1. A time comes in the evolution of any country when it becomes necessary for its citizens to take stock of the national affairs and frankly assess the suitability of the men and women who have been empowered as the proprietors of the nation’s undertakings.
2. This examination is necessary. Continued disinterest will, eventually, culminate in the unavoidable destruction of the socio-political system; the inherent weaknesses of the social construct will become uncontrollable and the entire edifice will gave way, resulting in what is conventionally called, a failed state.
3. Nigeria has come to that point where an examination of the government is urgent.
4. It is, probably, unfortunate for Goodluck Jonathan that he is the current president of Nigeria at this period. In fact, he is not personally responsible for the distant causes that have created the current state of events. Nevertheless, he is, as sworn and willing president, obliged to shoulder the responsibility of the immediate causes. Goodluck Jonathan may be a well intending person, but the road to hell—as is commonly stated—is paved with good intentions.
5. The road to hell has been set out before Nigeria today. The consequences of Nigeria’s historical and current socio-political choices are observed in the following statements: (i) Politics: the country is gradually dividing along predominantly ethnic lines, with the minority ethnicity in favour of the incumbent and a majority in opposition, both of whose political representatives are equally determined to hold power in 2015; (ii) Corruption: is on a rise, several allegations of public corruption and reckless financial decisions have trailed the current administration, even more importantly these allegations have been made in varying degrees by a former president of the country, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the governor of the country’s central bank; and (iii) Security: the North-East of the country is gradually disintegrating into a lawless territory, one practically controlled by the Boko Haram outlaws and where children can be easily kidnapped or killed under the full glare of a supposed military occupation.
6. These facts are disturbing, and none can be dismissed without repercussions. The year 2015 is bound to be an interesting year—if not a terrifying one—for Nigeria’s politics. The political situation alone, is a topic worthy of several outcries—but the most important, and the most urgent, assessment, right now, centers around the violent occupation of the North-East by Boko Haram and the continued helplessness of the Nigerian government in the presence of this crisis.
7. Nigerians need to decide now: do we prefer to kick aside a failed government or do want to risk a failed state? This is no rhetoric: the Nigerian government has lost control of the security of the North-East, and possibly more. And the consequence is clear: a government that cannot safeguard the lives of its people is no government—but a useless sham, and it ought to be jettisoned as promptly as possible. Economic and political misdemeanors can be forgiven, but a security lapse is non-negotiable. The guarantee of the right to life is the barest minimum service a government can provide its citizens. Political and economic participation may be limited, social amenities and welfare may be non-existent, but the right to life cannot be joked with by any government.
8. It is clear that every Nigerian has a right to life, and that it is the duty of the Nigerian government to ensure the protection of this right—at all costs, and by all means. This duty by the government—this duty to ensure every individual’s right to life—is weightier than budgetary allocations, it is more important than the financial systems, more urgent than election calendars, more serious than cabinet meetings and definitely more necessary than any commissioned project.
9. However, the Nigerian government has no sense of duty. Instead, the Nigerian government mistakes its duty for the singular acts it does dispassionately from time to time. This is quite wrong.
10. The government’s duty to ensure the right to life of every Nigerian does not mean a mere condemnation of an attack on Nigerians.
11. The government’s duty to ensure the right to life of every Nigerian is not simply about securing a location.
12. The government’s duty to ensure the right to life of every Nigerian does not simply mean deploying soldiers and policemen to a location.
13. The government’s duty to ensure the right to life of every Nigerian does not simply mean imposing a curfew on the citizens.
14. The government’s duty to ensure the right to life of every Nigerian does not stop at the declaration of a state of emergency.
15. The government’s duty to ensure the right to life of every Nigerian does not include organizing or requesting religious prayers.
16. Instead, the government’s duty to ensure the right to life of every Nigerian is a philosophy; a functioning, breathing aspect of every government policy. It is a duty that addresses every individual Nigerian—not just locations in Nigeria. The government’s duty requires the government to be—and be seen to be—unambiguously in pursuit of am all inclusive security policy. It requires that every domestic action of the government, every foreign and diplomatic relationship, every budgetary spending is underlined by this security philosophy. This duty requires the physical and personal presence of the government in an affected area—with the affected people. It requires the suspension of every non-essential governmental activity until a violent situation against Nigerians is resolved. It involves the prioritization of government spending on the relocation and rehabilitation of affected citizens. It involves an unequivocal stance, constantly repeated and steadily acted upon, that the life of the Nigerian citizen is non-negotiable, non-amnestiable.
17. This requires a government that works.
18. This requires a government that does not blame domestic violence on international events; a government that does not substitute spiritual philosophies for security policies; a government that understands that there is no government without a people.
19. Is the current administration such a government? I don’t believe so. The Nigerian legislature is, of course, as bad as the federal executive, but one arm must be used to discipline the other—and then chastised in turn.
20. The current Nigerian government has to be jettisoned. This government has to go, lest your children become the next victims of its inefficiencies.
21. And we—you—cannot afford to wait till 2015 to do this while the North-East—and all of Nigeria—burns.
22. You know what to do.
Ayo Sogunro is the author of The Wonderful Life of Senator Boniface and other Sorry Tales. A lawyer by profession, he also indulges in socio-legal philosophy on this blog. Interact with him on Twitter via @ayosogunro.