Bad Governance is the major Underlying Factor for Violent Extremism in the North East
Nigeria has experience rise of violent extremism over the past six years perpetuated by Boko Haram insurgency. The Council on Foreign Relations (2016) estimates that 23,000 civilians have died since the beginning of the insurgency in 2010.
The government has been criticized for inadequate coherent policy to combat Boko Haram, as well as heavy handed approaches taken by the Nigerian Police Service, the Department of State Security Service and the Military. Amnesty International (2015) reports that since the insurgency began, “Military forces have extrajudicially executed more than 1,200 people; they have arbitrarily arrested at least 20,000 people, mostly young men and boys; and have committed countless acts of torture”. Boko Haram activities are largely in North Eastern Nigeria, but over the past years, they have increasingly exploited the porous borders in the Lake Chad area to establish a presence in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Recent efforts by the military (Multi National Joint Task Force; MNJTF) have deescalate the menace.
Jonathan Temlong (Rtd) first Multi-National Joint Task Force in the North East said that “to curb insurgency in the country, those in position of authority must address the issues of bad governance. There is a deficit of good governance in this country, unless we are able to get it right, we will see such groups coming up”. According to him, “The Boko Haram started gradually until they become a monster because there is nobody to check them and there is no credible alternative to them. Sometimes they even offer protection to people. The people are under their control and once there is no credible alternative, the people pledge their allegiance to them. If there was a credible alternative, some of them would not go into Boko Haram thing”. (Jonathan T, Daily Post, 4th March, 2017).
Kaufmann, Kraay, Zoido-Lobaton and Mastruzzi provides six aggregate of governance-institutional indicators: -
• Voice and accountability (VA)
• Political stability and absence of violence/terrorism (PV)
• Government effectiveness (GE)
• Regulatory quality (RQ)
• Rule of law (RL) and
• The control of corruption (CC)
According to Kaufmann, et al. (2009), Voice and Accountability (VA) captures the perceptions of the extent to which citizens are able to participate in selecting their leaders in government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association and a free media. It is evident that in Nigeria people were no longer interested to vote and be voted for because of rigorous election malpractices and manipulation of political elites. These politician’s activities were the major causes of upheavals in Nigeria for their selfish interest.
Political stability and Absence of Violent/Terrorism (PV) captures the perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including politically motivated violence and terrorism. For instance the Boko Haram insurgents seeks to overthrow the Nigerian government and establish a caliphate govern by sharia law.
Government Effectiveness (GE) the perception of the quality of the civil service and the degree of interdependence from political pressures, the quality of policy formation and implementation, and the credibility of government’s commitment to such policies. Nigeria is known as a country with best policies and programs but lack adequate implementation and individual interest perpetuation engulf the country to spend 57 years struggling for development. These problems manifested in every nooks and crannies of Nigeria. Apparently, there is no interdependence of governmental institutions which bedevils the country to achieve meaningful development.
Regulatory Quality (RQ) the ability of the government to formulate and implement sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development. Most of violent conflict in Nigeria resulted from lack of proper and sincere regulatory policies and even if there are such policies, they lack proper implementation. For instance religious conflict and Boko Haram menace emanated from bad governance, selfish interest of politicians, hate speeches, misinterpretations of religious text, etc.
Rule of Law (RL) The perceptions of the extent to which citizens have confidence in and abide by the rules of the society and, in particular, the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the police and the courts as well as the likelihood of crime and violence. These variables of rule of law are not properly abided by the citizens as well as the political leaders. Equity and justice are lacking most in the country.
Control of Corruption (CC) the perceptions of the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as the impact on the state by the elite and private interests. Therefore, in Nigeria corruption has become an endemic disease and has brought suffering, untold economic hardship, unrest, poverty, and lack of infrastructural facilities, just to mention but few. Corruption lowers societal morality and gripped governmental administration. For instance, the present set back in fighting against corruption of Buhari’s Administration.
In conclusion, the act of insecurity, poverty, unemployment and inability for government to take the welfare of its citizens as a major concern are predicted mostly in bad governance. Peace is always a prerequisite to sustainable development in any nation, therefore meaningful development and viable peace can never take place without good governance in the North East in particular and Nigeria in general. #NotAnotherNigerian should suffer from any form of inequality and injustice.
Amnesty International. (2015). Stars on their shoulders. Blood on their hands. War crimes committed by the Nigerian military.
Council on Foreign Relations. (2006). Nigeria security tracker.
Daily Post March, 4th 2017.
Kaufmann, Daniel, Kraay, Aart, and Mastruzzi, Massimo (2009), “Governance Matters VIII: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996–2008,” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper №4978.
Oluwole O, Nicole B; Bad Governance & Corruption in Africa: Symptoms of Leadership and Institutional Failure.