Nigeria: A nation falls apart

NEWS DIGEST – The supposed giant of Africa, now a nation of smaller giants within, giants beyond the reproach of a sovereign government’s military prowess. Giants as secessionist agitators, and giants as insurgents, as crippling bandits and kidnappers, such that a giant reveling in its past glory for so long has now been brought to its knees. Dwarfed. Shame.

Only last week I found myself reading Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart all over again, consequently I was only naturally drawn to the actual work of poetry where Achebe himself derived that title from, W.B Yeats’s Poem “The Second Coming.”

In that poem of prophecy I found a striking similarity between the world W.B Yeats imagined was falling apart and the Nigeria I am currently living in. Lines 3-4, and 7-8 of the first stanza in particular.

Before I proceed in elucidating what I could glean from the poem in comparison to the most populous black nation’s current travails, let me attempt an explanation as to why I haven’t been able to write anything for a long time since some of my readers have prodded me for answers.

I initially attributed my hiatus away from columns to be the usual writer’s block. Such was how I self-diagnosed my inability to put down something concerning Nigeria’s ever worsening predicaments, especially the problems relating to its fatal insecurity.

However, I have recently realized the folly of that initial assessment and have determined that it wasn’t the accurate conclusion. I was in actual fact simply averse to repetition and at the same time wary of the depressing consequence of always analysing the woes of my fatherland.

It is nigh on impossible to write about Nigeria in a positive light. For example, Herein is my thoughts on insecurity, but there is the Pantamigate, JUSUN strike, issues surrounding power supply, and so on and so forth. The list is endless.

It is mentally refreshing to, as my generation would put it, ‘unlook’ every now and then. This is so that my mind is not perpetually shaded under a dark cloud. Moreover, on insecurity, I couldn’t find something new to talk about, my last article which was written since last year and titled “Insecurity in the North and the almajiri scourge” was to my mind exhaustive enough.

I therefore just felt like I would only be setting my pen or perhaps my fingers if I were to type, on a tedious task of unvarying verbosity. There isn’t anything I will write now that will be remarkably different from what I might have said in the past.

Whether that be about PMB and the way he has disappointed everyone who rooted for him or the root causes of the unsafe environment that is now the reality of all. Inspired by Yeats’s poem however as is the point of my allusion in the first paragraph above, I found reason and the will to write again.

Touching on those few lines where Yeats beautifully captured my imagination the most, he exclaims in lines 3-4 that “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”

For all of his message to the reader, Yeats above portrays a world in disarray. For me, a world with a centre that is fast capitulating like present day Nigeria. This translates metaphorically just as it does literally to a central Federal system of government that is unable to unite and satisfactorily glue together it’s richly diverse ethnic groups. The result is therefore a nation on the verge of total collapse as mere anarchy is loosed upon it.

He goes on to say in lines 7-8 that
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.” These lines remind me of the Nigeria of today where the ones who perhaps genuinely possess the patriotic zeal and moral compass for leadership have resigned their convictions to fate while the ever worsening political elite are not at all slowing down in their passionate peddling of lies, false promises and vicious schemes in order to gain political power.

Things therefore continue to get worse and Nigeria continues to lag behind in the committee of nations.

Hence, Nigeria is now in a most sorry state of insecurity. This is apparent to adult and child alike, man and woman alike, and most rivetingly, bourgeoisie and proletariat alike. The horror is now in-discriminatory, the elite and the dregs are equally vulnerable to the horrors of dare devil non state actors.

Suddenly or perhaps not so suddenly, as I once warned that if things do not change, that is if our way of lives does not undergo a radical paradigm shift, the keg of powder the country is sitting on will most definitely explode in all our faces. It is an unavoidable fact of cause and effect.

If I will reiterate in very simple terms, just to mention but a few causative elements, the teeming population of jobless youths, array of almajiri destitutes, bigotry and marginalization of a set of people regarding political appointments as well as normative nepotism in the corridors of power will always breed a society that is rife with the sort of internal strife Nigeria is vibrating with currently.

There will always be the need to resort to military means to bring about peace, but this peace will never last. If social justice is not the means, the end will never be equitable enough, so as to survive a reinvigoration of the volatile forces regardless of how seemingly emphatic.

Some people’s living circumstances, social conditions and realities will always provoke in them a certain bitterness that will ever and anon push them to the throes of violent uprising. So we will always come back to square one.

In my last article I mentioned that while it is fundamental to change the service chiefs in order to boost military morale, it will not necessarily solve the problem. The new service chiefs have now been in charge for time enough to be impactful, yet the situation is only getting worse.

Case in point!

However, I must point out at this juncture that my position on the futility of placing our hopes in the military for a solution that is final, does not in any way acquit them of all blame for their inability to carry out the mandate of securing the lives and property of Nigerians. They are not at all excused. They can do a lot better than they’re doing now. That is where lies my confusion.

I can’t comprehend why non state actors will have a sovereign government and it’s security agencies on the ropes. There can be no complexity in the dynamics of the structure of these insurgents, bandits and kidnappers that will suffice as an excusable ground for the wanton inefficiency of our defensive forces in prosecuting this war.

Personally I have always believed that if you fight any government anywhere then you’re infact at war with God for only divine powers can stand the test of any government’s will. The late General Sani Abacha once said that “If Insurgency lasts for over twenty four (24) hours then the government has a hand in it,” there is definitely something our leaders are not saying.

This means they either do not want to solve the problem, they do not know how to, or they are culpable. Both the politicians and the military Generals. It is of grave consequence that they seem so clueless but I believe that this is also the case in some respects.

Let me tell you how you will know they are clueless. When ordinary citizens like myself have resorted to turning our faces to the heavens for help, such that we now live in abject paranoia and total submission to divine forces for protection, and then our leaders who should devise strategic plans are also saying we need divine intervention, like Governor Badaru expressed the other day, then you know that infact, we are finished.

Yet I believe that out of adversity we can summon the will for a glorious rebirth.
Finished we are but we must start all over again. Nigeria cannot go the way of Libya and other war torn countries. My wife recently said she wasn’t going to give birth to our next child in Nigeria in order to secure the poor child’s life and future, and I simply said we all cannot run away.

In those countries we would be running to, they will soon stigmatize Nigerians as cancerous to their own peace if we do not fix our land. 2023 is by the corner, there are whispers or perhaps even shamelessly loud insinuations about a Tinubu presidency, but let us leave that discussion for another day. We failed in 2015 and subsequently in 2019 due to the consequent incumbency, we owe it a duty not to fail again when the 2023 elections come around.