officer and his countrymen meet on the altar of love and empathy, a new flame of unity and purpose will begin to burn.
If you love Nigeria, then LOVE THE POLICE! This is THE LIFE.