By Abiodun Komolafe
Have you watched the video clips of the gruesome execution of Lawan Andimi and Roypvil Dalyep by Boko Haram? Have you ever imagined what it feels like to take one’s loved ones away with hopes of reuniting with them waning with each passing day? Have you for once paused to ponder the pains and the trauma of Nigerians who have become widows, widowers and orphans as well as those whose means of livelihood have been destroyed by some senseless and evil elements in the Nigerian society? At least for once, put yourself in the shoe of Reuben Fasoranti, the 94-year-old Nigerian, and Yoruba leader, whose daughter, Funke, was killed by yet-to-be-identified persons and you will not be too far from the status of Nigeria’s cup and the depth of betrayal and frustration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s expression of “surprise at the upsurge in Boko Haram attacks” in Nigeria.
To be frank, Buhari’s surprise revealed tons of truth that are buried! The president became surprised because the reality on ground checkmated his thoughts and understanding of Nigeria’s cosmos. What this means is that the nitty-gritty of governance in this country is never rooted in intelligence or hard knowledge. Government policies, projections and determinations all over the world, especially, in developed countries, are based on unassailable facts. In the case of Nigeria, we imagine policy contents; and, once we do that, policy outputs will always be false and ineffective.
If, indeed, Buhari was not misquoted, or quoted out of context, then, his pronouncement portrays the government as being bankrupt and inept. It’s like a pilot of an aircraft, shouting, midair, that he is confused! The import of that is that those on board should simply say their last prayers! In saner climes, such a worrisome expression of surprise is enough to pass a vote of no confidence on Mr. President because, based on his election, he has been given all the taxpayers’ money and goodwill. So, the uninspiring, medicine-after-death approach to the parlous state of national security amounts to nothing other than the mismanagement of the resources of the state and its apparatuses. After all, the essence of governance for any functional government is to be ahead of its people in terms of wisdom and intelligence, using judiciously and most efficiently, the resources of the state.
The nation state in Nigeria, as we see her today, is a misnomer. The country is nothing but an investment gone awry; a complete but avoidable tragedy, laced with aborted hopes and promises. Despite her rich socio-cultural convenience, here we are, faced with the gory reality of our time, rivaled only in the Stone Age! The centre is fractured, dangerously, even as the people are already taking positions; and it is as if Nigeria is at war with Nigeria! So, whatever might have been the weakness or otherwise of the opportunities for the public expression of anger, Enyinnaya Abaribe was not, in the real sense of the word, far from reinforcing the people’s call on the government to stop using utopian ideas and plastic rhetoric suggestive of Nixonian tactics to feed Nigerians with excuses as if that’s what Nigerians voted for. He was only asking the government to alter its language and maximize capital with greater efficiency, more so as insurgency not only poses great threats to the economy, available indices, which peaked with the United States of America’s recent visa restrictions on Nigerians, have also shown how criminality could lead to loss of income, loss of jobs and loss of peace.
It even goes beyond that! If governance is not based on tactical truth and impeccable intelligence, politics will suffer because it will be played on false assumptions. The citizens will also suffer the reality because the politics in play will no longer be able to address the reality which, as we’ve argued above, confronts the anomalies of its policies. Take for instance the policy against Boko Haram and the kind of huge resources voted into ensuring the defeat of the insurgence. As things stand, there’s next-to-nothing to show for it! Only this year, the Emir of Potiskum was attacked. That he escaped only by the whiskers, after a long walk in the forest, was not without the murder of some of his aides. So, do Nigerians need any further proof to show that the country is not safe?
In terms of transition of power among the political class, the gladiators are also in trouble; for, once a country is challenged securitywise, opportunity for good governance beats a retreat. And, once corruption takes this endemic route, more than never, everybody will be unto himself or herself! Two, accountability will go to blazes. Of course, corruption renders accountability a non-issue! National planning will also have its share of the oddity, showing in bold relief, the fact that governance has taken flight! Donald Trump has now demonstrated how the call for foreign investments can never yield any fruitful results because nobody comes to invest his money in an unsafe environment.
At the political party level, there is no doubt that political parties will start chasing shadows as every political bigwig will just be for himself. Poverty will be magnified and the usual interventions or fire-brigade economic palliatives will not pacify the angst and negative impact of poverty, no matter the hugeness of the funds invested to tackle it. Employment will also become a product of lip service. For the common man, who gets more frustrated by the day through his punitive ‘take-home’ that can no longer take him home, it is a luring road to anarchy. Even, if there are predictions about rain, to comply with them and ensure food security will become problematic because there is corruption in the land. The sadder side of it is that those at the helm of affairs will have to work with false data and false narratives about the reality of issues in Nigeria. Unfortunately, no country plans with false data and makes a success out of it. Try it and you will be faced with false answers because the policies will also be skewed. And, if governance is skewed, all other things elsewhere will partake of it. Besides, there will be tension in the land and chaos will not be too far because the cost of maintaining the peace and security in the country will also go up, with no guarantees or assurances of success!
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!
KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria. He can be reached via email: email@example.com
The North And Vanity Of Power
By Charles Ogbu
Northern Nigeria is a tragic paradox. A walking contradiction, I mean.
For over 40 years, the North has ruled Nigeria and controlled every aspect of her national life. The current President of Nigeria is from the North and virtually every security agencies in Nigeria including the paramilitary ones are in the hands of Northerners. Yet, almost half of the North is firmly in the hands of terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements operating under different names. Both our Army Chief, Defence minister and even the Commander-In-Chief now need to be escorted by almost the entire Nigerian armed forces before they visit their home towns all in the North. As I type, some of the bodies of dozenS of people butchered by bandits Friday evening in President Buhari’s own home state of Katsina are yet to be interred.
All the revenue generating agencies in the country from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) etc are manned by Northerners. The richest man in Africa is from the North. Yet, according to a recent report released by World Bank, 87% of Nigerians living in poverty are in the North.
Beyond poverty and insecurity, the North boasts of having the highest number of out-of-school children estimated at 12 million by a UN report. The worst case of infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria is in the North. The worst case of illiteracy and drug abuse is in the North. It is also in the North that the highest number of unemployed and unemployable youths are found.
This raises the question: What exactly has the Northern elites done for the North with all the long years they’ve controlled political power in the country? Of what use is power if you cannot use it to change the fortune of your people?
In the midst of all these internal contradictions, why do Northern youths still seem to worship their political elites as some god instead of seeing and treating them as the real authors of their misfortune? Why do Northern youths only care about helping their elites acquire political power without deploying that same energy towards making sure they use that power in a way it will benefit the average Northerner?
Funny enough, despite the consensus on the nothingness that is the Buhari regime and the entire North becoming a hotbed of terrorism and banditry under a Northern Commander-In-Chief, if elections were to be held today between President Buhari who has failed beyond every doubt and a Southern candidate with excellent record and a credible chance of transforming Nigeria, chances are the average Northern youth will vote Buhari even if doing so will conclusively put the country on the way to golgotha. He will, because all that matters to him is having a fellow Northern Muslim at the helm of affairs. Mind you, if the North were to be a separate Nation, Northerners would never elect someone of Buhari’s intellect and competence to head even a hamlet because they know he has nothing to offer. The only reason they support Buhari is because they care more about dominating others than they do about performance.
It is a cultural thing. It has a name: Feudalism.
And this is exactly why the North and the South can never coexist happily because the two regions have a world view and value system that contrasts sharply with each other. One wants to explore the world and her full potentials while the other simply wants to dominate everyone and force others to go back to the dark ages with her.
I understand that we are in a time when truth sounds like hate to those who hate it but it must be stated in an unmistakable term that the Northern part of Nigeria is a huge liability to the rest of the country. If the region fails to take immediate steps to address her issues, the North risks collapsing under the weight of her internal contradictions. And when it happens, it will drag the rest of the country along as we are already witnessing.
Southern leaders must start making preparations for the day-after-tomorrow because if a man cannot stop a bad rain from falling, wisdom demands he should at least take measures to protect himself from being beaten by the rain.
Ogbu is a socio-political analyst and good governance advocate. He tweets from @RealCharlesOgbu
‘Dear Igbo Governors, You Don’t Have Sense!’
By Baron Roy
The Yoruba governors eschewed party affiliations, personal pride and all. They sought the help of their intellectuals, sociocultural groups and technocrats and established the South West Regional Security outfit.
The Northern Establishment went mad with rage! They got the President of Northern Nigeria to summon them, threaten them and attempted to intimidate them. But the governors, with the backing of their people (and indeed Southern Nigerians) stuck to their guns, and told the Northern President to ‘go f@ck himself!’ We clapped and danced in delight!
And the Fulani Terrorist Herdsmen are on the backfoot in the Oduduwa Region now.
But what did the South Eastern governors do?
They ignored every single sociocultural group of South Eastern extraction, approached the Northern President like the regular neanderthals they are, and declared their support for his moronic security policies.
Whereas the Yoruba governors align with their citizens to ensure the security of lives and properties in the Oduduwa Region, the gubernatorial slaves of the South East threw their own people under the bus just to get a patting on the back from the Northern President!
Dear South Eastern governors, you don’t have sense! You’re very stupid!
Disclaimer: Opinion articles are solely the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official standpoint of Oriental Times or any of its editors thereof.
Osun: The Storm Foreseen (1)
By Abiodun Komolafe
To a casual observer, the philosophy of maize signifies that the process of life is gradual. The first thing you see in maize, when it is growing, is the root, followed by the shoot, before the leaves eventually appear.
What this simply means is that, when Gboyega Oyetola came on board as governor of Osun State, he had three notable groups of Nigerians to contend with. The first comprised a cross-section of the people – the agitated, who were banking on the wholesale application of the ‘philosophy of what works’, to demand change ‘with immediate effect.’ To the second class of people, ‘life itself is gradual.’ Therefore, the governor should be given a chance to build development, because ‘destructive change can lead to the disruption of the social order.’ The third category is comprised of the anarchists and pessimists who, right from the first day, have been fortified with the notion that time moratorium is futile; ‘chance or no chance, nothing good can come out of this government.’ In the eye of the objective observer, therefore, how has Osun fared in the last one year, in the context of the hypotheses above?
Well, for those who want ‘immediate change’, it is a lose-lose situation, because, effectively, nothing so spectacular has really changed, except, of course, that civil servants are now paid as and when due, which, in practical terms, is one of the cardinal duties of any responsible government. Talking to facts, policies of government must work; and must be seen to be working. Therefore, the issue at stake is beyond policy formulation because no insight is so far gained or meaningful benefits achieved from the application of sophistry or brand manipulation of government policies.
The most unfortunate thing about the second class of people is that, from the look of things, this set of people will also have to wait, possibly, till ‘Thy kingdom come’ before they begin to see some meaningful development. And the reason is simple: it takes leadership, good vision, foresight, accommodation, resilience and good politics to achieve development in any given society. For Osun, the sad narrative is not about the dearth of competent hands or attributes of leadership. It is, most unfortunately, about a palpable lack of cohesion in the policy machinery of the state. For instance, the newly-appointed commissioners, in spite of an elaborate retreat organized for them at the inception of their cabinet responsibilities, still work as if they are alone, striving individually, rather than as a team, to ‘please Mr. Governor.’
For the third category of people, history over the time, has shown that, unless something concrete and tangible happens to mitigate their agitations, they are likely to win the day! It is therefore for the government of the day to prove them wrong!
Far from waxing lyrical, the troubles with the current administration in Osun are many, some of which may not have been initiated or caused by the incumbent occupier of Bola Ige House. Nonetheless, failure to address these thorny issues with tact – and holistically too – may spell doom for both the ruling party and the sitting government. To put it mildly, one of its shortcomings is that there are too many neophytes, who call themselves politicians, currently in government. When you have cabinet members who do not enjoy robust political patronage amongst the indigenous people; or, widespread legitimate acceptability; or, whose acceptability profile is defective, such a government will be unstable, lacking genuine respect of the use of state’s unquestionable authority! And, that is dangerous for a transformational democracy like ours!
Well, it is possible to carelessly tag the agitations of the ‘old-guard politicians’ as being inconsequential, but they sure know what it means to lose political capital and commanding influence; more importantly, how to gain back any ‘lost’ political goodwill, more than the greenhorns. The general feeling out there is that the old politicians are no longer relevant and some identifiable groups of people within the ruling party, who sincerely worked for its victory in the last governorship election, are currently left in the cold.
The orthodox market women, aka Iyalojas, are no longer dancing while the usual handshake between the street and the Seat of Government has become a thing of the past. The ‘State Boys’ are reportedly trapped in the nightmares of their neglect while erstwhile conversations between the clerics and their long prayers for the state no longer find accommodation in the government’s scheme of things. The political hangers-on are hungry and are ready to write the prescriptions, even, administer the dosage for an ‘Us vs. Us’ implosion in obedience to the intensity of their resentment. Strangely, too, the opposition, though still licking its wounds, is busy strategizing how to capitalize on the alleged political naivety of the government. To a vast majority of these aggrieved blocs, the unbearable realities are showing on their faces and this may have negative effects on the very foundation of governance in the state if either of two things is not opted for.
The first is to accommodate the old structures with tact and caution and learn how to manage them, especially, taking into consideration the place of August 9, 2014 in Nigeria’s rich political history. As a remarkable Nigerian and an accomplished politician, a time like this presents a tempting opportunity for Oyetola to reach out to the useful ones among existing structures, buy them over and make them work for him. After all, politics is about the people; and policy without the people is a nullity! Interestingly, too, winning elections and governance have obviously moved away from party issues. I will return to that later!
In the alternative, the administration may need to talk to the Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to give state heads of security agencies needed directives and incentives to do the bidding of the governor wholesale. Of course, this may be more costly and unhealthy, especially, in a country buffeted on all sides with problems of insecurity, economic underdevelopment and over-politicization of all sociopolitical issues.
Yes! The political power and influence of the sum total of the diverse politically aggrieved groups of people in Osun may not be able to successfully challenge the state. Nonetheless, the dark side of politics is that, collectively, they stand formidable; and could probably slow the pace of development, or, altogether, render the state impotent. Also, the rightness or otherwise of the structure and relevance of what the active actors do will depend, largely, on who is doing the appraisal or attempting a definition.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Osun State!
(To be continued.)
~ KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org