By Casmir Igbokwe
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, appears to be frustrated. Amid the chaos dogging the state of security in the land, our President said only God could effectively supervise Nigeria’s border with Niger Republic. Indirectly, he has petitioned God, saying something like this: “Dear God, we cannot protect ourselves anymore. All the principalities and powers have come after us through Niger Republic border. You know we have no power of our own. Come to our rescue Lord!”
We can adapt the same prayer for Nigerian Governors. They need it desperately. Recently, they paid a solidarity visit to Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, over the abduction of over 300 schoolboys by bandits. The governors, led by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, said they were all tired and frustrated over the spate of insecurity in the land. They quickly added though that they not only have to be tough on banditry, kidnapping and criminality generally, but also tough on the causes of these problems such as social inequality and poverty.
You know Nigerians and their leaders usually resign to God when they lack ideas and sometimes when they want to play some pranks. Two years ago, the then Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Konbowei Benson, hired the services of a renowned pastor, Dr. Uma Ukpai, to fight evil spirit, rapists, ritual killers, kidnappers and other sundry criminals in his Southern Ijaw Constituency 4, comprising 29 communities in Bayelsa State. Benson believed that Ukpai’s three-day crusade would put a stop to all the criminal activities in the region by divine intervention.
As at then, Bayelsa had about 4000 policemen to police the state. Out of this number, only about 20 per cent were reportedly active and working. Also, a study by the police headquarters then indicated that only 20 per cent of policemen in Nigeria were active and working. The rest were deployed to service some ‘big men’.
No doubt, the frequent resort to God by some of our leaders for problems that require practical solutions is a defeatist attitude and an exercise in spiritual deception. It means the government is incapable and has failed in its major responsibilities. Imagine expressing frustration and resigning to fate in a season of heightened criminality!
All over the country, there is fear and anxiety. No one is safe anymore. If you are travelling, you could be kidnapped on the way. Many have been so kidnapped. Even in the comfort of your home, you are not safe. Armed robbers could write to inform you that they are coming. They will come and nothing will happen.
In the North-East, the problem is Boko Haram. They have killed thousands and displaced millions in their homes. In the North-West, bandits hold sway. In the North-Central, herdsmen have made life unbearable for the citizens. In the South-West, South-East and South-South, kidnappers and armed robbers continue to terrorise hapless citizens.
Sundry fraudsters are not helping matters. The other day, a close relative of mine almost fell into their hands in Lagos. A certain young man walked up to her on her way to the bank for some transactions. He told her about a company recruiting beautiful young ladies like her as models. The story sounded real, and having stayed at home for nine months on account of the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), she decided to give it a shot. She visited the so-called company as directed. But rather than modelling, the ‘Managing Director’ and his ‘prophets’ told her how one rich man died and left N400 million abroad.
To cut the long story short, she was asked to bring all the money in her account as seed and for prayers. This is so she could be among the four people who would share the N400 million at N100 million each. Each time she expressed some doubt about what they were telling her, the prophet among them would compel her to kneel down and ask for God’s forgiveness. Seeing through their deception, the young lady pooh-poohed them and demanded transport money back to where she came from. They refused. But when she raised her voice, they quickly gave her N1, 000 and escorted her out of the place. Many unlucky ones have been swindled this way. Many have even gone missing and used for ritual purposes.
Perhaps, poverty and rising unemployment are major contributory factors to this type of crime. Currently, Nigeria’s unemployment rate is 27.1 per cent. In the third quarter of 2017, it was 18.8 per cent. In the third quarter of 2018, it was about 23.1 per cent. This means that the rate has continued to rise rather than drop.
Also, inflation has hit the rooftops. Unlike before when you see Christmas hampers everywhere, many supermarkets have no hamper this year. There is acute hunger and deprivation in the land.
This is where pragmatic leadership comes in. At critical moments like this, leaders put on their thinking caps. They inspire hope with their actions and utterances. They proffer workable solutions to nagging problems. Like the coach of a football team, they inspire their subjects.
Unfortunately, these qualities are lacking in many Nigerian leaders. We were waiting for them to give us direction, to offer us hope. But what we got instead was resignation to fate and to God. And there appears to be no hope for an immediate redemption. This is the tragedy of our current existence as a nation.
To add insult to injury, the President’s aides always want to shift blame to where it does not belong. In 2018, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, blamed former President Goodluck Jonathan as the cause of the delay in the appointment of ministers by Buhari in 2015. It had taken the President about six months to appoint ministers after assuming power in 2015. He said Jonathan only gave Buhari handover notes 48 hours to the handover of power.
The other day, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said Buhari’s government was smarter than Goodluck Jonathan’s with regard to the rescue of abducted schoolchildren. According to him, the Jonathan’s government was tardy in its response to Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction in 2014. But that Buhari’s government acted swiftly during Dapchi abduction of 2018 and the recent Kankara abduction.
Do you still wonder why we are where we are today? At the seat of power of this nation, there appears to be a ‘demon’ manipulating the people in power. That demon is leadership deficit. And until that demon is exorcised, we will remain a nation in search of salvation.
Re: North-West governor sponsoring bandits?
It is antithesis of tomfoolery for many Nigerians in government and politics to think that we people out there are as moronic as themselves. Recall that yesterday the heavens nearly fell on Dr. Obadiah Mailafia for exposing information he heard that one of the Northern Governors was sponsoring Boko Haram. He was almost swallowed alive because the wide suspicion fell on an APC Governor. Today the APC has a sing song with the suspicion that a PDP Governor in the North was suspected of sponsoring Book Haram. As enunciated somewhere in Dan Brown’s Dante’s Inferno, I am glad that we have not all gone as putty as those structured entities known as “shades”, with bodiless souls trapped between life and death. And until that happens, we all should know who is fooling whom, and how we seem to have gotten to a point of no return with Boko Haram.
– Dr. Chuka Nwosu, Port Harcourt, 08085914645.
The title of your piece itself is an expression of utter disbelief! Hence, your rhetorical question which has thrown everyone into a brainstorming session. The complexity of a woman’s wardrobe aptly describes the recurring multiplicity of Nigeria’s problems which are partly natural, and MOSTLY artificial.
-Edet Essien Esq. Cal. South, +2348037952470
Dear Casy, Nigeria is a country of contradictions where one law exists but its application for same offence varies according to your socio-economic strength. When Dr Obadiah’s allegation came up, the man was harassed and hounded; even the radio outfit was slammed with sanction instead of pursuing the lead. With the allegation linking the faceless Governor to Boko Haram, insurgency, nothing but trash bin of history shall be its destination. Since insecurity in Nigeria has become hydra-headed such that those with the statutory mandate to handle it, inadvertently, now stand on our graves, instead of standing on the situation, may God almighty stand on the situation for us because we are helpless now. Happy Christmas to you and family my dear courageous brother.
– Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731.
Good day. Your article was thought provoking but what do you say about the deactivation of thousands of SIM cards in a few weeks considering the fact that many will be thrown out of the world of communication. Thanks.
– Anonymous, +2349135537818
Dear Casmir, clues beget clues before conclusion is arrived at in investigation. I had written that sabotage is most likely the problem the Joint Task Force is having. Let’s go on a swoop and dig out the truth.
– Cletus Frenchman, Enugu, +2349095385215
If they know those who are sponsoring bandits and other vices in their region and keep silent, they are doing themselves. A nation with insecurity problems cannot develop, no matter the resources it has at its disposal. Nigeria needs peace; all hands must be on deck to ensure peace returns for meaningful development irrespective of political party, religion and tribe.
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535
Dear Casy, the North-West governor sponsoring terrorists is livid news for some who don’t know the leadership modus operandi of northern Nigeria since the Fulani feudal lord invasion of the North from 1790 to 1840 that imposed hegemonic system of leadership where the minority decide the faith and fate of the majority in all aspects of human development till this 21st century. Until the northern political, religious and educated elites change their abracadabra leadership, they have self-destruct not only the north but also the entire Nigeria. In the South, the local govt chairmen, governors, the political elites and their so-called stakeholders, some traditional rulers have copied the feudal system of the north. They are no longer accountable to their people. Let Buhari fish out the terror masterminds and their sponsors and protect the good informants and the populace from terrorists.
– Eze Chima Cletus, Lagos, +2347036225495
- Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, December 28, 2020