World Media must Stand by Nigeria to combat Terrorism
I have read a few of foreign media commentary on Nigeria concerning the Boko Haram kidnap of over 200 girls from the North Eastern town of Chibok near Maiduguri North Eastern Nigeria recently. As I could recollect,many of these Media organs gave the impression that the Nigerian government under President Goodluck Jonathan was slow in response to the kidnapping majorly because the government was perceived as corrupt. In a nut shell the above is what I took away from these media coverage even though their effort helped galvanize the on- going international assistance to the Nigerian government on the impasse. I am writing to throw some light on two key issues that strike me so far. First is corruption. The other issue is the perceived weakness of government response to these terrorist attacks. Weighed on these two points ,my own perception of things from here In Nigeria is that The foreign media even though motivated by genuine concern for the preservation of innocent Nigerian lives came out too hash in their judgement of the Nigerian government and in so doing may have unwittingly emboldened the terrorists seeking headlines to perpetuate their dastardly crime.
It is therefore important to reexamine the assumptions behind the employment if the word corruption especially in the third world. Is it fair to assert that corruption is responsible for the weakness of the Nigerian response?
Corruption may be defined as the misapplication of a system or ways of doing things so that it ends up often achieving the opposite of its stated or original goal. It is not restricted to financial misappropriation of those in public or private offices. It goes beyond the tangible monetary valuation. In order words,corruption cannot exist in a vacuum. It must be qualified by a system which is being corrupted. In order words the system has to be able to have basic expectations contained in laws that is not met by actions of the corrupt and also a measurement of just how much of this deviation from the normal can be claimed. This I suppose is how things are in Developed nations. So each polity has its level of expectations and the international community can of course judge from the commitments of the country.
For a Long while this has not been so with Nigeria. Nigeria is just emerging from decades of military and pseudo Military rule. President Goodluck Jonathan aside from late President Yar A'dua,happens to be the first true civilian President who was not a retired Military personnel. His attempts at Transformation of all sectors to bring back Nigeria to the pathway of sanity in line with international standards will likely pitch him against those who made what you call "corruption " a way to keep the lopsided governance you hailed as Amazing democracy in Africa going through the prolonged transition from coercive rule.
Ironically Nigerians have been complaining for decades about systemic corruption which the Military cabal institutionalized in their so called experiments with "Diarchy " and it is the West that gave these regimes support to institutionalize the impunity ,did I hear you say " No Go Areas" which you now appear to complain about. It was ironically the same media organs that once sang praises of the Nigerian military when they performed peace keeping duties and when its officers monopolized Nigerian oil wells without accounting for anything. We do not have such short memories here.
This author has been shouting himself hoarse for years about the way things have gone on in Nigeria and these media organs never saw a reason to question "corruption" the way they are doing just now . Okay,maybe there were not yet a movement as the win win #Bringbackourgirls to kick start such focus? Well thanks Goodness they wake up today to "alert "the world that a Nigerian President who is perhaps the only one of its predecessors trying to put forth transformative reforms under globally acclaimed stringent conditions was the corrupt and therefore weak. It is okay. But is it fair?
Let us get it right here. The Nigerian political system has been lopsided by the withdrawal of parts of the 1960 constitution that made Nigeria accepted by the international community at independence. The constitution has never been repaired by pseudo Military governments constituted by retired Military Generals who conscripted 80 percent of Nigeria's oil wells. Today Nigeria is the only Federation with unitary configuration. You liked it perhaps because we now run a Presidential system with conflicting parliamentary background of the old civil service thereby making complementarity difficult indeed. Did you ever give us an advice on it? Again perhaps it was self interest because there was no problem with oil imports!
Today the President wants to do a far reaching petroleum industry reform that may correct income disparity starting with oil blocks ownership by 2016. Now this is a reason to question his style I suppose!
I am happy that the world is beginning to understand beyond media such campaigns. This is not the time to be negative but a time to build.What the international community should do is to work closely with President Jonathan to ensure Nigeria returns to a constitution that guarantees international legal environment that constitutes the basis for measurement of corruption and even weakness of governance. For now there is no such system to make your judgement fair enough. Even if you put your head in the sand like the Ostrich the World cannot evade responsibility for allowing the Nigerian dilemma to last so long as to produce Boko Haram. This is no longer a time to unfocused the world on negatives. I welcome the growing partnership of all permanently reposition Nigeria to play her vital peace keeping role within the sub Region and beyond.