According to World Bank statistics and our revered Professor Okonjo-Iweala, 'Nigeria is currently Africa’s biggest economy with a GDP of $509.9billion, making her the 26th biggest global economy, though it ranks very low compared to the top twenty global economies in terms of poverty, healthcare and educational facilities.
I don't need to remind anyone that according to the World Bank statistics, more than 61% of Nigeria’s population earn less than $1 per day; that is the stark reality. You don't need to be reminded also that Nigeria placed 144th position from 177 countries in the Corruption Perception Index by the global body, Transparency International.
The rebased GDP of 2013, which makes the nation's economy the biggest in Africa is indeed good news for most protagonists of the current PDP administration. These protagonists are also quick to point out other progressive social development achievements of the current PDP led national administration, such as, the upgrade in the face value at our airports, the improved services along some rail corridors, rehabilitation of major roads like the Benin-Ore road, which for over a decade have remained in a state of comatose, neglected by previous PDP national governments.
These are indeed commendable achievements, but someone might say not great! The rebased GDP has lifted Nigeria’s economic status to the biggest in Africa; however, the opposition will quickly posit that the capacity of the Nigerian economy is self evident going by our population. But the impact of these positive economic indices on the lives of 'ordinary Nigerians' is rather doubtful, if not totally absent.
Surely, under the present circumstances, the Jonathan/Sambo administration is trying its best, which highlights the dearth of quality leadership in the current administration, and in our political space in general. The handling of the insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria has made the ineptitude of the Jonathan/Sambo administration quite obvious, coupled with the numerous unresolved corruption cases which have bedevilled the administration. From Oduah-Gate, the botched South-Africa linked arms deal, the Abba-Moro Gate-Immigration recruitment debacle, where tens of job seekers lost their lives, the Bring Back Our Girls misfortune. And lest you forget, many more have been kidnapped before and after the abduction of the Chibok girls since April. Apparently, these issues further highlight the lack of spine of the Jonathan/Sambo administration, in terms of their capacity or otherwise to tackle our most fundamental problems.
At the point when the Nigerian military seems to be gaining the upper hand in the war against the mindless insurgents, the administration once again showcases its own weakness, often proclaimed by the political opposition party APC. It is rather sad that the government who ought to understand the nature of the insurgents, actually display utter ineptitude and lack of good judgement, by the recent mis-judgement of the insurgents tactics; when the CDS-Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, announced a ceasefire with terrorists. I thought, even an undergraduate student of political science or history should understand that jihadist insurgents don't back down without force. The nature of religious extremists is that they either achieve their goal or die in the process; hence serious nations don't negotiate with unrepentant sectarian jihadists of this nature. Even if you must negotiate, shouldn’t this be a top secret, concluded under the most clandestine circumstances, to avoid the kind of shameful embarrassment our federal government has subjected itself to? Ordinarily, negotiation is not in the dictum of these kinds of terrorists, being based on strong ideological convictions rather than on commercial interests.
I think the idea of negotiation is based on the perception in government that Boko Haram is politically motivated. However, the sooner those currently occupying top government positions recognise that this malaise goes far beyond politics; it's an evil inspired group of people seeking global recognition for their depraved religious ideology.
The announcement of the botched ceasefire simply shows that neither the Jonathan/Sambo presidency, nor top military chiefs understand the nature of the enemy. We must surely salute the sacrifices made by the military rank and file. But, this lack of understanding of the basic nature and ideology of the enemy is a major minus contributing to the unchecked loss lives and properties to activities of the dastardly sect. The notion by anyone that Boko Haram activities are engineered by APC politicians in the opposition, who do not want the Jonathan/Sambo presidency to succeed, is the primary reason why the Nigerian military will find it extremely difficult to defeat the insurgents, continuing to misuse their resources and efforts in the wrong direction. Let me quickly remind those leading this internal war against this deadly sect that the fundamental oath of these animalistic guys does not allow them to surrender until death, which is martyrdom. This kind of total allegiance to the ideal is akin to that of the Islamic State or ISIS, who the Western allies are fighting in Iraq and Syria. It's a long term war, the earlier Nigeria prepares herself the more lives will be saved from this heinous activities. I will be very shocked if Boko Haram should simply stop their activities, if maybe a northerner is elected Nigerian president. Don't forget they were already gathering troops during the late Yaradua/Jonathan's government, momentum only increased during the current administration.
According to internet sources, 'the group's aim is to establish an Islamic State in Nigeria; this aim has no respect for any government or institutions, including the Northern Muslim Caliphate that does not agree with their fundamentalist approach. Hence, at various times, the insurgents have attempted to kill prominent northerners, including no less than the former Emir of Kano, the late Ado Bayero who died barely a year after the attempt on his life by fellow Muslims. The insurgent’s fundamental goal is to proclaim a global caliphate, and the objective is to bring the world under its political control, beginning with the territories seized in Iraq, in Syria, and in north-eastern Nigeria, which they currently control. To any clear thinking leader, this is not about local or even national politics, Boko Haram is simply an extension of the Islamic State, and their goal is global territorial domination by means of the Islamic Sharia law.
Thus, it is very sad and sickening when the top echelon of the Nigerian government and military, by their recent activities and pronouncements demonstrate a lack of basic understanding of the nature of these people’s ideology. This led to our government to signing a dummy ceasefire agreement with the Chadian government, and a purported Boko Haram negotiator. When one of the purported original catalysts of this insurgency, Ali Modu Sheriff should be answering questions pertaining to national security, the presidency lacking gut and gusto is busy hobnobbing with the Chadian government and perceived Boko Haram collaborators.
Those currently enjoying the juicy Abuja national cake and their cronies seem to be the only optimists. They often argue that this is the best government Nigeria ever had, ala Doyin Okupe, Reuben Abati and co. They are quick to argue that Nigeria’s economy is growing, our airports are now world class, thousands of imaginary jobs are being created, fuel scarcity is gone forever, and more and more. Perhaps, these are good news to the downtrodden Nigerian masses and millions of jobless graduates riding motor bikes to earn a living. But not when thousands of Nigerians are dying virtually on a daily basis, and are homeless as a result of the insurgents that government should ordinarily handle as a serious threat to our territorial integrity.
Yet, if the insurgents are sponsored by opposition politicians, which is most unlikely to be the case, as far as the insurgents activity trends have shown, the central government should do everything legally within the ambit of Nigeria constitution to prosecute known supporters of the insurgents without delay. The focus of the Jonathan/Sambo presidency-top military heads, ministers and spokesmen- should be crushing the insurgency as soon as tomorrow, while seriously seeking international allied support, because this insurgency is not just a Nigerian war, it is a global war. However, to be candid, in my opinion as I think and I assume this should be the intention of many Nigerians, in the upcoming elections, the re-election ambition of this administration should be measured by her ability to guarantee the lives and properties of Nigerians in every nook or cranny of the country, and crush these mindless blood sucking fundamental insurgents once and for all, and stop playing trivial politics with serious issues of national honour and integrity.
This piece is written by Adetunji Busari, a project management professional based in the United Kingdom. You may contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).