During the week, I read that a prominent Nigerian Senator has asked the Buhari government to kill all the bandits and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), whom the distinguished senator believes have rendered Nigeria ungovernable.

Upon reading the senator’s ‘well thought-out’ solution to what has become an absolute nightmare, I did not know whether to laugh or to cry. His simplistic belief that Nigeria can shoot or kill its way out of its current quagmire is a good example of focusing on the symptoms and not the disease.

There are fundamental questions that need to be asked: How did Nigeria get here? How did Africa’s largest nation suddenly descend into a society where the lives of its citizens appear not to be more valuable than the lives of house rats? How did blatant violence become the language of our debates?

Nigeria did not become bad because of Buhari but our nation has certainly become much worse under him.

There was great hope that Buhari’s well promoted reputation for zero tolerance of corruption and indiscipline would envelope the country and sanitize it and give Nigeria the moral biceps to make great progress and achieve development for her people. Buhari’s reputation was earned as a military man with a top-down command structure. To say that the President has let a lot of people down is to put it mildly. I have several friends who were die-hard Buhari supporters who today shake their heads in amazement at what Nigeria has become.

The fact is that Buhari would not have become President without the APC. While the APC assumed the posture of a political party, it was in reality a patch work of many different individual economic contraptions and expectations who brought together the huge resources of men and money to make Buhari president with the intent to ride on his presidency. After Buhari became President, the contraptions and expectations remained. The President as a non-military officer has not exhibited the political skill or ability to mold the different contraptions into one group with an overriding principle and philosophy pursuing progressive national objectives. There is also the ethical question of whether he can bite the fingers that fed him even when it is clear that the fingers fed him with stolen food. The foot soldiers have remained loyal to their original leaders who have to provide the funding to maintain them, most times by exploiting the system. The consequence is that there are so many PLCs within the APC. The matter was not made easier by the significant health challenges the president faced at the beginning of his tenure.

When Buhari became President, there was palpable fear across the country that any abuse of the system would be visited with stringent consequences. To the surprise of many, Nigeria has witnessed wall-to-wall abuse of the system with little consequence. While the economic pain in the land has become almost unbearable for much of the population, those close to the APC appear to live in a different world. The result is that Nigeria has lost the ethical or moral fibre that propels a nation.

Sadly, today, many-many Nigerians are working for themselves. They look around and conclude that sacrificing for the nation or their employers is nonsensical and that there is no price to pay for going in the opposite direction. Your average policeman is not interested in security of lives and property. He has no moral revulsion or distaste in collecting money from any criminal. To all intents and purposes, he is running his own PLC. Your average custom officer or civil servant is running his own PLC. Don’t be surprised that your P.A. is running her own PLC with your resources and facilities and that your driver is doing Uber on the side with your car.

There is also the reality that the take home pay of the average Nigerian worker cannot take him home. He therefore sets up his own PLC to make ends meet.

The bandits who operate from forests across the nation clearly feel no moral revulsion or distaste for what they do. They do not feel worse than those they regard as bandits operating from state houses, national and state assemblies or from ministries and government departments all around the country who are not serving the nation but running their many PLCs. Some of them even feel like that they are more than day Robin Hoods. At the moment, if any of the bandits in the forest is killed, more bandits will readily emerge. Sadly, the present ethical and moral centre of the Nigerian nation promotes banditry. It is the same way no one can kill off all the IPOB fanatics. Every day, more fanatics join the movement because the conditions that created the movement continue to simmer.

The vacuum in Nigerian leadership has permeated down and spread across the nation. The young men who are sent to fight Boko Haram wonder why they should sacrifice their lives for those they believe are living their lives to the fullest in a nation where in churches, mosques, courts, hospitals, universities, etc, etc, the Everybody Plc is booming. Sad.

See you next week.

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