Nigeria marked 21 solid years of democratic rule on Friday, May 29, 2020, yet it seems Nigeria keeps moving in a vicious circle with its kind of leadership and activities.
The current President, Muhammadu Buhari marked five years in office and the Presidency made available a list of achievements marked by the President. Top of his achievement was winning the fight against corruption and insecurity.
The administration of former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in an interview with CNN also claimed to be winning the war against insecurity and corruption.
It is now five years since President Muhammadu Buhari was elected as President to rule Nigeria, yet the insecurity in Nigeria has graduated to a level which the masses believe the government is not capable of controlling. His fight against corruption may seem to be yielding positive results, but is it enough?
In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN, former, President Goodluck Jonathan acknowledged the fact that Boko Haram had the potential to pose a threat to the very existence of Nigeria.
Jonathan said, “If Boko Haram is not contained, it would be a threat not only to Nigeria but to West Africa, Central Africa and of course to North Africa. “Elements of Boko Haram link up with some of Al Qaeda in Northern Mali and other North African countries.”
Jonathan also noted that the increase in Boko Haram attacks was linked to the free flow of weapons out of Libya since the fall of the dictator, Moammar Gadhafi.
Jonathan agreed that Boko Haram, which started as a religious sect, took Nigeria unawares and said his administration worked tirelessly to contain the “Boko Haram saga.”
An Economic report in 2012 placed death toll from Boko Haram attacks at 1,099. Commenting on the figures, Jonathan said, “If you look at the last six months, incidents of killing started dropping.”
Jonathan insisted that his government was gaining control over the insurgents, denying suggestions from the U.S. State Department that the Nigerian government has conducted a large number of arrests and killings that have been indiscriminate, possibly driving more people into the hands of Boko Haram.
“The United States of America is completely wrong. No security agency arrests anybody just for the love of arrest. We have intelligence that enables us to arrest the people who have been arrested,” Jonathan said.
Eight years later, the death toll from Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria has exceeded 10,000 with thousands of people being displaced from their habitation.
The insecurity has worsened to the point where we have Armed Bandits attacking many villages and town outskirts in the North West and North Central parts of Nigeria, Boko Haram merging with the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to form the Islamic States of West Africa Province (ISWAP) and many people being scared of embarking on journeys due to the activities of Kidnappers and armed herdsmen on the highways.
Many have asked questions of what the Boko Haram sect is fighting for.
Jonathan insisted that poverty and unemployment was not a major factor that was fueling the violent terrorists’ activities in Nigeria. Rather, he cited religion as the primary motivation of this jihadist group.
When former President, Goodluck Jonathan assumed office in 2010, he told same CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that power supply was going to be his major focus.
However, in 2013, Nigeria Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission reported that 60% of Nigerians lacked access to power.
Jonathan arguing that his administration had made significant strides said, “That is one area where Nigerians are quite pleased with the government – that our commitment to improving power is working. I promise
you before the end of this year, power outages will be reasonably stable in Nigeria.”
It is quite laughable that in 2020, Nigeria generates about 4,000 MW of electricity and only about 3,000 MW is transmitted to households for use.
The administration of Goodluck Jonathan has been described, both nationally and internationally, as the most corrupt administration Nigeria has ever had. Several top government officials are alleged to have stolen public property and looted the country’s treasury.
In this same 2013 CNN interview, Jonathan said, “You cannot change the mindset of people by waving your hand. You must take means to make sure that you don’t create an environment where everyone will be corrupt and we are doing it very well.”
Jonathan cited the 2011 elections as signs of success against corruption, saying that International observers, The African Union, and the Independent National Electoral Commission all praised the polling.
There was widespread corruption in the oil industry under the Jonathan-led administration. His Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in April 2013 said that 400,000 barrels of oil a day were looted from the country in just one month.
“Frankly speaking, speaking I want the international community to support Nigeria because this stolen crude is being bought by refineries abroad and they know the crude oil was stolen,” Jonathan told Amanpour.
“The world must condemn what is wrong.”
Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s election in 2015 and his determination to fight corruption, several corrupt officials have been arraigned with many forfeiting stolen properties and funds to the government.
What Nigerians can do at this time is to hope and pray that everything gets better. This vicious cycle by our leaders must stop.