2360 views | Justine John Dyikuk | June 2, 2021
“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.” These words from two international think tanks namely, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Harvard Kennedy School in the United States of America speak to the heart of the seeming hopeless situation in Nigeria. This disclosure which was made in a researcher by CFR’s Senior Fellow and former US Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell and Mr. Robert Rotberg, Founding Director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Programme on Intrastate Conflict and President Emeritus, World Peace Foundation, revealed that Nigeria is presently in its final phase before collapsing.
“Nigeria now appears to have reached the point of no return. Indeed, few parts of Nigeria are today fully safe,” the report stated. It also indicated that the current state of affairs in the country suggests that the nation is at a point of no return haven developed all symptoms of a failed state. The institutions also decried that “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.” This statement implies that as a big brother that is looked up to in the subregion and African Continent as a whole, the failure of state-power in Nigeria is also afffecting other smaller nations.
In the area of trade and investments, the reported stressed that “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.” However, the story is now sour because the nation can no longer enjoy that privileged position due to security challenges that are already destabilising the West African region in the face of resurgent jihadism in the Sahel region.
The findings also touched on the global implications of the situation in the oil-rich nation. By starting that “spillover from Nigeria’s failures ultimately affect the security of Europe and the United States” these institutions are drawing attention to how the ugly state of affairs creates a bad public image on the one hand and how foriegners are likely to be circumspect of investing their money in an unsafe environment. The worst part of it is that European countries might tighten security measures for travellers from Nigeria.
Although the statement noted that there are four kinds of nations namely, strong, weak, failed and collapsed states, it further maintained that according to consensus, “thoughtful Nigerians over the past decade” feel that “their state has failed.” This is because the country is faced with “six or more internal insurrections and the inability of the Nigerian state to provide peace and stability to its people.” As a result, the report stated that the ugly situation “has tipped a hitherto very weak state into failure.”
Assessing the security situation based on political analysis, the analysts opined that because government has not been able to bring the Boko Haram insurgency to its knees, “Nigeria [is] a failed state.” Scholars have listed failure to secure the citizenry from external attacks, lack of internal security and a failed economy as indices of either a failed or failing state. Here, we recall the prophetic words of the Irish Poet, W. B. Yeats (1919) in his poem, The Second Coming – “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”
The nation’s inability to secure its borders, invest massively in digital infastructure for surveillance, cashing in on espionage and intelligence gathering and lack of political will have combined to dwarf the nation in the area of peace and security. In a previous article titled “Ungoverned Spaces and Non-State Actors in Nigeria” I had argued that lack of recruitment into the police force, inability to implement state policing as well as lack of capacity building in line with international best practices accounts for what the nation is currently going through.
Security experts have often suggested a change of strategy to win the war on terror. It is only when Africa and Nigeria faces squarely issues around ending hunger, illiteracy, poverty and austerity that criminal elements might listen to anyone. As such, education and employment, improvement of the economy and encouraging private sector initiatives are crucial to saving a failed state.
In conclusion, politicians must develop enough political will to deliver on their promises and also implement other good policies left behind by previous administrations. On top of that, in line with the principles of federal character, state actors ought to respect diversity in recruitment of personnel and government appointments. Nigerians can conquer nepotism, tribalism and ethnicity if they develop a new way of thinking. This is possible if patriotism supercedes primordial sentiments. Does the reader think that Nigeria is on the stretctcher or it is at the point of no return? God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Fr. Dyikuk is a Lecturer of Mass Communication, University of Jos, Editor – Caritas Newspaper and Convener, Media Team Network Initiative (MTNI), Nigeria.
Thanks so much, if only ours can heed to this wonderful advice,