Monday, August 12,2019
A former Minister of Education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, has warned that Nigeria is edging closer to collapse and the leaders must act to prevent that from happening. The Presidency however dismissed the alarm.
“Initially, I kept saying that we were a fragile country. Now, we are fast-heading towards the threshold where you have a state collapse and we can’t stand watching while that happens,” Ezekwesili warned during an appearance on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics.
For her, the signs captured in the definition of state collapse are now present in the country. This, she explained, involves looking at the security situation, the economy, social cohesion and political stability.
“When these four things are in the negative then you are fast-heading towards what is known as state collapse,” she said.
Dr Ezekwesili, who is also a former Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, added: “Everything seems to have fallen apart. We practically have no institutions that are standing in their credibility at this time.”
She believes a first step towards reversing the situation in the country is for those in government to accept the signs.
“I think it is critical for people in government to accept that the country is certainly not in a good place at all,” she said.
“That ownership of your situation is an important and critical step towards solving a problem. If the government pretends that all is well with Nigeria, then it shows how absolutely isolated from the issues and challenges of the people that they lead.”
Should that critical step be taken by those in power, she then expects the President and the leadership at the National Assembly to come together to convene “a state of the union conversation”.
That conversation would have to be a very honest one about “what we do with Nigeria”, she said, stressing that “Nigeria is not in a good place at all”.
But in a swift reply, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, rejected Ezekwesili’s claim.
Shehu, who spoke during the programme via phone call, dismissed the claim, saying: “If the country is collapsing, it is collapsing somebody’s dream.” He urged such a person to “wake up” and rescue the dream.
“Nothing Is Collapsing,” he declared. “The country is strong, moving on”.
According to Mr Shehu, the progress of the country is further evident in the fact that democratic elections are held winners are declared.
“You win or you lose,” he said, stressing that those who lost elections were behind much of the criticism against the government.
“Having lost the elections, they are devising new ways so that they can grab power. So, let’s see how they can contest and get power,” he said.
Asked about the unemployment rate in the country, the security challenges in the country and other challenges, the Presidential media aide argued that they were not new challenges.
According to him, armed robberies are not new, and political opponents had been killed in the past even before Buhari became President. He explained further that even the security challenges had their roots pre-the Buhari administration.