The world knows Nigeria is already crippled — Agbakoba

The world knows Nigeria is already crippled — Agbakoba

He said it is difficult to see anything good coming out of the country.

Former President of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has said the issue of Nigeria being a failed state is not a matter of personal opinion, but the obvious truth the world knows, and which can be found in the world’s global index of fragile states.

The Human rights activist, who made the statement in an interview with Sunday Sun, Nigeria is ‘heavily challenged’, and that the country is ‘so terribly crippled” that it is difficult to see anything good coming out of it. 

Speaking on the country being labeled as a’ failed state’, he said, “I can only refer to the index that is published on an annual basis by the Freedom House and it is entitled: “The Index of fragile states” and out of about 200 countries, Nigeria is about 14, so that is the status of the nature of Nigeria’s ranking by hopefully, independent neutrals who use certain criteria to determine how fragile a state is or can be. That is where Nigeria ranks. 

“Across, we see in Nigeria a lot of tension around the question of insecurity across the country. In the Northeast you have Boko Haram, in the Northwest is the question of kidnappings and banditry, in the Southwest, not much of insecurity, but a stir in large scale of unemployment, something like about 70 million Nigerians are technically unemployed or unemployable, so that is a vulnerable and willing mass of people that can be deployed for misbehavior. 

“In the Southeast, there is a question of IPOB and the sovereignty issues around Biafra, in the North-central there is the herdsmen and the farmers’ issue, in the South-south, the issue of environmental degradation has been replaced by the world’s most dangerous seas. Nigeria is now number 1 as the most dangerous area of piracy, as rated by the International Maritime Bureau. 

“So this is already a cocktail of insecurity and it is something that I think that the government needs to tackle very seriously and whether they are doing that effectively has been the subject of public debate. On the whole, one will say that Nigeria is very heavily challenged.”

On what the actual problem of the country is, he replied, “Leadership, yes, leadership is the main problem and Chinua Achebe has said that in his book “The trouble with Nigeria”. 

“Leadership is the reason we have been in trouble. This is because leadership means recognizing and diagnosing issues and resolving them promptly. If you allow matters to fester, for instance, the nature of Nigeria’s federal structure has festered for not less than 20 years and each government creates a National Conference without resolving the problem. And so it is carried from Obasanjo to Yar’Adua to Jonathan and it’s still unresolved, so it means we have been living in a process that has not been stabilized and when that process is not stabilized the likelihood of releasing our fullest potential will be affected.”

“The Nigerian situation is so terribly crippled that the possibility of any good outcome is so difficult,” he said while speaking on the many issues ripping the country apart. 

“Electricity is not there, water is not there, there are no jobs, there are no roads, etc. The question is why are these things playing out? It is playing out because we cannot look towards a national identity, everybody is in an ethnic enclave and that has impeded the ability of any leader to responsibly deliver the dividends of democracy. 

“So, if we keep asking the wrong question, what is the scoring of government? I will rather ask the other question; let us fix our problems. Do you know how many years this has been going on? 

“Bola Ige asked a question and I sent it on the platform. There is nothing wrong in calling your wife in a meeting to say: “This union of ours is not working, so let us separate.” Those are the hard questions we need to ask. 

“Bola Ige said there are two questions. First, do we want to be in one Nigeria? If yes, how? If no, how do we amicably split? That is the central question, if we don’t answer it we can never have good governance. 

“That is what has pinned us down. What we have in Nigeria today is certainly not working because there is no common national objective. If we are 11 football players on the pitch with different strategies to play the game, they will lose, so we need to forge a common identity, so rather than pretend, we need to ask ourselves do we really want to be in one country? 

“That is the central question if we answer yes, then the second question will be: In what form? So, that different parts of the country will put their grievances on the table and issues are amicably resolved.”