By SOLA EBISENI
Thomas Hobbes, legendary political theorist, in his classics, Leviathan (1651) opined that “during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called War;…. and which is worst of all, continual Fear, and danger of violent death; And the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
In this state of nature of war of all against all expressed in the Latin words of ‘bellum omnium contra omnes’ which aptly described the present Nigeria, Hobbes said there was no place for industry, travelling, industry, agriculture, the economy or politics. It is a situation Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the Afro-Beat icon described of ‘sorrow, tears and blood and confusion everywhere’.
The state which is of necessity brought about by the agreement of members interse, and between them together and the state in an imaginary social contract, its sovereignty is expressed in the monopoly of instrument of coercion by which realisation even the instinct of self-defence is restrained in the expectation of the imperative, efficacy and sufficiency of powers of all aggregated in the state to defend all. In the Hobbesian context, the Nigerian State is gone, only its decorated sepulchre stares us all in the face.
Every corner of the Nigerian space is contested; the entire North has collapsed wherein state governments have helplessly called on the citizens to rise in their own defence. Last week was Samuel Ortom, on a comic battle horse, giving false hope to Benue people that he would apply for AK-47 for his Community Volunteer Guards as if those who love to keep his people captive are not the same to whom his application would be forwarded.
The South-East is equally a Republic where the Nigerian State is only flexing muscles as if it is Russia against Ukraine. Twice early this year in two separate visits, the reality of the failure of the Nigerian State came to me most palpably.
In the first trip, as soon as we crossed the Niger Bridge from Asaba, we were advisedly warned that the Nigerian security men in our convoy should immediately lie low and by the time we got to the hotel, they had already pulled cardigans over their uniforms. In my second trip during the burial of the late Chief Guy Ikokwu at Oba in Anambra State, we knew better to travel incognito.
A recent statistics rated the South-South more relatively peaceful not in terms of the Nigerian State being in any control but the reality of balance of terror against any domestic external aggression, the kind Asari Dokubu defiantly paraded recently and the economic jugular in the region’s firm grips.In the South-West, the ingenious but deviant initiatives of the governors in the creation of the Amotekun is making appreciable difference in spite of their denial of necessary weapons by the Nigerian State.
We continue to insist that the insecurity that has brought Nigeria to its knees is not for lack of proper training or patriotism in our men and women under arms. It is systemic hamstrung by crude political considerations at the federal level.
A recent video showed some obviously distraught young Nigerian soldiers in uniform singing the ‘Nearer God to me’ Christian hymn. They are not less trained than their compatriots who proved the deterrent force of the ECOMOG nor are they inferior to the earlier heroes of the Congo, Lebanon, Angola or Rhodesia wars.
They were obviously not sure of either the definition of the battle they were called to fight or the enemy of their target in a war the Commander-in-Chief is ambivalent in idea and inaudible in command.
There is no life support for them or family left behind or even any medal as motivation for patriotism, yet those they are meant to fight are said to either suspiciously integrated into the security forces or rewarded with turbaning.
The conquest of the capital is the final sign of state failure. Now that Abuja is shut with offices looking like garrisons, barracks considered as sanctuaries no longer protect even the soldier inhabitants who we are told are now sending their families to the villages as if security exist anywhere in a country; the convoy of the President and Commander-in- Chief as the symbol of the Leviathan, is the target of audacious attacks.
Sadly, in such attacks, deaths of soldiers are regarded as commonplace, only the number is disputed.
Now that ISWAP has owned up to the multiple attacks on Abuja and with its undisguised ideology of an Islamic State, it should be clear to Nigerians that this war portends more dangerous objectives than we thought and only a united front to live together as a multi ethnic and religious society can safe our nation.
Lest we forget, It also shows that the statement of the Federal Government that ISWAP was responsible for the Owo Catholic Church massacre is a thoughtless assumption which is contrary to ISWAP modus operandi of gleefully announcing its operational successes.
Who dares now allow his child remain in any school, private or public, when the state has declared the Federal Capital territory unsafe for schooling. Who would see the deliberate merciless flogging of those train commuters in the hands of their kidnappers and not thank ASUU for keeping our children at home. Not once during my primary school days, in the heat and height of the Nigerian civil war, did the authorities find it necessary to order schools closure.
The audacity with which non-state controllers of instrument of coercion dare the state and terrorise its citizens is alarming. Even in my village earlier this year, in the Ondo State part of the Niger Delta, a statement was publicly issued online by one of such misguided youths warning the residents not to attend a particular public event, except those with two souls who are sure of returning home to use the spare.
Only the decisive steps of the Akeredolu Government in effecting his arrest and prosecution has given the people a peaceful respite. The irony is that the Federal Government has shown no such capacity.
The President has refused all entreaties on State Police for the protection of the territories of the constituent states. In the present situation, considering the inalienable right of every person to his or her own security and the obvious reality of the incapacity of the Nigerian State to protect that right, the constituent nationalities which only is the constant and indestructible denominator of the failed federation are better advised to seek alternative means of protecting their people.
The constituent states carved on the territories of these nationalities should also rise to this generational challenge. No law is breached in this connection.
Ebiseni is Secretary General, Afenifere.
Nigeria we hail thee.