By Casmir Igbokwe
The similarity in the recent coup narrative by Nigeria and Jordan is striking. Both countries alleged subliminal plots by unnamed disgruntled elements and their foreign collaborators to overthrow their governments. The way the two nations plotted their stories tends to suggest that part of the tactics of security agents is to create imaginary violence or coup either to divert attention or to silence critics.
In Nigeria, the Presidency made its allegation based mainly on what it calls unimpeachable evidence made available to it by the Department of State Services (DSS). According to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, those plotting the coup are misguided elements bent on wreaking havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country.
“Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership,” Adesina alleged.
The military high command agrees with the Presidency. In a recent statement, the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, alluded to the alleged plot to overthrow the government and said the army shall continue to remain apolitical, subordinate to the civil authority, and firmly loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari and the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
It is imperative to note that the art of exposing destabilization plots is not new to the DSS. In June 2019, it uncovered plots by subversive and undemocratic elements to incite disaffection and violence in the country. In July 2020, it made a similar discovery and alerted the nation to the plot by some prominent personalities and groups to destabilize Nigeria. Earlier this year, it uncovered yet another plot to cause religious crisis in some parts of the country.
In all these discoveries, the DSS has not bothered to give us the name or names of the perpetrators nor have we heard that it has prosecuted any of those accused of plotting to destabilize the country. What the security agency largely does is to raise the alarm and then sit back to watch as we discuss and momentarily forget the main issues troubling us as a nation.
Jordan appears to have learnt this tactic from Nigeria. Last month, King Abdullah ordered that his half-brother and former Crown Prince, Hamzah, be placed under house arrest for alleged coup plot. Dozens of Hamzah’s associates were also detained. But there was no concrete evidence to back up the coup allegation. It was majorly a royal family feud. But the government, many observers suspect, tried to divert the attention of the populace from the current economic challenges facing the country. The official unemployment rate is conservatively put at 24.7 per cent. It is feared that the figure could be as high as 40 per cent.
Hamzah summed it up in a smuggled video message on the day of his detention: “I am not the person responsible for the breakdown in governance, the corruption, and for the incompetence that has been prevalent in our governing structure for the last 15 to 20 years and has been getting worse.”
These are the same problems Nigeria is facing. The country is bleeding as a result of corruption, poverty, unemployment and nepotism. On a daily basis, people are also robbed, kidnapped and sometimes killed by criminal elements. Even innocent children and students are not spared. Hundreds of them have fallen victim to mindless abductions and murder. Thus, many Nigerians suspect that the coup alarm is an attempt to divert attention from the existential problems besetting the nation. They see it as the figment of the imagination of the powers that be.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) said: “It is laughable that President Buhari does not realize that, due to his high level of nepotism in which he appointed and has just appointed only Muslim northerners into all internal security architectures, the truth, which he is running away from, is that Nigeria is imploding just as insecurity has threatened the territorial integrity of Nigeria.”
Some northern groups and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) did not spare the President as well. In a statement last Thursday, the Catholic bishops described the alleged coup plot as needless attempts by the Presidency to blackmail critics.
The bishops averred: “We are speedily getting there. Police stations are being burnt, our gallant military men and women are being killed, barracks are attacked, IDP camps are attacked, farmlands are invaded, youth unemployment is at its highest, private sectors are not given enabling environment to thrive, and appointments to offices are not reflective of our diversities; the complaints are almost endless – could the sounds signalling a collapsing nation be louder than this?”
Even the National Assembly, which is dominated by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) members, is no longer comfortable with the state of affairs in Nigeria. The lawmakers have asked the President to declare a state of emergency on security. Some concerned Nigerians have even asked him to resign. I doubt if the President is aware of these agitations and complaints.
Sadly, there is a myriad of information flying all over the social media about how the Fulani plan to take over Nigeria. Ordinarily, most Nigerians relate well with one another. There are southerners doing business in the North and vice versa. Some of these people have made lifetime friends and partners and they know no other home outside where they reside.
Unfortunately, poor leadership has almost put a wedge in these cordial relationships. For instance, some of the actions of President Buhari, who is Fulani, tend to give credence to suspicions that the Fulani covet ethnic domination and territorial expansionism. As has been observed by many Nigerians, Buhari’s appointments do not reflect the diversities of Nigeria. The President has also failed to rein in the Fulani herdsmen and bandits who terrorize many parts of Nigeria with AK-47 rifles, but tends to wield the big stick whenever the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is mentioned.
Besides, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) recently imposed N5 million fines, respectively, on Channels Television for interviewing IPOB spokesman and on Inspiration FM for broadcasting a statement by IPOB declaring a sit-at-home order. But Miyetti Allah chieftains have been talking and issuing threats without qualms. Even the leader of the terrorists who kidnapped the Greenfield students in Kaduna threatened fire and brimstone in a recent interview with the Hausa Service of the Voice of America and heavens have not fallen. That is why agitations for restructuring have reached fever pitch. And rather than talk to us to allay our fears, the President keeps sending Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu to address us in the name of the Presidency.
Clearly, President Buhari’s government has failed. It has failed in its primary duty of protecting life and property. It has failed in tackling corruption as promised at inception. It has failed to revamp the economy as also promised. Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world. It is the third most terrorized country in the world. And just recently it was adjudged the third worst governed country in the world. In most other indices of development, the country lags behind. Rather than raise unnecessary alarm, the Presidency should think of how to calm frayed nerves through good governance.
I wish to suggest that the President should just kneel down and pray that Allah should soften his heart to hearken to the cries of Nigerians, to balance his appointments and to see every Nigerian as a member of his family. May I remind him of his words at the inception of his administration: “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody!” Mr. President, please, walk your talk.
Re: Nigeria as third worst governed country
Casmir, Nigeria is in the hands of hypocrites who believe that they are sent by God to rescue her from misrule. These self-styled ‘messiahs’ don’t think that anybody else can position the country in a better way. They are full of deceits, pretenders and believe that anything they do is justified. That’s why they can see corruption, nepotism, tribalism, religious bigotry, banditry, gunmen, Boko Haram, economic sabotage, no standard hospital, poor workers’ welfare as normal way of life. Among such people, any criticism is regarded as brutish and the person must be crushed. Nigeria can only improve when the hypocrites realize their hypocrisy and are ready to change their attitude. Anything short of that is continuous policy summersaults and blame game.
– Pharm Okwuchukwu Njike, +234 803 885 4922
Nigeria fails in everything because elections never count. We must make our elections count before we can have good people in leadership.
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535
Dear Casy, Nigeria, as it is presently, is such that: (1) Nepotism is the head. (2)Corruption is the hands. (3) Sophistry is the body. (4) Inertia is the legs. In this kind of socio-economic health conditions, Nigeria suffers disequilibrium and paralysis with attendant slide into dysfunction and imminent threat of extinction. Solution? Divine intervention because humans at the corridors of power are sophists that have failed us woefully.
– Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731
Nigerian political office holders – from the presidency to councillorship office – are usually selected and foisted on the helpless majority at a very outrageous cost. Whereas the financially challenged Nigerians who are blessed with the know-how to run the affairs of the country are usually schemed out because they are handicapped by lack of funds to buy their passage to these elective offices let alone having the opportunity of facing the Nigerian people. In addition to this age-long imposition of office holders, nepotism, corruption and tribalism have always taken the centre stage at the expense of competence. In his ‘The Trouble With Nigeria’, Chinua Achebe argues that Nigeria’s problem largely hinges on leadership failure. But what do we say about followership failure in Nigeria? The majority of our people are still hungry, disoriented, docile, tribalistic and directionless. Nigeria earnestly requires an enlightened and strong followership in order to ignite and promote a strong, incorruptible and vigilant leadership.
-Edet Essien, Esq. Cal. South, +2348037952470
Dear Casy, Nigeria as the third worst governed nation got worst soon after they removed Shagari in the coup of 1983. The military elites and their civilian counterparts hijacked the people’s government, alienated them, made laws that aren’t good for wild animals to obey for the people, stole their money and stashed it in some banks abroad, created mass poverty, unemployment, poor educational standard, and less infrastructural development. The current insecurity is worsened by Miyetti Allah/Fulani terrorists’ brazen murder and genocide supervised by Nigerian security forces under Buhari’s watch. We are really in a quagmire. I use this mail to appeal to Nigerian leaders and members of international community to come and do the needful instead of Fulani to kill all Nigerians in the name of jihad.
– Eze Chima C., Lagos, +2347036225495
Nigeria is a free country that never practises the rule of law. If the allegation against the minister of communications and digital economy is true, he should be forced to resign. But in Nigeria, most political leaders are the likes of him. The chairman of EFCC should take the information serious and educate the public.
– Bishop Prof. Uzoma Emmanuel, 08037748145
- Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, May 10, 2021