There have been plenty of broken hearts to go round in Nigeria. No thanks to the frightening upsurge in banditry, kidnapping and bloodletting across the land . The statistics are heartrending. According to the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu , about 1,071 people have been killed, 685 kidnapped in the country between January and April 2019. Be sure this is just a conservative estimate. The figures may be much higher than we have been told. In Zamfara state alone, one of the hotbeds of banditry and kidnapping, over 8,000 women had been made widows by the bandits, while over 16,000 children have been orphaned in less than ten years. But, Senator Kabiru Marafa, (Zamfara Central) puts the number of persons killed at 11,000 people in eight years. Also, over 10,000 houses and silos have been reported destroyed by bandits. More people may have been killed by the time you read this opinion.
Tears are still flowing in President’s Muhammadu Buhari’s hometown of Daura in Katsina state following the kidnap last week, of the district head, Alhaji Musa Umar, by unidentified gunmen right in his residence. In Sokoto, the former governor of the state Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa is still shell-shocked. He hasn’t come to terms with last week’s attack by bandits who killed one of his aides, kidnapped his nephew. This happened some hours after he reportedly made anti-bandit comments in Abuja where he was to launch his Foundation. Across the country, no one is sure any longer of his or her safety. Schoolchildren are abducted at will for ransom, leaving their parents to grieve for their children. In churches and mosques, prayers are offered every day. Soldiers are also victims of the insurgents. Two days ago, the Nigerian Army admitted that six its officers were killed by Boko Haram in Magumeri village, Borno state.
The summary of all this makes the mind squirm. Across the country, a pain cry is going up like a lightening rod in the air. Nigeria is dying and hurting. To say that is not been unkind or unpatriotic. But those entrusted with security of lives and property are playing the ostrich while the people are killed and kidnapped every passing day. Over the weekend, the Nigerian Army claimed it has identified those responsible for the insecurity in the land. It alleged that “some unpatriotic elements, in collaboration with foreigners, are planning to derail the swearing in of newly elected government on May 29”. Some of these “mischievous elements”, the Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa said in a statement, “thought that Nigeria would not have a safe and successful general election, “but we have proved them wrong, hence they want to derail the scheduled handover later this month”. The Army authorities also alleged that the elements are making concerted effort to induce ISWAP /Boko Haram terrorists with funds and other logistics support. Interesting allegations, indeed.
It must be said that while the blame game goes on, the enemy of the people is not only ignorance but falling to admit failure and design a different, concrete approach to tackling our security challenges. This much is plain: Nigeria is gradually, and sadly, approaching the dreaded status of a failed state. Yes, every sign of a failed state is becoming evident in the country. Let’s attempt a dictionary definition of a failed state. It includes a “state whose political or economic system has become so weak that the government is no longer in control”. Another definition says it is a nation state where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly. A “failed state” is also a country whose government is considered to have failed to perform the two fundamental functions of protecting of lives and property of its citizens as enshrined in that country’s Constitution.
That’s exactly what Section 14(b) of the 1999 Constitution provides in the Fundamental objectives and Directive principles of State Policy. And you ask :Is the government providing those basic objectives of security and welfare of Nigerians? I guess former President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will be having a good laugh wherever he’s watching the unfolding events in Nigeria, especially the worrisome security issue. The present administration accused him of being “clueless” and that Nigeria was drifting dangerously under his watch. Who is more clueless and inept now? You answer. Reading the former President’s memoir, I find this statement as a comforting jab at the present administration and a vindication for him. Jonathan writes on page 173 of his book: “My Transition Hours”, “If you embark on digging a hole for your enemy, you better make it shallow, because you might end up in the hole yourself”. Time heals all wounds.
You see, every President, every administration, begins to run aground when it sees the red flag and fails to design strategies to prevent or contain the evil days. Sure, evil day will come in the life of every government, but how you confront it is the problem. This government has its hands full, and its fingers bitten to its skin. This is because of its hypocrisy. Hypocrites fail because they hold others liable to the standards they cannot keep. President Buhari had on May 29,2015 promised Nigerians that they “will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness and defeatism”. Now, is Nigeria and Nigerians safer and better than they were four years ago? I honestly don’t think so.
Today, Nigeria is ranked as world’s sixth most miserable nation, according to the latest Misery Index Report. In May 2017, Nigeria, for the second time in a row, was ranked as the 13th least stable country in the world. Our country remains third in the World’s terrorist index, behind Afghanistan and Iraq. Maybe, by the time the 2019 is released, Nigeria may climb ingloriously higher. What a time to be a Nigerian. What does all of this tell us regarding power struggle in our politics ? First, as the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it. On three different occasions, the incumbent President sought political power through the ballot, he failed, but he won in his fourth attempt.
What all of this means is that if you get what you desired, what you do with the office is all yours, your success or failure is in your hands. And be prepared for unforeseen and unpleasant challenges ahead . That’s when your mettle will be tested. Raw power won’t do it. Moral strength won’t do it either. That, I am inclined to believe, is the hard lesson the President and his handlers must have found out now. This is the gritty truth: The All Progressives Congress (APC) sought power and the glamour of the office. It got it by public disenchantment of the “old order”. It’s fair to say that the party was not prepared well enough for what it is now confronted with. It didn’t realise that power for power sake is a dead end.
Whether the President, just back from a 10-day Private visit to the United Kingdom, has any solution to the frightening upsurge in banditry and kidnapping in the country, is not clear yet. But, the desperate and present danger that Nigeria is in right now requires uncommon courage to take decisive action that will restore normalcy and public confidence in his presidency. He needs reminding that while political appointees stay in office at his own liberty , there’s a higher loyalty which he owes to the Nigerian people and the Constitution of the Federal Republic.