By Carl Umegboro
Indeed, Nigeria is passing through a perilous time in her 60 years of existence since independence. Nobody, not even the ‘seers’ that flood the space with prophecies ever imagined the nation will deteriorate to this stage where animals are valued than humans, as animals are killed with good reasons unlike humans nowadays. Only Chinua Achebe foresaw it a bit in his ‘Things Fall Apart’. The novelist bewailed when the country was a heaven compared to present agonizing predicaments.
It began from Boko-Haram insurgency to abduction, banditry, presently ceaseless killings and destruction of public facilities. Nobody is safe, not even the poor or school children. Everybody is trapped; civilians and security personnel are gunned down daily as Nollywood and Hollywood movies. This is outcome of prolonged abysmal system failure. By the ugly events virtually on daily basis, it points to the number of firearms in private hands particularly youths. How did firearms get to them? A question for security agencies.
Government failed to deal with the crisis timely. Terrorists ambushed citizens while asleep, raped their women, killed the men and abducted children; nothing happened. From there, they graduated to kidnapping for ransoms and banditry; nothing happened. None arrested and prosecuted, instead, sustained pleadings and warnings. Meanwhile, many that committed minor offences are regularly arraigned and moved into custody. Government’s negligence particularly long-silence on the herdsmen onslaught, banditry and kidnappers across regions contributed to the rise in criminal activities. With huge inflows, crimes become relished livelihoods.
Recently, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation disclosed that government was about to prosecute 400 Boko-Haram’s sponsors arrested from raids in April at Lagos and some northern states. The question is; from the period the insurgents began terrorizing the nation, could this sensibly be the first arrest? Again, when precisely, will the prosecution begin?
We must tell ourselves the truth, and not call a spade – a long spoon. The country as presently constituted runs on double-standard. It began with running different legal systems; Criminal Code in the south while Penal Code and Sharia Laws in the north. What a country!
The fake national unity paved way to nepotism that tears the nation to pieces. Presently, all service-chiefs hail from one region. Key appointments are lopsided favouring the same region leading to turmoil. Beyond these, it results to high criminal activities including liberal proliferation of firearms, now spreading to other regions. Perceptively, some criminals have confidence to escape justice over their crimes knowing that their people occupy most sensitive positions. What a blooper on the hurried Nigeria’s self-rule when unprepared!
Nonetheless, some group of people are drumming songs of wars against ‘June 12 – the nation’s Democracy Day’ to takeover government forcefully. This is a colossal blunder. Instructively, revolution is anti-democracy and a popular feature of military regimes. Democracy has its procedures, and doesn’t entertain a revolution except nonviolent protests. Those calling for a revolution; to unseat an elected president are gullibly, misled. If a president can be removed by street mass actions, it means no president can survive it because every ruling party will also have oppositions.
The acceptable tools for changing a democratic government are election and impeachment. Any violent attempt before its time elapsed is treasonable felony. Emphatically, only the Parliament; exercising sovereignty for the people is the statutory body empowered to remove an elected president, vice president, governors and their deputies from office, and strictly through stipulated procedures, and exclusively at plenaries, not on the streets. The procedures are detailed in Sections 143 and 144 of the 1999 Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. Any person or group plotting to pulldown a government by self-help is a novice, and deficient as far as democracy is concerned.
The golden truth must be told. Destruction of public assets, endless killings, kidnapping and other social disorders can only worsen the dented-image of the nation and scare foreign investors from the country. It cannot change a government save the Parliament thinks otherwise and institute impeachment processes. Recently, many lament that key multinationals bypassed Nigeria to site their Africa’s headquarters in neighbouring countries which will open up those nations’ economy and create employment opportunities to their citizens. Who gains and loses? Of course, all Nigerians. Nigeria that yearly produces about 100,000 fresh graduates is the great loser. No foreign investors will push its funds to a society with instability and criminal activities. This must be noted.
The tragedy is also a lesson for the northern region. They aggressively motivated their youths into criminalities for amnesty programme, as granted Niger-Delta with justified demands. Then, with firearms, the youths abduct, while they pose as negotiators for ransoms. Sensibly, the negotiators benefit too. Recently, South-east youths misleadingly joined and rapidly destroying their enviable, cherished economic space through mayhems like northern youths. Only the Southwest and South-south zones cautiously pursue their agendas with wisdom and decorum.
“If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.” Warren Buffet
Though, Buhari’s tough policy reforms and COVID global lockdown climaxed hardship, however, government failed to act when mayhems were gaining ground. Blocking leakages through Single-Treasury Account (TSA) is positive despite the hardship it caused. Ditto on ‘Ghana-must-go’ bags syndrome which hitherto characterized the National Assembly. The ban on importation of foodstuffs is also positive as Nigerian products dominate the marketplaces. It pushed prices high presently but it is worth the sacrifice. Nonetheless, herdsmen persistent attacks on farmers contributed largely. Government also scored in infrastructural development and supporting SMEs.
Thus, the sensible revolution to strategize about is to elect a credible successor in 2023. Anarchy will worsen the existing predicaments. This is the reason 2023 election calls for sober reflections. There are proven management gurus, economics experts and technocrats like Chukwuma Soludo, Kingsley Moghalu; former CBN Deputy governor, Jim Ovia, Tony Elumelu, among others as power should wisely move to the south. It is not a time to naively boycott election or for bigoted nomination of ‘I-can-lead’ politicians. Nigeria’s economy can only advance through proficient leadership with ideas and innovations.
Umegboro, ACIArb is a public affairs analyst. (08173184542-SMS only)