ON many fronts – security, economy and social life – Nigeria is crumbling. National cohesion is also under severe strain. In the midst of these existential perils, two influential personalities separately alerted Nigerians to the uncontrolled upsurge in bloodshed across the land and the danger of state failure. Shortly after Enoch Adeboye, a leading cleric, expressed serious concern about the rampage of criminals nationwide, Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president (1999-2007), raised similar fears. To save Nigeria from implosion, every stakeholder should weigh in, proffer, and act on practical solutions to curb the unprecedented insecurity ravaging the country.
To the duo and many others within and outside the country, the government appears to have lost control. In a mournful analysis, an American think tank, Council on Foreign Relations, concluded that democracy has been imperilled while the country itself is on the brink of unravelling.
For many Nigerians, daily existence is perilous. Currently, attention is riveted on the bloody violence raging in Kaduna, the North-West state that hosts the highest number of security formations in West Africa. Within 48 hours, terrorists attacked the Kaduna International Airport, and the Abuja-Kaduna train in succession. It is a first by terrorists on Nigeria’s air and rail transportation systems.
It illustrates the helplessness, carelessness and incompetence of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.). Nearly seven years in office, he is the very antithesis of a retired general, one of whose main electoral allure in 2015 was his perceived capability and willingness to tackle insecurity.
Kaduna is not the only cauldron. From Islamic terrorists in the North-East to bandits-terrorists in the North-West, Fulani herdsmen-killers in the North-Central, to vicious gunmen in the South-East, and kidnappers in the South-West, and militants in the South-South, Nigerians have never had it so bad. Even the three-year Civil War (1967-1970) was restricted to the old Eastern Region that comprised today’s South-East and South-South regions. Frightfully, as Nigeria is coming apart, the Buhari regime looks forlornly lost. It caps its ineptitude by its refusal to face the grave reality. Buhari refuses to take charge. Even worse, the regime continues to play sectional politics with security.
The populace is traumatised, fearful and demoralised. As Adeboye lamented, “You cannot go to Kaduna by road, you cannot go to Kaduna by air and you cannot go to Kaduna by rail. The question is, why Kaduna and who are those ones responsible? Which state is going to be the next?” It is a potent query.
A Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, said, “This government needs help, it can no longer cope. It has been going on for years and I don’t know if the citizens of this country should live under such a cloud, such uncertainty: get up in the morning and you don’t know if you would get back at night.” This is putting it bluntly.