Nigeria and the nagging need to do the needful-Bala Ibrahim
“Nigeria, the United States’ most important strategic partner in West Africa, is in grave trouble. While Nigerians often claim they are masters of dancing on the brink without falling off, the disastrous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, the radical Islamic insurrection Boko Haram, and escalating violence in the delta and the north may finally provide the impetus that pushes it into the abyss of state failure.”
The above assertion was made by John Campbell, the former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, in his book, Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink, which was published in the dying days of the regime of GEJ and the countdown to the 2015 general elections.
The prediction was that, oil wealth, endemic corruption, elite competition and incessant violence, would connive to impoverish the population and inevitably undermine Nigeria’s nascent democratic institutions. The result he said, would lead to state failure. God forbid.
God brought PMB to power in 2015, pursuant to his campaign, which ran on the mantra of ‘CHANGE’, and one that made a lot of promises.
Because the promises are many, this article would focus only on one-The promise to attract the best and brightest brains to service.
From 2015 to date, although the country had made giant strides in a number of areas, and PMB had delivered on a number of his promises, there are ample reasons to question his commitment to working with the best and brightest brains, particularly in the fight against the incessantly escalating new form of violence.
Yes, the regime has succeeded in subduing Boko haram in the north east, to the extent of extinguishing their capacity for spectacular attacks, which hitherto was their hallmark, but new styles of violence have emerged, in the form of killings, kidnappings for ransom, banditry and madhouse mayhem.
Because of the proliferation of these vices, confusion is created in the minds of many, including the sincere supporters of the President, as to whether he is serious about handing over a better Nigeria to his successor. PMB had promised not to handover a failed Nigeria to his successor, but the cynics are saying he plans to handover Nigeria to Boko haram.
Whether true or false, the nagging issue is on the need for him to do the needful, especially with regards the promise of working with the best brains-the best brains to help in the fight against insurgency.
Looking at recent events, particularly in the area of insecurity, one can say the brains engaged in the fight are either not the best, or the best are being belittled, because the President is refusing to utilize them, or is underutilizing them. I think if the police are better equipped, a better result could come.
Since the Abuja/Kaduna train attack of last Monday, which resulted in a number of killings and kidnapping, the mood of the country has been crummy. Virtually all the daily headlines are disgusting and nauseating, accentuating the nagging need for the president to do the needful.
The editorial of the Daily trust today is captioned, EMPTY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVES, and dwelled heavily on Nigeria’s insecurity and the perceived lackadaisical attitude of the President, towards the team that is tasked to do the job. It started thus, “Here we are all over again. Exhausted by the pain, suffering and helplessness of having to mourn fellow citizens cut down in their prime in yet another set of needless attacks by murderous bandits on the prowl in our neighbourhoods and homes, at our airports, and on our highways and rail tracks. Where else can we be safe?”
The paper urged the President to rise up to the moment and show better that he has the will to tackle banditry actively from the front. The first step they said, is to breathe new life into the Office of the National Security Adviser. I agree with them.
About three papers have a similar headline today, viz: GUNMEN KILLED 10, INJURED 19 IN PLATEAU.
The stories are anchored on the action of some gunmen, who have killed 10 persons and injured 19 others during a cultural festival in Plateau. The community leaders were forced to cry to the government, to come to their rescue.
I think if the police are better equipped, a better result could come.
An online medium captioned a story today, thus, “Commissioner’s Son shot dead by Bandits”. The story goes, “The son of DIG Mamman Tsafe(Rtd), Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs in Zamfara, has been shot dead by Bandits, who invaded Tsafe town on Sunday night.
As I write this article, there is the unverified news circulating that, bandits have raided some houses at anguwar Maji, in Jere town, on the Kaduna/Abuja road, and abducted 22 persons, barely 24 hours after the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Usman Baba, visited the highway. This is an unforgivable affront and underscores the need to better equip the police.
Earlier on, Hassan Gimba and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, have both alluded something similar, that now, nowhere is safe in Nigeria.
While Gimba was poetic in his, “First, they came for the Communists And I did not speak out Because I was not a Communist…..” former President Obasanjo was directly daring and brash, saying, Security challenges have overwhelmed the regime of PMB, and the development has shown that Nigerians are not safe anywhere – in vehicles, on the train or on aircraft.
However, nothing came to me as frightening and ominous as the claimed interview with General I.B.M. Haruna, rtd., which was forwarded with the tag, FORWARDED AS RECEIVED. “We are in for sensitive happenings. I think the attacks on the rail lines, airports and roads are all processes of de-democratisation of Nigeria. The situation makes one suspect that either the present administration wants a situation of self-succession or an emergency government, which would come under its leadership.”
All these I think, are part of the nagging for PMB to dutifully do the needful, by looking into the issue of elite competition, as advanced by John Campbell.
Ibrahim, a media advisor writes from Abuja
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