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NIGERIA: Manifestation of a Failed State.

By Clifford Ogbeide

Nigeria in recent times has manifested rapidly basic symptoms of a failed state in the categories of Somalia, Sudan etc. The absence of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua from office since November 23 2009 without formally handing over to his deputy as enshrined in section 145 of the Nigerian constitution is a fundamental constitutional violation as the constitution is the conscience of the nation. Section 145 reads: “Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.”

In an ominous sign, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, an out going retired Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Idris Kutigi sworn in a successor Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Kastina Alu throwing precedence into the dustbin because of leadership vacuum. The newly appointed 15 permanent secretaries to reinforce the bureaucracy have not been inaugurated. This absence of leadership has also led to the Non-implementation of key programmes and policies of this administration in line with making Nigeria one of the foremost 20th economies in the year 20:20. Critical is the post-Amnesty era for the repentant militants of the Volatile Niger Delta region, and of course this has a huge security and economic implication for our nation. If hostilities is resumed, our oil output will be drastically reduced with a shortfall in projected oil revenue accrue to government for the implementation of its strategic programmes and policies. The failure to provide the much talked about 6000 megawatt of electricity by the end of last year is also of importance to mention.

The inability of Nigeria to aggressively pursue vibrant Diplomatic Dexterity and the comatose in the management of state affairs has rendered Nigeria impotent, and irrelevant in the comity of nations, as manifested in the wake of the failed terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on an America Bound flight on December 25 2009 which necessitated Nigeria been blacklist as a terrorist state. Up till this moment, Nigeria has not made a diplomatic contact with her US counterpart in this regard, left alone discussing what went wrong, and way forward to avoid future reoccurrence. Because of this leadership vacuum, Nigeria has not been able to appoint an Ambassador in Washington DC since Gen. Rotimi Oluwole was recalled over his ethnic remarks, left alone receiving letters of Credence from Ambassadors posted to Nigeria.

Nigeria is the sixth oil producer and seventh oil exporter in the world, still there are long queues at petrol stations as a result of non availability of refined petroleum products in the country in recent time because of the inability of our refineries to function due to corrupt and sharp practices by successive governments, and manipulation of the economy by few political elites to their advantages at the detriment of millions of Nigerians as we now relied on imported finished products, thereby importing unemployment while we export employment. Renewal of oil lifting license for operator is deadlock.

Nigeria's abundant oil and solid minerals deposit is paradoxical in nature because it has not been able to transformed the lives of Nigerians from poverty to prosperity, rather it has inflicted pains, violence, environmental degradation, maiming, killing and societal misery on average Nigerians. The most visible source of disconnection between Nigeria's wealth and poverty lies in the failure of governance and leadership both at the Local, and national levels and these developments all put Nigeria's future at great risk.

Between 1970 and 1999, the Nigerian petroleum industry generated about $231 billion in rents, or $1900 for every man, woman, and child. Yet from 1970 to date, the Nigeria state can not boost of any viable health care delivery systems which necessitated President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua current treatment for heart related problem in a Saudi Arabia hospital, educational standard has nose dived as a result of lack of funding by government that that no one Nigerian University is ranked among the first 2,000 in the entire world that parents now send their wards to foreign schools which is partly responsible for the radicalizing of Umaru Farouk Mutallab the “Allege Christmas day Bomber”, dilapidated road network which has increased the cost of transporting goods and service around the country, absence of portable water supply, increase in maternal mortality, acute shortage of power supply which is the bedrock of any industrialized nation and this has caused serious de-industrialization andunemployment since employers of labour are leaving in droves to Neigbouring countries where cost of doing business is favourable. Corruption and Lack of Transparency and accountability in the management of the country's resources is largely responsible for these economic and societal ills. The anti-graft agency is helpless due to non-commitment of the government.

The rising wave of insecurity and the upsurge of violence crime in the country i.e. armed robbery, kidnapping, militancy, economic sabotage, ethno-religious conflicts, communal clashes, Islamic radicalization and fundamentalist activities (Boko Haram, Kala Kato) pose a great security threat to human existence, territorial integrity and the inept and hapless situation of our security agencies are of a great concern as these are indicators to anarchy. The much needed foreign direct investment through foreign investors will be elusive because of the un-conducive security environment for business to thrive. Also, the continuous absence of the “Commander –in-Chief of the Armed Forces makes the situations more worrisome and render the country more vulnerable to enemies of democracy as we are like a herd without a shepherd and all these, are threat to our co-operate existence as a nation, and signpost to disaster.

It is my humble submission that the nation's leadership adhere strictly at all times to the laid down provisions of the constitution in order to avoid vacuum in governance since power, abhors vacuum. Sit tight syndrome should be discouraged, and holding tenaciously to political power at all cost is against the principles and tenets of good governance, Democracy, and rule of law.

From the above analyses, it is obvious that these indications or indicators are complete manifestation of a comatose or a failed state in the absence of a purposeful and virile leadership in Nigeria.

Clifford Ogbeide
Centre For Strategic & Development Studies,
Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Nigeria
Email: [email protected]