Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, is facing its worst political, security and economic crises since the end of the country’s civil war in 1970 threatening the nation’s democracy, according to a report by London-based The Guardian.
The report published Monday, notes experts views that warned that large parts of the country are in effect becoming ungovernable, with fears that the conflicts extending across the country’s borders were underlined by recent claims by the authorities that armed Igbo secessionists in the country’s South-East were now cooperating with militants fighting for an independent state in the Anglophone region of neighbouring Cameroon.
The report states that the worsening insecurity from banditry in the North-West part of Nigeria, jihadist groups such as Boko Haram in the North-East, violent conflict between farmers and pastoralists across large part of Nigeria’s Middle-Belt and Igbo secessionists in the South-East seeking for a separate country of Biafra, are driving a brain drain of young Nigerians.
Also, The Guardian notes that the worsening insecurity, theft and sabotage had forced oil multinational Shell to announce plans to pull out of the country recently.
Among recent prominent victims of the spate of violence was Chike Akunyili, a prominent physician in Nigeria’s Southern state of Anambra, who was ambushed and killed as he returned from a lecture to commemorate the life of his late wife, Dora, who had been the head of the country’s national food and drug agency.
Perhaps, Nigeria under incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari is facing a major crisis, which is threatening the country’s ability to conduct the 2023 election, the report says, adding that the piracy crisis in the Gulf of Guinea and the growing Igbo secessionists had escalated tension.
The security issues, the report stresses, are in addition to a series of other problems facing Nigeria, including rising levels of poverty, violent crime and corruption that had lowered public confidence about governance and the Buhari’s administration, prompting fears from observers about the state of the country’s democracy and the future of Nigeria.
Reacting to this report, Eddy Olafeso, former national vice chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), says he is not surprised, because it is a true reflection of the state of affairs presently in Nigeria, stressing that it was only the supporters of the incumbent administration that had failed to realise the danger the country had been plunged into.
Olafeso says Nigerians must take their destiny in their hands and save the country from collapse from the grip of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We don’t have to wait for them to tell us how Nigeria is now, go to the street and see the hopelessness among the people. It is obvious; it is a true report of what is on ground; even several international organisations had said the same thing in the last few years.
“The only group that is not aware are Buhari’s supporters, and those in government now. But it is left for Nigerians to decide what they want, by taking their destiny into their hands and voting out these people in 2023. We have to salvage what is left,” he states.
Also speaking, Adelaja Adeoye, a political analyst, notes that the current secessionists’ agitations across Nigeria are a result of the lopsided appointments of the Buhari’s administration, fuelling the agitations.
According to Adeoye, “First of all, we must critically examine various things fuelling agitations, poverty and insecurity before we talk about the 2023 elections.
“Of recent, Nigerians have been seeing how the Buhari-led administration has been handling the issues of Boko Haram, terrorists christened as bandits and agitators. The Buhari’s government seems to be more concerned about secession than fighting insecurity headlong.
“At the UN Security Council meeting, former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki stated that the inability of the Ruling Class to manage diversity is fuelling secession in Nigeria; I want to agree with the statement totally.
“The way and manner Nigerians from different ethnic groups are being treated is one of the main issues. For instance, look at the statement credited to the President describing a particular ethnic group as a dot in the circle, and do you expect people from that region not to be wary of how they were being described.
“Another is the issue of Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu, they are just mere agitators, which proper engagement can make them drop their agitations. But locking them up and calling them all sorts of names will make their supporters react in a way that may not give the country peace.”
Speaking further, Adeoye states that the “South-East for instance is experiencing a sit-at-home order every Monday due to the incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu, this should never be, for non-state actors to be dictating in states that have constituted authorities. The President should take the fight to the terrorists, and also caution Abubakar Gumi who seems to be doing PR for the bandits.
“We can reduce poverty by fixing the economy; the joblessness rate is too high across the country. Young people are exiting and running away from Nigeria every day, and the government needs to revamp the economy and make it attractive for the youth population, which accounts for about 69 percent of our entire population.
“2023 election will be held, if the ruling party does not have any ulterior motives, Nigerians are resilient people, who tolerate all kinds of things. They won’t take up arms against one another; they will keep calling on the government to do the right things hoping for a better country.”