By Efio-Ita Nyok |17 April 2015|7:25am
TIME, the American weekly news magazine published in New York City, founded in 1923 and for decades was dominated by Henry Luce , who built a highly profitable stable of magazines, has released its list of 100 most influential persons for 2015.
Among the prestigious list are four Nigerians who include the literary giant Chimamanda Adichie, the Bring Back Our Girls crusader Obi Ezekwezili, Nigeria's President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, and surprisingly the world-acclaimed Nigerian-based terrorist leader Abubakar Shekau!
Understandably, Shekau the Boko Haram kingpin is tagged by the iconoclastic magazine to be the 'Scourge of Africa'. This brings to question the challenge of security in Africa's most populous country. Boko Haram represent Nigeria's most recent security challenge. It was founded 2002 by an Imam Mohammed Yusuf. It's agenda is the Islamisation of Nigeria. In July 2009 it evolved into a radical sect. It has reportedly killed about 20,000 lives. It ballooned into international limelight when it abducted 276 school girls in Chibok on 14 April 2014.
It is believed by some that the Boko Haram debacle was what contributed greatly in undermining the capacity of Goodluck Jonathan's presidency, a slur that caused him to be the first Nigerian incumbent president to be ousted out of office through the ballot.
This confirms very strongly that the foremost responsibility of any government is the security of lives and properties of its citizenry and inhabitants. The fundamental status of security cannot be overemphasized. If the protection or otherwise of the lives of the citizenry is determined by the whims of individual selfishness, then before long, the state and by extension the race will be completely dissipated as humans are by nature brutish. This reality caused Jonathan his much converted-after presidency. But come to think of it, what informed the evolution of this unpopular insurgency in Nigeria's northeastern geopolitical axis as currently led by Abubakar Shekau? Is it political or religious or ethnic sentiments?
Nigeria is a deeply polarized country -Multilingual, multi religious, multicultural, etc. And our strength lies in our continued unity in the midst of this apparent diversity. There are three major ethnicities: Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo. These trio have dominated the economic, political, and cultural outlook of the country since independence in 1960. Ironically, the Igbos have in turn been treated as a minority tribe by the other two. While the Hausa/Fulani bloc are reputed to think that they are destined to rule the country. In fact, they have ruled the country more than any other ethnicity. This bring to mind the much-talked about 'born-to-rule' mantra from the north.
That is to say, the obvious radicalization of Boko Haram which took a different dimension in 2009 must have, among other things been informed by the ascendancy in 2011 of a minority-tribe presidency in President Goodluck Jonathan from oil-rich Bayelsa. Thus, to discredit his electability in a perceived second-term political ambition come 2015 general elections, the Hausa/Fulani bloc colluded with the Yoruba bloc through highlighting the efficiency of the Jonathan Administration in addressing the Boko Haram insurgency. This is a possible implication of the TIME magazine recognizing Shekau as one of the world's most influential persons in 2015.
Abubakar Shekau should be perceived as metaphoric. And the narrative in this metaphor is that Nigeria's ethno-religious polarization has taken assumed global distinction. It is not commendable but regrettable. And the sordid dimensions of this regrettable state would have escalated should have Jonathan not conceded defeat to Buhari in the just concluded general elections. By now, the tension that would have ensued would have been tilting towards a civil war condition. And we would by now also enrich Western powers buy purchasing their superior power as they cart away our Brent crude.