With this title, several readers will jump to the conclusion that the dreaded but now degraded Boko Haram terrorist group should occupy the number 1 slot while the Fulani Herdsmen terrorists and the new Ijaw Avengers would rank 2nd and 3rdrespectively. They are wrong!
While the menace of the three mentioned terrorist groups constitutes grave threat and danger to Nigeria’s corporate existence and her economic resurrection, the combined menace of the three will pale into insignificance when placed side by side with the menace of the criminal silence of Nigerians in the face of the serious onslaught perennially and perpetually unleashed on the country by a handful vultures who have bled Nigeria to near death with their insane looting of the country.
The Number 1 threat to corporate Nigeria is the unexplainable timidity of all Nigerians, the criminal silence of the masses in the face of the huge theft of their patrimony by a handful. It was this silence that prompted the article I wrote a few years back titled ‘Nigeria: A Nation of Idiots’. That title has now become the subtitle of my 1,500-page book titled In the Belly of Vultures. I have always wondered how a people could be this docile and timid. Sometimes I wonder if Nigeria is the same country that produced legendary Aminu Kano, Madam Sawaba, Mrs Olufunlayo Kuti, Margaret Ekpo, Joseph Sarwan Tarka, Adaka Boro, Tai Solarin, Arthur Nwankwo, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Beko Ransome-Kuti and fiery Gani Fawehinmi among a few others.
Inability to speak out against evil, against injustice, against oppression, depression and deprivation is the beginning of the calamitous tragedy. Nigerians have kept too quiet for too long that we now have a deadly monster that has almost swallowed us up as a people. Can we pretend not to know when our school drop-out neighbour who became chairman of local government suddenly started putting up a mansion and assembling porch cars in his yard? Did we not see Ghana-Must-Go bags being loaded and offloaded in the National Assembly? Did we not see our governors, presidents and other public officials suddenly becoming billionaires?
We kept quiet. We are still keeping quiet appearing hopelessly helpless in the face of all these revelations which in the first instance should not be news to us.
The Number 2 threat to Nigeria is Indiscipline. Crass indiscipline at all levels. Indiscipline both in our private and public life. Which government can successfully eliminate drunken drivers or lunatics who drive as if they had an appointment with Hell? Which government can stop a bully who daily turns his wife into a punching bag? Some people just behave as if there are no laws in the land. Look at the way people exploit one another at every stage of interactions; petrol stations, NEPA offices, police stations, markets, banks, universities, JAMB offices, the catalogue is endless. Indiscipline is at the root of most of the ills plaguing this doubly unfortunate country.
Proudly occupying the 3rd slot is Corruption. And by corruption, I am not limiting myself to stealing alone. Stealing is a big part of corruption but it is not the whole picture of corruption. Nepotism is corruption. Taking improper advantage of the staff working under you is a huge form of corruption. There is domestic corruption which makes nonsense of the ethics of cohabitation and coexistence.
Number 4 threat to Nigeria is cultism. Cultism is no longer restricted or limited to schools and tertiary institutions. Artisans of all shades and grades have joined the rank and file cultist leagues in Nigeria, and they could be found in all corners and crannies of the country. Carpenters, bricklayers, commercial auto-cycle riders, painters, petty traders and small time musicians are all involved in the dreaded gangs. With children in primary schools now being recruited into cultism Nigeria faces a terrible future.
Religion and its fanatical adherents are the 5th and 6th threats to Nigeria. Religion has colonised people’s minds and brains beyond redemption and majority of those captured are mere walking caricatures of human persons. Poverty, ignorance and mass unemployment have driven otherwise sane people to a satanic embrace of the roguish exploiters who dress in the zany garbs of religious extremists.
The number 7 threat to Nigeria is a loss of age long societal values. Almost if not all the ethnic nationalities that make up this country are lamenting the loss of their cherished traditional values. In marriage, in commerce, in attitudes and relationships, as well as the traditional respect for elders and mutual respect for each other, honesty, hard work, patience, morality; all those values have been thrown to the dogs. This loss of our cherished values has dealt a terrible blow to our country and has enthroned lawlessness, strange foreign cultures and behaviours. Our art, our music, our ethos, and even our cuisine and domestic cultures have almost disappeared.
Number 8 is Fulani herdsmen and their undisguised terrorism of horrendous proportion. Whereas the Number 9 threat which is Boko Haram is largely limited to its operational base and territorial spread, the Fulani herdsmen terrorists are rampaging the whole country. If there is any threat that may easily lead to the break up of Nigeria it is the brutal, brutish and barbaric gangsterism of the herdsmen terrorists.
We know that Boko Haram is waging a religious [even if undefined] cum vengeance campaign; the herdsmen agenda leaves room for many speculations. Is it a Jihad? Is it territorial expansion and ultimate occupation? Is it colonisation the way the Hausa were colonised?
The number 10 threat is the open and almost unstoppable campaign for the actualisation of the Biafra dream. This is a political campaign with a tinge of self-determination and ethnic nationalism. If the threat is not well handled it may snowball into a wildfire.
The Delta militants are a very credible threat and they occupy position eleven in my evaluation. The mission of the Delta militants is quite known. Theirs is a campaign for economic emancipation, justice and equity. And they also exercise self-determination and are prepared to die to the last man.
The twelfth threat is the combination of all self-determination groups from OPC to Bakassi and other mushroom bodies that may appear inconsequential but are seriously entrenched in their trenches.
The thirteenth threat to Nigeria is the notorious tribe of Nigerian politicians. If there is any group that is likely to score 100% in its rabid determination to ruin Nigeria and hand her remains over to Somalia, Afghanistan, Rwanda and to the chaos in Iraq and Libya, it is the Nigerian political family.
Whatever becomes of Nigeria in the months and years ahead is in the hands of our terrible politicians and whatever they make of the other twelve threats.
Tola Adeniyi is an Iconic Journalist, a Syndicated Columnist/Publisher/Consultant on Strategic Public Policy
The pen is the tongue of the hand,the silent utterer of words for the eyes…Henry Beecher