By John Amoda
THE Vanguard of Monday July 30, 2012 carries an alarm on its front page titled: “State of insecurity: Nigeria must not break up OBJ, IBB warn”.
According to the story as titled above:
“Former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida have made a joint appeal for peace in the land, saying that the daily loss of innocent lives in the country was unbearable burden that could inevitably shatter the fabrics of the nation’s existence.
The appeal contained in a joint statement issued by the former leaders, yesterday, noted with regret what they described as the increasing cynicism clouding the thinking of many Nigerians who are hounded by fear, frustration and the failure of government across all levels to protect them” (Vanguard Monday July 30, 2012, P. 1-5)
The Vanguard, Thursday August 2, 2012 reports the concerns of the Senate President, David Mark in the story titled “Security Challenge is tolerable–Mark”.
Senate President, David Mark, yesterday, reiterated that the state of insecurity in Nigeria, where members of the Boko Haram Islamist sect engaged in massive killing and destruction of property was becoming worrisome and intolerable.
Mark who charged security operatives to strengthen their strategies and brace up and address the security challenge facing the country, …”It is your collective efforts that would guarantee the security of the nation. Once we can achieve security in the country, there would be peace and when there is peace, there will be progress and development. We need peaceful coexistence. We need the cooperation of all”.
These two quoted stories show what it means to treat the effect as the cause. Insecurity in Nigeria is the effect of the weakening of the capacity of government to assure the order of society.
It is the growing incapacity of government to exercise domination and effect the pacification of criminal, insurgent and bandit groupings that are exploited by anti- government interests. Government in Nigeria as an adaptation of the colonial government when it is functioning effectively is an institution of domination, pacification and control.
When government is under attack from all agents of disorder, the social fabric is not only weakened, a condition of anarchy increasingly replaces the condition of order and the agents of disorder have an ever increasing liberty to pursue their own private ends. This increasing liberty for the privatisation of the public space is what the leaders quoted described as insecurity. The policy option needed now is not that presently pursued by the Inspector General in Plateau.
The story in the Vanguard thus titled is illustrative of the problem of treating effects as the cause. We quote the story at length to make the point. The story was titled thus: “Plateau: IG orders AIG, CP to nip crises in the bud… Seeks new strategies to curb menace”.
Following the frequent crises in Jos, Plateau State and its potential of creating a bigger security challenge for the nation, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has issued a two weeks order to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 4 Makurdi, Mr. Michael Zuokumor and the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State.
Speaking during a meeting with senior police officers in Abuja yesterday, the IG said, we are daily confronted by numerous acts of crimes and criminality and must endeavour to curb these crimes to the barest minimum. The skirmishes and bombings in some parts of the country are still there. The Jos crisis is a problem that must be solved.
He added: “Just recently, many people lost their lives in Barkin Ladi and Riyom, including a serving Senator and a member of the Plateau State House of Assembly. But this violence that has pervaded the Plateau for several years must come to an end… I must reiterate our commitment to the ongoing security arrangements and other efforts aimed at restoring peace in Plateau State.
The Plateau State Command and police personnel deployed on special duties to the troubled parts of the state must gear up to the challenge of security in the state and see that normalcy is restored as soon as possible”.
The IG charged: “I now direct the Assistant Inspector General of Police in-charge of Zone 4 command, AIG Michael Zuokumor and the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State, Mr. Emmauel Ayeni to immediately commence efforts targeted at reconstructing and evolving effective security strategies to address the security challenges in Plateau State”.
To describe the above as mission impossible is to state the obvious. But the pathos in the urgency of the IG’s directives is palpable- The IG has been given the mission impossible. He in return must pass the baton down the line.
The fact is this: the Police is part of the failing structure of government; it is this failure that has opened the flood gates for forces of anarchy to take “the laws” into their own hands. What is to be addressed is the bringing “order to chaos” as the FM 3-07 of the US Army Stability Operations Field Manual so accurately states.
Government is failing to contain society as it did during the heyday of colonialism. World War 2 saw the weakening of colonial empires and their capacity to contain their imperial holdings. Their withdrawal from the burden of empire was both strategic and tactical.
Strategic because new political relations that preserved the old economic order were fashioned to effect the new political order between former colonies and former colonial masters- a political order that transferred the burdens of the imperial state to the new post-colonial governments who have been slow to appreciate the fact that a colonial government is secured by a strong state.
Without the security provided by a strong post-colonial state, the post-colonial government charged with the responsibilities of domination and pacification of the colonially structured society would either have to sub-contract its defence and security needs to its former colonial masters, this time buying and paying for such service or live to find itself in Nigeria’s present security predicaments.
How is the present security challenges to be addressed?
Former Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs and Secretary of State in an excerpt from his new book “IT Worked For Me In Life And Leadership” published in The Nation on Sunday May 20, 2012 enunciated one of his leadership principles which worked for him and I quote it because I believe it can work for us. It is a simple rule of responsibility economically stated by him thus:
“If you break it, you own it”. It was a shorthand for the profound reality. That if we take out another country by force, we instantly become the new government responsible for governing the country and for the security of its peoples until we can turn all that over to a new, stable, and functioning government. We are now in charge. We have to be prepared to take charge”.
How does this apply to Nigeria? Simple. Our politicians, nationalists of all shades, agitated to be freed from colonial rule and to be their own masters. They broke the relations of dependence on the Imperial State to defend the colonial government and to protect the subjects of the King or Queen.
With independence granted them, they were now in charge. But were they prepared to take charge, seeing that they had instantly become the new government responsible for governing the country and for the security of its people?
The independence Political Parties sought the easy way out by entering into a Defence Pact with the departing Imperial Government. The Youths of the University of Ibadan provided the arrow head of protests against what they saw as the giving with the right hand and taking back of the gift with the left.
The Defence Pact was abrogated and since then the Political Class had to “own the burden” of governing and securing the people. The ruling part was gladly embraced by both factions of the political class, the civilian and the military. The amazing fact is that both factions have refused to own the burdens of state formation.
Now it is obvious that all must now own what was broken, the security relations between empire and colony. Independence brings with it as priority number 1, the creation of the institutions of security that enable a government to function and the state to secure both the government and the citizen.
The security forces that protect the government and the citizens are created in the course of the formation of the state as the organ of sovereignty and the platform of government. The state is established by political parties whose primary interest is proprietary rulership.
Showing why this is the case is an information the U.S Army stability operations Field Manual enables us to discover. We will see that addressing the problem of bringing order to chaos is the substance of state formation and a core mission of the US Army. It is in the context of stability operations when governments have collapsed that reconfiguration of governments is effected as a function of state creation.