In this opinion by Abombola Adelakun, she criticised the president for bringing back an old movement which would not only fail but does not address the immediate needs of Nigerians.

President Muhammadu Buhari might be relaunching the War Against Indiscipline 31 years after the para-military brigade ended with his dictatorship because he is desperate to reignite the public support he is fast losing. Much of the myth about Buhari’s immense abilities to right whatever is wrong with Nigeria came from two narratives forcefully tattooed into our minds: His brutal anti-corruption fight, and the myth of WAI and how -before it was truncated-it almost resolved the perennial problem of public indiscipline.pic 506

In this opinion by Abombola Adelakun, she criticised the president for bringing back an old movement which would not only fail but does not address the immediate needs of Nigerians.

President Muhammadu Buhari might be relaunching the War Against Indiscipline 31 years after the para-military brigade ended with his dictatorship because he is desperate to reignite the public support he is fast losing. Much of the myth about Buhari’s immense abilities to right whatever is wrong with Nigeria came from two narratives forcefully tattooed into our minds: His brutal anti-corruption fight, and the myth of WAI and how -before it was truncated-it almost resolved the perennial problem of public indiscipline.

Buhari, unable to find inspiration for anything that would engage Nigerians, decided to play another last PR card by relaunching his famous WAI again. Unfortunately, the times have changed and the kind of activities that made the old WAI a sensation are no longer possible in the age of a democracy safeguarded by the New Media. How do you literally whip people into line in 2016? How do you force them to queue without the slave master’s lash on their backs to ensure compliance? How do you drive work ethics into civil servants that have not been paid for six months? How can you impose the virtues of patriotism into people born and bred within a country that has never held up its share of their social contract with them? How does Buhari’s new WAI propose to fight economic sabotage when the biggest perpetrators are members of his own coterie and the proceeds of their illegal activities paid for his bus ride to Aso Rock? How can the new WAI replicate the methods of the old WAI to curb anti-social behaviour in the age of social media? How can WAI ensure morality and virtue in the times when their definitions are increasingly open to negotiation? How can you impose environmental sanitation activities on Nigerians when the state itself has failed to develop a workable infrastructure for managing the trash we generate? What else does this relaunch of WAI prove other than that those leading us are painfully bereft of ideas and practically marking time? The old WAI, with all the brutality of making soldiers enforce a zombie mandate on hapless citizens, at least had a focus: It sought to recreate the mass of Nigerians in the image of their military leaders. The new WAI, on the other hand, does not have a coherent mandate, making one wonder how the whole idea was conceived in the first place.
In January, when the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, hinted that they would be relaunching WAI after they had rebranded it into another programme, “Change Begins With Me”, Mohammed said the CBWM will be a “bigger and deeper version of the old WAI and it is aimed at solidifying our (party’s) change mantra.”

His position appears out of place with that of the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Garba Abari, who launched the new WAI saying they would “reposition the WAI Brigade for enhanced civil intelligence gathering towards an orderly and secure society in line with the change mantra of the present administration” and that in times of “insecurity, violence and other forms of social vices, the role of the WAI Brigade in civil intelligence gathering could not be overemphasised.” This suggests that the new WAI will be doing the job of the police and perhaps that of the Department of States Services too by gathering intelligence. How does that then relate to warring against indiscipline? The same Abari at the same occasion wistfully recalled that, “The ills and woes that bedevilled the nation at that time are still very much with us today. That is why, when the National Orientation Agency was established in 1983, the…WAI Brigade was automatically drafted to be part and parcel of the agency to fight against indiscipline, disorderly behaviour in public and private places, disobedience to traffic rules and regulations, disrespect for constituted authorities, filthy environment, bribery, corruption and other social vices” (Premium Times report).