“Unveiling the security architecture and daunting challenges in all the geopolitical zones of Nigeria and proffer working solutions towards a peaceful, sustainable and indivisible Nigeria”
ADEYEMO VICTOR AYODEJI
400L, MEDICINE AND SURGERY,
BOWEN UNIVERSITY, IWO
ODO OTIN LGA
This year is the twenty-second year memorial of my late grandfather. He died nineteen days after my christening. He was said to have been in high spirits, receiving the news of my birth seven days after his niece gave birth. He gave me the name Ayodeji meaning my joy is in double folds. I have always wondered what Nigeria was like in his youth. Many of my cousins grew up listening to tales handed down by my grandfather. How traders did not need to sit to monitor their wares, everybody was honest and acted right. Stories of how they enjoyed the benefits of communal life; only a few lived behind fences. Those were the days when eating or passing the night in a friend’s home was a common thing. There were rare reports of armed robbery, manslaughter or kidnapping. The people lived in serenity, going about their daily activities peaceably.
The story is not the same anymore. Security challenges in Nigeria continue to take new turns. The British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) posits “Nigeria is more unstable now than decades ago”. As the turbulence in our security framework began, there was a time when there was no guaranty of a safe return once you were outside your house. The situation today is even worse as people are gruesomely murdered even in their own homes. Audu Bulama Bukarti pointed out that “the scale of insecurity threatens the very fabric of Nigerian society.” He further asserted that massive loss of lives, crippling faith in democracy and dwindling patriotism accompany each attack.
Nigeria, the most populous black country, is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state. The nation is a federal presidential republic, divided into thirty-six (36) states and a Federal Capital Territory. In 1903, the then Head of State, General Sani Abacha, divided the country into six (6) geopolitical zones. This was done in a quest for proper management and allocation of the country’s resources. The grouping is by the similarities that exist among certain ethnic groups and not necessarily geography. The geopolitical zones are merely administrative and the Nigerian constitution does not recognise them. Many well-meaning Nigerians including the late Yinka Odumakin, late Ralph Uwechue, Mr Joshua Benameisigha have advocated for the geopolitical zones to be constitutionally recognized.
According to the constitution, the President, being the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is the head of the Nation’s security architecture. The security sector is composed of the armed forces (army, air force and navy), the Nigerian police, paramilitary bodies (including the immigration service, customs and exercise), intelligence services (including military intelligence and the state security services), judicial and state service bodies (judiciary, justice ministry and correctional service), private security outfits, militia groups (for example, the Odua People’s Congress, Bakassi Boys, Hizba Corps) and community vigilante groups. The constitution demands that the military, police and correctional service heads report directly to the President. It is important to state that the Nigeria Police is the nation’s lead agency in her internal security infrastructure.
The current security framework of Nigeria is adjudged highly ineffective. Asides from issues ranging from a shortage of armed forces, corruption and indiscipline among the rank and file of the security outfits, the central security system has proven ineffective. These lapses have resulted in the continuous clamour for regional security. The Southwest zone, on January 9, 2020, inaugurated the Western Security Network, code-named Amotekun. This move has generated series of reactions across the country. Going further, a systematic approach based on the geopolitical organisation of Nigeria is necessary for a thorough description of the nation’s security situation in its entirety.
The middle belt is North Central Nigeria’s nickname. Niger, Nassarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Plateau and Benue states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) make up this zone. Painting a clear picture of diversity, many different tribes: Berom, Idoma, Igala, Ebira, Mangu, Tiv, Nupe and Yoruba are found here. The zone is the fourth largest and houses 14.5% of the nation’s population. Many of the people in this zone are farmers. For more than a decade now, this zone has been a hot-spot of insecurities, ranging from militia attacks, sectarian crisis, banditry, kidnapping, highway robbery and farmer-herdsmen clashes. According to a statistic report presented by Oluwoye Ojewale in his doctoral thesis, the last decade had seen 1,412 reports of conflict incidents and 7,399 deaths across the north-central states. Historically, the nomadic and peasants have been in peaceful cohabitation, with each doing their work. However, in recent times, the decline in land for grazing and water sources, leading to increasing encroachment on farmland, has been identified as the cause of this brutal conflict. Moreover, age-long hostilities between ethnic groups or communities have contributed to insecurity in other parts of this zone. Worsening socioeconomic and environmental conditions are strategic players in the unrest in this zone.
The hexad: Bauchi, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe and Yobe states make up the North East. The Kanuri, Balewa, Tiv, Babur and others are here. Both crop and pastoral farming is the economic mainstay of the zone. Thus, the contribution of this zone to the nation’s food market is massive. This zone had been at ease until the hitherto lowkey insurgent group, Boko Haram, launched its terror on the country. There has since been a build-up of insecurity in this area. April 2014 was a climax owing to the abduction of two hundred and seventy-six (276) students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state. To date, about a hundred of the abducted girls are still in captivity. Yet, the zone is not free from terrorists. They employ military-style offensive, human rights abuse, suicide bombings and kidnappings. The economy of the zone has been significantly affected by the insurgency. According to a 2019 report, 7.1 million people needed assistance. This estimate includes two million (2 million) people majority of whom lived in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. Exclusive of the details above are another estimated
1.24 million people who had no access to humanitarian assistance.
The North West comprises seven (7) states: Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto and Zamfara. One of the most populous, it also boasts of a large landmass which is 25.75% of the total landmass of Nigeria. The Hausa-Fulani, Kanuri, Jabba and Buju are some of the tribes in this zone. The mainstay of the northwest economy is agriculture. With security challenges that are multifaceted and overlapping, the northwest is a critical zone for security concerns. The International Crisis Group has described the challenges as: the Hausa farmers – Fulani herdsmen crisis and criminal gangs often sugar-coated as bandits and jihadist groups. Climate change takes the blame for exacerbating the age-long conflict between farmers and herders. The blame accusation extends to illegal possession of firearms, poor policies on land use and population explosion. The past decade has, however, seen a proliferation in armed criminal activities. Kidnapping for ransom, robbery of gold miners and cattle raiding have become rampant. The insurgent group Boko Haram is also not relenting. Its offshoots, Ansaru and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), have attempted to infiltrate this zone. Sadly, these offshoots have begun to form alliances with ‘local’ criminal groups thus, worsening the ‘prognosis’ for the security situation. The recent mass abduction of over 300 schoolboys in Kankara is believed by many to be a testament to this. The American Security Project has an estimate of 200,000 people who have fled the northwest region owing to these security challenges. A good majority of these displaced persons do not receive organized assistance and desperately need necessities. At the moment, the socio-economic development and democracy in this region are under serious threat.
The South East is predominantly Igbo. The states in this zone are Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi, Abia and Anambra. The Igbos are widely known to be business people and industrialists. Two of these states, Imo and Abia, are crude oil-producing. Until recently, the Southeast has been a relatively peaceful region aside from cult wars, ransom kidnapping and armed robbery. The zone has now “evolved into a hotbed of violence targeting state security institutions by armed men popularly referred to as unknown gunmen.” The NexTier Security, Peace and Development (SDP), confirmed this. The Nigeria based international development consulting firm, in its report, says that “the now-unstable region is increasingly witnessing gruesome murders and incessant attacks by violent actors widely regarded as “unknown gunmen”. Statistics reveal that about 724 deaths and 802 kidnapings in 336 incidents occured in the first quarter of 2021. The last quarter of 2020 had a record of 84 deaths, 510 kidnapings in 256 incidents. In the past seven months, 55 attacks were recorded in the South-east, ranging from communal clashes to farmer herders. The attacks have led to the death of over 155 persons. All of these excludes accounts of pro-Biafran secessionist agitations reportedly bloody on some occasions. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), continue to deny these allegations. It is a common belief that the Igbos are yet to forgive Nigeria for the events of the Biafran war. The agitation for Biafra has not ended, and seemingly, the people are not willing to end it. The security situation in the Southeast has overwhelmed the Police force. Hence, the involvement of non-state paramilitary organisations and the military. The latter’s involvement has led to further human rights violations and heightening violence.
The South-South comprises six (6) states Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Rivers, Cross River and Delta. The nation has its biggest oil-producing states in this zone, which are all the six except Cross River. Together with Ondo, Imo and Abia, they make up the Niger Delta Area. As the South East, she is in the middle of an insecurity tumult with security forces being prime targets. Security experts and many well-meaning Nigerians have decried this situation. According to them, this is capable of deteriorating into wide-scale unrest and anarchy. Moreover, the security dynamics reveal banditry, kidnapping, frightening herdsmen attack and fear of Boko Haram cells’ infiltration as the security fears of the region.
The South West comprises Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo, Lagos and Ogun states. These are the Yoruba-speaking states. Agriculture is the occupation of dwellers in this region. Lagos and Ogun are the only oil-producing states in this region. Previously regarded as the peaceful zone in the country, all is no longer at ease in the southwest. With the exceptions of the usual criminal violence that affects every part of the nation, the Fulani herdsmen crisis has since become a difficult nut to crack. Following the death of the renowned Afenifere leader, Reuben Fasoranti’s daughter, the abduction of Chief Olu Falae, the killing of Dr Fatai Aborode and the killing of an abducted Ondo monarch and his son, the signals are clear: No one, not even the rich and influential people, is safe. These crimes, including rape offences, illegal possession of people’s properties and other killings that did not make the news headlines, are reputed to the herdsmen. The Federal government’s seeming unresponsiveness to the situation, believed to be out of tribalism and nepotism, has further aggrieved the people of this region. These and many more probably spurred Chief Sunday Adeyemo Igboho to have started a crusade. He campaigned on the need for the Yorubas to secede from Nigeria. The campaign looked like a child’s play at first but soon grew like cancer. There is, however, some calmness following the recent arrest of the crusader.
The current insecurity crisis in Nigeria has caused a strain on the nation’s democracy and cohesion and the situation needs salvaging on time. Across the six geopolitical zones, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and poor leadership are the chief causes of insecurity.
A 2020 Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics report shows that 40% of Nigerians live in poverty. There are projections that this will be 45.2% by 2022. Earlier this year, they had published that 33.3% and 22.8% of Nigerians are unemployed and underemployed, respectively. The twain, poverty and unemployment are at the root of social, economic and political disturbances. It is therefore, no surprise the alarming increase in insecurity in the nation. According to Mukhtar and associates, “the formation of violent youth groups like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and the Niger Delta Avengers in the south-south, Bakassi Boys in the south-east, Yandaba in the north-west, Yan-kalare and Yan-sara-suka in north- east, as well as the most notorious terrorist group, known as Boko Haram, also in the north-east are all but manifestations of the high rate of unemployment among teeming youths and poverty incidences in the country.”
Illiteracy and ignorance are other causes of insecurity in Nigeria. Many notable Nigerians have declared this. These include Hajiya Aminatu Naseh, the National Women Leader of Jonde Jam, the former governor of Zamfara State, Ahmad Sani Yerima, and Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno. According to the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education (NMEC), a whopping 35 per cent of people above the age of fifteen (15) are illiterates. This figure represents more than a third of the Nigerian population. A 2019 This Day newspaper publication had a beautifully written expression on how important education is. It reads thus, “literacy is so critical to national development that it should, perhaps, be considered second only to health. It is related to the quality of life of a people.” The Nigerian state does not seem to see things in this light. Insecurity will only worsen with the large population of out-of-school children and teenagers. The idle hand they say is the devil’s workshop. How much more, an idle mind together with a free hand, an empty stomach and a local rifle?
Nigeria is unarguably a blessed land. An honest assessment of the Nigerian situation denies this fact, no thanks to poor leadership. In the words of the famous leadership coach, John Maxwell, “everything rises and falls on leadership”. The Nigerian state today is, therefore, a reflection of its leaders, both past and present.
A Juju musician sang that “this Nigeria is ours; we must not let it wreck”. Every Nigerian is to be thus minded. The keys to fixing the problem of insecurity are the same that unlocks a peaceful, sustainable and indivisible Nigeria.
Nigeria has to tackle poverty and unemployment. Infrastructural development, investment in local businesses, entrepreneurship and economic diversification; are ways to fix this problem. Infrastructure in Nigeria is not as it should be; epileptic power supply, lack of pipe-borne water, motorable roads, internet connectivity and pipe-borne water. Quality infrastructural development is enough to spur people into entrepreneurship and will encourage existing entrepreneurs. The government should also create an enabling environment for her youth to thrive. The teeming youth population of Nigeria are a crop of technology-savvy, highly motivated and skilled individuals. Youth development needs to be pragmatic and seen as serious business. Nigeria also needs to look beyond crude oil and diversify into other areas of the economy, including; agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and agro-allied industry. Nigerians should be proud to patronise fellow Nigerians; this way, our local goods can compete favourably with those in other climes and thus, develop our economy. Our consumer mindset will only push the nation further in the mire she presently is.
Education in Nigeria needs to be improved; the tool to do this is proper funding. The 2021 budgetary allocation for education is a meagre 5.6 per cent, the lowest in ten years. The teaching profession should also be made attractive by the prompt payment of remuneration and allowances. Training and retraining of teachers, tutors and instructors, to keep in touch with the rest of the world are necessary. The government should also invest in both formal and non-formal education. By that, her citizens have the opportunity to be mentally and psychologically developed. Moreover, schooling up to the secondary school level should be made compulsory by the law.
The essence of good leadership is to be stressed. Much more, Nigerians should have a new disposition to leadership and begin to take responsibilities. Enough of the political apathy and indifference. We must make conscious efforts to ensure that we vote for the right leaders, and those at the helm of affairs should be made accountable.
It is hypocrisy to declare that Nigeria is one indeed. Certain factions of the country have age-long perceptions of being unwanted in Nigeria. The Ibo people, for instance, still nurse the wounds from the Nigerian civil war. The Niger Delta has also been crying for neglect and the under-development in the oil regions of Nigeria is unbearable. Many other parts of Nigeria to include the Yoruba and some ethnicities are bitter. The bitterness they perceive is to the marginalisation in the allocation of the nation’s resources. The northerners have a thing or two against their Nigerian brothers and sisters. A peace-making commission that will work painstakingly to correct the wrongs and unite the nation is essential at this point in our national life. The Nigerian state must also be committed to fairness, equity and justice.
Let me close in the words of Nigeria’s 14th president, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, that “Nigeria’s unity is sacrosanct.” All hands must be on deck to build a peaceful, sustainable and indivisible Nigeria.
TOPIC – “USing SWOT approach, discuss extensively Osun State 30th anniversary and the future ahead, My Perspective“
ADEGBOYEGA ABISOLA FAITH
SSS3 Student, Fakunle Comprehensive High School, Osogbo
Birthdate is a reminder to celebrate life as well as to update life. I wish Osun State a happy and thriving 30th anniversary. However, as Osun State gears to mark the 30th year of its creation, it will be more interesting to look into how Osun State came into being.
Osun State was created following series of pressure mounted on the federal military government over a long period by the founding fathers, most of whom are traditional rulers and community leaders. Osun State is one of the states in Nigeria located in the country’s South Western region. It has three senatorial districts, nine federal constituencies, 26 State House of Assembly Seats, and 30 Local Government Areas. Each Senatorial District has ten Local Government areas.
Osun State was carved out of Old Oyo State on August 27, 1991, by the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida. The first democratically elected Governor of the state, IsiakaAdeleke, took office in January 1992 and governed till November 1993, when the military junta of Babangida dissolved all political offices, after the annulment of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election. The September 22, 2018 Governorship election in Osun State was, therefore, the sixth to be conducted since the creation of the state in 1991. The poll held by the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC) ushered in a successor to Governor Rauf Aregbesola whose tenure ends on November 26, 2018.
Presently, the state’s current governor is AdegboyegaOyetola, who was declared the winner of the September 2018 governorship election.
However, for the past 30 years of Osun State’s creation, it has been able to accomplish so many things which I consider to be its strength. Osun State is bounded by Ogun State to the South, Kwara state to the north, Oyo state to the West, and Ekiti and Ondo State to the east. The state is within the tropical rainforest with an abundance of resources. Mineral resources found in the state include gold, kaolin, among others.
Moreover, I also consider the Osun ATM, Agriculture, Tourism, and Mining as the strength of the state; contributing to its strong economy, which without doubt, are its areas of comparative advantage.The economy of Osun State is based mainly on agriculture. Major crops include yams, cassava, corn, beans, millet, plantains, palm oil and kernels, and fruits.
Osogbo, the capital of Osun state, has a textile industry, a food-processing plant, and a steel rolling mill. The state’s tourist attractions include the Mbari Arts Center at Osogbo, the residential palaces of Yoruba rulers in Ilesha as Ile- Ife, and artwork in honor of the Yoruba deity Osun ( designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005). Emphasizing more on tourism as one of the strengths of Osun State; Osun State is a cultural hub with ancient antiquities that boost a thriving tourism industry that had seen visitors from different countries of the world paying visits to tourist attractions like Olumirin waterfalls in Erin-Ijesha, among others. Tourists also have the opportunity of visiting the sites of the renowned Oranmiyan Staff and Ife museum and other places of interest like Idi-Baba Cultural Center and Adunni Susan Wenger’s Art Works center in Osogbo. These in turn also contribute to the economy of the state.
Additionally, Osun State also has good cultural values that have held Osun together over the years,i.e Communalism. Osun State also has one of the largest educational institutions, most especially tertiary institutions in the South-West. In the same vein, I also consider the Osun State University, known as UNIOSUN as the strength of the state. In UNIOSUN, there are continuous academic activities, without a strike. Thereby attracting students to seek admission into the institution, which in turn contributes to the successful academic pursuit of students.
Nevertheless, having mentioned those things which make Osun a Unique state, some deficiencies are referred to as the weaknesses of Osun State. Though Osun State has achieved a lot of great things, there are some things which it should improve on. Weaknesses consist of providing many, but not all, of essential public goods, the most important of which is security and safety. If citizens are not secure from harm within the State’s border, the government cannot deliver good governance ( the essential services that citizens expect) to its constituencies.
The State provides security services, but very few form of violent boys which promotes internal strife in the core deepest innermost areas of Osogbo, thus very irregular religious tension. Osun State parents also has the weakness of lack of desire to be fully educated. A saying goes thus; “If you are not informed, you cannot be transformed.” This shows how important education is to the transformation of Osun State. Osun State parents has a wrong perspective of the benefits of education.
Howbeit, none of the aforementioned weaknesses does not demand critical attention as this is a way to bring about the growth of the state. One of Albert Einstein’s quotes goes thus; “Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” If Osun state will not allow its weaknesses to weigh it down, having shored up the weaknesses of Osun state; I believe that if the state will accept these as its imperfections, surely it will go beyond them.
Conversely, Osun State has the opportunity it can invest in; though, encompassed with some weaknesses. Albert Einstein says” Amid difficulty lies opportunity.” Osun state still stands a greater lot of advantages if it can invest in the opportunities available to it.
Osun state encourages platforms for entrepreneurs and industries which in my perspective is one of the opportunities Osun state can invest in. Osun state is a very good site for tourism which in another way round opens doors for employment opportunities in the state. Osun state is also a good place to settle down for all working class and business people unlike congested places like Lagos. And this is why Osun state should invest more in the opportunities it has.
In addition, the state should invest more in the construction of good and durable roads. It will help in the all-around development of the state. People will enjoy their movement from one place to another. Also, this will assist farmers in the transportation of their produce to the desired destination.
The state should also see opportunities in the construction and renovation of schools. With this, the state stands the chance of enhancing the places it can be corrected is still in the school. Therefore, in my perspective, it will be advantageous to the state to see into this opportunity and invest in it. Not only does the construction of schools contributes to the growth of students, but it also helps to boost the economy of the state. For instance, the existence of Osun State University has made the government the opportunity to make traders around the location sell very well and those building hostels and house are not doing badly and now expanding the city of Osogbo.
A saying goes thus; an opportunity not recognized can easily become a threat.” Having identified the weaknesses of the state, it will be more beneficial for the state to properly attend to the weaknesses above. If those weaknesses are not tackled, they can limit the growth and development of the state.
First, we should strenthen our security the more, it is better now but insecurity will discourage industries from coming to invest in our state and thereby increasing the unemployment of others. Similarly, to prevent food insecurity in the state, the provision of adequate social amenities such as good electricity, which is a good source for the production and processing of raw farm produce. Tarred roads will enhance the transportation of farm produce from the farm. As well as the provision of pipe-borne water which will also assist agricultural activities in the state. To enhance the communal relationships in the state, the government should look more into preventing intolerance among the citizens of the state.
A threat to poverty emanated from the gross unemployment of youths in the system therefore, employment opportunities should be invested in. It will also hinder the growing incidence of social vices in the state.
More so, it won’t be good enough for me to just point out the weaknesses of Osun State without identifying some of the things it has achieved for the past 30 years of its creation. This will also be a motivation towards the future ahead. Osun state has been able to come up with agricultural youth empowerment program, forestry development, agriculture-in-school program, works and transport, renovation of our primary health centres, construction of olaiya flyover bridge which is very beautiful and good news for Osogbo people. The state has also achieved a lot in the health sector, i say well done to our governor in this aspect, our people are more healthier now.
I also commend the state’s current governor, our amiable Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for the job well done in bringing up health insurance schemes, also youth empowerment schemes by giving people money for business. Governor Gboyega Oyetola has done other amazing things which cannot be overemphasized. However, anyone to which much is given, much is expected. Governor Gboyega is much more capable to make Osun state tread on its path to sustainable development, even amid the ravaging occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I urge Osun state to become more opportunistic rather than being pessimistic. “A pessimist sees a calamity in an opportunity, while an optimist sees an opportunity in a calamity.” As Osun continues its journey, I will encourage it with a quote by Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, and political theorist, whose ideas have profoundly influenced the civilizations of China and other East Asian countries. The saying goes thus; “our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Osun state has gone too far to give up now and the most important step to take now is for it to build on its strength, minimize its weakness, seize opportunities, and counteract threats as the journey continues towards a better future.
There should be the construction of more highways like Osogbo to Iwo double lane road, Osogbo to Ilesa expressway, Osogbo to Ilobu double lane road which will encourage stress-free transportation in the state, the government should improve much more on the empowerment of youths in the state, they have tried but because when youths are more empowered, our threats and weaknesses will be curbed.
Osun state should also take advantage of information and communication technology in the development of health, agriculture, education, environment, sports, commerce, infrastructures. Education should not be taken with frivolity because education is an important factor in the development of any state. When all aforementioned are painstakingly attended to, I see the future of Osun state to be glorious. I see a state full of peace and a place where youths can thrive as well as students. I see a state where the cord of brotherliness and communism is mended. A state where cultural values are safeguarded and moral norms are encouraged, a state where the dressing sense of people is addressed, in which our manner of respect to elders is attended to. A state where the dignity of labour is emphasized and rewarded. Where loyalty and accountability are put in place. A state where citizens are all working hard and effectively, with love and peaceful dispositions towards one another. A state where educated and experience people become our leaders, kings, chairmen, senators and honourables, just like Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
To cap it all, if we can reform our weaknesses into our strengths and our threat into an opportunity, our state, Osun State will become a developed state under the developing country called Nigeria. To add more to the strength we have been building for the past 30 years and our threat turned into an opportunity.
Happy 30th anniversary to Osun State.
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