A fact we cannot and must not shy away from as a people is that, Nigeria of today is exhibiting the full attributes of the Hobbesian State of Nature where “life is brutish and short.” And, this cannot be discussed in isolation by not making reference to how successive governments in the country have failed to live up to expectations in fulfilling the mandate placed on them by the good people of the country.
Government in Nigeria is so far from the people to the extent that the people hardly feel the impact of government despite the fact that their representatives willingly entered into a social contract with them (the people). Unfortunately, the contents of this social contract has, on many occasions been bastardised to the extent that the impact and necessity of government is not been felt by the people.
It has been said that government exists for the State and not the State for the government. Unfortunately, reverse is the case in Nigeria even with the fact that Section 14(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) clearly stipulates that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary responsibility of every government.”
It is so pathetic that those at the helms of affairs have failed to realise that the concept of social contract is why the people agreed to be civil to one another under a threat of punishment from a governing body that has been established for that purpose which is ‘the government.” And, in a situation whereby justice is not been gotten, there will definitely be a rise of anti-government groups which is what a Sunday Igboho and an Nnamdi Kanu represents.
This is so because, the political authority that the people agreed to submit some of their rights to have failed to live up to expectations, thereby, giving rise to anti-government groups which will definitely lead us to Hobbesian State of Nature where, as defined by Hobbes, “our rivals would see what we have, desire it, and kill us to acquire it. We would have no “knowledge of the face of the earth” since the only geographical area that counts is the one immediately around us as we seek to survive attacks by others. We would have “no account of time” since the only time that matters is the present moment in which we struggle to survive.”
The fact that a Sunday Igboho is embarking on what is best referred to as brigadier anarchism shows that the government is not strong enough to maintain order and, this portends serious danger for Nigeria’s budding democracy. Aside from natural disasters like tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes, the greatest catastrophes of human history have been institutional failures for which government, or the State, carries the basic responsibility. In fact, the aforementioned have been attributed to governmental failure in many cases because, they could have been avoided if the government had put in necessary policies in place to ensure that the earth is duly regulated.
Today, a political thug, who ordinarily should be serving his years in prison if Nigeria were to be a functioning entity has suddenly become a hero of a people who have, for years, been suffering in the hands of expansionists Fulani herdsmen. Sunday Igboho can best be tagged a logical consequence of a failed State because, the government breeded an atmosphere for a Sunday Igboho to thrive with the glorification of thuggery to their lacklustre attitude to tackling the famers/herdsmen crisis.
Indisputably, a vacuum created as a result of governmental incompetence and inefficiency is being filled by a Sunday Igboho, and, there is an urgent need to de-escalate this tension by addressing the fundamental questions of governance most especially as it relates to the protection of lives and properties. And, if this is not done as a matter of urgency and necessity and Sunday Igboho is given freehand to continue his ‘Messianic’ call, he (Sunday Igboho) will wield so much power to himself to the extent that he will be accountable to no-one.
Just as was done by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State during his stakeholders’ meeting with the people of Igangan where Sunday Igboho started his ‘liberation’ from, government must realise that security forms the core of the business of governance, and, at no point in time must it be submitted to a Sunday Igboho and his band of thugs.
Governor Seyi Makinde said in one of his remarks during the stakeholders’ meeting held with the people of Igangan that “the response of the government to this crisis came late and I take responsibility for it.” after which he promised to deploy 200 additional operatives of Western Nigeria Security Network code-named Amotekun to the region. Governments at all level must identify the problem confronting the ruled and find a lasting solution to those problems. That is what taking responsibility is all about.
It is important to reiterate that farmers/herdsmen crisis cannot be solved with an Igboho but with each community mobilising democratically to resist terrorism and banditry, ecological reclamation strategy, development of modern ranching system to stem the archaic tradition of nomadism and construction of a modern industrial society to provide functional social services for the people.
Kazeem Olalekan Israel writes from Ibadan, Nigeria.
Kazeem Olalekan Israel