History is replete with nations that fought wars, survived and came out stronger, but nations that are at war with themselves hardly survive or come out stronger. The so-called Nigerian civil war was rather an invasion of the Eastern Region. Every civil war, in fact all fought wars thereafter, go with lessons and a cause never to repeat itself. But it was not a civil war because there was no spread of ill experiences, except in the conquered enclave. While the people dwelling in rest of Nigeria were going about their normal live, banks and other utility institutions were actively functioning, age grades overlapped their delayed mates in the invasive eastern conquest.
Today, Nigeria is at war with itself; pushing itself to negative entropy. It is at the precipice and could fall apart sooner than predicted. Nigeria is described in the Failed Index State as extremely fragile. By extreme fragility, they mean, when a country is unable to supervise its territorial areas.
The categorisation of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari’s Federal Government by Google as “a failed state,” ranking it the 15th among “the worst failed states” in an exercise in which 180 states across the world were surveyed was based on internationally-accepted indicators of state failure, including, in particular, the failure or inability of government to provide peace, security and safety for the citizens, resulting in the killing and displacement of thousands of people and destruction of billions of naira worth of property by Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani herdsmen marauders.
There is general insecurity caused by widespread incidence of armed robbery, kidnapping and cultism, as well as food insecurity caused by hunger, and job insecurity caused by unemployment.
In a situation where the rule of law does not work and democratic norms are not respected, there is impunity. We are in a country with no rules and regulations, a country where laws are not obeyed, where there is no consequence for killing of innocent citizens. Our overall acts basically have certified almost the entire population not normal.
Nigeria’s problems have gone beyond the economy and corruption at all levels of our daily life and governance. Ethnic groups are suspicious of each other, and then came hate speech. It was hate songs and hate speeches in Rwanda that caused the ethnic tension, and later genocide, that redefined that country. Hate speeches and songs are trending everywhere in Nigeria. It has dominated the social media space.
While our roof is on fire, politicians are junketing from one state to the other, building alliances and political bridges ahead of 2019. The former heads of state, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, were also busy making their feelings felt by writing letters, advancing reasons while President Muhammadu Buhari should not go for reelection. Gen. Theophilus Yakubu (TY) Danjuma, talking to his Taraba people at a function in the state university recently, declared: “There is ethnic cleansing going on in Taraba and some states, including the ones in riverine areas of the country facilitated by those in power … if you people are waiting for the soldiers to defend you, you will all die one by one. Stand up and defend your lands against the attackers, as you have no other place to run to.”
Danjuma’s statement spoke volumes.
Obasanjo has been more emphatic in touting a “Third Force” or coalition to stop Buhari. He condemned the ruling APC, and wrote off the opposition PDP. Obviously, Buhari is expected to fight back. However, the problems of this country are beyond the APC, the PDP, the Third Force or New Coalition. As the crescendo for restructuring of the country continues to reverberate, the ruling party came up recently with recommendations on how to carry out the restructuring.
The pertinent question is: How did we get to this precarious stage? The reason is simple: There have been cumulative injustices; cumulative unrighteousness, gross inequity, and we are now in the time of judgement. Various entrenched interests are intent on driving the nation through the path of damnation.
There have been many voices, ideas, visions, reasoning, knowledge, wisdom to save nation. Like the Tower of Babel, everybody is speaking at the same time and no one seems to be listening the other person. Under this atmosphere of anomie, no one group is ready to advance reasons that are acceptable as the panacea to the nation’s problems. Mutual suspicion among various ethnic groups and religious organisations has taken the front burner. We the people of Nigeria are seeing the effects of the windfall of the Buhari government. No one believes anything anymore in Nigeria. Everybody is fed up.
Where do we go from here? We have to swallow the political hemlock, if we must preserve the country. The APC, PDP and other political parties have failed Nigeria and Nigerians. The so-called, Third Force has no platform, not really existing, but a mere speculation.
It is not workable to carry out restructuring while we are preparing for elections. The National Assembly cannot carry out genuine restructuring because they would be affected by the outcome. Therefore, Nigeria can’t meet the thirst of future, if a political solution different from what we have now is not applied.
• Nwosu writes from Okai, Eziama, Imo State.