The shameless and corrupt leaders created what is locally called “cabal;” that is, a clique within the national leadership. It’s these leaders who decide who will be elected or get appointed into any office in the country.
Most of their members are unapologetic ethnic chauvinists and religious bigots. They have made election, the most important ingredient in democracy, useless since electoral victory does not depend on true election but on whom they want for a particular office. They will rig election in favor of the person. This, they have described as “homegrown” democracy which in reality is no democracy. They have held the country to ransom, devalued life in a country that naturally had a pro-life culture. They have cheapened life in it and made it uninhabitable.
“Peace is not merely the absence of war. It cannot be reduced to the maintenance of a balance of power between opposing forces. Nor does it arise out of despotic dominion. Instead, it is rightly and properly called ‘the effect of justice’.” (Second Vatican Council ‘The Church in the Modern World’ para. 78) Neglect of this traditional injunction has obvious consequences and Nigeria is a clear example.
Once there is an election in a country, the West believes that there is democracy in that country or democracy has returned. This is not true and it’s what the reference above explains.
Nigeria is not at war but countries at war are not worse than Nigeria. Nigeria fought civil war for only 30 months, July 1967 – January 1970. It created only hundreds of thousands of refugees. But for the past ten years, Nigeria has been fighting Islamic terrorists, with about five million refugees described as Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs. Those who were toddlers when the crisis started are now foot soldiers of the terrorist groups and there is no end in sight. The terrorists have leading politicians and religious leaders of northern Nigeria as sympathizers and sponsors. Once the chief of army staff, a Northerner of course, said that the war against the terrorists would only be won through prayer!
Nigerians are all over the world as a coping technique, to escape from the suffocation at home. Apart from the Middle East, which has overt culture of crises and militancy, Nigeria is the next highest contributor of those people who drown in the Mediterranean Sea in their bid to cross over to Europe and those who luckily make it to Europe.
Instability in Nigeria has triggered modern day slavery in the West African subregion, North Africa, and up to the Middle East where women in particular are treated with utmost disdain.
If the major world leaders turn a blind eye on the corruption in Nigeria which reflects in bad governance, lack of due process, lack of accountability and transparency, culture of impunity, nonobservance of rule of law, weak electoral process, and inefficient anti-graft structures, the country could create security challenges that would not only affect the region and Africa but would eventually engulf the whole world.
This is why the world should not handle the evolving situation in Nigeria with kid gloves. Already the number of Nigerian citizens living in some other countries especially in Europe, America, and Asia, are more than the population of some countries of the world. Some of the host communities are apprehensive of Nigerians in their midst not because they are not hardworking but because of their number in their countries.
Nigeria has great population, enough space, and resources that can take care of its population and more. But it has to be excellently and patriotically managed. The situation would continue to deteriorate if the unpatriotic leadership culture in the country is not completely changed.
To have good governance in Nigeria with the desired result, it must be approached internationally. The domestic leaders have great respect for foreign leaders who sometimes partner with them to steal from the country and hide their ill-gotten wealth in those stable foreign lands.
Agitation for regional autonomy among different ethnic groupings in the country is one of the ways this national frustration is being managed. But unlike progressive countries, where advocacy for self-determination is borne out of pure patriotism and there is a learning and gradual process for it, in Nigeria, there is none of these important factors. The federal government is not ready to listen to any agitator nor address the reasons for the agitations. It’s indirectly fueling the agitations by its lack of capacity for dialogue and its efficacy.
The organized agitations that lack conventional strategies will throw both the country and the eventual new republics into crises. South Sudan gives a clear picture of what lack of internationally desired standards for self-determination and independence could offer.
It would be a global culpable mistake if the world ignores the evolving situation in Nigeria, thinking that the domestic leaders are competent to handle it. The domestic leadership has shown gross incompetence in handling the matter. The situation will affect the whole world if not properly and sincerely managed by the world because of Nigeria’s population and its global strategic position.