Nigeria has consistently danced on the brink due to the politicization of issues, among other factors that dwarf us as a people. Many would attribute this to the ignorance of our leaders, but I beg to differ because it is evident that it is now our collective ignorance. Our narratives have become a prism of witch-hunting rather than a natural occurrence in order to seek validation.
In light of recent events with the surge of insecurity, kidnapping, and violent crime claiming innocent lives, particularly in the south-west, where three Monarchs have fallen victim to insecurity, assumptions in some quarters and dimensions of politicization have crept in for an easy landing. As Simon Kolawole rightly puts it, “everything is politics”; kidnapping and killings are politically orchestrated, forming an agenda by a certain group for dominance. It is unNigerian not to believe that rain can fall on one’s joyous occasion without an invisible hand at work or the wind wreaking havoc during the stormy climate.
This situation is not new to us; we’ve been here before. During President Goodluck Jonathan’s reign, amidst high insecurity, the opposition was deemed responsible. Consequently, we elected a war-tested General, President Muhammadu Buhari. However, when his administration couldn’t deliver on its promise to end insecurity, the narrative shifted, blaming detractors. With President Bola Tinubu now in power, the narrative remains unchanged. It is either the government is clueless about what to do, or adversaries are at work. The glaring absence of strategic minds within the governance structure to provide direction on solving insecurity and economic challenges leaves us with the assumption that political enemies are the root cause. Is not that our conclusion?
Our inclination to hastily draw conclusions on emerging matters is evident. We tend to view every issue as an enemy at work, forming conclusions while the matter is still unfolding. The politicization of issues has deeply penetrated our fabric and existence. Consequently, we perceive that nothing happens naturally; instead, the “invisible hands of gods” must be behind everything.
In recent occurrences, three prominent monarchs have lost their lives. First, the Onimojo of Imojo, Oba Olatunde Olusola, and the Elesun of Esun Ekiti, Oba Babatunde Ogunsakin, followed by the most recent tragedy of Oba Peter Segun Aremu, the Olukoro of Koro, killed in his palace at Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State. The prevailing conclusion and narrative point towards the handiwork of a certain ethnic group—a simplistic way out. I have refused to use the word because criminals are criminals not by ethnicity or profession. Let’s call a spade a spade.
Eminent danger looms if we persist in this narrative and politicization of every event in the polity. The dangers are palpable, and further escalation is likely if we are not mindful and properly guided.
Let us continue to trust our security agents to unravel the circumstances of vices and nip them in the bud. The prevention of crimes is safer than quelling them. The government should prioritize reviving the economy, ensuring that everyone can earn a proper living in a meaningful manner. Otherwise, we risk continuing down this dangerous path of politicization and false narrative, leading us to the edge.
A prosperous economy doesn’t eliminate crime and violence but makes them less prevalent. The state must awaken to its responsibilities and tackle any form of criminal activities without favoring any tribe or class. The state possesses enormous power to resist any form of violence with fierceness and fury, as that is its primary purpose—to protect lives and property, as enshrined in state constitutions globally. Failure to do so renders a state unworthy of its existence. False narrative and politicization of any event will lead nowhere; they are recipes for disasters.
Tife Owolabi is a PhD Candidate, Development Studies,
University of Port-Harcourt,