By John Amoda
HELLO Hakeem, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Welcome to Vanguard. Your Bloody Democracy is a descriptive masterpiece. The core implication of your painstaking observations, for me, is the following:
“A Nigerian State severely weakened by a political system rooted in violence is now having to confront another threat from Boko Haram insurgency. The huge expenditure on security, most of which will go into the purchase of expensive and sophisticated weaponry and logistics is an admission that the political process cannot process and neutralise this threat.
The option of arming the nation against this threat almost to the exclusion of all other threats is very dangerous. It appears to be informed by panic, which makes the situation for the Nigerian state even more dangerous because its enemies can see this.
It closes up other options which may be less costly, but more effective. It is difficult to assess as a security strategy, because it requires time to prove its effectiveness and time is a very rare commodity under these circumstances.
It ties up resources and the security assets of the nation around one issue or one threat, and exposes the nation to the emergence of other threats”.
My friend, it is because of the above description of the implications of what we may call this Security Budget, that there is an urgent need for immediate examination of the security policy informing the Security Budget. We all have attempted some descriptions of this Nation’s Security Situation. I believe your description is an efficient summary and summation of Nigeria’s Insecurity.
A day after Hakeem Baba-Ahmed “Bloody democracy” Is’haq Modibo Kawu piece in his column of Thursday, December 29, 2011 titled “Away from home this Christmas” affirms that Nigeria has mutated into what he calls a “national security state”. As he elucidates this concept, I take it that Kawu is asserting that the Government in Nigeria has become a government consumed by concerns for its security as a government. Kawu expands on the above:
“And central to the present situation in Nigeria today is the increasing rollover of the state into a more openly national security state. The 2012 budget plan allocates a whopping N921.98B to security. In a recent article for Africa Confidential of December 16th, 2011 titled “The Business of Terror”, long time Nigeria watcher, Patrick Smith, described the “staggering sum” as “a Boko Haram campaign bonanza for the generals and private security companies”.
Smith added soberly that “the huge diversion of resources will not achieve its aim without a clear strategy to address the grievances that the militants exploit”. It is significant that Patrick Smith locates as central to the grievances of militant anti-state organisations today, as “Nigeria’s winner-takes-all capitalism in which the winners are always the same”.
And all of us know, that even blindfolded, we literally can reel out the list of the perpetual winners that Smith has talked about: beneficiaries of ‘subsidy’ and perpetual donors at PDP fund-raising dinners”.
With the concepts of “Security Budget” and “National Security State” the government’s solution to the present security situation of the country is aptly described. It is briefly winning the Terror War reduced to war against the Boko Haram Sect.
Hakeem Baba-Ahmed has shown why the war is unwinnable because the Boko Haram is an insurgent group. The group is not the cause of the insecurity that the Budget addresses a budget that is likely to spawn “The Business of Terror”. A war against Boko Haram is not a security war.
The insurgency of the Boko Haram Sect as insurgency is a pro-sovereignty campaign. As in all insurgencies, Boko Haram campaign polarises all pro-sovereignty groups including the Federal Government. Pro-Sovereignty groups are groups that “take up arms” to advance their aim to be the sole proprietor of Nigeria or that defend their claim to be the sole proprietor of Nigeria through use of force.
By taking up arms against citizens, institutions and the government, the Boko Haram Sect has transformed the government through its campaign to a “rival” sovereignty group. The course of war which government describes as a Security Crisis is for the Boko Haram Sect the process by which it hopes to establish itself as sovereign over part or all of Nigeria.
Of course the Sect expects to be challenged by all in the “Pro-Sovereignty Business”, and it has chosen the course of war because it hopes to prevail over its “enemies”. Security is thus always “sovereign-specific”. Security is always the security of the sovereign through its order of security.
The Boko Haram Sect have thrown their cap into the ring and have presented themselves as the future sovereign over part of or all of Nigeria. The Niger Delta Militants violence was for redress of the economic plight of the Niger Delta and they did not set out to establish the Niger Delta as a separate country.
Their embrace of the Amnesty Program reveals the character of their politics – it was a variant of “pressure group politics” intended to effect ameliorative reform. The import of the above elucidation is to call attention to the need to know why at bottom Nigeria’s politics is `potentially insurgent, and that the Boko Haram sect is not only the insurgent rival of the Federal Government.
There is need for a comprehensive study of the sources of pro-sovereignty groups in Nigeria to facilitate operational security situations mapping of Nigeria. A good beginning in such undertaking is provided by Baba-Ahmed and Modibo Kawu.
I welcome them to the intrepid platforms of Vanguard Columns. With the Christmas and New Year religion-economic quakes, the scope of Nigeria Security Review has been urgently defined. The Security Review Agenda of 2012 is established and the work has begun.