JONATHAN AND NIGERIA'S SEASON OF ANOMIE
By Emmanuel Onwubiko
As year one Philosophy students years back at a Catholic Major Seminary in Owerri, Imo State, affiliated to an Italian University, we were introduced to the scholarly writings and thoughts of the French Sociologist and Thinker Emile Durkheim and this gentleman was synonymous with popularizing the use of the word 'anomie'.
Briefly, anomie describes a lack of social norms; normlessness. The erudite writers of Wikipedia, the online Encyclopedia, recalled that anomie describes the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and their community, resulting in what they rightly identified as fragmentation of social identity and the rejection of self regulatory values. The same contributor to this online Encyclopedia also vividly noted that the word anomie was popularized by the French Sociologist Emile Durkheim in what they regard as his most influential and authoritative book titled 'SUICIDE' .
This great thinker was said to have borrowed the word from the French Philosopher Jean Marie Guyau. The very learned writer of this piece used in the online Encyclopedia also was quick to add that Emile Durkheim never used the word normlessness to describe anomie, rather he describes anomie as 'a rule that is a lack of rule', a 'derangement', and an 'insatiable will'. Going down memory or historical lane, these respected writers asserted that Durkheim was of the profound philosophical conviction that anomie arises from a mismatch between personal or group standards, or from the lack of a social ethic, which produces moral deregulation and an absence of legitimate aspirations.
The fisrt reaction of the reader of this piece would be to wonder why this writer took time to undertake deep historcal reflection of the import of the term anomie and any perceptive observer would therefore expect that the next line of thought would logically be to adduce sufficient empirical and verifiable reasons and a sound body of evidence to show that Nigeria is experiencing this awful sociological phenomenon which is one of the fundamental cause of gross underdevelopment and lack of advancement in the different fields of human endeavors in Nigeria, a country of over 150 million black people and a nation regarded as the country with the largest concentration of black persons in the World.
This is not an avenue to lay all the blames for the current existential problems in Nigeria to the door steps of the current Nigeria's President Dr. Good Luck Jonathan who is generally believed to be so weak, inept, indecisive and unfocused so much so that anarchy is reigning supreme across board in Nigeria now. Again, there is no gainsaying that Nigeria has never witnessed the quantum of violence and terrorism that are currently hapening all across the Country and especially in the Northern States of Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi and parts of Niger state. The Federal Capital Territory of Abuja has had more than its own fair share of these terror-related violence so much so that foreign embassies and airlines have restricted their movements into the nation's political capital. During her recent high profile valedictory African nations' tour, the United States Secretary of State Mrs.Hilary Clinton who visited Abuja to hold a meeting with President Jonathan on the general state of insecurity and corruption in Nigeria, never slept in Nigeria but had to fly out to Accra, Ghana whereby she spent the night before jetting off to turkey. Indeed Mrs. Clinton cancelled a meeting she called for In Abuja with representatives of the organized civil society community, no thanks to the general state of insecurity and anomie in Nigeria. Abuja for the first time since 1992 that it became a political capital of Nigeria in reality has never suffered this horrendous monumental security challenge posed by the clandestine activities of the armes Islamic extremist group who are emboldened by the lack of concrete intelligence-driven panacea by the men and officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
Sadly, Nigerian Armed Forces is now headed by a Commander-in-chief who would gladly watch innocent people and worshippers wasted in their Churches by these armes insurgents than take decisive and effective action to end the killings because according to this current President of Nigeria Dr. Good Luck Jonathan, since members of the armed Islamic rebels are members of the Nigerian family, as a 'father' he would not allow the military might to be visited on them to end this rebelion that has caused the deaths of several thousands of innocent civilians and peaceful christian worshippers including ofcourse, moderate muslims who have raised their voices against the murderous activities of these armed non-state actors that are carrying out genocide and mass killings in Nigeria.
It is therefore safe to conclude that the current Nigerian President by the less than decisive way that he has steered the ship of state and especially the ways and manners he has so far deployed the members of the armed Forces ineffectively and therefore failed to curb the menace of armed rebelion and mass killings could be described as a major factor in the general state of anomie that has overtaken the political space called Nigeria. The fact that the Federal Government has for two years running watched helplessly as thousands of innocent Nigerians are wasted by these armed insurgents in the North, the Nigerian Government has inadvertently promoted the current state of anomie and indeed Nigeria is now overcome by the reign of impunity, lawlessness and total moral degeneration which represents the worst manifestation of anomie.
Another dangerous dimension of the total lack of respect for the established moral values in contemporary Nigeria is the increasing media visibility of war mongers, ethnic jingoists, irredentists, and religious bigots who have bombarded the public space in Nigeria with threatening messages of beating war drums precariously and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria just sit by and indeed has gone ahead to hire his own 'attack dog' or should I say 'attack lion' as Senior Special Assistant of Public Affairs Dr. Doyin Okupe who has spoken from both sides of his mouths and is indeed verbally engaging the perceived adversaries and political opponents of the President in a ferocious war of words. The newly hired spokesman of the president has by the way he has gone about his job without decorum added more fire to the prevailing state of anomie which was hightened by the coming of Goodluck Jonathan as executive President in 2011. I wonder why the President rather than take decisive action to reign in the growing army of anarchists and lawless people has gone ahead to hire someone who has now stoked more fire and increased the tempo of anomie in Nigeria.
One sufficient evidence that the season of anomie in Nigeria has become unprecedented is the fact that armed operatives of the Islamic fighters in the Northern parts of Nigeria have all but consigned the much respected African traditional/cultural value sysem of respect to the sacredness of life to the dustbins by their wanton destruction of precious lives in their series of terror-related violence through the unleashing of uncontrollable chain of well coordinated bomb attacks and suicide attacks targeted at Churches and lately in Borno and Yobe on palaces of traditional rulers and political office holders.
From across the different segments of the Nigerian society there are signs of the organized confusion and anomie that has submerged the Nigerian society. From the North you have such anarchists and Ethnic propagandists like Nassir el'ruffai, Adamu Ciroma, Dr. Junaid and in the South to counter the Northern agenda of these war mongers in core North are the likes of Chief Edwin Clarke, Asari Dokubo, Femi Fani-Kayode who have carved a nitche for themselves as spokespersons of their different ethnic groups. The President Dr. Jonathan has also gone ahead to hire his own town crier in the person of Dr. Doyin Okupe.
Why is the President allowing this state of anomie and general panic and state of insecurity to pervade the public space? Is the President not aware of the enormous powers conferred on him by his office and why has he failed to stop these incessant bloodbaths and mass killings? Is the freedom of Speech as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution mean that persons who have served this country in different capacities can now stoke the fire of disunity and disintegration even to a stage that one of these Etnic war lords fron Kaduna State was quoted in the Media to have asserted that the armed Islamic rebels responsible for the genocide in the North are freedom fighters? Why has the President gone to hire a man who has little or no regard to religious leaders so much so that he could dismiss the public statement of the leadership of the Northern branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria calling for the resignation of President Jonathan as 'misplaced'. Doyin Okupe has equally insulted the Lagos cleric who is clearly partisan for taken on the President to the cleaners and for calling for the impeachment of the President?
Regretably, Nigeria's state of anomie became worst when an Islamic cleric based in Kaduna was quoted in the press to have claimed that soldiers are killing muslims and not members of the Boko Haram because the Chief of Army Staff is a Christian and he called for the withdrawal of soldiers from the streets of the volatile Northern States of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, Kano, Sokoto, Taraba and Adamawa so that the innocent Christian worshippers will continue to be attacked by suicide bombers from the armed fundamentalists who have vowed in recorded video on YOUTUBE to continue to target Christians and moderate Muslims. The danger we face as a nation now is that if the current Federal administration fails to take the bold initiative to check the rise in extremism and anomie then sooner or later we may not have a country we will call our own.
Even some states including Bayelsa the President's own state of birth has proclaimed some levels of autonomy within the Nigerian federation by launching its own flags and anthems just as the Ogoni people and the displaced people of Bakassi in Cross River have also declared their self rule and hoisted their flags without the Federal Government doing anything. This is anomie in action actively supported by the silence of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Will Nigeria's season of anomie ever end? Only time will tell.
+Emmanuel Onwubiko, HEAD, Human Rights Writers' Association of Nigeria, blogs @www.huriwa.blogspot.com.