From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Former Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo, has joined in condemning the federal government for branding the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) terrorist organization.
Nebo said such derogatory tag truncated the global respect Nigeria has been battling to redeem recently.
Prof Nebo spoke at the inaugural distinguished lecture series organised by the Institute of Security Studies of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Abuja yesterday, expressing disappointment over the ranking of Nigeria highest among the top terrorist countries in the world.
Delivering a lecture on “Leadership and Nigeria’s developmental challenges”, Prof Nebo said: “Nigeria is popularly labeled as the giant of Africa only in terms of population because all other indicators of a prosperous and healthy nation don’t exist in Nigeria.
“In fact, according to Global Peace Index, Nigeria ranks top among the most corrupt and most dangerous countries to live in in Africa. It is also rated as one of the most corruption endemic countries in the world.
“In addition, recent ranking of Nigeria in the Mo Ibrahim governance indices is painfully worrisome. In terms of prosperity, economic dominance, life expectancy and so on, Nigeria does not even make the list among the top ten in Africa.
“Nigeria is also ranked highest among the top terrorist countries in the world because of Boko Haram (third deadliest) and Fulani herdsmen (fourth deadliest) terrorist organizations according to Global Terrorism Index – all operating and resident in the northern Nigeria.
“To make matters worse, Nigeria recently branded IPOB a terrorist organization, which means that by our own admission, Nigeria now houses three terrorist organizations in the world, perhaps the only country to so qualify. It is no virtue at all. This is a very dangerous record which is capable of truncating the global respect Nigeria has been begging to redeem of recent,” he said.
The former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria (UNN) argued that the link holding the north and south is still very fragile, declaring: “Nigeria is not yet a failed nation. But Nigerians should not hold on to the erroneous notion that the nation is indissoluble and indivisible without ensuring certain prerequisites as safety nets.”
“Fact is: the link between north and south Nigeria is still fragile and sadly so 57 years after independence. When the northern youths issued a quit notice and later suspended without withdrawing it, this fact became quite obvious once more. In addition, the use of denigrating, insulting and unprintable language by the leader of IPOB has made an already bad situation much worse.
“The weak link between the regions of the country seems to be only economy. Then I asked myself; if oil is found in commercial quantities in the northern troughs and basins or crude oil suddenly loses its value in international market, will north and south Nigeria still have enough motivation to continue as one nation? This is a question that I would rather urge each and every one of us to answer,” he said.
Narrowing leadership on the victory President Muhammadu Buhari recorded against President Goodluck Jonathan, he argued that the ability of President Buhari retaining power after 2019 presidential election will depend on his personality.
“In the absence of any known formula for prescribing the best leadership for Nigeria, all that is left is the space to outline how the best (exceptional leaders) can emerge, how the nation can minimize the chances of toxic leaders emerging.
“From this postulation, you can easily see the nexus between people and their leadership: the people partly form the situation and directly influence the kind of leaders they get. If we use the 2015 general election again as an example, it was the clamor of the Nigerian people for change that produced the crest that Buhari rode on to get back to power.