By Temitope Ajayi
As long as former Presidents Obasanjo, Dr. Jonathan, People’s Democratic Party and their revisionists continue to play to the gallery over national problems they didn’t solve in 16 years, it will never be out of place to show them their records in office.
There is no record locally and internationally that supports higher crime rate in Nigeria now than before. Available records from Global Terrorism Index and US Council of Foreign Relations say violent deaths in Nigeria reduced from 2015 to 2018 compared to 2010-2014. Reports from both Global Terrorism Index and US Council of Foreign Relations actually identified 2014 as the worst in number of violent deaths in Nigeria. These reports are available online.
Fact is if President Obasanjo solved the problems of farmers/herdsmen and other criminalities in his 8 years, will the country be facing them today? Farmers/herders crisis claimed 50,000 lives under OBJ in Plateau State alone from 1999-2004 according to government reports cited by the BBC.
As Nigerians and commentators we should be fair in what we say and play less to the game of emotions.
The circumstances of President Buhari’s leadership and the crisis of governance he inherited is not the same other leaders before him inherited. President Obasanjo inherited a physically secured country from the Military in 1999.
Militancy in the Niger-Delta started and reached a dangerous proportion under OBJ. Kidnapping for ransom especially oil, construction workers and expatriates became fashionable under OBJ. The herdsmen/farmers crisis was very bad under OBJ and possibly worse under Jonathan. Communal clashes across states especially in Cross Rivers, Anambra, South West towns of Ife-Modakeke, Iju-Itaogbolu and Ijaw-Itsekiri in Delta. OPC clashes in Lagos and Ogun State with Hausa Communities was high under OBJ’s government that he ordered soldiers to shoot OPC members on sight.
Killings in North Central, TIV and Junkuns was of epic proportions under OBJ in Benue and Taraba. I can go on and on.
Yar’adua inherited these security problems from OBJ especially that of Niger-Delta. The first thing Yar’adua did was to grant Amnesty to Niger-Delta militants to de-escalate violence. Boko Haram became a menace under Yar’adua and reached a massive scale under Jonathan coupled with unresolved herdsmen/farmers crisis. Banditry in the North West and cattle rustling added to the conflagration which herdsmen and farmers crisis had become in North Central. Zamfara became a hotbed of banditry since 2013 unattended to.
2008-2011 were years of Kidnappings in South East. Most wealthy South Easterners could not travel home without truck load of armed Mobile Policemen and even soldiers. I literally evacuated my friend Deji Olorunsola from Aba in 2011 when kidnappers seized the commercial nerve centre of the South East.
Presidents Jonathan, Yar’adua and Obasanjo were lucky that the economy was not under strain like it is currently in 1999 to 2014 because they had good oil money to spend. Economic decline started under President Jonathan from 2013 when the economic indicators started showing downward trend- from GDP to FDIs etc. Industrial scale looting never seen in history under Jonathan finished off the economy. Economy that was growing at over 6% GDP in 2010 when Jonathan took over had declined to 2.5% GDP by May 29, 2015.
It was President Buhari that inherited massive economic and security problems and he had to confront both at the same time. No other administration before him had so much security and economic problems to deal with at the same time.
We must recognise all of these in analysing the current issues. Like The Economist Magazine wrote recently while comparing the Trump and Obama’s administrations and in discussing political economy and comparing administrations in a country – context matters.
It is always very important to put issues in proper context and perspective so that lines are not blurred and fair assessment can be made