The corporate existence of Nigeria has always been under threat, at least since military intervention. It has always been so as much as we know.
Chris Ahumibe is a lawyer, based in Owerri, Imo State. He speaks on the country’s current political situation.
What is your take on Nigeria’s current political climate?
Though I am not a politician, still I can tell you what I think about certain things, the way it is currently, in line with your question. To be frank, nearly everything about Nigeria’s political activities is getting a bit louder, rowdier and confusing. We have had a wave of defections very recently. And as it stands, a lot of things are being said about it, for and against. But incidentally, my view is that is a matter of choice; perhaps, choice guided by principle political survival or personal interest. Party politics as we understand it, has to do more with ideologies and principles. But what we are seeing in recent times appears to me that the ideologies and principles that ought to guide party politics are being terribly diluted by individual preferences and interests. Quite alright there have always been interests in party politics. But the question is, what type of interest? We should be able to know if it is a personal interest, the societal interest, or the group interest. The interest I am talking about, that is diluting the Nigeria’s political sphere is personal interest. Overtime it has been observed that the politicians or those who are at the helm of affairs have neither allowed the public or societal interest to dictate their activity. This is very unfortunate because it is not the wish of our citizens that a select few, those who recycle themselves to rule us, should use politics to devastate our land, our hopes, our aspirations, our desires, and our economy, instead of using politics to shape and mould them. In my own view this is the bane of Nigeria’s democracy.
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Why do you think politicians engage in serving selves, instead of the electorate?
Some of the actions of politicians you want to see are borne out of personal survival. They are compelled by certain forces to take certain action now, either the protection of their political career, political interest, and even their own lives. This is because we have already started a trend that is very dangerous. We are no longer playing politics as it ought to be. If you are not with me or speak against me on what I am doing, you will be my enemy. The next thing I start planning how to destroy you. If I cannot achieve that directly I look for other ways indirectly to destroy you. So far, I see some good reasons for the defections or the political realignment you are seeing recently.
To what extent is Nigeria’s military gaining the upper hand in the fight against Boko Haram?
Nigeria is fighting insurgency. But sometimes I blame the press. I must tell you the truth. Boko Haram war is a security issue. Any reasonable person should know there is a limit you can report security, or there ought to be a clearing house. But then, reporting of security issues is also relevant for us to assess our position, or to digest what is being given us, and be guided accordingly. Why I say I blame the press
is that some of these issues that are being reported are not verified. It is from the same press we earlier heard that Boko Haram had been defeated, displaced, dismantled, and destroyed. It is from the same press we are also hearing that it is no longer the truth. Now the question is how did we get the information ab initio? We are of the view that certain critical information should be left to the military. The military should do well to condemn undue propaganda. This is because terrorism and open war might have propaganda elements. So, bringing in propaganda, in the fight against terrorism is faulty, and will never work for us.
Is Nigeria’s corporate existence under threat?
The corporate existence of Nigeria has always been under threat, at least since military intervention. It has always been so as much as we know. But now, a few things have accentuated it, thus, exposing the threat that has always been there. The speed and extent of which information is now disseminated, was not the same way it did some 20 years back. The level or style of recruitment in the army for instance,
has never changed, as we are meant to believe. These days awareness of issues, developments and events are widely known, and people are getting bolder, asking more questions. But now, we must admit on something, without prejudice that there are certain mistakes that have been made by the present regime led by Muhammadu Buhari. These mistakes if corrected, or if they had been corrected, would not give this impression that the corporate existence of Nigeria is under threat. For example, the call for restructuring has never been so loud. In the assemblage of the 2014 Constitutional Conference, our elites, elder statesmen proposed zones, and all workable ideology to enable us remain together. But right now, all the calls for splitting and restructuring has become louder because of certain mistakes made by the present government.
Talking about the recent trend of killings in the country, there is so much confusion as these ugly trends continue to occur. When these things happen, we hear of an association that is registered, coming up
to make statements or declarations that bother on acceptance of such dastardly acts or responsibility. The body Miyetti Allah has always been there, even when there was peace. But how they come up suddenly under this Buhari regime, to own up and accept responsibility of massacres and killings across states is something that is inexplicable. It is such that is unveiling to us so quickly the colour the Buhari’s regime is having. The thing is compounded by the fact that no person has been caught, exposed, and prosecuted under this ‘herdsmen invasion.’ More compounded is the fact that element in their several explanations again, are not consistent. We have all heard these are imported mercenaries. Who imported them, and for what purpose? Who has armed the herdsmen with AK47 rifles? We have also heard these people are on a violent religious expedition. But we still do not know how to relate the cattle to religion. It is a complex situation because they are now using cattle rearing as cover up.