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Nigeria, ravaging locusts and road to the forlorn (1)

The numbing helplessness from all the layers of Nigerian authority appears almost conspiratorial and as the country is buffeted from the four corners of the compass by rabid bloodletting and insidious national dismemberment, it has gone beyond belief that governments at the national, state and local levels have no answers to the centrifugal forces of annihilation tearing raw flesh from a once militarily strong nation.

The country’s leaders and the security chief look like they are completely without plans and tactics, to the point of triggering a growing nostalgia for the days of the man who was kicked out of office for being a disappointing epitome of the word, clueless. The growing number of those stretching their gaze backwards for the sour grapes of yesteryears summarise the people’s frustration and fears of todays failures and the forlornness of a future we are no longer sure we would even arrive in one piece.

If what is happening to Nigeria today was planned by an enemy, internal or external, such an adversarial person or institution should be studied by everyone who wished to understand internecine war. It is almost Napoleon’s France all over again; we are fighting wars on far too many fronts to guarantee easy and low-cost victory. The Nigerian situation cannot even be compared with the situation in Napoleonic France. Napoleon, in his attempt to expand the frontiers of the French Empire, attempted to fight many other nationalities in Europe all at once. Beyond some murmurs of discontent by war-weary generals, there was peace and prosperity within the Republic. France was so prosperous that Napoleon was quoted to have arrogantly told other European leaders that, “…the French Republic is like the sun in the sky- so much the worse for those who do not see it.” He had the resources to prosecute the wars.

But this is not the case with Nigeria, a country filled with potentials it appears destined to never achieve. Unlike Napoleon’s France, Nigeria is not fighting external aggression; on the contrary, its is being torn apart by internal forces; a war (or wars) against itself. The country is increasingly looking like a pregnant viper, whose future offspring will have to eat through their mother’s innards for a chance to become “snakes” of their own. How can a country fight almost all of its citizens and expect to survive? At the time France was fighting Europe, the country was prosperous and had the most sophisticated and highly motivated military. You cannot say the same about Nigeria. News that our soldiers have been waging a war against terrorist Boko Haram in the north east with figurative bows and exaggerated arrows have been rife. Deserting by soldiers have also made many headlines. And to cap it up, the country has been everything but prosperous, especially in the past six years.

Given the widespread discontent against the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, a lot was expected of his successor. But the sorry summaries of the Muhammadu Buhari story are squeezed into the melancholic Jonathanic nostalgia many people have been mouthing in the past few months, as the country continued an unplanned, yet simultaneous searing from the middle.

Everything appears to be working against the present crop of leaders. Their pervasive incompetence is one; the emotional and responsibilities distance they keep from the people is another. But it seems the most unfortunate of them all is President Muhammadu Buhari. Moulded to possess an incurable unitary mindset by successive military governments and, if I may add, a quasi-unitary federal system of government, every attention is on the president, even when the real catalysts for grassroots development rests with governors and the local council chairmen: a floundering governor and his retinue of poor-performing local government chairmen vicariously attracts low credit ratings for the reticent man in Abuja.

This is not in any way making excuses for the wretched credentials of the Buhari administration, which, even in the midst of crippling economic challenges still allowed stories of bewildering corruption and bigotry to be seeping out of his government.


those who love Nigeria are hoping he finds the strength, wisdom and tact to be like Sir Winston Churchill who, as German forces advanced on Britain during World War II, swore that he would not “supervise the dissolution of the British Empire,” and didn’t just mean it, but mobilized Britons to achieve it.

Buhari appears to exemplify the man whose kernel was not cracked by benevolent spirits, if I am permitted to paraphrase this popular line from Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”. Every effort he makes towards progress triggers unintended reactions and that is why, when his story will be told, finding what to add to the assets side of his balance sheet will be tough.

His government has, in truth, done very well in a number of areas and I will mention just one here because of its relevance to the challenges the country is facing at the moment. I am aware that President Muhammadu Buhari took the issue of agricultural revival quite seriously. He personally took charge of many projects in this area, including the revival of the country’s fertilizer production capacity. It took him five years, but the country now boasts of a capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes of fertilizer per annum. For a country that was importing practically every cup of this critical agro-input a few years ago, this is a major milestone.

Ordinarily, this success story should energise the drive for increased food production and employment generation in the almost limitless agriculture value chain. But where will the food come from when all the farmers are either being killed or kidnapped in their farms? What growth will anyone expect from agriculture in the face of what appears like state-sponsored destructive open grazing that has entitled Fulani herders to regard freshly-growing crops from a farmers’ grueling toils as pasture for his cows?

I am a victim and sure knows how it hurts. In 2018, I lost 17 hectares of my Vitamin A cassava farm in the Uzo Uwani agro belt of Enugu State to the trampling hoofs of cattle herded by the Fulani. They also destroyed 5,000 heaps of yam I had planted around portions of the farm’s sprawling perimeter.

Given this situation, who then would benefit from Buhari’s auriferous agricultural policy when farmers that are the direct beneficiaries are either murdered, kidnapped for ransom or had their crops forcefully converted to cow fodder?

Such an unfortunate president. The country is fraying under his watch and those who love Nigeria are hoping he finds the strength, wisdom and tact to be like Sir Winston Churchill who, as German forces advanced on Britain during World War II, swore that he would not “supervise the dissolution of the British Empire,” and didn’t just mean it, but mobilized Britons to achieve it.

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Ikem Okuhu is a journalist, a Public Relations professional, brand strategist and teacher. With a career that traversed Print Media, Oil & Gas, Banking and entrepreneurship, Ikem is the author of wave-making book; PITCH: Debunking Marketing’s Strongest Myths, a dispassionate exposition of the dos and don’ts of successful engagement in the marketplace, especially the Nigerian marketplace. He is the founder/publisher of BRANDish, Nigeria’s first nationally circulating Brands and Marketing magazine. He has also handled the PR and reputation management consultancies for a number of brands, businesses and public figures.

  • Wale Bakare

    Absolutely spot on Ikem. Never has the investment of so much goodwill and optimism yielded such poor returns.

    April 29, 2021 at 1:48 pm Reply
  • Ogbuyeme Chijioke

    This administration of Buhari has failed Us all so which way re we going ?

    April 29, 2021 at 3:17 pm Reply
  • Lere Ojedokun

    Such a brilliant dissection of what we can summarise as the ‘Nigerian imalignant headaches.’ Ikem in his journalistic prose and analytical style, has again spoken truth to power. Whether or not they will listen is another matter entirely.

    April 29, 2021 at 4:07 pm Reply
  • Ogbonna Hillary

    Another bomb shell from a guru, one whose mightiest is in Pen. Arrogant and extreme when truth is submerged. Ikem Okuhu.

    April 29, 2021 at 4:19 pm Reply
  • Ugwuomarima kelvin

    The article is well articulated and reveals our precarious situation as a country but where we are now, we should focus on solutions to our issues and not only x raying the issues

    April 29, 2021 at 4:41 pm Reply
  • Iheoma Onumadu

    This is succinct and so on point. Well done great jacksonite!

    April 29, 2021 at 5:57 pm Reply
  • Chibueze

    You have once again put your quintessencial skill sets to public use.
    This article summarizes the current socio-economic state of the Nigerian state. I hope it gets to the presidency .
    Thank you so much for all the efforts and sacrifice you make towards making Nigeria a better place

    April 29, 2021 at 6:38 pm Reply
  • Ikem bu Chukwu. Engr.

    Ikem, this is ok by me. Weldone

    April 29, 2021 at 7:30 pm Reply
  • Okwudili Obayi

    This piece is from a cerebral mind. There is no doubt that our governments at all levels, including the national assembly, “have no answers to the forces annihilating raw flesh from us”. They they seem to have no answers, if they are willing to bring to an end the unfortunate unprecedented situation, they know how to seek for answers.

    April 29, 2021 at 7:40 pm Reply
  • Emmanuel

    You have told the truth but it sounds bitter to the carnivores animals in the den. May God bless immeasurably. Ikem Okuhu we are proud to have you as brother and master.

    April 29, 2021 at 10:34 pm Reply
  • Onyinyechi

    This is such a great piece from a great mind. It is well articulated. More Grace to you Sir.

    April 30, 2021 at 9:59 pm Reply
  • Ken Eze

    “..How can a country fight almost all of its citizens and expect to survive?..”

    You have truly captured the state of the country at the moment and I see Nigeria going into another Civil War if measures are not taken to address the issues on ground.

    April 30, 2021 at 10:20 pm Reply
  • Yemie Adeoye

    The only one to blame is Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. Ruling a nation as huge and complex as Nigeria goes beyond a vision for just one sector of the economy.
    He sincerely has no clue whatsoever on 21st century governance and should have been wise and statemanly enough to limit himself to one term.
    Had he done that, he would have been in the realms of great and unforgettable African leaders, and his family would have benefited from that gesture long after he must have departed these shores.

    May 4, 2021 at 7:39 am Reply
  • Buchi Ukwuaba

    Great!

    May 4, 2021 at 8:08 am Reply
  • Adetunji Faleye

    Fantastic. encapsulates all the problems the Nigerian Nation faces.

    May 4, 2021 at 1:10 pm Reply
  • Franklin tochukwu

    Thank you so much for this eye opener, the article has expose alot of wrongs in the nation, you can’t fight your nation and pretend all is well

    May 5, 2021 at 11:32 am Reply

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