Nigeria now failed state – Prof Madubuike, former minister

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By Daniel Kanu

Respected intellectual and two-time Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Ihechukwu Madubuike, in this exclusive chat with Sunday Sun speaks on Nigeria’s condition, security challenges, Abia Charter of Equity, the danger for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), rejecting zoning the presidency to the Southeast, and state of the nation, among other national issues. Excerpt:

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Let’s start from your state, Abia. There is this serious move to jettison, or deny the implementation of Abia Charter of Equity, which favours zoning of governorship ticket to Abia North in 2023. Are you aware of such moves and what is your position on it?

To jettison the Abia Charter of Equity and Understanding will be the height of political rascality and insensitivity. The negative consequences will outlive those who want to undertake such an unedifying project because it negates the principles of equity and freedom of choice and justice. It is tantamount to a slap on the face of the authors of the Charter, a total disregard of the wisdom of our forefathers that informed its elaboration. We should learn from what is happening in Nigeria, the lessons of the aborted Aburi Conference, the temptation to refuse to rotate power by its minders, the backlash of promises not kept  and other such undemocratic actions in distracted  and failing Nigeria. Deflecting agreements is an omen that incubates evil, with many disruptive tendencies.The aberration, no doubt, is the result of an ill digested complex of superiority, an incubus which refuses to remember that power is transient. It is what in Igbo land is called “the Nkari Complex” (I am superior to you). This complex knows no party lines nor draws boundaries.  It is a human flaw which domesticates itself even after parties are gone. Such a travesty will, no doubt, breed resentment, recrimination and rancour, reflexes that are deleterious to group or national culture and progress. Our soi-disant leaders are demonizing power because of selfish desires and sectarian interests. It is a song of the absurd devoid of symphony, a madman singing inchoate and dancing naked in the market square. Those riding on the back of the tiger can exchange positions within a twinkle. The ‘Nkari’ psychosis is antithetical to the beneficial principle of ‘Onye aghala nwanneya’ (of being your brother’s keeper). It is not productive and the act cannot be final, not at a time when all eyes are on the Igbo to show a robust example of internal democracy.

What is your take on the state of insecurity in the country, given the fact that it is escalating?

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Insecurity, the state of being unsafe, of collapse, has become a national embarrassment. That non-state actors can hold a country of over 200 million people to ransom bespeaks of decadence. The general impression is that we are not being told the truth by those who should ensure our safety at all times. How can you claim that you are on  “top of the situation” when there is hardly a day that people are not killed or slaughtered in their dozens, making Nigeria look like a human slaughter field? For the government to say that it is “on top of the situation” is counter-logic and insensitive. How many more people would be killed or kidnapped for ransom before this administration accepts failure in this matter .And as long as the government keeps living in denial, so long would the situation continue to defy solution. Nigerians can read between the lines. The situation is beyond nuances and innuendoes.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party seems to have left the presidential seat open to all zones …?


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(Cuts in) It will be a mistake of the century if the PDP fails to zone the presidency to the Southeast. It will also be a failure of the integrity test, the unforced principle that made it the party of the people, recognizing the multidimensional nature of Nigeria, in which inclusivity is its first law as well as the immutability of justice.

There is this ongoing discourse that Nigeria is a failed state. Do you share in this view?

The question is; is Nigeria a failed state? There is a report by a US Think Tank   that describes Nigeria as a “failed state,” not just a weak state. That report is led by a former US ambassador to Nigeria. There is another report by a US Air Force think tank which  painted a scenario of Nigeria as a failed state in 2030, in less than eight  years from now. Beyond these foreign predictions, many Nigerians believe that Nigeria has already failed, and are calling for its peaceful disbandment. There are the optimists or their descendants who believe that a new Nigeria is still a possibility, on their own terms. These ones have been there and around since Nigeria was put together. Whatever your view, Nigeria is a highly distracted society and the indices are not flattering. What is a failed society or state? The opinions are still divided. A state is failed or disintegrated where basic conditions of sovereignty are totally or very much inexistent. It no longer enjoys the trust of its people. Can we take the various calls by sections of the Nigerian community, like the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), and some religious organizations, for President Buhari to resign from office as a sign of loss of confidence? No doubt there are sovereignty gaps in Nigeria, enough to create trust deficits. There are other characteristics of state failure, including loss of control of  territory ; sharing legitimate use of force for the control of national territory with non -state actors; inability to provide public services; sharp economic declines; wide spread criminality, endemic corruption, uncontrolled immigrations, sometimes sponsored by government, and so on. If you have read this critically   from the beginning you must be understanding where we are in the league of nations, weak, failed or failing. Yet to say that Nigeria is a failed state outrightly may spark vigorous denials by the minders of this administration and its acolytes. What is not so controversial is that this government is a failure. Nigerians are not at ease any more, definitely less at ease than six or seven years ago when it took over power. Social services have failed, security has failed; speaking truth to power is almost an anathema; we are not covering the poverty traps and the poverty gaps. There are no sustainable safety nets that endure. Unemployment has hit the roofs.  We are also not bridging the “capability gaps”, rather we seem to be glamorizing them by letting over 10 millions of our educable youths to be out of school. There is still a deliberate lack of inclusivity and local content. The democratic ideal allows local content in administration in order to add local values and integrity in solving local problems. Nigeria has publicly opened itself to a chaotic and violent immigration policy. Its porous borders are no help. By that policy Nigeria has wittingly or unwittingly invited into its geographical space terrorists from failing or failed states. At the same time the emigration of some of our best brains continues unabated and the leaders seem unperturbed. Studies have shown that failing or failed states are havens for terrorists. Failed states are also known to recruit terrorists into their military wings. That is where Nigeria is today or seems to be heading to, yielding to religious fanaticism and a weak governance structure. It is that bad. Worse news is that when a state fails, the failure can be irreversible.