Jerry John Rawlings: Ghana’s Junior Jesus

By Tony Eluemunor

First of all, is there anarchy in Nigeria?

Nigeria’s general insecurity is daily made worse by the influx of foreigners, especially Fulani Cattle herders. But it is on record that no effort has been made by those in authority to seek out such undocumented herders, try them in our courts for illegal entry into Nigeria. Instead, this is used to prove the non-involvement of Nigerian Fulani herders in the rampant kidnapping and killings that have made Nigeria a vast killing field.

In fact, some non-Nigerian Fulani people have been paid some ransom by a few state governors to stop their unbridled bloodletting. Such non-Nigerians have also been fingered as forming the bulk of the bandits killing law abiding Nigerians. They are lawless all right, but Nigeria has not seen the activities of such foreigners as an outrage.

But this may actually not be an offence because the Federal Government has not taken a stand against it, or, even asked those who argue that because the Fulani people are migratory instead of being tied to any ancestral land, to SHUT UP! I just wonder what would happen if the Yoruba people in the Republic of Benin would begin to claim the same privilege, simply because Yoruba people are also found in Nigeria.

The idea of the ANARCHY I have in mind is the one in which the coining of that word came about in 1539; “an absence of government.” This refers to the “curtailment or abolition of traditional forms of government and institutions, or no system of government or central rule.” I know that anarchists who advocate for a society without hierarchies will argue that they do not advocate for a society where chaos or disorder reigns, but I have not come today for such hair-splitting.

This is because anarchy comes from the Medieval Latin anarchia and from the Greek anarchos (“having no ruler”), or literally meaning “without ruler.” In fact, even as a political philosophy, anarchism advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary institutions. These are often described as stateless societies. Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, or even harmful. Opposition to the state is central to anarchism and when such opposition is acted out or even advocated, the state of Nigeria is under attack. Right?

Well, we are just learning that opposing Nigeria may not be wrong. If not, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ibrahim Pantami, should have resigned, or he should have been sacked and turned over to the law enforcement agencies. Security agencies need to establish the sort of absurdities that the man spewed out into the public space. I say this with conviction because our Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has raved and raved and raved against hate speech.

That brings us to the image of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What message would President Mohammadu Buhari be sending to Nigerians by not sacking Pantami? What pantomime is Buhari preforming in this Pantemi disaster? Why should a whole nation be drowned in Pantami’s illogical reasoning; that he held some views, religious views, and he has now changed or modified those views?

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Has the government actually analysed those views? Were they really religious views? Are they not against the dictates of the Constitution? If yes, then those views are not religious for I have always been told that Islam stands for peace.

The trouble with anarchy in the state system is that it requires individual ethnic groups, states, cities, towns and villages or even individuals to be ruthlessly self-seeking, once a country has proved incapable of protecting the citizens.  That Nigerians have turned to self-help defence systems proves this theory. This is true because the Fulani has taught other Nigerians one salient lesson: the best way to achieve security under anarchy is to be powerful. Fulani apologists have argued that Fulani herders fought back to avenge the killings of herders and their livestock.

The murderous combination of anarchy, ruthless self-help, and power-maximizing behaviour that is taking place in Nigeria now is worrisome. The American political scientist Kenneth Waltz stated that, “In such an environment “war is normal” and the British Encyclopedia adds, while looking at countries under no control of international bodies: “In other words, war, or the threat of war, is the primary means by which states under anarchy resolve conflicts of interest.

The readiness of every state in an anarchic system to defend its interests through organized violence is the primary factor responsible for the development of internal cultures of militarism and bellicosity (and an emphasis on maintaining honour—i.e., international status). Unfortunately, this is true of Nigeria today, where the government has lost the ability to defend the constituents of the Nigerian Federation. Amotekun has risen in the South-West, Ebube-Agu has risen in the South-East, and an unknown but condemnable group, has been attacking Police stations in the East. Nigeria looks like a war zone.

Is there anarchy in Nigeria? Yes, and it becomes worse by the day. The Encyclopedia Britannica warns that “Political scientists also suggest that under anarchic conditions, there is a moment when the danger of large-scale war is most acute: when a sudden large shift in the distribution of power among states occurs. Political scientists refer to such a shift as a power-transition crisis. The shift can be either a dramatic increase in the capabilities of one of the main actors or a dramatic decrease in the capabilities of another main unit. But when the existing distribution of privilege, influence, and goods in a system becomes mismatched to the changing realities of power, the result tends to be large-scale war.”

That is why we should not accommodate extremists in government. They are anarchists if their teachings, religious or otherwise, are unconstitutional. Dancing around the issue, even in a pantomime, will not do.


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