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Sitting on a keg of gun powder

By Chioma Gabriel

For years now, Nigeria has witnessed frantic insecurity challenges. All manner of crises have besieged the nation: religious, political and socio-economic and what have you. Nigeria is not yet done with the Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast when terror herdsmen started.  The problems keep escalating. From northeast to north central and most recently Sokoto felt a flash of it?  The problem is now in Ekiti because of the elections with degrees of casualty, mostly innocent citizens.

We have attributed the security problems to all manner of things: corruption, politicians, and foreigners from the Sahara invading West Africa. But we refused to use the word terrorists.

This violence across Nigeria has brought so much agony, tension and aggression to the people. Nigerians are living in suspicion and fear of an impending disaster.

With the 2019 general elections around the corner, the situation will definitely get worse. But would Nigerians fold their hands and leave the affairs of the nation to continue moving in the negative direction? Should Nigerians resign themselves to fate? Will resigning to fate be the solution to the mayhem happening all over the country?

A lot of young people are hearkening to the call to violence. Blood is being spilled all over Nigeria and innocent people are the victims. Young men and women that are privileged to acquire higher education rarely get employed. The number of unemployed youth is disastrous and if an unemployed young man or woman stays without the necessities of life such as food and shelter, it will tell on the nation.  It is without doubt that the poor and the hungry are not only anxious but vulnerable. They can be used to perpetrate evils with a token. Man must survive, and if there is no lawful means of survival, people will be forced by circumstances to survive.

Currently, Nigerian government has embarked on the sharing of Abacha loot to poor families across Nigeria. But how do you determine a poor person and those who really need help. The gesture is mere tokenism and would neither have significant impact on poverty alleviation nor satisfy the twin objectives of justice and development.

The problem of poverty gives leeway to youths to embrace anything that comes their way as a means of survival. Hence they become a willing tool in the hands of evil men to perpetrate violence.

The worsening security situation in Nigeria is disturbing and things have been worsening on a daily basis. Violent extremism, insurgency and other forms of militancy including the worsening herdsmen menace have made the situation more complex.

What happened in Ekiti recently is not something to write home about. People are willing to kill because of power but that is not what democracy is all about.  The first step towards good governance is the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.

Nigeria embraced the presidential system in 1979 which saw Shagari as the first Executive President; but democracy has deteriorated ever since.  After the return of democracy in 1999, most elections were marred by rigging. Candidates were either selected or appointed or even anointed, but never elected in a free and fair selection.

With the greed for power, elections are becoming a “do or die” affair and most politicians are becoming very militant in their approach. Political office seekers nowadays create armies of political thugs whom they arm with dangerous weapons and provide with illicit drugs in order to protect their interests even if it requires using violence.

It is believed that political office seekers especially presidential incumbents use national security agencies and money to intimidate and manipulate their way to winning elections.

Politicians are using religion and ethnicity to appeal to peoples’ sentiments which also gives room for ethno-religious hatred and violence.

With the 2019 elections around the corner, the warning signs are becoming very clear and Nigeria is likely to face yet another of her biggest security challenges in history.

Nigeria should get serious with tackling its security challenges and only the right leadership and good governance would tackle corruption and solve the security challenges facing Nigeria.


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