BY FRANKLYN OFOEGBU
There are anger and bloodshed in the land. Anger fuelled by hunger, leading to bloodshed. The wanton bloodshed leading to further anger. The cries of innocent souls murdered unjustly by gratuitous violence pervades the entire geographical landscape, resulting in benumbing obfuscation. Safety has become a luxury that even the rich cannot afford. Kidnapping, banditry, looting and all forms of brigandage is the order of the day. A descent into an atmosphere of full-scale chaos is only a few miles away. Everybody is asking: ‘what is going on?’ This question presupposes that we don’t know what is happening, and is the wrong question to ask. The right question should be: ‘how did we get here?’ It is a question that should be answered in sincerity, in order to arrive at concrete solutions to these problems. He who wants to get the right answers should ask the right questions because questions create knowledge, and knowledge is key to solving a problem.
Education is one of the pillars on which a society stands. It enables people to work for the good of society by inculcating in them civility. Sadly, this essential pillar of societal development has been bastardized; devoid of moral and spiritual formation. This has led to the formation of minds with intellectual competence but lacking in moral rectitude. The menace of banditry and kidnapping ravaging parts of the country is not only due to improperly formed minds, but also to those individuals who are deprived of education- formal education- especially the northern almajiris. Deprived of parental care and formal education, they are a steady source of supply of recruits for terrorism and banditry.
Nigeria’s political arrangement is also a contributory factor to the wave of violence round the country. The current political structure is everything short of a federation and is dangerously defective. It is a unitary system wearing the stolen apparel of federalism, and concentrates the resources of the land in the hands of a few individuals, making them more powerful than the citizens. This personality cult comprising the president, lawmakers and others with a false sense of entitlement-popularly known as the cabal- ensure that they are in control of who becomes president, in order to maintain their firm grip over the major resources of the lend, especially oil. With government wielding almost absolute power over the citizens, and also in control of the resources of the land, corruption becomes inevitable. Corruption leads to impoverishment, which in turn fuels violence.
The post-electioneering season in Nigeria is not left out. This is because election season in Nigeria is a war. Unlike conventional warfare, it is one between a government- usually the incumbent administration- and the electorate whose mandate it seeks. Militias of ethnic, religious and party affiliation are usually armed to the teeth by desperate politicians in order to gain power. After elections, the militias who have been used and dumped, resort to the use of their weapons to loot, maim, abduct and kill; unleashing an atmosphere of terror on the citizens. This has been our historical post-electoral experience, and the aftermath of the 2019 elections was not different.
Nigeria’s economy is in the doldrums, and experts have predicted the possibility of a recession in the year 2020. The present administration bereft of ideas, lack clear-cut policies to take Nigeria’s economy out of the woods. According to the Nigerian bureau of statistics, Nigeria’s unemployment rate is going to be 35.5% by the year 2020. An army of unemployed graduates is increasing astronomically yearly, coupled with the large swathes of uneducated almajiris in the north increasingly exponentially. Should it be rocket science for anyone to understand that the combination of the aforementioned factors is a dangerous and lethal potpourri that has dragged the country to the precipice of becoming a failed state?
Kidnapping and banditry has assumed unprecedented dimensions. The life of Nigerians can currently be likened to a crossword puzzle. They live in apprehension of what the future holds, and also in fear of being sent to the celestial plains untimely by these harbingers of terror. Yet the government’s only option is the use of force; an action which can be likened to a doctor treating the symptoms of a disease only, ignoring the disease. The government’s deployment of adhoc solutions to problems demanding a holistic approach, is one that benefits it because, it enables the status quo of incompetence, ineptitude and brazen corruption to be maintained.
If there is anything that the current cataclysm of events indicates; it is that nobody is safe-not even politicians. The abandonment of the Abuja-Kaduna highway due to the presence of bandits is a striking example. Rather than feign ignorance of the cause of these problems, it should save the most populous Black Country from becoming a failed state by addressing the root cause of these problems driving the country to the precipice of chaos and anarchy.