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Politics and ‘blood-letting’ industry

By Matthew Agboma Ozah
24 June 2020   |   2:14 am
Judging by performance and campaign promises of politicians across the world, African politicians would rank as one of the most unreliable in keeping their election pledges.

Judging by performance and campaign promises of politicians across the world, African politicians would rank as one of the most unreliable in keeping their election pledges. To say the least, politicians in Nigeria ignore many of their campaign promises and go away with it unchallenged. Hence, they continue to thumb their chest and crow in public space with shoulder-high over faceless achievements. Also, politicians speak about problems facing the nation as if it was created by unseen forces and should be solved by the same. However, the statement credited to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, identifying that Boko Haram has metamorphosed from a group of religious zealots into a huge industry in recent time was exactly right. But the big questions begging for answers are: why is it industry and who benefits from the industry, Boko Haram insurgents or government and its officials? According to Lawan, it is an industry because what they do is not religious.

They have people from all faiths and countries who are part of Boko Haram. It is indeed tragic and shocking to hear the Senate president speak in such a manner. How did he get to know the composition of different faiths in Boko Haram? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Don’t forget that former President Goodluck Jonathan did inform the nation during his administration’s trying times with the insurgent group that, Boko Haram were members of his government.

Notwithstanding the above, the Senate president’s remark triggered a disturbing impression that we live in abnormal times, where human lives mean nothing for those who kill in the name of religion or for their industry as noted by the Senate president. Of course, to worsen the issue, government that is supposed to maintain law and order in the society is helpless. What that succinctly suggests is that the ruling government has failed Nigerians woefully.

Over the years, before the advent of Boko Haram insurgency, Nigeria was known to be peaceful with happy citizens. At the moment, Nigerians are wrenched apart by pockets of crisis across the nation and the Boko Haram insurgency is a lingering headache as its chaos grows on a daily basis. Armed men kill people at random and inflict horror on innocent civilians. Yet, the ruling government seems to treat the security issue with a kid glove. Instead of using its security apparatus to stop the orgy of killings in the north and by extension the whole country, the ruling government was busy arresting leaders of a peaceful protest in Katsina last week.

Under such guise, to arrest the convener of the Katsina protest, is the government indirectly saying that citizens no longer have the rights to protest or be listened to? What the Buhari government should bear at the back of its mind is that, the longer the insurgency persists, the harder it would take to resolve it. Also, the senseless and repeated massacres of lives and destruction of property should give the government and its functionaries at both state and federal levels sleepless nights.

In clear terms, what Nigerians are currently experiencing is insensitivity of the ruling government and absolute lack of political will to act. Just as the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar III noted, “These repeated calamitous scenarios would have been avoided had the government risen to the occasion. We nonetheless, as always condemn the repeated brutal acts in their entirety, especially the lackadaisical attitude of relevant security agencies that seemed to be overwhelmed, despite calls …for a decisive action” No doubt, insecurity has been a big challenge in Nigerian politics in the past few years.

Of late, the search for a messiah has thrust politics into the hands of cohort of senile and weak in thought leaders. Hence you hear the President speak thus to service chiefs over the continued deteriorating security situation across the country. President Buhari said, “…everyone is doing his best but his best is not good enough”. However, the Senate president believes that, “There is no point if somebody is not registering success for such a person to continue to be there…” It is disheartening to note that from the inception of this administration, and even on its election campaign, the ruling government set out three agenda that it would tackle.

These are, fighting insecurity, stabilising the economy and purging the nation of corruption. Of the three legged horse race, none can the government confidently say it has fully achieved five years running into an eight-year administration. With the current precarious security situation, the President needs no adviser or counsel when he said “…it takes common sense for anyone to understand that without security, the pursuit of the other two campaign promises will just be an exercise in futility”. The Senate on its part is full of lamentations about the persistent activities of the Boko Haram, especially as the insurgent group has been on the loose in the northern part of the country, as Lawan noted, despite the so many resolutions and efforts the Senate has made. Resolutions that birthed committees on insecurity which invested huge funds to tour the northwest as well as organise public hearings that did not change the situation for good.

To sincerely tackle the insecurity problem facing the nation, there is need for government to be in synergy with the public. Also, the government should understand and feel that the people’s opinion that their demands should be fulfilled means a lot. In a democracy, nothing should be decided behind closed doors, neither should such be adopted by a small cabal of people for the whole citizens. This will enable government to reason and understand the suffering of the people and be very proactive to situation concerning insecurity or any issue that affects society.

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