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Wednesday, June 27

Is Nigeria Currently Governed By The Illiterates Of The 21st Century? Thoughts On The Plateau Carnage

Nigeria’s elusive search for a durable political order is ongoing with a lot of encumbrances which have stalled the country’s transition from an electoral democracy characterized by what my teacher Adigun Agabje referred to as mere “electoralism”, to a liberal or consolidated democracy where democracy is said to be “the only game in town”

Since the attainment of political independence in 1960, the hoi polloi have been at the receiving end as they had to bear series of leadership failures which led to two relapses to military interregnums, aside other abhorrent ills. With another recivilianization in 1999, most Nigerians were pregnant with the expectation that at least things would get better.

The mistaken believe was that the political elite, whose “politics of anxiety” (apologies to Claude Ake) and looting of the national treasury with reckless abandonment which in time past was the reason for “military rescue operation” must have learnt enough lesson. Far from it!

Nigeria’s elusive search for a durable political order is ongoing with a lot of encumbrances which have stalled the country’s transition from an electoral democracy characterized by what my teacher Adigun Agabje referred to as mere “electoralism”, to a liberal or consolidated democracy where democracy is said to be “the only game in town”.

No doubt about it, some gains have been recorded, some of which include the liberalization of the political and media spaces which afford aggrieved Nigerians the opportunity to air their displeasure against government unpopular policies without being hounded, and the existence of vibrant civil society organizations which effectively play the watchdog role in checking the excesses of the government.

However, the situation has not changed for the better as expected. Instead, it has been a case of one step forward and two backwards; with the emergence of carnage, which sadly has become a norm as innocent Nigerians are being brutally murdered on a daily basis without effective response from the state. I will return to this shortly.
The extent to which fiscal profligacy, politics of anxiety as seen in the violent nature of our elections, and looting of public treasury have risen is deafening.

Arguably, had the Obsanjo government not learned from the experience of the 1983 military coup by ingeniously bringing the military under civil control through his policy of professionalizing and depoliticizing the military, another rescue mission by the military would have occurred long occurred. Apparently, this feat appears to be receding considering the fact that the once revered military seems to be losing this prestige position on account of its inability to put an end to the ensuing carnage in the country.

The paramilitary institutions are also culpable in this regard.

Nothing captures this more accurately like these institutions inability to nip the macabre display of violence perpetrated by some luciferous elements still referred as “suspected” Fulani herdsmen who have sent thousands of Nigerians to their creator in the bud. While some states have taken the bold step by enacting a law – anti-grazing Bill – that would protect lives and property being destroyed by the trigger happy and machete wielding Fulani herdsmen.

In a provocative display of clannishness, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali, defied courtesy, decency, and respect for the deceased and called for the suspension of the anti-grazing Bill enacted.

When those terribly affected by this carnage accuse the government of condoning and encouraging the murderers, utterances like Dan Ali’s and the President’s condemnation of the murderous act without matching his words with actions are often cited.

With the resumption of the macabre display of violence in Plateau state over the weekend, by the ever emboldened Fulani herdsmen which left over 100 persons dead, is about time we asked ourselves whether we are not governed by illiterates of the 21st century. The futurist, Alvin Toffle it was who said “the illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”.

While Toffle did not have leadership in mind when he made the forgoing statement, for me, his view as expressed above aptly defines the kind of leaders currently administering the federal Republic of Nigeria. Aside the unimpressive response of the Buhari government in the face of this senseless killings on a daily basis, the fact that the President and his misanthropists service Chiefs have deliberately refused to learn, unlearn, and relearn while this carnage persist effectively makes them illiterates of the 21st century who should have no business whatsoever around the corridors of power.

The President and his advisers have learned that the perpetrators of this act of brutality are not Fulani herdsmen. While it is true that not all Fulani herdsmen who go about pasturing their cattle are murderers, the President and his service Chiefs have refused to unlearn their ways of thinking, and perspective, which is likely to prove that the act is perpetrated by this same people they are shielding. Even though they are quick to dismiss it, it remains incontrovertible that their refusal to unlearned is essentially informed by clannish and provincial reasons.

If the body language from Aso Rock is anything to go by, the President’s mind has been made up that the perpetrators of this carnage are not Fulani herdsmen. This is where the problem lies. With such attitude, relearning which would have helped in ending the senseless killings cannot be achieved because loyalty to one’s ethnicity is far more important than loyalty to the country.

This may sound too blunt, but that’s just the bitter truth.

Federal might has been relaxed in tackling what is becoming a genocide for explicable reasons while same might was deployed in clamping down on a civil protest in the South East. Yet we are told the presidency is committed to ending viciousness. The question is: how? Considering the double standard.

While it is accepted that this government inherited a country in crisis, it was not elected to worsen it. The attitude of our current leaders in managing the senseless killings has comfortably put Nigeria on the road to Somalia and Sudan (if not already there). As we struggle to weather through this dark and perilous moment in our national history, guided by the Almighty’s direction, may we make the right decisions in electing leaders that will put national interest and our safety first in the 2019 general elections, not leaders that would sit and watch Nigerians being brutally murdered as if live has no value at all.

May God in heaven console the bereaved and also grant eternal to the departed souls; amen.

Ihembe, Ayankaa Martin is a political Scientist with research interests in Political Development, Governance, Democratization, and Public Policy. He can be reached Via+ 237036396194

posted from Bloggeroid

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