From: Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
A former Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has joined other millions of Nigerians in condemning the Federal Government for branding the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation.
He lamented that such tag truncated the global respect Nigeria had been battling to redeem in the recent past.
Prof. Nebo spoke at the inaugural lecture series organised by the Institute of Security Studies of the Department of State Services (DSS), in Abuja, on Wednesday, expressing disappointment over the ranking of Nigeria highest among the top terrorist countries in the world.
Delivering a lecture on the topic, “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 heathy 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 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 win admission, Nigeria now houses three terrorist organizations in the world, perhaps the only country to so qualify. It is no virtue at all. Thus is a very dangerous record which is capable of truncating the global respect Nigeria has been begging to redeem of recent,” he said.
Speaking further, the former Vice Chancellor of 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, insultive 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 Buhari recorded against President Goodluck Jonathan, he argued that the ability of President Buhari retaining power after 2019 Presidential election would depend on his personality.
He continued, “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.
“This interconnection also proves to a substantial extent the assertion that the people get the kind of leaders they deserve or desire. Plato captured this condition and leadership preponderance most beautifully when he said: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”.
“From Winston Churchill example, it can be seen that what mostly prescribes the needed leadership at any point in time seems to be situation. In the last presidential election in Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari was elected over an incumbent Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for the simple reason that Nigerians felt at that point in time that they needed a firmer leader to tackle the twine evil of terrorism and corruption.
“In the forthcoming 2019 presidential election, let me use the same situational barometers to predict that the ability of President Buhari (unless he does not run) to retain power will depend so much on situations and allied contingencies part of which would still be his personality,” he said.
Nebo also argued that Nigerians were bad followers stressing: “The people choose their leaders, directly or indirectly, so, any citizen waiting in the wing to blame the leaders that they have produced, directly or directly need to wake up. Any leader you see out there is put in by the people through their actions and inactions just as his failure or success remains a collective action.
“The citizens do not need to utter a word or lift a finger to elect a leader before they share in the success or failure of their leaders; all that is required is their docility for their leaders to run away with their collective destiny.
“Not voting in an election therefore is a form of voting and can decide the outcomes by preventing the good ones from emerging for the simple reason that most people failed to turn out.
“I often marvel when Nigerian women and the youths grumble about their marginalization, whereas both have a combined voting strength of over 60% and can produce the president they want. The National Assembly has just in a revolutionary move, passed the Constitutional Amendment christened ‘Not Too Young To Run’.
“The age limit to come to the National Assembly has been reduced by this legislation to as low as 25 and 35 for President. Baring financial constraints, let us see if there will be an invasion of the National and State Assemblies by the young legislators in an attempt to take their destinies in their own hands,” he said.