August 11, 2022

Battling with terrorism under Buhari

Terrorism, Nigeria



NO doubt terrorism has taken different shades and sizes under the Buhari administration, ranging from political, economic and even administrative. The difficulty arising from nipping in the bud these manifestations of terrorism derives from the overshadowing insecurity challenge immersing the polity, which is a fatal distraction to nation-building and national development after over 60 years of independence.

The threat of terror – particularly targeted towards the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, together with Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, is most arguably the hallmark of danger and recklessness of any nominal democratic entity. 

A pathetically torturous video of Abuja-Kaduna train abductees, which poses a psychological pressure on Buhari, has precipitated a certain Peoples Democratic Party’s minority caucus in the Senate – championed by Senator Philip Aduda – to cast impeachment threat on Mr President – “All we are saying: #BuhariMustGo.”

Giving the President six weeks to fix the existential political character isn’t realistic and also doesn’t reveal, really, how urgent the caucus wants the change, simply because of the systematically rigorous constitutional procedure of impeachment – or “removal” as some would say – of Mr President. Some sort of Sri Lanka’s Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s lot could actually speak louder and clearer. 

It does beggar belief, doesn’t it, to think that the #BuhariMustGo chanters have suddenly become daring, audacious and emboldened to confront Buhari, having long suffered from what I call “Buharophobia”, namely: cowardly silence and stinking hypocrisy? 

Frankly speaking, if we aren’t facing the problems in the frontally, and according them the necessary growing changes, we’d continually be facing what George Orwell terms “catastrophic gradualism”, which has gained a stunningly spiralling momentum in Buhari’s Groundhog Days. 

On the political plane, the “bureaucratic collectivism” of ethno-religio liners is unambiguously divisive and incisive. The doctrine of Muslim-Muslim ticket doesn’t and won’t favour a political firmament like ours where religion is inseparably and intricately woven in our political architecture. Micro-zoning power is a sure way to quell the qualms of inequality, instability and insecurity. Competence and performance, devoid of geopolitical sentiments and temperaments, is another way towards a sure-footed Nigeria. 

Now, inflation rate has hit 18.6% domestically, affecting the qualitative and quantitative outputs of staple foods, while also dramatically impairing the Naira-to-Dollar exchange rate (N710-$1). Internationally, the Russia-Ukraine war has impacted, extremely, on the dwindling gross domestic product (first quarter 2022: 3.11%) of the manufacturing and industrial markets. For economic reformation, diversification into the informal sectors is crucial to cut down on the budget deficit and burgeoning borrowings resulting from importation surplus and political inflation. 

At the administrative level, checks and balances, unhindered by separation of powers, should be of paramount importance. But to achieve that, there has to be a system or standard that puts to test the true integrity and character quality of pervasively ambitious politicians. 

At the local level, there must be a political fumigation of imposition of leadership ultimately resulting in destruction of ballot boxes and papers; at the state level, a purgatory intervention into vote-buying or vote-rigging is needed; and at the federal level, manufacturing consent with the sole aim of creating “necessary illusions” and “emotionally potent simplifications”, further imperils a potentially progressive participatory democracy. 

Since “democracy founded more than two centuries ago,” writes Barbara F. Walter in How Civil Wars Start“, has entered very dangerous territory”, what do we make of the culminated effect of political extremism which has put innocent lives on dangerous territorial unrest and disorderliness? 

To me, I think Buhari’s Nigeria is practically at the final phase of “open insurgency”, which is characterised by “sustained violence as increasingly active extremists launch attacks that involve terrorism and guerilla warfare, including assassinations and ambushes”, says Walter. 

In particular, from the April 14, 2014, raiding of hundreds of Borno Chibok girls by Boko Haram terrorists to the February 2021 Niger State Kagara abduction of tens of people, including teachers and students, terroristic attacks have increasingly exacerbated and in fact put the country under a wholesome siege. What a “backsliding democracy” spawned by what Walter calls “anocracy” on the slippery slope simply because of disreputable disrupter-reptiles! 

If there was ever a time our “thinking” and “talking” are taking shape, it’s now – which would make much sense if taken to yet another dimension – that is, to declare war on terror. 

*IGE, a Lagos-based journalist, wrote via: [email protected]