Bill Clinton, America, Boko Haram and Our Economic Injustice
As a result of a sizeable number of men and women and a system deep in
corruption as indicated by past and every day happenings, Nigeria now
presents with a national and international face of violence.
A former President, of United States of America, Bill Clinton recently
observed how the continued religious and economic grievances are
fueling fear, terror, insecurity and instability in Nigeria.
Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, Terence P. McCulley has
also called on the Nigerian Government to address the long standing
poverty problems in the nation's north where internal terrorism reigns
with security forces doing their best to defeat the extremist group.
There is inequality and poverty everywhere, in the Northern stats
mostly. Unlike many up and coming societies, one must wonder how
effective and concerned are the offices or ministries of Labor and
Productivity in regards to employment issues across the nation.
One needs to see more from the works of the ministries of Agriculture
and Rural Development as well other related agencies in regards to
In all of our States, the northern states in particular, we see how
lives of misery persist everywhere due to abject poverty. In a recent
report, 'Nigeria Poverty Profile 2010' by the National Bureau of
Statistics (NBS), at least 112.6 million of Nigerians are living below
the poverty level. That is 69 per cent of the country's population.
In the report by Mr. Yemi Kale, the Statistician-General of Nigeria,
the highest poverty areas are within the North-West and North-East
geo-political zones. In general, the number of Nigerians living in
poverty continues to increase with 61 per cent of Nigerian currently
living with less than one $1 per day, resulting in 60.9 per cent of
them having minimum standards of foods, shelter, clothing, and
In fact, 93.9 per cent of Nigerians currently consider themselves as
poor, partly due to wealth and income inequality.
In the face of these painful statistics, it is time the government show
us the national poverty reduction plans in the North, in regards to
addressing vocational injustice both in the North and across the nation.
And stop this nonsense about western education. It makes no sense to
say that the economic emptiness in many Northern states is partly due
some Muslims or members of the Boko Haram sect viewing "Western
education' as sacrilege or "sin".
It is a false picture or perception in many peoples' heads that a
rejection of Euro-America or Western education/lifestyle signifies not
embracing Western education; as such those individuals or localities
with such mindset will not be able to attain the good life or economic
It is essential to state that there could be grounds for some Nigerians
including members of the Boko Haram to reject western education if
judged from some well-known day to day standpoints.
Even Bill Clinton and many Americans will testify to the reality that
America, in a much deeper and prevalent way swims inside the
infrastructure of sex clubs, and many of the Sex clubs stand out as
studios of drugs, booze and violence.
There are drugs and alcohol addictions everywhere. There are constant
threats and practice of violence in schools, homes and workplace. Strip
clubs, pornography, prostitution, swapping of spouse, guns and huge
dollar enterprises are the order of the day, at least socially.
There is the general attraction to the allure of glamour, fast
lifestyle, and other 'sins'-at least from the point of Islamic
So could this be what some Muslims across the globe, and in Northern
Nigeria view as bad-mannered, ungodly, irreligious and sacrilegious?
At the same time, no matter how deep is the rejection of Euro-America
or Western education by the Boko Haram group or any other persons, the
use of violence to make demands or to bring any meaningful change is
never a welcomed strategy in a democracy.
Many in the government have asked what do many in the North want. They
want what all humans want as in being able to make an adequate living.
They hate economic injustice and corruption in governance.
The challenge of the Jonathan presidency on security matters in the
North is to find useful ways to shrink poverty, illiteracy, and poor
work conditions, and by the way, the English language is not the only
avenue for doing this.
All over the globe there are new trends in training and work
development for youths, adults and women, and vested interest could use
native dialects to train potential employees to understand the most
effective ways to do different jobs, even the so called Euro-American
Remember, it is the individuals who usually help the economy, in terms
of consumer spending; as such money to help local economies usually
comes from both the employers and consumers.
In the United States of America, China, and in Latin America and
Spanish societies, business is generally done with the natives using
many native words. So in terms of business and economics, and from
work-skill point of view, the Hausa/Fulani/Gwari/Kanuri languages and
cultures could be looked upon as a set of avenues to enhance
employment. We can even make these Northern languages essential for the
purpose of learning by other Nigerians as it could enhance everyday
commercial relationship and our overall social relations.
In the North, we can focus on transportation, farming, mining and other
related projects that could enhance the local economy.
We need to engage in various local activities to drive the economy in
the North, which could result into a sustainable local economy and
possibly drive up economic prosperity in the North. And in the process
curtail regional frustration and irritability and help regenerate
non-sectarian ways of living. If we are to understand former U.S.
President Bill Clinton's warning that widespread poverty is plaguing
Nigeria as well as fueling the religious violence in the country, in
the Northern part especially; let us begin to reduce security
challenges in the North by leveling the inequality that now exist.
It is time we create exemptions in our judicial guidelines and begin to
use the tribal law as in public shaming, flogging, and whipping only if
for the purpose of a threat, to alert any Nigerian involved in public
corruption or found guilty of corruption in public office, especially.
And here is why?
A recent report from the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other
Related Offences (ICPC) showed that a government official was caught
hiding N2 billion cash in his house, so what do one tell that able
bodied man or young adults, may be of Northern or Southern stock who is
unsheltered, sleeping in the street, sleeping inside broke down
vehicles and could still dance to a good music in the day time, and at
night could become a part of an insurrection group with law enforcement
officers as a collective or representational target, unfortunately.
What do you say to such a person?
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D., is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and
the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association (NPA),
Abuja . http://us.mc57.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=