The Convener of the Pro-Nigeria Group, PNG, Lai Omotola, has said that the situation in Nigeria has not metamorphosed into a situation where it can be categorized as a ‘failed state’ despite the fact that the country is passing through murky waters of many challenges.
Omotola, who is also the Chairman of the Center for Institutions Reform in Nigeria, said that Nigeria is moving towards becoming a failed state, noting that a country can be described as a failed state if all the systems of such a country have totally collapsed.
He made this remark on Wednesday while featuring in a programme on Silverbird Television with the title ‘Peace Building and Good Governance’. The highpoint of the discourse is whether the enormous challenges bedevilling Nigeria have made the country a failed state or not.
According to Omotola, Nigeria can not be categorized as a failed state, but is moving towards it. He added that many sectors in Nigeria are degrading but have not collapsed.
“The problem we have in Nigeria is that people in the government are not doing things to turn the tide. For instance, the education sector has not collapsed. Infrastructure in Nigeria is failing, but has not collapsed. The electricity sector is bad, but it has not collapsed, despite the system collapse we have experienced several times,”he said.
Giving more explanations to buttress his point, he said that the phrase ‘failed state’ is not grammar or emotional statement, but a terminology used by economists, stating that if Nigeria has collapsed, it means that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, too, has collapsed.
According to him, the CBN and other critical agencies would have ceased to function if the country had collapsed.
“Take, for instance, if the nation has failed, then the CBN too has failed. In the midst of the numerous challenges the nation is facing, the CBN still has the ability to regulate monetary activities. Nigeria still has reserves. Nobody is happy in Nigeria with the way things are going, including me, but the country has not gotten to the extent of being called a ‘failed state’. If the country was a failed state, the foreign exchange rate should have been higher. than it is now,’ he added.
When asked about the reason why most of the sectors in Nigeria are not working, Omotola said that there is a wide difference between a failed state and a failed government, saying that the government is failing and obviously things are getting worse, but not yet a failed state.
In his words: “If Nigeria has failed, it means that its ability to collect taxes has collapsed. A failed state means everything has collapsed. There is a huge difference between a man who is hungry and a man who is dead. Nigeria is hungry but not dead yet, “he said.
Speaking on the nexus between leadership and followership, he said that Nigeria should be able to analyze situations so as to fight the real fight, which is the fight of the ballot.
“The fight we have to fight now is the fight for the ballot where we will all vote and ensure that our votes are counted. Many politicians have the mentality of looting and preserving the loot, but we need to preserve democracy and the way to do that is to ensure that our votes are counted, “Omotola said.
On institutional reform, he said that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the judiciary must truly be independent. He also said that the way in which the Inspector General of Police is appointed should be reviewed so as to ensure efficiency.
He said: “The judiciary must be truly independent, because when everybody knows that they can not bribe the judiciary, they will behave normally. The politicians will know that if they are corrupt, the judge will jall them without fear or favour.
” Secondly, INEC should be truly independent. One of the problems in the country is the inability of the body to function effectively. I also want to point out that state electoral commissions should be scrapped. INEC should organise elections from ward to the Presidency, “he added.
According to him, the situation whereby the President appoints the Inspector General of Police is another problem for the police. He advised that the most senior Deputy Inspector General of Police be made the IGP, just like in the judiciary, where the most senior Supreme Court Justice becomes the Chief Justice of Nigeria.