Befitting Nigerian National Honors, As NYSC Members Die On National Duty
Written by Paul I. Adujie
Nigeria’s human refinements index must be measured and re-calibrated by how Nigerians and Nigeria takes care of the poor, the most under-privileged and how we honor our dead.
It is the case that the extents of human refinements, quality of life, dignity and decency in any society can be measured in how such society protect the rights, interests and lives of it’s poor, under-privileged and it’s dead.
This is even more so, when for selfless reasons, death is brought about as a consequence of being on national duty, on behalf of the rest of us as citizens of united, and indivisible one Nigeria.
This point about treatment, respect, dignity for the dead, is made more profoundly so, when such deaths occur during wars, national duty or national assignment, identical or similar to NYSC, INEC assignments
In the unwarranted violence in Nigeria, in the aftermath of the April 16, 2011 presidential election, there arises a need to examine these pertinent issues of life’s value and worth in Nigeria, particularly, when lives are lost during and in the course performance a monumentally crucial national task, assignment and duty.
Elections violence which targeted Nigerians from particular regions and particular religious affiliation, also revives the urgency of according full faith and credit or worthiness to Nigerian Citizenship nationwide, Nigerians should enjoy equal protection, equal rights and life’s dignity and value, irrespective such Nigerian’s place of birth, state of origin, regional, religious or linguistic heritage or affiliations!
Some Nigerians selectively hacking other Nigerians to death, based on some arbitrary negative multiple variables, is inhuman and egregiously criminal. This attitudes and behaviors animated and motivated by base-animal instinct, must be rejected by all Nigerians.
It is quite a delight to learn that President Jonathan of Nigeria has done the right thing for families or next of kin, of serving members of the National Youth Service Corps who were needlessly murdered during this just concluded general elections in Nigeria.
President Jonathan’s actions in this regard are exceedingly great, extraordinarily innovative and quite frankly, a breathe of fresh air!
It is now public knowledge that the federal government of Nigeria has announced and undertaken to compensate families of members of the National Youth Service Corps who were murdered during the general elections conducted in April 2011 nationwide in Nigeria.
It is also the case, that good news has been received with offers of automatic employment to wounded NYSC members, even as the federal government is vowing to bring the murderers to justice through the enforcements of Nigerian laws the fullest extent possible
Monetary compensation cannot and can never be adequate for the losses under review... but, monetary compensation is nevertheless-nonetheless a wonderful idea... and this is a start, only a start.
It is sincerely hoped and believed that examples can be made of those who inflicted these murderously heinous crimes on the families and our nation in general... There should be no sparing of efforts to investigate, arrest ALL those who play ANY role in these unwarranted murders by mobs of lunatics
ABOVE all that, everything should be done to ensure that our nation never, ever have to be affronted with these sorts on bigotry and hate crimes... or ethnic cleaning in which Nigerians are beaten, harassed or killed because of their ethnic, regional, religious or linguistic affiliation or heritage
Nigeria's National Assembly, in conjunction with the Federal Executive Council with our president presiding should hold a special plenary session to honor these slain members of the National Youth Service Corp who were murder in the course and during their participation in monumental national task, duty and assignment on all our behaves ... I personally recommend that this special-plenary session, be the first order of business after inauguration day
These recommended action will send an important message to all Nigerians that we treasure our heroes, heroines and that national duty is important... and supreme sacrifice when it is an outcome, will not be in vain and will not be forgotten.
We will, in fact, use this national catastrophe to inspire all Nigerians and we would have turned this national misfortunes to our national benefit... We should award national honors to these departed patriots, nationalist heroes and celebrate their lives and times ... thereby making a historical and timeless point about Nigeria honor of national duty and service to our nation
An additional symbolism could have been simultaneous burial for all those NYSC members who were murdered during the general elections in Nigeria... a simultaneous burial at our national cemetery in Abuja, witnessed by families with entire political leaders present and possibly with a live coverage on television.
On April 2003Wednesday, April 7, 2003, I wrote an article titled:
Honor, Dignity, And Respect For Nigerian Dead On National Duty Or Service
In which the points sought to be made were the importance of respect, honor, dignity for Nigerians who die in the course of national duty-assignments at home or abroad, be they civilians or members of the armed forces.
“Our service personnel must be given befitting burials with coffins or caskets or mats, draped with our national colors and flag, and the full honors, this will, in essence, be a demonstration of our love for our country and those who serve Nigeria’s purpose or national interests.
“Nigeria must accord Nigerians who die in national-service duty all honorable appellations, honor, respect, dignity with all the nationalism and patriotism that we can muster because Nigerians who serve gallantly, excellently, honorably, and selflessly, deserve the most honors possible, and there are multitudes of rewards imbued in doing these, among which are the very probable fact, that we will inspire and motivate other Nigerians to follow the good examples of those honored’
“We will be motivating Nigerians alive and generations yet unborn, and the family of the dear departed, to feel proud, and take pride in the contributions in selfless service, by those who served Nigeria eminently in exemplary manners, even when they are no longer with us, as when they have paid the ultimate price or made supreme sacrifice with their lives, as a consequence of national duty and national service.”
These above points in the 2003 article remains relevant today, even more significantly so, particularly prescient and more profound, in the face of the needless killings of some members of the National Youth Service Corps or NYSC, deployed to work with the Independent National Electoral Commission or INEC
I take the view that our analyses, evaluation, upon having thoroughly examined the facts concerning our recent election violence, it is, and remains in our best national interests to focus on the big picture and our long term interests as one indivisible nation, even in the face of the killings by murderous senseless mobs whose dastardly act were spurred by bigotry and hatred in their selection of victims of the recent rampage
It is the case that the mob actions were spontaneous and that security agencies were taken by surprise and unawares, and left with little wiggle room for reinforcing or calls for backups.
But perhaps mistakes were made in the planning and strategic allocation of our security agencies and apparatuses. Well, it should by pointed out here, that nobody is always right.
We humans are liable to mistakes, errors, hence pencils have erasers!
But in the future, there should multiple layers upon layers of security arrangements, particularly so, given the contentious nature of elections and other political processes can be in Nigeria.
Our armed forces, police, state security service, Nigeria’s intelligence community, most henceforth, coordinate and choreograph important national assignments such as the just concluded national elections.
Our law enforcement agencies and their ancillaries, should be impenetrable. We should learn to anticipate challenges and think ahead and make plans ahead of such challenges, multiple plans in fact, such as plan A, plan B and plan C etc
All Nigerians, and well wishers of Nigeria, need and deserve a strong, virile, dynamic, progressive, developed, advanced and great Nigeria. Our interest in Nigeria, as patriots and nationalist should no longer be in fits and starts or episodic.
We should love our nation unconditionally, whether at peace or most tranquil time or at challenging times similar to what our nation just witnessed.
Nigerians need to love fellow Nigerians more and we should accord each other, common humanity, respect, love and dignity and henceforth, see national issues or challenges as something we have in common.
The idea of North versus South, or us against them, should be rejected in public discuss, in rhetoric and or in political contestation, before, during and after elections!
All Nigerians must from now onward, realize that when Nigeria wins, we all win as Nigerians. All Nigerians must realize and appreciate the fact, that there immense and enormous benefits imbued in a Nigeria where all citizens are accorded equal humanity, rights and protections.
A Nigeria, where no one is marginalized, relegated and devalued.
This is what we should all aspire to and for, as Nigerians, at home or in the Diaspora, we should work tirelessly for our nation, even when we have philosophical or conceptual, logical order, and intellectual disagreements as to processes and methods through which we arrive at outcomes, which makes Nigeria the great nation Nigeria deserves to be and should be!
It is now time to make the best of our national circumstances, in the aftermath of the post-presidential election carnage in which some members of NYSC were murdered.
We should honor them and ensure that their untimely deaths is a wake up call. Honoring them will be therapeutic and inspiring, as we rededicate ourselves to the worthy causes of Nigeria.
Honoring those who die on national duty will be the beginning of true healing and reconciliation, our respect and honor for those killed during the course, and in the performance of an all-important national duty-assignment will accomplish one or two and even more things. It will heal, motivate and inspire us all
Honoring, showing respect and glorifying our citizens killed while on national duty, speaks of us all as citizens of a nation, which places high value and great premium on the value and worthiness of our citizens.
It also inspires survivors and all of us to do more and duty better and to value national service, as the labors of our heroes past will never be in vain.
This is in essence appealing to our best nature, our patriotism and nationalism, harvested and harnessed for our national unity in diversity, for our national purpose.
The attainment of our national aspirations for progress, development, advancement and greatness of our nation, Nigeria; all hands must be on deck, we must participate actively to create great nation, Nigeria!