A Left Note Analysis of Insecurity in Nigeria, by Adefolarin A. Olamilekan
The last couple of months have seen the emergence, intensive and destruction, of a whole dimension of insecurity in Nigeria. From the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorist activities and the herders’ farmer crisis, to banditry and cattle rustling, the kidnapping and hostage taking, armed robbery, communal clashes and many other threat of security gapism big and small, round the Nigerian space. It has arisen the consciousness of every citizen’s in there millions to stand alert to the audacity of criminal elements in our midst.
A central point of departure I think is necessary to grasp how the foregoing introductory part of this piece generated revolved around private material interest. As propounded by Karl Marx, the theory of dialectical materialism places primacy on material or economic conditions of society. It is premised on the belief that man is principally motivated by economic needs.
Marxist, belief that the primary cause of tension and other social dislocation in a society is economic factor. And these economic factors justify the root causes of conflicts and a contradiction in human societies has seen in the massive destruction of life and properties manifest in the insecurity condition of Nigeria today.
Moreover, due to the unsustainability of the Nigeria system, a major warrant to insecurity challenges is tied to the Nigeria state poor direction of production, distribution and allocation of resources. The production system has placed money in the hands of few elites who does not produce but only consume the wealth of the State. In the same vein, the Nigerian state has been helping in preserving the unearned wealth in the form of corrupt accumulation of state funds and resources of these elites fraction by the act of perpetuating themselves in government and skew power relations away from majority of the people.
In contrast to the above, Marxist emphasis is on economic production of goods and services, that bring wealth and prosperity to a nation like Nigeria if things are done rightly. However, in the case of Nigerian state that supposes to be the architect of development and progress to it citizenry. Concomitantly, has failed to utilize it power to enact laws and policies that would synergize with constitutional functions in transforming the society proactively and pragmatically. Of particular poignancy were economies of production negations that reverse wealth generation, leading to unemployment. While the welfare and standard of living of generality of the people undermined.
Moreso, fair distribution of available societal wealth becomes lopsided. Meanwhile, this happens due to lacks of basic tenets of industrial production and entrepreneur base and by estimation less than 20% of the Nigerian population drives the economy. Sadly, also majority of the masses are incapacitated in contributing to the economic production of the country; with the only opportunity left for them to survive is the informal sector of the economy that boom with the activities of black marketers.
Arguably, the wave of insecurity in Nigeria can be laid at the foot step of the unproductive economy statue of the country. Paradoxically, it has led to the production of criminal elements holding the state to ransom either through the activity Boko Haram, ISWAP, IPOB, Niger Delta militants, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping, armed robbery herders farmers clashes, cult gangs, communal violence. However, one cannot rule out the manifestations and purveyors of proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the country.
As Karl Marx pointed out, “the state is but the management of the common affairs of the bourgeoisie”. We can fathom the above assertion, thus, that the Nigerian state is an instrument of the elites ruling fraction that defend their private material interest as well as control over the means of production.
Regrettably this illustrate how the elite’s fractions holds on to power to impoverish the people so as to determine and define the waves and directions of economy production, since they do not have industry to create jobs but have successfully create crime and criminals through insecurity.
In moving forward. Sincerely, we acknowledge the fact that the insecurity crisis facing Nigeria is dangerous? Clearly, this piece reinforces the centrality of private material interest as the bane of insecurity in Nigeria due to the unproductive nature of our economy.
The Nigeria State needs an institutional framework of policies to tackle this dysfunctional economic productive system. As citizens and individual consciousness are awake that something is wrong somewhere, that why there are different voices and call of secession and disintegration.
In addition, the rentier state and clientship structure that determines and defines the waves and direction of economy production, resources allocation and wealth generation distribution in the country must be done away with.
Admittedly in Nigeria, we do not create wealth, the political elites share the wealth been accrued to the state from oil revenue and constantly fighting among themselves to get a share that are appropriated and consumed as private material. This has made the Nigerian State a height of rentier one based on clientship patronage. Subsequently, the current insecurity crises have brought to the fore not only the limits of the state activity, but equally the remarkable inability of the state to avert crises.
Adefolarin A. Olamilekan
Political Economist & Development Researcher