It was a news in all the major newspapers and online sites that the President-Elect General Muhammad Buhari has directed his protocol officers and his team that traffic rules should be observed and respected. A picture was also made available showing the President-Elect observing the rules. This is a gigantic and unprecedented effort by the President-Elect. In a country where the the children of government officials do not respect traffic laws, in fact many of them don’t even have drivers licence, and suddenly a President-Elect has shown his commitment to respect each and every law in the country is both commendable and a sign of good things to come.
The directive to follow traffic laws by by Muhammad Buhari can be considered his personal wish. But what about his protocols and his safety? It is also the duty of the Presidential security detail and advance teams to ensure that President is protected and transported to any place he wants to go right on time. As a President-Elect, that is quite possible. But as a substantive President, that will be some how difficult. A President visiting a particular place while on the road and suddenly the light turned red while his advance team has already passed is a source of security concern. Or is it that the traffic control center will monitor the President’s movement and timely turning the light green as he come? The safety of the President is not his choice, it is a national security matter.
Security has always been a great source of concern to all countries around the world. That is why even in so called developed countries the roads are made open to their leaders and they don’t necessarily wait for the green light. Nigeria should be on its highest security alert now and months after swearing In of General Muhammad Buhari. This is not just because of the transition or visiting foreign leaders, but because of the potential terrorist threats. Already there is insurgency in Northeast, militancy in South south, terror groups and kidnappings in Southwest and Southeast, herdsmen-farmers clashes in Northwest and North central, etc. Everybody can be a targeted the President included.
A lot of tragedies and attacks have occurred to many leaders from around the world while they are on the road. Murtala Muhammad was assassinated in a car while he was in his car waiting for the green light. President Mubarak’s car was attacked in Ethiopia while he was in the country for a visit. President Kennedy was assassinated in a car in Dallas in 1963. The road is the weakest security place for a leader. The President-Elect cannot not afford to play with the red and green lights at a wrong time like this. His security is a national affairs that must be taken very serious.
May Allah make the transition Smooth and hitch free. May a new and a changed Nigeria start and the leaders try their best to fulfil the promises they have made. May Allah protect the President-Elect and our dear country Nigeria, ameen.
Comrade Abdulbaqi Jari