By Rotimi Fasan
Now the “come has come to become”, more Nigerians are coming to the realisation that the central administration in Abuja has a lot to do in order to secure the lives and properties of Nigerians than it has demonstrated the will to.
Once it was the case that the so-called herdsmen, mainly of the Fulani ethnic stock, were the catastrophe let loose menacing the existence of Nigerians. Everywhere Nigerians turned it was the herdsmen they saw and the constant tears brought to the eyes of Nigerians and their real or perceived involvement in criminalities in different parts of the country made them among the most profiled people in the world.
It was as if everyone was at the mercy of the criminal herders, a situation not helped by the incendiary rhetoric of visible figures in the umbrella association of herders. As Nigerians wailed, there was hope that something could and would be done to address the matter. Then, many looked up to Abuja and believed the All Progressives Party-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari could still do what an elected party ought to do in the face of threats to the national fabric.
Even though the famed body language of the President had gone mute and could no longer spark fire enough to make Nigerians see his government as a responsive one, many Nigerians still trusted in the ability of the government to act. The President was only being unconcerned, many mused, and could change the tide of things if only he would act. The tide has since turned and only few Nigerians still believe in the ability of the government of the day to halt the unmitigated, one-way slide into total chaos.
There is palpable fear now that Abuja is losing it if it has not already lost it. No longer do the herders hold the franchise to violence or criminality. Disorder has been democratised and more Nigerians are agitated about the fate of the country as Abuja seems increasingly overwhelmed by the spate of violence.
If Nigerians rightly or wrongly believed before now that Abuja could make right whatever was wrong in the system, the fear among those who can see ahead the unpleasant outcome of the present violent eruptions across the country is that we may not have a country worthy of that name much less hold an election that many optimists think would enable a democratic change in government in 2023. Evidence that the present government is itself confused can be seen in its alarmist accusation, cheap blackmail, that opposition elements in the country are bent on causing a violent toppling of the Buhari administration. This came after weeks during which both the President and ‘’the presidency” issued a spate of warnings to deal decisively with opposition figures that are angling to torpedo the Buhari administration.
The President warned his detractors that his administration could bite as much as it could bark. We have been told that a ‘’tiger does not proclaim its tigritude”, a fact it proves by the skeletons of lower animals that line the way into its lair. But such proclamations are obviously alien to the denizens of the presidency. Full of empty boasts, they are the proverbial impotent man that is called upon to pay for a bride price.
They have been so lowered on the scale of Nigerians’ estimation that all Nigerians see when they hear these threats of dire punishment from the presidency are the exhausted cries of leadership both in crisis and its death throes if nothing is done to come to its rescue. The present administration, virtually run aground by ‘’the presidency”, is now a wounded lion that is too old to pounce.
This is why the cries are getting louder for government to seek help wherever it could be found. Its desperate call to America to relocate the United States Africa Command, a military formation Nigeria had rejected in 2007, back to the country from Stuttgart, Germany, nearly a decade and a half later, is yet another sign of a panicked reaction. Nobody is eager to jump into bed with the Nigerian government of the day. A government that sat watching on its palm as things went from bad to worse, believed in appeasing terrorists and excluding from governance those it saw as enemies, is thrashing and grasping around for a straw to help it navigate the times. The blame game is jaded and the pampered children of hell are not relenting. They are rising and baying for more blood of the innocent.
Boko Haram, supposedly technically defeated, has hoisted its filthy rag it calls flag in towns a few hundred kilometres from our country’s capital and moved into at least three additional states in addition to the three it earlier controlled in the North-East. Schools and other institutions are being shut down out of fear of attacks. The North-West is a mirror image of the situation in the North-East.
The central states of Kaduna, Niger, Benue and Nasarawa are fast joining the North-West and North-East as sites of chaos. The South-South region of the Niger Delta, particularly Rivers and Akwa Ibom, are frontier zones of insurrection as are Anambra, Imo and Ebonyi, among other states of the South-East. Theirs is now a case of civil insurrection and a will to render ungovernable a region that has seen itself excluded from the mainstream of governance in the last six years.
Security agents and agencies are under a barrage of attacks from the combined forces of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra and the Eastern Security Network. No day passes without reports of attacks on police stations and government establishments. In the South-West, kidnappers are yet on a rampage as are armed robbers and ritualists. Where is the safe haven now in the country?
Nigerians can only now wonder how things could have turned out had this government of ‘’the presidency” been less insensitive to the cries of the marginalised sections of this country: North, South, East and West. We can only now imagine what could have been had President Buhari being less reliant on the power profiteers that have all but smeared his legacy in failure.
Is there still anything to expect now? But there is still more to do in the remaining two years the governing administration has left in office. The deflective argument of coup plots and enemy action will not do. Nothing except the determined will to roll back the contrived ascendancy of one part over the rest of the country. Justice must be seen to prevail in the sharing of the resources of this country and control of the levers of power. These corrective measures are no longer to secure the goodwill of Nigerians for the government of ‘’the presidency” but to keep Nigeria one.