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Opinions of Saturday, 1 May 2021

Columnist: Hajia Hadiza Mohammed

Nigeria in a state of anarchy

Nigeria is not just the poverty capital of the world; it is the most terrorized nation in the world right now. At present, life has lost its value in Nigeria. We are no longer talking about poverty and economic hardship foisted on the citizenry. Nigerians have come to accept that as fait accompli. Nobody is talking about formulating good policies to move the nation forward; that too is like outlandish reverie. It is no more about lock-down or COVID-19 scourge but about a nation at war with itself.

Our concern is with the protection of life; the right to life, the most basic of the fundamental rights of the human person that every responsible must ensure. Since the ascendancy of APC government, Nigeria has lost over a million lives to avoidable skirmishes. Nigeria is now a huge burial ground for poor, innocent hapless citizens. I weep for my country. I weep for the hapless masses. How long shall these unsavoury state of affairs continue?

Evidently, the national security architecture has collapsed like a pack of cards in the face of rampaging terrorists who are emboldened by their belief and the apparent helplessness of the Nigerian Army to curtail them.

The pertinent questions begging for answers now are: how could the insurgents have superior fire power than an established army like Nigeria’s reputed for international peacekeeping operation in the past? How could they have superior intelligence than Nigeria Army? How come the government has not been able to track their source of funding and block it? What exactly has gone wrong in the polity? Is there any hope for the embattled nation called Nigeria?

Indeed, we cannot rule out official complicity and negligence, insidious collusion, lack of will power, incompetence, lack of patriotic zeal in this matter. All boil down to failure of governance, mediocrity and ineptitude. Added to this is the issue of misplaced priority, misconception of role, corruption and abuse of office. There is the ethical dilemma of sectional interest and general interest. Our present government seems to pander to sectional interest as against public interest and that accounts for the escalation of insurgency, banditry and terrorism.

Why would our government not call herdsmen to order but react swiftly when there is harmless civil protest? Why would the government not deploy troops to flush out the terrorists from the Sambisa forest but quick to deploy fighter jet to bomb the forest of Imo State for ESN operatives? Why would a government that could not protect its citizens frustrate the plans of the people to get their security? These and more are some fundamental questions that we must seek answers for.

The current security challenges facing Nigeria point to ominous fact that security is not about brute force but intelligence. Crude command and control policies have its limitations and they have failed us woefully.

Governance is about leadership. It is about the people. It is about general interest, not sectional interest. Anybody who assumes leadership position with the intention of favouring some people and punishing perceived enemies will have failure as his major accomplishment. This is exactly what is playing out now in Nigeria. The president seems not to have the moral strength to confront the terrorist while he is bent on deploying troops including fighter jets to crush helpless agitators.

As it is now, the army is weakened, the judiciary is compromised while the National Assembly is simply not there; the politicians and those that pretend to speak for Nigerians  are all self-seeking pettifoggers. As the 2023 beckons, will Nigerians  learn any lesson? Will they vote right and avoid tribal and religious sentiments? Will they allow themselves to be used by selfish political jobbers and turn back to regret later? Again, I say your destiny is in your hand! You must vote to make Nigeria work again.

Hajia Hadiza Mohammed, London, UK.

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