Emmanuel Oniwubiko: Nigeria has had the misfortune of making histories from negative perspectives all the time

Nigeria has had the misfortune of making histories from the negative perspectives all the time.

Nigeria is one of the few nation’s on the planet earth that is so much resource blessed to an extent that there is hardly any solid or crude mineral resources known to man, that have not been found in comparatively large commercial quantities.

However, Nigeria has consistently been rated as the nation most over burdened by poverty and spectacular collapse of infrastructures in such a way that even the wisest economist in the world can not possibly hazard an accurate guess of how come there is so much deprivations amongst millions of Nigerians when their country can be rated as wealthy in terms of available natural resources with which God endowed Nigeria.

Another of those mysteries, twists and turns that possibly exists only in Nigeria and just a hand full of Countries around the World is the fact that Nigeria has the good fortune of being the nation from where the largest percentage of vastly educated scientists and scholars working and making the economy of the richest nation in the World which it is which is the United State of America.

Sadly, Nigeria has never been governed by a very educated Nigerian (never mind the five years of Goodluck Jonathan who has a Ph.D in zoology) in the past three decades because merit and competence are relegated to the background in determining who rules Nigeria.

All together, Nigeria is one country that has a lot of educated citizens but sadly, the institution of political leadership is controlled by the least educated. A British journalist also captured some of these thorny irony in his book which I will quote below.

“Politics and oil in Nigeria have never been straight forward and this pattern is unlikely to alter much in future. As an example, Nigeria’s Senate in 2007 called into question the World Court’s ruling that the Bakassi Peninsula should be handed back to Cameroon. So raising the spectre of renewed interstate conflict and potentially delaying the territory’s transfer. Previously a handover had been agreed in 2006 between the two counties presidents. This is unsettling for the companies affected.
Poverty in this oil-rich nation remains extreme. Hostility towards the oil enriched elites, especially those that have clearly profited from oil game in ways that cannot be readily explained by normal business skills, is overt. Impoverishment seem unlikely to go away whatever the buoyancy of oil revenues. At least in the medium term, and maybe for decades.”

“At the Same time the much-touted assault on corruption suffered a major setback in 2008 with the reassignment of the anti-corruption chief, Nuhu Ribadu, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to undergo enforced “technical training”. This followed prosecution of several high-profile governors and the arrest of high-profile figures on allegations of corruption and money-laundering. Of some concern in Nigeria is the lack of prosecution of several key politicians. It has left the impression that the government has moved to protect its political and financial party backers. Symptomatic of the elite’s sensitivities over corruption was the October 2007 banning a play. The Phantom Crescent, by Nigerian playwright Shehu Sani, which accused northern Muslim elites of exploiting sharia law to steal state funds and trample on the poor. None of this stands well with presidential claims to show zero tolerance towards Corruption. And so the show goes on.

Nigeria elections in future will probably be contested much as before inside an uneven political landscape, with rigged elections not yet consigned to history. It is hard to escape the view that the fundamentals will not be reversed in the coming decade, even with an oil boom (some would argue because of it). There is a long, arduous road ahead if Nigeria is to become any different in character in the future from what it was over the last three decades and how it stands in 2008.”

The British Journalist wrote further: “In a touching and symbolic reflection of the sorry state of affairs, in Warri in October 2007 Onyinye Ogor was anointed as Miss Oil and Gas Nigeria. The talented 22-year-old undergraduate in economics, hailing from a minority lgbo group in Delta state, said she was proud to be from the Delta, that Nigeria was indeed blessed with resources and talent, but she was very disheartened that the peoples of the oil patch were living in such poverty, no more so shockingly than in Oloibiri, where crude was first found in Nigeria. I wept at what I saw at Oloibiri, she said, sentiments which resonated across Nigeria, and still do today,” ( See the book titled: Crude Continent: The Struggle For Africa’s Oil Prize By Duncan Clarke published in 2008).

The above captures the agony of leadership that Nigeria has had to contend with for many years.

Professor Chinua Achebe had twice documented a large volume of intellectual submission that the central problem causing gross under development in Nigeria is the failure of leadership. Professor Achebe did this twice through “the trouble with Nigeria” and “there was a country”.

Leadership failure has because a cog in the wheel of progress of Nigeria since 2015.

Poor leadership made Nigeria to enter economic recessions twice since 2015. Poor leadership made Nigeria to become the World’s Capital of Poverty in 2018. Poor leadership has made Nigeria to now become the most dangerous place for children to be born. Nigeria has also become the most terrorized country in the World. Nigeria is now governed by a President who mourns the mass killings of the citizens by armed non state actors but does nothing to stop these cocktails of killings.

We read that Nigeria has retained its position as the third most impacted country in the world by terrorism, the 2020 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) says.

The report stated that the number of deaths attributed to Boko Haram in Nigeria increased by 25 percent from 2018 to 2019, making reference to the deadliest terrorist attack in 2019 when assailants attacked a funeral in Badu, Borno State.

GTI noted that due to the rise in the number of casualties from Boko Haram attacks in the north-east, Nigeria is second to record a fall in violent deaths after Afghanistan in 2019.

“Nigeria had the second largest fall in total deaths, owing largely to a 72 percent reduction in fatalities attributed to Fulani extremists,” the report stated.

“Despite this decrease, the number of deaths attributed to Boko Haram increased by 25 percent from 2018 to 2019.”

The report said 2,043 people died from “terrorism-related acts” in Nigeria in 2018 but only 1,245 deaths were recorded in 2019.

In the overall, deaths from terrorism world over fell by 15.5 percent from 2018 to 2019.

“Deaths from terrorism in Nigeria are now 83 per cent lower than at their peak in 2014,” the report stated.

GTI also stated that Nigeria is still vulnerable to more attacks as “renewed activity by Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, including Cameroon, Chad and Niger, remains a substantial threat to the region.”

“In 2019, Boko Haram carried out 11 suicide bombings causing 68 fatalities. Suicide bombings accounted for 6% of all terror-related incidents by Boko Haram in 2019, marking an 89% decline from their peak in 2017,” it report stated.
“At least 70 people were killed and 10 others were wounded in the attack and ensuing clash. The two main factions of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) and the followers of Abubakar Shekau, are both engaged in an insurgency campaign against the Nigerian government.”

GTI further stated that the violence by the two main factions of Boko Haram has taken a large toll on the civilian population, particularly in the northeast.

It said the continued attacks have internally displaced more than two million people and caused a further 240,000 Nigerian refugees to flee to neighbouring countries. We will return to talk about what in the assessment of the United Nations is the worst case of genocide against civilian populations by Islamists which happened 48 hours ago in a Rice farm in Borno state just as Nigerians are still shocked by Garba Shehu raised query against the victims for not seeking clearance from the Army before going to their farmlands. This is the lowest in public communication. But first, let us examine how Nigeria became the most dangerous place for babies to be born.

CHAIRMAN, Bill and Melinda Foundation, Bill Gates, has said that Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth with the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad.

The World’s richest man Mr. Gates who stated this at the Expanded National Economic Council presided over by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, said that Nigeria’s fiscal situation was at a low equilibrium, adding that in return for low levels of service, people pay low levels of tax.

The philanthropist disclosed that his foundation’s biggest office in Africa was Nigeria where he had committed over $1.6 billion so far with the intention of increasing his commitment in the country. He said that Nigeria has unmatched economic potential but that what becomes of the potential depends on the choices her leaders make.

According to him, “The most important choice you can make is to maximize your greatest resource, the Nigerian people. Nigeria will thrive when every Nigerian is able to thrive. “If you invest in their health, education and opportunities-the “human capital” we are talking about today-then they will lay the foundation for sustained prosperity. If you don’t, however, then it is very important to recognise that there will be a sharp limit on how much the country can grow.

He gave his verdict thus: “Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth with the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad. One in three Nigerian children is chronically malnourished. “I urge you to apply this thinking to all your investments in your people.

Also, Nigeria, a third world country in Africa, is known as the poverty capital of the world, so reports a United States of America based medium.

The report published in 2018 says Nigeria just exceeded India with the largest rate of people living in extreme poverty. In Nigeria, about 86.9 million people live in severe poverty, which is about 50% of its entire population. While the nation is smaller both geographically and in terms of population, it is failing at lowering the rates of poverty. This is partly due to the mismanagement of the oil business and the presence of corruption. Along with this, the nation is going through a “population boom,” which will make managing poverty rates more difficult. One of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals is to end extreme poverty by 2050.

However, Nigeria’s poverty rates are currently going in the wrong direction.

Continuing, the foreign medium stated that while Nigeria is known for its oil riches, the reality of the nation is that corruption, unemployment and inequalities have destroyed the nation’s economic framework, causing it to be the poverty capital of the world.

On Corruption it said that it is the major reason why poverty is at such a high rate in Nigeria. In fact, many economist have declared that it is the “single greatest obstacle” that prevents Nigeria from prospering. Corruption is present in the everyday lives of citizens from businesses to the government. Consequently, poorer communities are suffering and the economic structure has experienced disruption.

On Unemployment: The high rates of unemployment also lead to extreme poverty. Unemployment typically exists among the younger population. In fact, only about 44.6% of young people have employment, leaving more than half of the population is unemployed. A major cause of unemployment is the fact that people tend to focus more on oil production rather than a variety of other industries. Not only does the country suffer from a lack of employment but it also suffers from a lack of development, progress and diversification of its industries.

On Inequality: Along with corruption and unemployment, another major driver of poverty in Nigeria is the presence of inequality within the nation. Nigerian women are subject to unequal treatment in terms of labor, education and property. While about 79% of women make up the rural labor force, they are the least likely to own their own property. Along with this, only about 6% of Nigerian women have achieved literacy, the rest are still illiterate. Inequalities in Nigeria are a result of poorly allocated resources and corruption. While Nigeria has plenty of resources, these resources are typically reserved for the wealthy who can afford them. Along with this, corruption within the government leads to further inequalities between the political elite and to those living in poverty.

All these negative indices makes it easier for armed non state actors to continue to kill CITIZENS and the President simply sits in his Abuja office to direct his spokespersons to circulate statements mourning those needlessly killed. I think part of the reason is that the national Assembly has become lethargic and corrupt just as it’s ineffectiveness to oversight the executive arm of government has created what some scholars calls unlimited government as opposed to limited government.

Limited governments as stated in www.civiced.org have established and respected restraints on their powers, restraints such as laws and free and periodic elections.

The opposite is unlimited government, in which those who govern are free to use their power as they choose, unrestrained by laws or elections. Tyranny, autocracy, dictatorship, and totalitarianism are other words to describe unlimited government.

They then asked, what form of government was best suited to prevent the abuse of power in the newly independent states of America? From their reading of both history and the natural rights philosophers, the Founders believed that any government that served its proper ends would have to be a limited or constitutional government. In a constitutional government, the powers of the person or group controlling the government are limited by a set of laws and customs called a constitution.

They then asked, What is a constitution?
A constitution is a set of customs, traditions, rules, and laws that sets forth the basic way a government is organized and operated. Most constitutions are in writing, some are partly written and partly unwritten, and some are not written at all.
Notice that according to this definition of the word, every nation has a constitution. Good governments and bad governments may have constitutions. Some of the worst governments have constitutions that include lists of the basic rights of their citizens. The former Soviet Union had one of the longest and most elaborate constitutions in history, but in reality its citizens enjoyed few of the rights guaranteed by it.

If you study the constitution of a government, you will be able to answer the following questions about the relationship between the government and its citizens:

• What are the purposes of government?

• How is the government organized?

• How is the government supposed to go about doing its business?

• Who is considered to be a citizen?

• Are the citizens supposed to have any power or control over their government? If so, how is it to be exercised?

• What rights and responsibilities, if any, are the citizens supposed to have?

It is very important to understand that having a constitution does not mean that a nation has a constitutional government. If a constitution provides for the unlimited exercise of political power-by one, few, or even many-such a constitution would not be the basis of a constitutional government. If a constitution provides that the government’s power is to be limited, but it does not include ways to enforce those limitations, it is not the basis of a constitutional government. In a constitutional government the constitution is a form of higher or fundamental law that must be obeyed by everyone, including those in power.”

From the above study, we are able to see that Nigeria’s constitution has been so abused and desecrated which is why citizens are killed recklessly and the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS are too deeply corrupted and compromised to demand action and accountability from President Muhammadu Buhari. In 48 hours alone, 120 citizens were slaughtered by armed non state actors in the North including the 110 rice farmers in Borno State but all that We hear are political mourners all over the media and no action is taken to arrest and prosecute these mass murderers.

The usually reticent former Deputy Governor of CBN Dr. Kingsley Moghalu said President Muhammadu Buhari is incapable of ruling Nigeria just as he stated this while reacting to the killing of 43 farmers by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno state.

The former presidential candidate lamenting about the state of insecurity said the recent tragedy shows Nigeria is becoming a failed state under Buhari.

Moghalu on his Twitter page wrote: “The barbaric beheading of 43 Nigerians in Zabarmari village in Borno State by Boko Haram is a national outrage and tragedy. It’s increasingly clear that @NigeriaGov is unable to protect the lives of Nigerians. What does that mean? Our country is becoming a failed state.

“The real challenge we face: Can Nigeria survive until 2023 without a massive implosion? #NoSecurity #NoEconomy. What’s left? #Restructuring.

Moghalu stressed that it is a national shame that the government is concerned about the End SARS protesters while terrorists have a field day.

“It is a travesty that a government that can’t protect the lives of its citizens spends all its energy attempting to suppress #EndSARS peaceful protesters, freezing their bank accounts and bringing spurious legal charges.

” Our government and our Central Bank call peaceful citizens financiers of terrorism” while the real terrorists are having a field day with Nigerian lives and no one apparently can stop them and their real financiers. It is a national shame,” Moghalu tweeted.

It is regrettable that within five years, President Muhammadu Buhari has turned Nigeria into a huge killing fields and the World looks on May be waiting until Nigeria collapses before rushing in with relief materials for refugees.

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs @www. huriwanigeria.com, www.huriwa@blogspot.com, www.thenigerianinsidernews.com.

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