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CITIZEN: We Must Not Allow Doomsday Prediction About Nigeria To Come True – By Chief Arthur Nzeribe

 

With the frightening level of insecurity in our Country, it must now be obvious to everybody who believes in the corporate existence of Nigeria that the era of political grandstanding is over. We need not remind ourselves that what is needed today is total commitment to Nigeria project by all stakeholders, not just in word but in deed. We must walk the talk.

 

In 2014 it will be hundred years since the Southern and Northern protectorates came together as one. Thankfully, no critical section of Nigeria is talking of marginalization anymore. The only injustice existing today is rather “Political Injustice”, which can be sorted out with proper alliances and negotiations by political actors. The political space is wide open to accommodate all shades of opinion. Suffice to say that without Security, Peace and Stability in Nigeria, no progress can be made.

 

JOURNEY TO DOOMSDAY PREDICTION ABOUT NIGERIA.

 

Nigerians may recall that in 2005, a conference report titled ‘Mapping Sub-Saharan Africa’s Future’ by a group of experts assembled by the United States National Intelligence Council predicted the possibility of ‘outright collapse of Nigeria’. The report, among others, stated as follows: “While currently Nigeria’s leaders are locked in a bad marriage that all dislike but dare not leave, there are possibilities that could disrupt the precarious equilibrium in Abuja. The most important would be a junior officer coup that could destabilize the country to the extent that open warfare (may) break out in many places in a sustained manner. “If Nigeria were to become a failed state, it could drag down a large part of the West African region.  Even state failure in small countries, such as Liberia, has the effect of destabilizing entire neighborhoods.  If millions were to flee a collapsed Nigeria, the surrounding countries, up to and including Ghana, would be destabilized.  Further, a failed Nigeria probably could not be reconstituted for many years-if ever-and not without massive international assistance”. A juxtaposition of this report with the current security situation in Nigeria, calls for serious sober reflection by all.

 

The expedient declaration of State of Emergency in the three [3] Northeastern part of Nigeria badly hit by the Islamic insurgent attacks since President Goodluck Jonathan took over the rein of power in Nigeria; has become necessary, and obviously the only reasonable option left to dissuade the doomsday prophets of Nigeria’s disintegration from having a field day. What is needed now is for all stakeholders in Nigeria project to give maximum support to Mr. President in his effort at bringing to an end, the activities of the insurgents. The critical stakeholders in the affected areas should on their part, corporate maximally with the President to achieve the goal of the emergency rule.

 

Although, the current emergency order is a sharp departure from the conventional one, but viewed from the position of inclusiveness in finding lasting solution to the vexed issue of insurgency, one can begin to appreciate President Jonathan’s brand of emergency rule. In effect, what is obtainable in the affected areas right now is “Diarchy”; which is a system of government whereby the Civilian and the Military share power. It was propounded by Late Right Honourable Nnamdi Azikiwe.  The beauty of the current emergency rule is that both the civilian and military authorities in the affected states are expected to cooperate to find lasting solution to the problem.

 

However, Government must know that as a stop gap measure, emergency must not lead to civilians’ casualty. To this extent, the military personnel should be properly trained on counter-insurgency which should centre mainly on intelligence gathering after proper analysis of the issue on ground. A situation whereby the Government says members of Boko Haram sect are ghosts on one hand, and committee was set-up for granting of amnesty to the same ghosts, portrays those advising the President on the issue as confused and disorganized. It is a classical case of somersault.  Intelligence gathering must involve knowing in details if the insurgents are Nigerians or foreigners or mixture of both. A situation where issue surrounding Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria is subjected to varying interpretations will not do the fight against it any good. On the other hand, political elite in government must stop praising themselves on winning the war against terror because it needs no advertisement. Nigeria Press is also advised to be nationalistic in their reportage. Sensational reporting should be discountenanced.

 

It must be understood that the Philippines faced the problem of insurgency as Nigeria is currently facing in early 1950s. The then President, Ramon Magsaysay had to invite an American, Major General Edward Lansdale, an expert in counterinsurgency, to help his country find solution to Huk Guerrilla movement activities, then, a thorn in the flesh of Philippines. After studying the situation in the country, General Lansdale told the President of Philippines that force of arm cannot stamp out the Huk Guerrilla, but rather, it will embolden them. General Lansdale advised President Magsaysay to bring his government nearer to the people by eradicating corruption in the country.  Though, some people may argue that corruption did not start today in Nigeria, why must the problem of insurgency start now? Well, my take on this is: Because of the fact that the grace of God abounds, does it mean we should continue to swim in sin?

 

The greatest cause of instability in Nigeria today is “Structural Corruption”, and it must be urgently addressed.

 

NEAR NON-EXISTENCE OF DEMOCRATICALLY  ELECTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION IN NIGERIA IS ONE POTENT “STRUCTURAL CORRUPTION” THAT NEEDS URGENT ATTENTION.

 

Statistics have shown that most of the States where local government elections have not been conducted are most prone to violent crimes. Nigeria political system is designed to make governance accessible to all. A situation where local government administration is almost non- existent is a clear indictment of the affected State Governors, and they should be substantially held responsible for violent crimes and general insecurity in Nigeria. It is an undisputed fact that the young men and women that are recruited for nefarious activities across the country are mostly those that would have been manning the administration of local government establishments as Chairmen, Councilors, Supervisory Councilors, Special Assistants’, Personal Assistants’ etc. If these young men and women are actively involved in governance in their localities, will the incidence of crime remain as high as it is today? Herein lies the major problem confronting Nigeria.

 

We should not delude ourselves that Nigeria as a whole is not in emergency already, no thanks to Structural Corruption being perpetrated by most of our elected Governors. The solution to this problem of Structural Corruption now rest squarely on the shoulders of the National Assembly [NASS] and Judiciary. NASS should not wait until it amends the Constitution to stop the ongoing looting of LGAs funds by the Governors. A resolution backed by 2/3 majority of members in both houses of assembly requesting the conduct of elections in the affected Local Government Areas, will do the magic. Should they [Governors] fail in allowing elections to hold, NASS should request the President to release only the monies meant for the payment of workers in the affected areas, and withhold other funds.

 

On the side of Judiciary, cases involving non conduct of Local Government Elections should be treated with dispatch. Any Governor found wanting should be sanctioned.

 

Surely, if the elite in Nigeria are interested in preserving and protecting Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan’s efforts at ensuring peace and stability must be supported. The States Chief Executives on the other hand, must ensure that democratically elected local Government Administration are in place, so that the youths can be actively engaged.

 

 

 

ROAD MAP TO 2015 AND RELATED ISSUES.

 

Who owns Imo State politically? A re-run election into Oguta Constituency has just taken place. Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] declared it inconclusive on accounts of violence, and intimidation by agents and thugs of Government in power in the State. Before this, my party, the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] had won in 27 out of 29 polling booths in Oguta LGA. The APGA candidate even lost election in his own polling booth; in-fact, he scored just three [3] votes in his polling unit. This has clearly proved without doubt that PDP owns Imo State. APGA, with the State Resources and Apparatus at its disposal could not match the popularity of PDP in the election; hence, it resorted to violence and official intimidation. Surely, the election of June 29, 2013 has disproved in clear terms, the official claim of APGA’s existence in Imo State.

 

We have crossed the Rubicon already, the die is cast. Ole kandigbo ketere? To whom much is given, much is expected. In 2011, Igbos gave near 100% of their votes to President Goodluck Jonathan. What has the President put in place to justify the huge votes given to him by the South-East? This is not a case of Oliver Twist. It is a legitimate demand that should be met. The issue of second NIGER BRIDGE appears to have become object of campaign for vote from the Igbos by successive Presidents in Nigeria. IT SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE IGBOS WILL NOT WISH TO VOTE ON INFRASTRUCTURAL CREDIT AGAIN. WE ARE NOW IN THE REGIME OF DEVELOPMENTAL / INFRASTRUCTURAL CASH AND CARRY. FOR AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT, I AM NOT TALKING OF NAIRA AND KOBO BUT OF REAL DEVELOPMENTAL STRUCTURES- ROADS, OTHER INFRASTRUCTURE, Á LA CARTE, ETC.

 

The emphasis now must not be whether President Jonathan can contest 2015 Presidential election or not, but rather, it should be honest assessment of his stewardship to Nigeria, in terms of democracy dividend. The insinuation that President Jonathan signed a one term pact with select people in a closet should not be the business of Nigerians who are interested in seeing real dividend of democracy. Legitimately, only Nigerians can determine whether the President should be re-elected or not.

 

Finally, it will not do Nigeria as a Nation any favour if the President is seen to be quarantined politically.

 

 

 

Senator [Chief] Francis Arthur Nzeribe

 

 

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