October 6, 2022

INTERNATIoNAL
Bola A. Akinterinwa 
Political governance in Nigeria is heavily fraught with lack of patriotism, intrigues, incompetence, and wickedness. The notion of Nigeria being a geographical expression does not even mean anything anymore as efforts are consciously being made to consciously destroy Nigeria. The issue of boko haramists being in government was first raised under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. But attention was hardly given to it. This is one way of killing Nigeria softly. What the people of Nigeria have been witnessing is the reckless killing of patriotic Nigerian soldiers when they were sent to theatres of war to defend Nigeria. They were always ambushed because the enemy has an advanced information about the movement of the patriotic Nigerian soldiers. What do we do with the enemy within government which makes whatever strategy adopted to be shamefully neutralized?
Apart from the enemies within, the Nigerian military have also been accused of aiding and abetting the Boko Haram insurgency, incroyable mais vrai (unbelievable but true), the French people often say. Why is this so? When have we come to nursing an unpatriotic military? Nigerian soldiers with international record of always fighting gallantly when they are engaged in United Nations peace enforcement activities, have suddenly become another military that lacks patriotism. What is responsible for this new development?
In Nigeria, public administration as a course of study has become questionable. People who are managing public businesses have studied business or public administration. But who taught them and from where did they get their education from? These questions are raised because on 11 March 2022, an Ibadan-bound train from Lagos had a breakdown because of insufficient fuel. Even though the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidelis Ukhiria, said the incident occurred due to a faulty gauge that was fixed within one hour, the House of Representatives has decided to investigate the incident for reasons of ‘operational incompetence.’
Honourable Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) who moved the motion of urgent public importance, to investigate the Ibadan-Lagos train fuel saga ‘exposes the carelessness, irresponsibility and incompetence of the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation to effectively and efficiently manage the sector.’ More disturbingly, the new Nigerian trains often carry more illegal or non-officially checked-in passengers. Why is the number of passengers carried not always consistent with the number of checked-in passengers on a train? Magouilles par excellence? Truly, Nigeria is on a fast track to disintegration by force of necessity and the foreign policy implications cannot be far-fetched.
The Political Magouilles
First is the current effort being made to make Nigeria the home for all Fulani in Africa. Allegations of a Fulanisation Agenda under the President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) administration have been made in the past. No one took them seriously. The allegations remain speculative until party primaries began and the agenda was uncovered during a Channels Television interview by the Governor of Bauchi State, Mr. Bala Mohammed.
As explained by the Governor, efforts are being made ‘to bring the Fulani in one-fold in Nigeria… The Fulani is a global man and settles anywhere he can feed his cattle.’ In an answer to a question on why the Federal Government should be funding private businesses and whether the ‘one-fold’ would be an enclosure for reasons of security, the Governor answered it would not be an enclosure but a colony, which does not normally have fences. On funding, he admitted that Government had already been doing just that because they are Nigerians. When did they become Nigerians? When did they come to Nigerians and how? There was the time illegal immigrants in Nigeria, many of whom were rightly or wrongly believed to be Fulani from West Africa, were given six months to regularize their stay in Nigeria rather than querying how they entered Nigeria or overstayed beyond the 90 days allowed by the ECOWAS Treaty. 
This Fulani agenda, most unfortunately, has the potential to create more fundamental problems in the foreseeable future, especially if the sponsors of the agenda, including the Bauchi Governor, were to be elected to any public positions. That any Fulani can settle anywhere should not imply the use of force to settle down on titled land. It should not mean forceful occupation of titled and occupied land. That right of settlement does not cover usurpation of people’s land. PMB has tried fruitlessly by seeking new cattle routes and talking about RUGA to help his Fulani brothers. There is absolutely nothing wrong in helping one another, but the approach must not be manu militari. The truth is that Nigeria does not belong to the Fulani or to any ethnic group. Besides, there is nothing like terra nullius which can be occupied at any time by a Fulani herdsman.
Governor Bala Mohammed made it clear that the Fulani can settle down in the forest, as not enabling that will only subject the forest to being used for criminal activities. The problem again here is that the forest in every state is held in trust by the State Government for the people of the State. Consequently, the Bauchi Governor’s effort at sponsoring an agenda of Fulanisation will only create unprecedented obstacles to national unity in the future. The experience so far has been the mistreatment by the Fulani herders of local farmers, destruction of their farmlands, raping their women, and children. This cannot be expected to continue. If you ask the Government why this is so, one ready answer is that the Fulani aggressors are not the Nigerian Fulani. But when asked how the foreign Fulani entered Nigeria, there is no answer beyond speculations that immigrations are remiss in their duties.
Second issue is institutional corruption, which has become the hallmark of the PMB administration. It is galloping and deepening. In fact, it has scientifically now been done to discriminate against some less privileged Nigerians. For example, the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress is selling its presidential for N100 million, that is, N30m for expression of interest form and N70m for nomination form. What is noteworthy here is that the form is made free for women and handicaps. More important, the cost of the APC nomination form for the House of Assembly is N2m, while it is N10m for House of Representatives, N20m for the Senate, and N50m for governorship.
When compared with the PDP, life is still bearable for the aspirants: N600,000 for House of Assembly, N2.5m for House of Representatives, N3.5m for Senate, N21m for Governorship, and N40m for presidential. The implication of this is that presidential contest can only be for the rich. Can Nigerians sustain a presidential democracy? Without doubt, this is the first time since 1999 that the cost of a presidential application form would be so prohibitive: N100m.  It is the costliest. While this amount can help generate funds for the party, it also prevents non-money-bag aspirants from seeking to come nearer the contest. How much does the aspirant that accepts to pay a nomination form of N100m pay as tax? Does he even pay tax? The amount is very discriminatory and can induce uncommitted people to engage in corruption.
In fact, more thought-provokingly, people have asked how an aspirant who pays N100m for nomination form, will be able to recoup his investment when the totality of his legitimate income for his four-year tenure as president will not be more than N56m. It is expected that he would make for it when he assumes duty as president. This is a foundation for anticipated institutional corruption. This explains the meaningless of PMB’s anti-corruption agenda. The means being used is defeating the purpose. The revelations on institutional corruption in Kaduna State by a Human Rights Activist, Mahdi Shehu on Arise News, are very embarrassing. He revealed the re-appointment of 16 Permanent Secretaries who left Government after 35 years of service. They now earn salaries and pension contributions. The main purpose is to cover institutional corruption, especially how one billion naira is withdrawn in a day from different banks how the banks cover them up. Government cannot successfully combat corruption selectively and at the top level. The foundational roots of corruption must be simultaneously addressed through public enlightenments.
Third, on insecurity, it is on daily basis deepening to the extent that there have been calls on Government to engage mercenaries and seek foreign help.  Sophisticated weapons have been acquired but they have been to no avail so far. Kidnapping is the new order of the day in Nigeria. Nigerians, and particularly the relations of kidnapped people, often appeal to PMB to please deal with the terrorist kidnappers as if PMB had not been doing anything. True enough, PMB has been reportedly doing his best to control terrorism in Nigeria. The problem, however, is that Nigerians do not appear to believe that he is genuinely committed to any anti-Boko Haram struggle.
Without doubt, PMB has always given instructions to the Service Chiefs to deal squarely with the terrorists. He is on record to have ordered the shooting of people carrying AK-47 rifles illegally. Whenever there is a terrorist attack, PMB never failed to renew his call for rededication. But immediately such instructions were given, the terrorists have always responded more fiercely to the chagrin of Nigerians. 
Imagine, the case of a woman with 8-month pregnancy, kidnapped on 28 March 2022 in the ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna train. She was delivered of a baby girl through a caesarian section in captivity. A doctor was invited by the terrorists to come and help deliver of the baby. Who was this doctor? Did the doctor not know that he was invited by a terrorist group? Where did the delivery operation take place: in the forest or in the hospital of the doctor in the community? 
There is no disputing the fact that the doctor knows the location of the terrorists and that there is an acquaintance between the doctor and the terrorists. Why is Government claiming ignorance of well-known facts? The doctor came from the community. The doctor and the terrorists are well known in the community. If this is so, how do we explain the inability of Government to contain terrorism? Good enough, Government wants to avoid killing civilians. When the operational base of the terrorists is well known, does the argument of avoiding civilian casualties tenable? Asked differently, when the kidnapped victims are released, what happens to the base? Why is the whole area surrounding the base not completely neutralized by the Nigerian military after release of those kidnapped? Can Nigeria survive in this type of political chicanery?
Foreign Policy Dimensions
Probably to nip terrorism-driven insecurity in the bud, the National Assembly wants to criminalize payment of ransom to terrorists. International tradition discourages payment of ransoms, which is believed to be strengthening the terrorists. This policy is good only to the extent that a country has the means to decisively with terrorism. In Nigeria, the purpose of the legislation is not clear: Government is not able to release kidnapped victims and relations of the kidnapped have, as a result, always negotiated settlement with the terrorists without necessarily carrying the Government along. How will the Government know who has paid any ransom? More important, even if the identity of a ransom payer is known, why must it be a crime for relations to save family lives when the Government is not able to ensure security? What is the offence or crime to be levied against the Government for its inability to secure the polity?
Additionally, is the international responsibility of the Government of Nigeria not raised if it is admitted that some Nigerian soldiers are assisting the terrorists to frustrate the PMB administration? Nigeria has signed many international agreements done to neutralize terrorism, and their sponsors. In fact, terrorism funding through money laundering is also being fought vigorously and Nigeria is also a signatory to the anti-money laundering accords. How will the Government of Nigeria not to know about the international implications of its soldiers assisting terrorism? Is Nigeria not a terrorist country by so doing? 
Without scintilla of doubt, Chief Theophilus Danjuma, a notable patriot and Army General, complained about this military assistance to terrorists more than two years ago. He directly and openly alleged that the Nigerian military were aiding the insurrectionists, and therefore said the time had come for the people to prepare to defend themselves by whatever means they have in their possession. Dr. Malaifa Obadiah, former presidential aspirant and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, also drew attention to military complicity many times before he passed on. The Governor of Kaduna State, El Rufai, is not contesting this observation. In fact, the most recent case is that of a Nigerian soldier who was accosted in the act of aiding the terrorist but struggled to seize a gun from the arresting law enforcement agents to shoot himself to escape being court martialed. The video is currently in circulation in the social media. What type of international image is PMB giving to Nigeria with this complaint that is not being attended to?
Secondly, the image of Nigeria has been seriously tainted by Government’s inability to resolve the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) crisis. Respect for graduates of public universities may no longer be there abroad. ASUU strike is because of inadequate funding of the universities. Lecturers go on strike to protest poor and dilapidating infrastructure. While Government is claiming insolvency, PMB quietly donated in March 2022 one million US dollars to the Government of Afghanistan.
While the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) commended the donation most Nigerian observers condemned it for various reasons.  In the eyes of the coalition of Southern and Middle Belt Youth Leaders Assembly, the umbrella body of all youth groups in the South East, South South, South East, and South West, the donation was an expression of ‘financial recklessness,’ considering that the Nigerian economy is in a state of comatose. In fact, the Coalition said: ‘the Federal Government openly told Nigerians that there is no money in our purse to fulfil the financial promises it made to Academic Staff Union of Universities. We now ask the FG, where did the money donated to Afghanistan emanate from?’ (Vide The Punch, 5 March 2022).
Another reason for the opposition to the donation is that it did not go through the appropriation process. Even though the donation is to assist the OIC in providing humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, the question has been why Nigeria is not a priority and why donate to Afghanistan? PMB has frequently been accused of Islamisation agenda. Boko haram terrorists want to Islamise Nigeria. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya made it clear before he died that there would not be enduring peace until Nigeria is divided into Muslim North and Christian South. Internationally speaking, therefore, Nigeria may not be a land of peace for a long time to come. Perception of Nigeria as a land of unending insecurity cannot be helpful to the making of a new Nigeria.
Thirdly, is the unity of Nigeria negotiable or not? Does it make sense to argue the indissolubility of Nigeria? In our eyes, arguments of non-negotiability of Nigeria’s unity and indivisibility of Nigeria are the most awkward reasonings in the 1999 Constitution. True, Chapter One, Article 2(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, provides that ‘Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign State…’ What informed this provision might have included the assumptions that governance would be devoid of political chicanery, nepotism, injustice, unfairness, ethnic jingoism, and domination, etc. This type of provision exists in many Constitutions of the world but have been thrown into the garbage of history for reasons of self-determination and need for justice and fairness.
The politics of separation dates to 1776 when the United States was separated from the United Kingdom. The separation in 1830 of Belgium from The Netherlands followed. In the 20th Century, Norway separated from Denmark and Norway also separated from Sweden in 1905. The year 1921 witnessed the separation of Ireland from the UK. In 1947, the British India Dominion was divided into India and Pakistan. In the 21st Century, Singapore was carved out of Malaysia in 1965. In 1971, Bangladesh separated from Pakistan. Here in Africa, Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia on 27 April 1993. The same is true of South Sudan from Sudan on July 9, 2011, following the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement mediated by Nigeria and the referendum of January 9-15, 2011. The politics of Glasnosts and Perestroika (openness and restructuring) led to the dismantlement of the former Soviet Union in 1989. The years 1992-93 played host to the Velvet Divorce, that is the partitioning of Czechoslovakia into Czech Republic and Slovakia.
What is noteworthy about the foregoing separations is that some of them have required the use of force where peaceful disengagement has been made difficult. The cases of South Sudan and Eritrea are good illustrations of use of force before agreement. South Sudan had a Comprehensive Peace agreement followed by a referendum. Nigeria may be the next example because PMB wrongly and myopically believes in the indissolubility and indivisibility of Nigeria. A more populous, economically vibrant Nigeria, very stable and secure is quite better than being smaller. However, the mania of political governance in Nigeria shows the strengthening of Fulani hegemony through PMB’s nepotism which is being resisted peacefully and violently. True, the Yoruba agitation for separation has been peaceful so far through their membership of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) in August 2020. However, there is nothing to suggest that the agitation will not turn violent in the future because of the continued military enslavement of the peaceful agitators and recklessness with which their leader, Sunday Igboho, has been treated.
Additionally, on Monday, 4 October 2021, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt-General Kabiru Yahya, announced in Enugu the holding of special military operations in four regions: North Central (Middle Belt), Southwest, Southeast, and Southsouth. Coincidentally, these are regions where resistance to Fulanisation agenda is strongest and where the military operations are seen as terrorization of their peace. Why are there no terrorisation of the Northeast and Northwest where insurrectional and bandit terrorism is at its peak? Threats to national unity are increasing and Nigeria is already seen internationally as a failed State. Most unfortunate! Weakening currency, excessive borrowing, growing debt, and servicing it, mounting insecurity, Government’s don’t care attitude to strikes in the university, etc., are pointers to a failed State.

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