SAYS JOS CRISIS LONG PREDICTED
As festering Jos crisis continues to claim more casualties, a prominent member of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Professor Pat Utomi, has revealed how the crisis was long predicted over a decade ago by an American writer, Robert Kaplan.
Quoting copiously from Kaplan's book, The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War, Utomi said that the bloody maelstroms of violence and crime in the Plateau State was a testimony of shortsighted leadership in the country.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Sun, the presidential aspirant in the 2007 general elections explained how the author of the book zeroed in on Jos as a fort line in which the whole of West Africa could collapse into anarchy.
Pointing out that any serious political leadership that sees foreboding such as the one contained in the book would begin to put in place crisis prevention mechanisms.
His words: 'The Jos crisis is a crisis long foretold. I remind people that about 10 years ago, Robert Kaplan, an American wrote a book, 'The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War,' in which Jos was seen as a fort line in which the whole of West Africa can collapse into anarchy. And any sophisticated serious political leadership that sees foreboding like this foretold begins to put in place crisis prevention mechanism.
'It needs to put in place high level intelligence service that will make it impossible for any surprise to come from such an area. But the leadership has failed to do this repeatedly. Instead, politicians are more engaged in power tussle and personal aggrandizement. They are not serving the people. This greatly compounds the tragedy of the Jos situation,' Utomi stated.
In fact the opening pages of the book published in 2001 start with another West African country, Sierra Leone, where people's hands and legs were chopped off during the country's crisis.
Kaplan whose earlier book 'The Balkan Ghosts' foretold the disintegration of the Balkans before it happened was looking at the future of the world in the post decline of the former Soviet Union and the nature of conflicts.
He was suggesting basically that the next kind of conflict the world would have won't be confrontation between two major powers but would be more like small sizzling crises that become an anarchy in many developing countries.
He opened with a discussion with a minister in Sierra Leone who was talking about how people they kept in their home, whom they thought to be doing some public favour, turned round and led people to cut off their hands and stuffs like that.
He said: 'What we are witnessing in Sierra Leone is finally the revenge of the poor.' He predicted back in 2001 that Nigeria, if it is not careful, if the leaders do not act more responsible would witness the revenge of the poor.
And in his analysis of frontlines in West Africa, places where ethnic and religious conflict could be tinderbox, the author actually zeroed in on Jos, Nigeria.
'It wasn't a Nigerian book, it was a broad book but just to show his ingenuity and sophistication, Kaplan was able to see Jos as a flash point. But our leaders failed to take precautionary measures,' Utomi concluded.
As a lasting solution to the Jos crisis, Utomi was of the view that the country must toe the recommendations of Aburi accord in Ivory Coast, which agreement resulting from events that preceded the Nigerian civil war, promoted a loose federation.