In 2002, when INEC denied the registration of some new political parties, late Gani Fawehinmi of the Conscience Party of Nigeria is quoted to have said, “We will make Nigeria ungovernable.” INEC budged and his Party got registered. [DailyChampion] It was one of the first popular instances of the use of the “ungovernable” threat.
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in 2011 categorically denied that any of its members ever said they would make Nigeria ungovernable.
‘Usual suspect’ General Muhammadu Buhari’s lawyers threatened to sue the President of Nigeria’s spokesperson, Reuben Abati in a letter sent on the 11th of July, 2011 for “inventing libelous” allegations against the person of the ex-President, accusing him of instigating post-election violence. The letter was sent on behalf of General Buhari by Harrison Ogalagu for his lawyer, Tope Adebayo. The accusations had been made against him in Rueben’s Guardian newspaper publication. [See: Post Election Violence: Buhari Threatens To Sue Reuben Abati For Libel; SaharaReporters, Jul, 17 2011]
The one threat attached to Buhari was his prediction that if the rigging of 2011 repeated itself in 2015, there will be violence in the nation, ala, “the dog and baboon will be soaked in the same blood,” a crude translation of “kare Jini Biri Jini.” The northern governors stood by this warning. [2015: North’s governors back Buhari’s warning; TheNationOnline, May, 18, 2012]
A more accurate interpretation of the Hausa adage is: In the hunting game both the hunt dog and the hunted monkey will be in blood.
Update: Buhari did sue Abati and the Guardian and in an out of court settlement, a retraction was published in the Guardian of July 2013
GUARDIAN Re: For the attention of General Buhari
Thursday, 11 July 2013 00:00 Editor
SIR: “On April 22, 2011, The Guardian Newspaper published an article on page 51 titled “For the attention of General Buhari” wherein certain allegations were made against General Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged role in the violence emanating from the elections.
The publication was based on information which we believed to be reliable at that time. Since the publication, however, we now have reason to believe that certain parts of the story were not verified to be correct before the publication.
We assure General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) GCFR of our highest esteem and regret any distress or embarrassment which the said publication may have caused him.”
In my opinion, there has been no credible link of the person of Buhari to actionable threats relating to the current state of violence.
After a tiresome, fruitless internet search with no results, I found this question had been asked in April, 2013, on the popular Nigerian forum, Nairaland: ‘“Nigeria Will Be Made Ungovernable” – Who Said It?’ There were only three results in the thread. Two were linked; the first being that of Atiku Abubakar, who was discussing PDP zoning and challenging the PDP presidential primaries system at the time, and was quoted in December 2010 to have referenced a verse from late US President John F Kennedy, “Those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent change inevitable,” and the second was made by an Atiku associate, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, who is quoted to have said, “The North is determined if it happens, to make Nigeria ‘ungovernable’ for President Jonathan or any other Southerner who finds his way to the seat of power on the platform of the PDP against the principle of the party’s zoning policy.”
Malam Adamu Ciroma, 80, also PDP is the third reported to have towed the path and made headlines for recommending the impeachment of acting President Goodluck Jonathan.
In conclusion, from my investigation, it’s pretty much these three northerners that can be cited to have suggested making Nigeria ungovernable, and their statements were in reference to the PDP zoning system which according to them ‘should’ have delivered a northern party contestant to complete late Yar’Adua’s term. Are these the trouble makers and those behind the unrest from the north to the south of the nation? Is it of these three that the crisis Nigeria has faced owes its establishment?
What has the government done in regards to the much referenced threat/excuse that can only be found in these few instances, toward ensuring national sanity, peace and security? If there is any credible link of the few who are believed to have made statements that can and have been associated with political related terror, is it not the responsibility of the government to thoroughly quarantine such suspects? Is it not criminally irresponsible for the government to neither act nor assure the public that no action is necessary, these are not the culprits; than ’benefit’ from a nation in this and all other terror-related instances where the people dying daily believe terror sponsors are the government and their friends and above the law? Why has this government not arrested a single political terror sponsor? Why did killed Gen. Andrew Azazi accuse the PDP party of being responsible for the terror? What was done about that? What is the security department and the NSA doing? This are/were necessary questions… but now is it already too late for this government?
Nigeria is Ungovernable
CORRUPTION: The nation’s treasury is wide open to administrative thieves; stealing at least a billion of whichever currency they savor every day, 365 days a year. Nigeria is corruption capital of the world. There is no harnessing this anymore. Today, the economy is being run as a dip-in and plunder all you can buffet. Confirming the ungovernability of the nation, there hasn’t been a single arrest of any top government looter despite the unprecedented level of theft of the commonwealth. The government is incapable of making such arrests.
DEFENSE: The defense department recently visibly joined the sequelae of things out-of-control, as the appointment of a new Minister of defense in the person of Lt. Gen Aliyu Mohammed Gusau (rtd) from the previous dictator regimes met stiff ‘opposition and rejection’ at the military level. The Chief of defense staff, rightly in abidance with the constitution, challenged the assumed authority of the President’s chosen Minister, a recycled NSA who was at the head of security affairs of the nation when all forms of terrorism evolved and successfully gained grip of the country. There is no possibility of reconciliation of this quagmire. Military functions on a strict code of respect and authority. Gusau is the minister, but he has been publicly stripped of all respect and authority. Pushed to the wall, the Minister who was chosen to supposedly assist in addressing the terror spate and ‘help win votes,’ was described to have thrown a major puerile tantrum.
DEVELOPMENT: With the degree of looting of the nation’s wealth, development eludes Nigeria. Privatization is the only activity of the government, but many question the credibility and capacity of this government to privatize; describing all privatization events as simply further looting opportunities. People are asking why the Presidency itself is not privatized, if they are so incapable of doing anything. Development is also impossible with stark poverty and the state of insecurity. Only the rich appear to be developing while the poor get poorer, more angry and easy to recruit into terror and criminality. This is why Boko Haram easily takes foot in the northeast and why kidnapping, a most lucrative ‘profession,’ is an official career in the South. The billion dollar MEND Amnesty programme trained youth have pretty much mostly resorted to either of the more promising ventures: kidnapping, oil bunkering, high sea piracy or armed robbery. In the Boko Haram plagued north, the years of unending terror with the state of emergency, curfews, the fear and deaths have virtually stalled all activity and rewound the hands of the clock. With the middle class wiped out, the rich are now so stupendously wealthy; they all have private jets and move secured in bomb-proof vehicles, miles apart from the poor. The poor are quite like domestic chickens in the yard, dispensable, valueless, their deaths in the prevalent climate of terror, no longer even recorded. Terror is a problem of the poor. But with this situation, development does not exist because there is no meaningful development in a state consummate insecurity.
So What Next?
Desperate politics and misbegotten tribalism pervades and drowns all logical conversation. Every single discussion on the pressing issues, the state of anarchy, the thousands of deaths, the hopelessness, the corruption, the rapaciousness of those in power. Virtually every attempt to analyze and address the critical state of desperation in Nigeria is thwarted fanatically by political activists, many of whom appear as though paid and employed to obscure and discombobulate. There is also an effort to force religious suspiciousness into the mix, though this has largely failed.
Accepted that Nigeria is now ungovernable, and the President is either eating peanuts and being a family man or preoccupied ‘campaigning’ for re-election, what do we do now? What is the end point or new beginning after those who promised it, or those who professed it to actualization have made Nigeria ungovernable so?
We were warned either in actuality or by our repeated unfounded attributions; either way, we all have heard and overheard that ‘Nigeria will be ungovernable.’ Well, now it is. What did we plan to do if and when it became so?
It is interesting and painful to realize that Gen. Buhari warned that Nigeria was already almost ungovernable in 2011 in his post election statement. A necessary read: Statement Of General Muhammadu Buhari Regarding The Verdict Of The Supreme Court On Jonathan’s Election; SaharaReporters, Dec. 28, 2011. To think we were already at the nadir, it is a miracle we balanced this long. Those of us still alive, that is. But our less fortunate brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers and our children are now dying too fast, we cannot afford to balance in this blood any longer.
I have pondered this and will briefly summarize my suggestions as I leave it open for us all to decide what we do now that Nigeria has been certified ungovernable for most of the past 3 years.
Can we divide ourselves into regions? Seven, ten or more as needed. Those who wish can take/keep the President and perhaps the oil Minister as their Premiere and deputy respectively. A good leader might have saved Nigeria from this critical need to regionalize in the interest of safety, sanity and mutual respect, but we did not get that in 2011; ethnocentrism and the ‘fear of the north,’ made us choose this last straw and diehard mentee of the morbidly corrupt and inept dictators who got us here. We are yet unready, it appears to put all tribalism and paranoia aside, along with the old lizards and for our youth to step up, select people upon whom the future can have hope and work with these to forge a path of progress. Perhaps a leader like Madam due process, Obiageli Ezekwesili, who I am currently inclined to support for 2015, or someone you suggest might avert this need. But as unfortunately, the negative effects of $20-127 billion on-the-loose will not allow us see eye-to-eye, is it not time we rescue this ungoverned and ungovernable nation with true Federalism (with the possibility of later smooth disintegration as decided by the people)?
Let each region keep 90% of their resource earnings. The oil money has done nothing for my region. In fact I hate oil. I and my brothers and cousins will be happy if you keep the oil. We have a poverty level of 80% right now, 30 digits below Chad and Mali. Everywhere I turn I see poverty around me. People who really have no shoes, no story; they walk bare-foot or in tattered rubber flip-flop slippers. Without oil, we cannot really get much worse can we? But perhaps we can get better. My brothers in oily regions need a break where they can assert as much influence on the ownership of the wells and the commodity as they endure the ownership of the pollution and toxicity that has rendered their land worthless and their water cancerous. Like most of the governments before it, this government just does not care. Hopefully, each region can sort itself out and create hope and opportunity for the millions of hopeless and jobless youth, while also being able to at last control and ensure the security, safety and sanctity of life for itself, by itself. No more blaming others or pointing fingers at the top.
At the top, shall we make this a Parliamentary system and have a Prime minister? Hey, perhaps we can retain the current President as a ceremonial President under that re-established Parliamentary system and all his remaining 49,871 fans including Wendell Simlin will be delighted?
It is past time for a serious conversation, no holds barred. Nigeria is ungovernable. What next?