National Security, Democracy and Good Governance in post military rule Nigeria is the title of Dr Dan Mou's latest book. It is in two volumes; this is volume one. It belongs to the genre of Mou's tracts on Nigerian politics and society after military rule. First published by Author House in December 2016; the book is massive in volume, printed on glossy paper-back. The book highlights that Nigerian security, economy, political and social problems have been intractable since the civil war. It says Nigeria's challenging security, democratic and governance problems would get better depending on what happens to the 71 percent of the population still living below poverty line.
This is so, despite the billions of dollars realized from crude oil over the past half a century. This volume reveals that one does not have to be a prophet to predict that without good governance, team work and inclusive growth, Nigeria may witness civil disobedience, insurgency, kidnapping and the breakdown of law and order. Besides, more of her citizens will check out of the country to become migrants. Sadly, Dr Mou's predictions have come true as thousands of Nigerians perished trying to cross to Europe through the Mediterranean.
However, under such intense pressures, for self preservation, the Nigerian government will be forced by objective conditions to move against groups and classes in the country. Just as it is happening now, as President Muhammadu Buhari is exposing corruption such as the Ikoyigate and the like. Those who have long captured and hijacked the Nigerian state and its resources for their exclusive use are now being exposed.
National security's first volume has 14 chapters, three parts, 16 appendices and 856 pages. This book shows that Nigeria's social classes which were hitherto very docile, are now very active, even nearly becoming militant. They are now demanding the dividends of democracy. These new militants countrywide have long eluded the 71 percent of Nigeria's population now languishing below poverty line. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, in spite of the billions of petrol dollars Nigeria has garnered as revenue over the years, the majority of the people are still so poor that Nigeria is the worst country for a child to be born in as at 2016.
This book warns that the demands of the down trodden such as poverty alleviation, inclusive growth and equality before the law, if not met, will culminate in social fragmentation in the years to come. Thus, Mou is looking like a prophet as militancy grows by the day organized by the Oodu Peoples Congress, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra and the Indigenous People of Biafra. Indeed, Mou continues in his testament that within the Nigerian reality, the federal government will be forced to move against the corrupt elite which has ruined the country to the detriment of the Nigerian people. It is only after political, social and ideological reforms have taken place that national security, democracy and true federalism will become internalized by the Nigerian people.
It is after this projected social transformation that Nigeria would have started on the road to actualizing its destiny's role due to its size and prosperity as the authentic African giant. And we're living witnesses to the collapse of despotism around the world. This has aggravated agitation for political participation of the youth and the poor. Just before the publication of this book, participation revolution has engulfed Nigeria. However, Mou has addressed here, the form this revolution has assumed within Nigeria. Particularly limited is our knowledge of how and why these agitations and the demands for autonomy have come to affect our national security.
Indeed, this widespread dissatisfaction is bringing about great challenges to the government. But it is noteworthy that the army voluntarily relinquished power to civilians. They did not wait till we had our own Arab Spring before doing so. More so Mou is able to resolve some mistaken views of Nigerian politics. The first mistaken view is that national security cannot thrive in a democracy, that is to say only the military can guarantee security. Secondly, that our economic conditions affect national security. Here, Mou asserts that a democratic environment is a conducive place to pursue the goals of national security and good governance. Finally, poor security arose due to weak political institutions and poor leadership. Actually, leadership determines the quality of our national security,democracy and good governance.
Severe economic conditions such as depression generate cleavages and class based conflicts which undermine security. Each group attempts to capture state power to favour their exclusive interests. As the prosperity of a nation shrinks, these cleavages increase and the struggle becomes more intense. Corruption also exacerbates instability as public servants engage in primitive accumulation of capital for their private benefit.
It is such failings that have culminated in Boko Haram insurgency and militancy in the Niger Delta. Mou reveals that in Nigeria good governance means social welfare, consequently,not only corruption is ravaging the country, disparity in income is also subversive of national security. Unfortunately, Nigerians have come to realize the fallacy of prosperity trickling down that will cushion their suffering. What is more the state managers are restrained by the thieving elite from taking drastic measures that will provide succour for the people.
To that end budget surpluses were venerated. It was used to slow down economic development. This practice of hoarding money slowed down industrial growth and our growth has been declining since 1993. The author, Dr Mou is currently the chair of Centre for Poverty Eradication in Abuja, Nigeria. A graduate of political science of the University of Ibadan, he obtained his PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, retired from public service as Adviser to National Security Advisers of three different administrations in Nigeria. He has written seven books on public policy analysis.