Red Flags Of A Nation On The Throes Of Death 

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Red Flags Of A Nation On The Throes Of Death
By Tunde Abatan
Though elections period in Nigeria have always been war-like, especially as the nations moved closer to the real election day, it has never been like what is going on now since the return to civilian rule after the military interregnum of sixteen years.
The situation this time around is compounded by the multi -various problem of state-building which has thrown up more fault lines while its management by the ruling party and government has led to a more divided nation.
This in itself is caused by the divisive nature of leadership led by President Muhammadu Buhari largely informed by its provincialism, and religious and ethnic bent.
That he has concentrated more state powers, military and bureaucratic personnel in one part of the country is not only unsettling but curious of a man who struggled for twelve years to get the Presidency.
It is an understatement to say the office has been reduced to himself and his ethnic origin.
Sad and very Sad!
Before the advent of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015,the dominant problems are largely the large scale disruption in the Niger Delta area by restless youths and militants which felt piqued by non development of the region after several years of oil exploitation.
But the large hearted and proactive action of late President Umaru Yaradua who floated the amnesty programme did the area boys in.
Though ,issues of Boko Haram reared its head during the dying  days of the former President Goodluck Jonathan Presidency ,his ouster through same election we are now preparing for has energized the violent extreme religious groups led by Boko Haram to become more deadly. The activities of the group under the watch of Buhari has even thrown -up in the North West more  deadly variant.
By intrusion of East Africa deadly Al Shabaab and West Africa ISIS, the religious violence has extended which has disrupted economic, social life in the afore mentioned region and has succeeded in exporting its activities to southern part of the country .
 The emergent and more deadly ethno- religious strive is now one of the red flags threatening next year’s election and by extension moving the nation near disintegration.
.This is aided by obvious the  soft -hand employed in dealing with it by the regime in spite of getting the National Assembly to  investing so much money in the military. Ironically, it is more money less biting teeth by the military   while the three deadly groups gained ironically gained more  potency.
It is an understatement to say that the activities of the group has  rendered Nigeria’s military a shadow of what it  used to be.
That a military that has carried out more successful operations in the then troubled Congo and led the other countries in  resolving  the West African crisis is now a shadow of itself is suspect.
It is suspect because internal contradictions of the ruling political class has rendered it ineffectual.
What a country what a leadership!
 Indeed, that the minority caucus in the National Assembly can rise up though rather last week to mull Buhari’s impeachment is noteworthy.
Yet, it’s counterparts in the House if representatives also appear to toe the same line.
What is more, Senate President Ahmed Lawan face saving move by sending the Senate on recess after shutting down Senator Adudas motion on notice is suspect of a demonstration of desperation.
Indeed, Lawans Senate leadership will pass as one of the most ineffectual in the nations history which declarations and statement since four years have never been taken serious by the Executive which has caged it since inception.
By the lack lustre performance of the military, it is obvious that what the Presidency does behind doors with the command structure and instruction on how to fight religious and ethnic insurgency is different from the body language and the face it displayed to the public.
Today, apart from increasing death toll of activities of the three terrorist groups, it has also opened various cells in major cities in South West Nigeria, resulting in increase in terrorism, kidnapping and banditry.
That the issue which has hitherto  rendered life and living in the Northwest states of Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna short and brutish has gradually spread to the Southern states is as worrisome as the pretensions of government to rise up to the occasion.
Out of frustration, Ondo governor, Rotimi Akeredolu vowed last week to arm his people since government has failed to protect them.
He may be echoing the statement of National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno who declared it is obvious that the situation is making people to seek help the other way.
With combined Gold mining and merchandising activities in Zamfara which has raised deadly  war lord’s battling for a slice of the cake, coupling with  increased kidnapping and banditry infested Kaduna -Abuja and Sokoto axis..it is apparent that German journalist Karl Meirs book- This House has Fallen ,is as prophetic as our biblical prophets.
The reality stare us in the face except the Presidency which wrings it’s hands  while the house burns.
The increased incapacity of the military which suffered serious causalities in Bwari and Kuje prisons escape operation led by terrorists and increasing fears which has gripped Abuja residents has rendered President Buhari’s military background irrelevant and  ineffective.
But it is also curious that NSA Monguno, a retired general also threw up his hands last week as he admitted that in spite of his advices,” the country is now in a difficult situation with growing insecurity”.
If the  above is true, then does it mean the capacity of Buhari as a commander in chief  in fighting a monster has been overrated all along?
 If not, why has insurgency  gained more potency under his watch?.
It is also questionable how the military has continued to lose more men and resources in spite of billions of naira spent in procuring dreaded Tucano jets,  easily the most advanced weapon for combat.
Are there any other reasons for acquiring the Jets  rather than combating terrorism ?.
 The lethargy of the government has also questioned the competency of the various  commanders and their apparent inactivity.
Does this amount to   unwillingness of their commander -in -chief to allow them  fight terrorism to a stand still.?
If this is so, what is the motive of Buhari in refusing to command well?
This increased threat to safety of lives and property gradually swallowing up the country, also brings up the Red flag threatening next year’s election.
 With the choice of a Muslim- Muslim ticket now seriously being fought within and outside the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC for it’s lack of fairness, is there a connecting line between it’s decision and the  military’s weakness in fighting religious induced terrorism and banditry now steadily  dividing the nation along ethno- religious lines?
Afenifere, Yoruba socio-political group which has been opposed to governments handling of banditry and its appointments to military high command, is of the opinion that the nations crisis is as a result of governments refusal to face reality on the need to be more  liberal and fair minded in handling the nations various crisis.
It also condemn the APC decision to endorse Muslim- Muslim ticket of it’s candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
That the ruling party allow its affairs being condemn by religious bodies like the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, speaks volume of it’s lack of management ability to unite a country which has over the years, never allowed its religious fault lines  it’s undoing.
Is the country moving towards implosion?
The economic reality on the ground shows a country gradually bleeding to death with inflation moving to an all time high of 17.7 percent this year contrary to the figure of 13.5 percent recorded between 2006 to 2020.
In the first quarter of 2020 alone, the figure increased from 27.10 to 33.30 percent.
In the same period, youth unemployment reached an all time high of 53.40 percent while the economy could only absorb 66.30 percent of it’s labour force leaving 33.70 percent in the labour market.
What is more, prices of foodstuffs has continued to be on the high side.
A loaf of bread now is inching towards a thousand naira with Master bakers threatening to close shops while prices of domestic cooking  Gas has jumped to the roof as 1kg now goes for 850 naira.
Even the elite also cry as two major airlines, Aero Contractor and Peace has closed shop due to high operating costs while Emirates, a foreign airline has reduced it’s flights to Nigeria from 11 to 7 per week .
Contrary to the stark reality of need to prune down cost of governance, domestic spending has increased so also has borrowing increased at higher space.
 Last week, Finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, admitted that the nation has depleted her Excess Crude Account reserve from $35 million United States dollars to $376,655 thousand dollars.
This represents a significant decrease in the nations reserve.
She explained that the  withdrawal from the  savings was used to purchase Patrol Vessels used in preventing stealing of the country’s crude oil on high seas.
Yet ,the government is not only reluctant to reduce spending on governance by taking a look at the 87 government departments which Orosanye committee set up by Olusegun Obasanjos government identified as mere duplications that needed to be scrapped.
Instead, the same government is intent on increasing federal bureaucracy by passing a Water Bill designed to legislate control of Rivers and streams all over the country in the hands of the federal government. To implement this law if passed by the National assembly, it will have to set up a Commission to overseer it’s implementation.
This policy is coming on the heels of the rejection of a similar  Ruga bill, intended to take over lands for  herdsmen all over the country in 2020 .
Instead of reducing tension at a time election is approaching and it’s days in government is numbered, the Buhari government is creating more as if it is sure of succeeding itself.
What a government?
In two weeks from today, University lecturers under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU would have spent six months at home protesting over refusal of government to honour it’s agreement entered in 2009 on University funding.
Thousands of university students are idling away at home while children of ministers and other top government functionaries are graduating from foreign universities with fanfare.
Nigeria is indeed a nation moving in circles as a result of failure of leadership at all levels with it’s effect on its cohesion and survival.

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