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2023 and the Collapsing Buhari’s Nigeria

Akanimo Sampson

Akanimo Sampson

Some stranger than fiction tales are springing up all over Nigeria these days at a rate hitherto unknown since the colonialists hammered out the country. They are all happening under the nose of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Some of the tales are like scenes from movies. Take for instance, the family of the 39-year-old businessman, Yahaya Hassan Musa that has been thrown into mourning. His body was found in a forest hours after his abductors received a N6 million ransom.

The incident reportedly started on Thursday, when the victim, who is married with two kids, was coming back from Cotonou, Benin Republic, after a business trip and was kidnapped in a forest around Mopa area of Kogi State, with the kidnappers demanding N10 million and later slashing it to N6 million.

Narrating the incident to newsmen, the late Yahaya’s brother, Abubakar Hassan Musa, who took the N6 million to the kidnappers, said his brother used to fly whenever he travelled, but that on that fateful trip he decided to return by road.

“The kidnappers requested that I should take the money to a forest in Kabba. I went and delivered the money in cash. They then directed me to a place where I would meet him, but I did not meet him. I slept in the forest alone.

“The following day I continued searching until a woman who was kidnapped alongside my brother called me and said they killed him before even collecting the ransom, but that she didn’t know where they dumped his body.

“I went back to the nearby town and hired hunters to get back into the forest and search for the corpse. After treking many kilometers, we found his decomposing corpse”, he said, pointing out that since they couldn’t find a bus to carry the corpse because of its decaying condition, they buried him in the bush according Islamic rites after consulting the family in Kano.

This tragic development happened as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and the Harvard Kennedy School in the United States, declared Nigeria as a country at a point of no return having showed all the signs of a failed state.

In a research finding released through its senior fellow and former US Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell and Robert Rotberg, who is the founding director, Harvard Kennedy School’s Programme on Intrastate Conflict and president emeritus, World Peace Foundation, said Nigeria is currently in its final phase, from which it would eventually collapse.

The organisation said their position was not based on emotion or the fancy of using pejorative words to described the situation, but on “a body of political theory developed at the turn of this century and elaborated upon, case by case, ever since.”

Its report said Nigeria has since moved from being a weak state to “a fully failed state,” having manifested all the signs of a failed country, including the inability of government to protect the citizens, large scale violence and festering insurgency.

According to them, President Buhari admitting that the Federal Government has lost control of the situation is the first step towards the restoration of stability. The duo warned that Nigeria’s failure as a state comes with negative consequences for peace and security in West Africa sub-region as well as Europe and the US.

“Nigeria has long teetered on the precipice of failure. But now, unable to keep its citizens safe and secure, Nigeria has become a fully failed state of critical geopolitical concern. Its failure matters because the peace and prosperity of Africa and preventing the spread of disorder and militancy around the globe depend on a stronger Nigeria.

“Its economy is usually estimated to be Africa’s largest or second largest, after South Africa. Long West Africa’s hegemon, Nigeria played a positive role in promoting African peace and security. With state failure, it can no longer sustain that vocation, and no replacement is in sight. Its security challenges are already destabilising the West African region in the face of resurgent jihadism, making the battles of the Sahel that much more difficult to contain.

“And, the spillover from Nigeria’s failures, could ultimately affect the security of Europe and the United States. Indeed, thoughtful Nigerians over the past decade have debated, often fervently, whether their state has failed. Increasingly, their consensus is that it has’’, the report stated.

The report further says, “there are four kinds of nations: the strong, the weak, the failed, and the collapsed. According to previously published research estimates, of the 193 members of the United Nations, 60 or 70 are strong—the nations that rank highest in the listings of Freedom House, the human rights reports of the US State Department, the anticorruption perception indices of Transparency International, and so on.

“There are three places that should be considered collapsed: Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. Eighty or 90 UN members are weak. Weakness consists of providing many, but not all, of essential public goods, the most important of which are security and safety. If citizens are not secure from harm within national borders, governments cannot deliver good governance (the essential services that citizens expect) to their constituents.

“Possibly a dozen or so states are failed, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, and Myanmar. Each lacks security, is unsafe, has weak rules of law, is corrupt, limits political participation and voice, discriminates within its borders against various classes and kinds of citizens, and provides educational and medical services sparingly. Most of all, failed states are violent.

“All failed states harbor some form of violent internal strife, such as civil war or insurgency. Nigeria now confronts six or more internal insurrections and the inability of the Nigerian state to provide peace and stability to its people has tipped a hitherto very weak state into failure.

“According to political theory, the government’s inability to thwart the Boko Haram insurgency is enough to diagnose Nigeria as a failed state. But there are many more symptoms. At a bare minimum, citizens expect their states to keep them secure from external attack and to keep them safe within their borders.

“The bargain that subjects long ago made with their sovereigns was being kept from harm in exchange for allegiance and taxation. When that quid pro quo breaks down, a state loses its coherence, its social fabric disintegrates, and warring factions subvert the social contract that should provide the fundamental foundation of the state.

“Nigeria now appears to have reached the point of no return. Indeed, few parts of Nigeria are today fully safe’’, the report adds. Sentiments aside, that is our reality today. Buhari has massively disappointed the Nigerian people and his party, the APC, and made nonsense of his messiah image of the 1980s. The only way to salvage whatever remains of the country is to shun blind party line in 2023, and vote for a president who can fix the collapsing country regardless of ethnicity, religion and what have you.

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Professor Jideofor Adibe

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