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Insecurity, corruption and Nigeria’s future

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Nigeria Army: PHOTO: SIGNAL

When President Muhammadu Buhari won the 2015 elections, the sense of optimism was tinged with hope among many Nigerians. Indeed most people believed that the election triumph would prompt the biggest positive change through infrastructural development, revamping the economy and creation of jobs that would lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty. However, by every standard, with regards to reality on ground, President Buhari government is only as much as possible different from former President Goodluck Jonathan’s or any other government by party name. This is because several political players in the current government were very active and played vital roles in the previous administrations. It is against this background that, one can argue that they are not bringing new initiative to the table, therefore, insecurity and corruption continue to hold sway as the nation’s most challenging issues today.

Rightly or wrongly, the ruling government is navigating the same route as the former and it is no longer news that the Buhari government has continued in its failure to adequately address insecurity and corruption in the country. This has been at great cost as it discourages foreign direct investment in the nation’s economy. Of course, an economy that is operating beyond its capacity could perhaps create more space in building sky crappers of unemployed youth in various parts of the country. Here again, history is instructive to teach that this is as a result of policy error of past leaders and the continued misapplication of priority in the current government investment interest.

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The Buhari administration to a large extent has failed to project what many Nigerians claimed it could achieve. In the same vein, the All Progressives Congress (APC) party is reeling in failure to keep its promises during election campaign. This failure helps to explain the administration’s lackadaisical attitude towards tackling insecurity and corruption squarely. Despite Nigeria’s multi-ethnic disposition, the ruling government has maintained a lopsided appointment favouring a particular ethnic group even as it continued to show soft spot towards the nomadic lifestyle of same which allows insecurity to resonate loudly with audacity. The invasion of farmlands by herders across the country continues to heat up the polity as farmers get infuriated by the destruction of farm produce by cattle. The fate of school children in northeast is such a burning issue as kidnapping has become the order of the day. Without bothering about the jeopardy in which the future of school children in the northeast region could turn due to kidnapping, the Federal Government is planning to criminalise ransom payment. Today, however, instead of the Buhari administration being a pathway to bring about security of lives and property in the country by sincerely fighting insurgency, it pretends to believe the fallacy the presidency is proclaiming that the insurgents have been degraded. But, in reality, it has not with the level of atrocities still perpetrated by bandits and the insurgents across the country.

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With such a perceived threat of insecurity bedeviling the nation, it is alarming that corruption cankerworm is gaining deeper roots in the fabric of the society. Anyone who has keenly followed political affairs and events in the country would notice that the ruling government is far apart from fighting corruption like it promised during the electioneering campaigns. The other day, the prosecutor, Special Presidential Panel on Asset Recovery (SPPAR), Tosin Ojaomo, made a stunning revelation before the House of Representatives adhoc committee investigating the status of recovered loots and assets from 2002 to 2020 that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allegedly stashed $60 billion of public funds in the United States.

This was indeed a great achievement for SPPAR, but it seems clear nevertheless that Nigeria’s fight against corruption continues to undergo some ugly twist and turn of events making it hard to achieve success and for society to take a cue and fall in line with being transparent in every dealings. The SPPAR prosecutor, Ojaomo, lamented that efforts by the panel to recover the above mentioned loot were frustrated by the minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, who requested the case file from the body (SPPAR) and has not returned it. Indeed, if the possibility of the claim were true, it would not only be disheartening to Nigerians but deeply shocking that a cabinet member of government could frustrate attempt to recover looted funds. However, it would be tempting to dismiss this allegation as just another empty gesture. Hence, it is commendable that the Attorney General is summoned to appear before the House of Representatives committee to respond to the issues.

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But one wonders if the change slogan is without a purpose for such ugly trends to rear its head in a government that pledged zero tolerance to corruption and insecurity. Therefore, the Buhari government cannot delay any further the political task in understanding that insecurity and corruption are enemies of progress to the country. Expectedly, corruption will not be an easy thing to sandbag. This is because those behind the wheel of corruption would always fight back to close their ugly tracks. But there would be nowhere to hide for corrupt government officials if a leadership that cares and does not compromise but rules by ennobling example comes to the defence of the common good. However, it is easy to say that political leaders must pursue the national interest rather than sectional interest of their ethnic group.

But, in many cases, this is mere wishful thinking as doing the opposite has become an extension of the presidency while the president seems to remain steadfast on national interest but not without thinking of his cousins.

Besides the above, it is important to say that policy makers should avoid seeing policy or taking certain actions through the eyes of a particular ethnic group, religion or race. The danger from such action creates domestic struggles and agitations among the people. President Buhari needs to update his skill to be able to face the challenges of a new age. For example, he needs to be more sensitive to the current changes in the demography of the country. In that regards, he needs to know that open grazing is no longer viable in the 21st Century but ranching. It is hard to determine the exact point in the nation’s history at which it became imperative that we must stick to obsolete system because of a people’s naivety to change. Indeed, when and how did sentiment over naivety become a directive principle of state policy? No doubt, the manifestation of these policies seems to have driven peaceful coexistence among Nigerians into unfamiliar territory.

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