Keeping mute in the face of tyranny or maintaining passivity when actions are required is not ordinarily an act of cowardice, it is inhuman, it is deplorable and it is unpatriotic. The world is peopled with different individuals: the good and the bad. The good make life interesting and their society habitable. The bad unleash venom, inflict pain, and create an unpleasant state of hopelessness. Nigeria is not immune from this category of people. Good citizens look for the interest of others and their country. Bad citizens are corrupt, careless and carefree. To them, as long as they are comfortable, wealthy and influential, the commoners can go to hell, or die if they so desire. This circumstance has further stratified our already polarized society and has created a dysfunctional nation that is characterized by extreme inequality and injustice.
Post independent Nigeria’s birth- mark is corruption, favoritism and nepotism. It breeds a system that promotes mediocrity over excellence. The head and the tail are corrupt to the fullest. Political leaders and government officials are corrupt to the core. Both have imbibed the ignominious culture of dishonesty and have kicked integrity to the curb. Recklessness of the political elites has further sustained this indecorum. As if this is not enough problem that requires immediate critical intervention, selfish political leaders, in a do or die desire to occupy or retain political office take advantage of some ignorant and illiterate religious leaders, mostly of the northern descent; to spur religious genocide and ethnic cleansing. This despicable phenomenon marks a new dawn that threatens the fragility of Nigerian national unity.
While the magnitude of the nation’s problems continues to increase in intensity, the country’s leadership is becoming more lackadaisical: Some for lack of vision and mission, others for deficit in courage. According to Dorothy Thompson, an American freelance writer: courage is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear and injustice. Nigerian leadership evidently lacks courage. Their perception of good governance is antithetical to the values expressed by Dorothy Thompson; they could not comprehend the fact that for a government to be effective it must be functional. It must provide the greatest goods to the greatest number of people. It must defend and uphold the sanctity of office and the trust vested in it. It must provide relief and succor from injustice and avert the danger of fear and misfortune. Nigerians are denied these fruits of good governance; the consequence of which has made life worthless and dashed the hope for a better tomorrow. It has turned Nigeria to a state of Armageddon.
Nigerian’s Armageddon status will remain as long as the forces of evil continue to rave in the nation, so long as a section of the country believes that it is their birth right to rule Nigeria perpetually. The status will continue in as much as Islamic radicals continue to delude themselves with the idea of planting the Quran in Lagos beach, planning to introduce and enforce sharia law throughout Nigeria and eradicate western education. The alliance of patriotic individuals and democratic organizations will not relent in their collaborative efforts to confront this barbaric gesture until it is subjugated in its entirety.
I believe in one Nigeria, but if a united Nigeria will not promote and sustain peace and tranquility, if the strength in unity means nothing to the disoriented Islamic jihadists and terrorists, I therefore suggest a return to regionalism; where each region can grow in its own pace and operates a system that is congruent to its culture. There is no need to continue with a false claim of unity in diversity. Possibly this will prevent or at least reduce unnecessary shedding of innocent people’s blood.
One undisputable advantage of regional government is that each region will look inward and develop its natural and human resources to its fullest, and to the benefit of its people. It will prevent wastages that are encouraged under the present dispensation. The quota system, federal character, questionable and crisis prone federal allocation formula can be excused from our politics and political dictum for good. After all, the purpose and application of the policy has been abused and bastardized by its executors. If the multi-tribe nation decides to go apart, so be it. Separation to independent nation state should be a welcome development and the people’s decision should be respected. There is no sense in pretending to be one Nigeria when in actual fact; there are at least three nation states that are presently dependent and divisible.
The people of Nigeria have had enough hostility and harassment from their insatiable brothers. Political corruption has condoned senseless killing under the disguise of religion. The federal government past and present has been indifferent. The leaders of government have repeatedly demonstrated insensitivity and improper judgment on various issues of sectional and national conflict. Their understanding of peace is superficial and shallow. Whereas, “peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict – alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternative to violence.” – Dorothy Thompson
The federal government of Nigeria appears not to have any credible crisis intervention strategy in place to deescalate either tension or friction in the country. Therefore it is easy for religious extremists to take advantage of this loop hole and successfully strike at will. They kill and destroy properties without consequence. These incessant strikes that often went unchecked have contagious effect on other interest groups in the country and have spurred them into similar behavior.
These actions have not only revealed this government as the weaker link, it has exposed its incapability and forced it to its knees. Mohammed Marwa – a.k.a. Maitatsine wasted several lives before he was killed in 1980; Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awatti wal-Jihad -a.k.a. Boko Haram has declared jihad on the nation and has threatened to bomb continually, yet the government could not be decisive. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has joined the band wagon of killers that sends shivers down the spine of the government with no end in sight. The aggregate of the terrorist’s activities in the country has regressed the government into paranoia behavior and create a state of psychological paralysis.
In a civilized nation with credible leadership, government would stand to defend the sanctity of office and safety of the citizens. Chaos from any and all quarters would be confronted and liquidated. Chains of the axis of evil would neither be tolerated nor engaged in negotiation. They would be pursued within and outside the country, smoked out of their hiding hills or cave and gunned or bombed out of existence. That is what a government that pledges to defend the security of its citizens does and needs to do. Citizens must not be coerced or forced to live in perpetual fear or repression. Their liberty should not be compromised for security.
In 51 years of Nigerian political independence, if President Jonathan’s “reinvigorated national security strategy to combat the threat to our safety” is his decision to run away from Eagle Square as a result of MEND and Boko Haram’s threats, I think we are doomed as a nation. It is pitiful if a government with history of police brutality and a record of killing innocent students who are demonstrating for a legitimate cause are incapable of quelling illegitimate crisis of an obnoxious group. If the government of Nigeria with its military and security muscles as well as the avalanche of human resources and international connection bow and kiss the ground before the devilish terrorist groups, the
sovereignty of our statehood is at stake.
President Jonathan Goodluck should learn a lesson from his United States counterpart – President Barrack “Omobowale” Obama. During the 2007 presidential campaign, candidate Obama declared: “…if we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist target… we will act”. President Obama did not allow the influence and pressure of office to defocus him about his safety promise to the Americans. Barely 4 years into the promise, Osama bin Laden (the head planner of the 911 attack) was killed by an authorized U.S special squad in his Pakistan hideout. Many other terrorists and their networks within and outside including the home grown had been pursed, arrested and sometimes killed. By this action, many of the terrorist plans were thwarted, and America became more secure.
President Jonathan has the responsibility to make Nigeria secure as opposed to being a terrorist sanctuary. He should brainstorm with his federal executive council, council of states, security councils, etc. on how Nigeria could be safer. Nigeria needs a courageous leader, not just a figure head that is remotely controlled by the nefarious powerful few. In the words of Bishop Desmond Tutu, “we need a figure of peace in a world shattered and torn by the disillusionment of hatred and violence”. If President Jonathan cannot be this “figure”, then he needs to be excused out of the Aso-Rock. Nigerians can no longer tolerate the killing of innocent citizens by this sect of notorious terrorists. It is the right time for the government to stand tall and make tough decisions to secure life and properties in Nigeria. Terrorists hate freedom and progress, therefore, President Jonathan should not avail it to them. They are murderers who gladiate in the shedding of innocent blood, therefore, their blood should not be spared in watering the tree of our collective liberty. No negotiation; no compromise; justice must prevail.