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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bill Clinton, America, Boko Haram and Our Economic Injustice


President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria with Bill Clinton in one of his recent visits to Nigeria. Photo Credit: Sulekha.

Bill Clinton, America, Boko Haram and Our Economic Injustice


~ By John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D
.

As a result of a sizeable number of men and women and a system deep in corruption as indicated by past and every day happenings, Nigeria now presents with a national and international face of violence.

A former President, of United States of America, Bill Clinton recently observed how the continued religious and economic grievances are fueling fear, terror, insecurity and instability in Nigeria.

Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, Terence P. McCulley has also called on the Nigerian Government to address the long standing poverty problems in the nation’s north where internal terrorism reigns with security forces doing their best to defeat the extremist group.

There is inequality and poverty everywhere, in the Northern stats mostly. Unlike many up and coming societies, one must wonder how effective and concerned are the offices or ministries of Labor and Productivity in regards to employment issues across the nation.

One needs to see more from the works of the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development as well other related agencies in regards to job-related matters.
In all of our States, the northern states in particular, we see how lives of misery persist everywhere due to abject poverty. In a recent report, ‘Nigeria Poverty Profile 2010’ by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), at least 112.6 million of Nigerians are living below the poverty level. That is 69 per cent of the country’s population.

In the report by Mr. Yemi Kale, the Statistician-General of Nigeria, the highest poverty areas are within the North-West and North-East geo-political zones. In general, the number of Nigerians living in poverty continues to increase with 61 per cent of Nigerian currently living with less than one $1 per day, resulting in 60.9 per cent of them having minimum standards of foods, shelter, clothing, and healthcare.

In fact, 93.9 per cent of Nigerians currently consider themselves as poor, partly due to wealth and income inequality.

In the face of these painful statistics, it is time the government show us the national poverty reduction plans in the North, in regards to addressing vocational injustice both in the North and across the nation. And stop this nonsense about western education. It makes no sense to say that the economic emptiness in many Northern states is partly due some Muslims or members of the Boko Haram sect viewing "Western education” as sacrilege or "sin".

It is a false picture or perception in many peoples’ heads that a rejection of Euro-America or Western education/lifestyle signifies not embracing Western education; as such those individuals or localities with such mindset will not be able to attain the good life or economic progress.


Imam Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram.

It is essential to state that there could be grounds for some Nigerians including members of the Boko Haram to reject western education if judged from some well-known day to day standpoints. Even Bill Clinton and many Americans will testify to the reality that America, in a much deeper and prevalent way swims inside the infrastructure of sex clubs, and many of the Sex clubs stand out as studios of drugs, booze and violence.

There are drugs and alcohol addictions everywhere. There are constant threats and practice of violence in schools, homes and workplace. Strip clubs, pornography, prostitution, swapping of spouse, guns and huge dollar enterprises are the order of the day, at least socially.


Bill Clinton being welcomed in Northern Nigeria during one of his visits.

There is the general attraction to the allure of glamour, fast lifestyle, and other “sins”—at least from the point of Islamic psychology. So, could this be what some Muslims across the globe, and in Northern Nigeria view as bad-mannered, ungodly, irreligious and sacrilegious?

At the same time, no matter how deep is the rejection of Euro-America or Western education by the Boko Haram group or any other persons, the use of violence to make demands or to bring any meaningful change is never a welcomed strategy in a democracy.

Many in the government have asked what do many in the North want. They want what all humans want as in being able to make an adequate living. They hate economic injustice and corruption in governance.

The challenge of the Jonathan presidency on security matters in the North is to find useful ways to shrink poverty, illiteracy, and poor work conditions, and by the way, the English language is not the only avenue for doing this.

All over the globe there are new trends in training and work development for youths, adults and women, and vested interest could use native dialects to train potential employees to understand the most effective ways to do different jobs, even the so called Euro-American type vocations.

Remember, it is the individuals who usually help the economy, in terms of consumer spending; as such money to help local economies usually comes from both the employers and consumers.

In the United States of America, China, and in Latin America and Spanish societies, business is generally done with the natives using many native words. So in terms of business and economics, and from work-skill point of view, the Hausa/Fulani/Gwari/Kanuri languages and cultures could be looked upon as a set of avenues to enhance
employment. We can even make these Northern languages essential for the purpose of learning by other Nigerians as it could enhance everyday commercial relationship and our overall social relations.

In the North, we can focus on transportation, farming, mining and other related projects that could enhance the local economy.

We need to engage in various local activities to drive the economy in the North, which could result into a sustainable local economy and possibly drive up economic prosperity in the North. And in the process curtail regional frustration and irritability and help regenerate non-sectarian ways of living. If we are to understand former U.S.

President Bill Clinton’s warning that widespread poverty is plaguing Nigeria as well as fueling the religious violence in the country, in the Northern part especially; let us begin to reduce security challenges in the North by leveling the inequality that now exist.

It is time we create exemptions in our judicial guidelines and begin to use the tribal law as in public shaming, flogging, and whipping only if for the purpose of a threat, to alert any Nigerian involved in public corruption or found guilty of corruption in public office, especially.

And here is why?

A recent report from the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) showed that a government official was caught hiding N2 billion cash in his house, so what do one tell that able bodied man or young adults, may be of Northern or Southern stock who is unsheltered, sleeping in the street, sleeping inside broke down vehicles and could still dance to a good music in the day time, and at night could become a part of an insurrection group with law enforcement officers as a collective or representational target, unfortunately.

What do you say to such a person?


~ John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D., is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association (NPA), Abuja. Jos5930458@aol.com 08126909839.

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