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NIGERIA: Manifestation of a Failed State.

Jan 20, 2010

By Clifford Ogbeide

N igeria in recent times has manifested rapidly basic symptoms of a failed state in
the categories of Somalia, Sudan etc. The absence of President Umaru Musa
Yar’Adua from office since November 23 2009 without formally handing over to
his deputy as enshrined in section 145 of the Nigerian constitution is a fundamental
constitutional violation as the constitution is the conscience of the nation. Section 145
reads: “Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of
the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that
he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a
written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-
President as Acting President.”

In an ominous sign, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, an out going retired Chief
Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Idris Kutigi sworn in a successor Chief Justice of Nigeria,
Justice Kastina Alu throwing precedence into the dustbin because of leadership vacuum.
The newly appointed 15 permanent secretaries to reinforce the bureaucracy have not
been inaugurated. This absence of leadership has also led to the Non-implementation of
key programmes and policies of this administration in line with making Nigeria one of the
foremost 20th economies in the year 20:20. Critical is the post-Amnesty era for the
repentant militants of the Volatile Niger Delta region, and of course this has a huge
security and economic implication for our nation. If hostilities is resumed, our oil output
will be drastically reduced with a shortfall in projected oil revenue accrue to government
for the implementation of its strategic programmes and policies. The failure to provide the
much talked about 6000 megawatt of electricity by the end of last year is also of importance
to mention.

The inability of Nigeria to aggressively pursue vibrant Diplomatic Dexterity and the
comatose in the management of state affairs has rendered Nigeria impotent, and irrelevant
in the comity of nations, as manifested in the wake of the failed terrorist attack by Umar
Farouk Abdulmutallab on an America Bound flight on December 25 2009 which
necessitated Nigeria been blacklist as a terrorist state. Up till this moment, Nigeria has not
made a diplomatic contact with her US counterpart in this regard, left alone discussing
what went wrong, and way forward to avoid future reoccurrence. Because of this
leadership vacuum, Nigeria has not been able to appoint an Ambassador in Washington
DC since Gen. Rotimi Oluwole was recalled over his ethnic remarks, left alone receiving
letters of Credence from Ambassadors posted to Nigeria.

Nigeria is the sixth oil producer and seventh oil exporter in the world, still there are long
queues at petrol stations as a result of non availability of refined petroleum products in the
country in recent time because of the inability of our refineries to function due to corrupt
and sharp practices by successive governments, and manipulation of the economy by few

political elites to their advantages at the detriment of millions of Nigerians as we now relied
on imported finished products, thereby importing unemployment while we export
employment. Renewal of oil lifting license for operator is deadlock.

Nigeria’s abundant oil and solid minerals deposit is paradoxical in nature because it has
not been able to transformed the lives of Nigerians from poverty to prosperity, rather it has
inflicted pains, violence, environmental degradation, maiming, killing and societal misery
on average Nigerians. The most visible source of disconnection between Nigeria’s wealth
and poverty lies in the failure of governance and leadership both at the Local, and national
levels and these developments all put Nigeria’s future at great risk.

Between 1970 and 1999, the Nigerian petroleum industry generated about $231 billion in
rents, or $1900 for every man, woman, and child. Yet from 1970 to date, the Nigeria state
can not boost of any viable health care delivery systems which necessitated President
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua current treatment for heart related problem in a Saudi Arabia
hospital, educational standard has nose dived as a result of lack of funding by government
that that no one Nigerian University is ranked among the first 2,000 in the entire world
that parents now send their wards to foreign schools which is partly responsible for the
radicalizing of Umaru Farouk Mutallab the “Allege Christmas day Bomber”, dilapidated
road network which has increased the cost of transporting goods and service around the
country, absence of portable water supply, increase in maternal mortality, acute shortage
of power supply which is the bedrock of any industrialized nation and this has caused
serious de-industrialization and unemployment since employers of labour are leaving in
droves to Neigbouring countries where cost of doing business is favourable. Corruption
and Lack of Transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s
resources is largely responsible for these economic and societal ills. The anti-graft agency is
helpless due to non-commitment of the government.

The rising wave of insecurity and the upsurge of violence crime in the country i.e. armed
robbery, kidnapping, militancy, economic sabotage, ethno-religious conflicts, communal
clashes, Islamic radicalization and fundamentalist activities (Boko Haram, Kala Kato, Jos
Crises) pose a great security threat to human existence, territorial integrity and the inept
and hapless situation of our security agencies are of a great concern as these are
indicators to anarchy. The much needed foreign direct investment through foreign
investors will be elusive because of the un-conducive security environment for business to
thrive. Also, the continuous absence of the “Commander –in-Chief of the Armed Forces
makes the situations more worrisome and render the country more vulnerable to enemies
of democracy as we are like a herd without a shepherd and all these, are threat to our co-
operate existence as a nation, and signpost to disaster.

It is my humble submission that the nation’s leadership adheres strictly at all times to the
laid down provisions of the constitution in order to avoid vacuum in governance since
power, abhors vacuum. Sit tight syndrome should be discouraged, and holding tenaciously
to political power at all cost is against the principles and tenets of good governance,
Democracy, and rule of law.

From the above analyses, it is obvious that these indications or indicators are complete
manifestation of a comatose or a failed state in the absence of a purposeful and virile
leadership in Nigeria.

Clifford Ogbeide
Centre For Strategic & Development Studies,
Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Nigeria