I will start by saying Nigeria, like any other country in the world has its good and its bad and seems to get “branded” as a country scammers and corruption. A lot of times the world likes to focus on Nigeria’s bad, while as Nigerians we live with a identity that mostly focuses on our good such as being very educated and usually well read and a strong sense of cultural pride and history, etc. All of each of these points have each of its own level of truth behind it. Secondly, I would like to define the word “Terrorist” – the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. 2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization. 3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government. Now lets put the magnifying glass on 2 major factors that I believe keep Nigeria from truly reaching its potential, Political Terrorist and Division among Nigeria’s citizens.
“Political Terrorist” are those politicians in the Nigerian government who go into the office for the sole purpose of becoming wealthy, stealing money and not actually serving the people of the country. I consider these terrorist cancers to the country because they are elected to serve the people, but ultimately end up only serving themselves and not actually creating any economic value or progress for the people. These politicians are the people at the top who should be held responsible for many of the problems we see today in Nigeria (and yes we can partly blame the citizens of Nigeria who supposedly “put them in power” but please note that there is a history of rigged elections throughout Nigeria and even if citizens get tired of an elected official who didn’t do what he was elected to do, these polticians use nefarious methods to make sure they are re-elected to office). I believe these political terrorist are the reason that we now have the “So-Called” religious terrorist Boko Haram ( A tool of the Political Terrorist and Special Interests). In my opinion, Boko Haram is a group of political terrorist, using the religion of Islam as a facade to further perpetuate their political agenda. If you notice their attacks are mostly on citizens of the country, specifically northern Nigeria rather than the actual government / government establishments themselves. Another reason why I don’t think Boko Haram’s motives are truly a religious matter is because most of the 2000 people killed in the town of Baga, Nigeria supposedly are Muslims. The vast majority of Boko Haram’s attacks also span over the Northern regions of Nigeria which historically has been mostly inhabited by Muslims. If your agenda is to spread Islam, and anti western ideals, then why is it that they focus most of their attacks on the muslim region of the country? (note: that Boko Haram has a history of killing Christians too and are just as barbaric towards them) Something else I wonder is that why is it so hard for the current government of Nigeria to condemn and take swift action against BH? It just doesn’t make sense to me that the actual president of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan has yet to even speak out against this atrocity that took place in Baga (has been silent on the matter and focused more on his political campaign) and that is mind boggling to me and this small terror cell is causing this much havoc on a country as large as Nigeria.
BH will continue to kill citizens and create fear, violence, etc. to evoke animosity over the current Government until they get “their guy” into power (probably a northern politician). Where did BH come from? who knows, I have heard conspiracy theories such as they were likely created by the Northern Elites, they were created by the CIA, or other special interest etc for the purpose of destabilizing the government. They have since spiraled out of the control of those who created them (or maybe this is all part of the plan, who really knows! all I know is that it’s time for the Nigerian government to take a stand and do something about these guys). Also note that Nigeria’s current president is a southerner and that is something to take account for when speaking about BH because since Day 1 – the north has ruled Nigeria and always seen it as their birth right to rule over Nigeria and its resources in the south – most notably, its Oil. They pillage the south Niger Delta region of its oil and maintain their economic advantage over the south by keeping the oil refineries in north while leaving most of the southern region a wasteland. I have also heard a few people talk about secession and breaking up northern / southern Nigeria – but in my humble opinion I think that would cause more harm than good and the country would be going backwards, not forward. Why I believe that is because, that doesn’t change the root of the problems – the same leaders will still rule, that will be a step backwards economically and no progress will have been made on both sides. I wouldn’t be surprised if that led to even more violence in a situation like that.
The second primary problem I mentioned earlier is that Nigerians, are so divided by tribalism, ethnic, class and religious differences that as these massacres take place – some of the most prominent leaders (Most Notably the actual president of Nigeria, has been silent and is yet to even speak out against these killings 4 days into this massacre) and in the regions like southern and eastern Nigeria, some don’t feel compelled to even take a stand against this atrocities with the mentality like “as long as they don’t come here” “it’s a muslim problem” type of view on these attacks. (Now compare the killing of 2000+ in Baga to France where just 17 of its own people were killed by terrorist and the entire country came together, marched together and made a strong statement against terror). At a point, I was pretty upset at the lack of media coverage especially here in the west about the attacks in Baga, Nigeria, however – I must say that it breaks my heart to admit that a lot of problems in Nigeria are due to our own people, and that unless each Nigerian can look into the mirror at themselves as one and also as part of the solution, we will continue to repeat the cycle of mediocrity with no form of stability and concrete structure in the country. Remember #BringBackOurGirls ? Those 200 girls are still missing and are not back yet, so internally Nigerians really need to take responsibility for their continuous struggles, holding our politicians / government accountable and stop waiting for a savior from another country, cause that will not happen.
Much like the plight that takes place here in America with our African American Brothers & Sisters – my view is the same in that until we start to value our lives – the world will continue to not value our lives either. I don’t need someone of another ethnic background that is not African to value the life of my people for me to know just how valuable each life is. These are children, parents, grandparents, etc. that are all being massacred with no remorse in our country yet some people are treating it as life as usual and are desensitized to the atrocities. This is a war time in Nigeria, state of emergency, yet I’m sure you will find that there are many Nigerians both in Nigeria and Abroad who remain either silent, non-chalant, and indifferent to the continous killings of our brothers and sisters. I am aware that there is only so much optimism and desire when our very culture itself has become accustomed to a lifestyle of politicians going into office for money and not the people, for some defrauding and scamming has become a respectable means of attaining riches, pastors using the pulpits to serve themselves and their pockets, and the lists goes on as far as the problems in Nigeria – but I have to say that in the midst of all of these things – I still have hope that oneday, the citizens of Nigeria will wake-up and put aside tribal, religious, and ethnic differences to come together as one people united against a common enemy, geo-political terrorist.
We are so blinded by our tribal, ethnic, social, religious differences that we fail to realize that we are all Nigerians first before anything else. It has been proven all throughout history that when people unite for a common cause, regardless of where they are from CHANGE happens. So to the citizens of Nigeria and all of my fellow Nigerians, I believe that the solutions to our problems start with each one of us as individuals, change is not easy, but since we always hail that we are the giant of Africa – then we should act like it and take control of our country.
I know I have mentioned what I view the main problems are, and offer a few a few solutions I can think of; We need a reformed political system, that strictly enforces policies of government leadership accountability across the board. Full Transparency System about government use of funds and a way to consistently screen out and eliminate political leaders who use government funds inappropriately / excessively to live a lavish lifestyle and do nothing for the people/regions which they govern to add any economic / social value. Full-Scale Infrastructural development from an economic standpoint with a focus on developing better educational system with an emphasis on making sure every child has an opportunity to be educated and college not be limited to those who are privileged, who are well to do and have the money to send their children to college. That alone, would help to create a stronger workforce and help create stronger businesses, more jobs, which will slowly eliminate the unemployment rate and poverty levels and lead to a stronger overall economy in the country and additionally, a reformed transportation system (from airport, highways, traffic, and means of transportation) to make travel around the country simpler and affordable. Systematically eliminating toxic elements of our culture such as the bribe culture that exists from the top-down in Nigeria, where as long as you can pay someone off you get what you want, or as long as you can extort someone you get what you want – If you do any of these two things, then you are part of the problem (Enforce this by creating laws, and actually being consistent in jailing and evoking harsh penalties to those who continue break the laws) I am sure there are many other solutions, but for the sake of rounding up this excerpt I will say that above all else as Nigerians abroad and in Nigeria, the most important thing we can do is put all of our differences aside and come together for a better Nigeria.
It can be said that most of these horrible acts going on in Nigeria comes down to power and money on the part of its Politicians, and a lack of unity on the part of its citizens. I don’t claim to know it all, however and these are my opinions on the matter and I am sure some will disagree with some of what I said, however – if you don’t get anything out of this at least get this – Nigeria will only change and get better, when Nigerians (from the top-down) CHANGE & DO Better. This is all easier said than done, but we should keep praying, stop waiting for help from the world, and actually take responsibility for ourselves and the action steps needed to create change in Nigeria.
– Victor E. Bomi