Patriotism, Official Responsibility And Consequences. Alpheaus Paul-Worika Ph.D

The renewed offensive by the Boko Haram insurgents and the record of casualties on all sides, reinforces the need for a review of the operational strategy and pattern of deployment of security chiefs.

Our dear country is in battle with fighters who have the courage, men and logistics to hold out in a military combat that has defied technical defeat several times.

Every week these renegade fighters attack our military. Recently they attacked Rann, after attacking a military base in Madumeri. Our troops retook the town few days after.

We shouldn’t remain in denial of the fact, that our commitment to end the orgy of violent hostilities in the North East requires more from all Nigerians particularly those in charge of that great project, as we continue to send well-trained and well equipped troops to the theatre of war. But our efforts have been symbolic somewhat.

Last week, at the national military cemetery in Abuja, five gallant crew members of a NAF Helicopter providing air support to ground troops crashed. The chief pilot, Peremowei Jacob died less than one month after his wedding.

The senseless war orchestrated by a warped mindset is apparently sustained by various factors including our willingness to cope with excuses and to rationalize alibi.

Even when the reasons adduced for our inactions actually fit into dereliction of duty or abdication of official responsibility, we maintain aloofness and move on. But the result of our attitude follows naturally. In the best of times, we profess to take responsibility and keep mute afterwards as though official responsibility suffices for its own sake.

This is why it appears that despite the moral, technical and financial support the military has enjoyed in the present administration, the government’s determination to achieve success have oscillated between chasing the insurgents away from one town or another, to arresting and blocking their sources of logistics supplies.

Reports of degrading Boko Haram do not excite anymore as our inability to take them out with superior intelligence and superior firepower seem to give room for resilience.

Just when the military report a success against the insurgents, more onslaughts and counter-offensives with frightening dimensions of hostilities are reported. It leaves open questions of who is to take responsibility for the massive security breaches and threats by Boko Haram and armed bandits in the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari understands the mood of Nigerians and recently took responsibility for the performance of the service chiefs. In an interview on Arise TV against the backdrop of the need to rejig his security chiefs, the president urged Nigerians to be patient with his administration and support the efforts of the military.

President Buhari gave more than tacit satisfaction of the performance of his service chiefs. Yet his affirmation was not a pat on the back. As a military officer with an enviable record of curbing insurgency in the North East, he is very familiar with the terrain and what it means to rout Boko Haram.

With humongous funds and technical support from all corners; with bilateral and multilateral co-operations, well-motivated officers and men, and supportive Nigerians,  what could still be lacking? Those in strategic offices and critical positions of authority understand the weight of responsibility and the consequences thereof.

It is the reason public officers are subjected to swearing oaths of office and allegiance before they are allowed to assume office. The Kernel of official responsibility is to demonstrate capacity, efficiency and fidelity to the demand of the office. At all material times, official responsibility includes self-sacrifice that shows the best patriotic effort.

It is the value of service that strengthens or otherwise determines if anyone should remain in a particular position beyond a certain period inspite of personal views and talents; or to give way to someone with a different approach for better result.

Consequently public officers are to be at their best at all times; to have and show  good understanding of their efficiency-level and the challenging circumstances they face and to quit if it becomes exigent.  

Negligence or failure to uphold the principle of official responsibility has consequences for national safety and progress. Those who occupy public offices hold such position in trust for the people and are expected to live up to the peoples’ expectations.

To take responsibility for the failure of a public officer or appointee is to accept blame on their behalf and surrender to fate; with the feeling that there is no better alternative. Such feeling is an albatross that endangers patriotism with consequences.

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