8 May 2014
The Nigerian government has been receiving doses of humiliation in installments from Boko Haram for quite some time. The crescendo was attained with the kidnapping of hundreds of school girls by the sect. Pressured by a national and international outcry the government finally accepted help from the United States and possibly other nations to wrestle with the home grown Boko Haram insurgents. It has finally become clear to the Jonathan administration that they cannot wish away the reality of the Boko Haram threat with simple words of assurance from army spokesman Olukolade.
Just about everybody is asking how Nigeria and other African countries with similar problems got there in the first place? You need not look far for the answer. For groups like Boko Haram and Niger Delta insurgents to successfully organize themselves and boldly challenge the state, it means that the state’s bureaucracy and esp. its intelligence institutions have been heavily compromised.
We can cite other reasons but it is largely due to corruption that Nigeria and indeed most of Africa has become a fertile ground for breeding outlaw groups. Corruption has thrived in Nigeria for a very long time and its consequence has weakened and is now shaking the very foundation of the country. What else apart from corruption would have prevented the government from noticing the formation of these groups? What else apart from corruption will blind the government from seeing the sophisticated arms that were acquired by these groups? What else apart from corruption will make government soldiers not have the stomach to fight these insurgents? What else apart from corruption prevented Nigeria with its enviable resources from lifting its population out of poverty and removing the perceived incentives of youths enlisting themselves into such insurgent groups?
Smaller African countries thought that when they are confronted with security challenges, they will run to big brother Nigeria for help. Now big brother himself needs help. The chickens have come home to roost. We are now harvesting dividends from years of corruption. Unless we tackle the issue of corruption in governance head on, the future of Africa is bleak.
Njei Moses Timah