By: Prince Ugo
A recent research by a UK risk analysis firm, Maplecroft published by CNN. showed that growing levels of conflict, terrorism, and the toppling of regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as political violence in East Africa, are driving a rise in political instability not only in those sun continents, but worldwide.
The report showed that since 2010, one in ten of the countries surveyed have experienced a significant increase in the level of short-term political risk which includes “governments asserting control over natural resources, regimes being ousted by popular uprisings and the expropriation of foreign investors’ assets.”
This is a confirmation of the fact that the level of political instability affects the business environment in countries and the extent of its negative impact is according to the level of the severity of the situation in that area.
Not surprisingly, Syria and Somalia, which have become notorious for political upheavals currently have the worst business an investment climates in the world as nobody wants to enter or do business under a highly risky and volatile environment.
The rest of Africa has not fared better as there have been scores of regime changes, attempted coups and other forms of political activism that have given rise to fear and trepidation in the last decade leading to malnutrition, hunger and starvation
Recently, the Nigerian Army Chief, LT. General Tukur Buratai raised an alarm over a possible coup in the country and warned officers and men in the military who have been meeting with politicians in apparent attempt to stage a coup, to perish any thought about a possible regime change in the country and to be loyal only to the Nigerian State.
This intervention has cast the Nigerian military, hitherto seen as hungry for power and desperate to grab power in a different light, it has revealed another aspect of the military institution showing that its men and officers are patriotic, selfless and progressive minded.
It has also put a lie to the claim that they are self serving and lacking in civility who always prosper in at atmosphere of chaos.
The Nigerian military has proven that it’s support for democracy, the deepening of the rule of law and strengthening of all democratic institutions in the country are not just values it believes in but ones it is prepared to go any length to uphold.
This is against the backdrop of the fact that an incursion into the country’s political space would have been beneficial to few in the ranking of that institutions who would have distributed top political positions to themselves and used other plum positions to settle a section of the restive civilian populace as was the practice in the past.
But the Nigerian military this time around, chose to look beyond personal gains and assessed the impact on the entire nation and seeing the effect another round of uncertainty would have on the ranking of Nigeria among the comity of civilised nations, the confusion it would bring into the Nigeria political space and the attendant hardship on the populace due to the instability that would be entrenched, chose to act in the most patriotic manner by exposing the intentions of a few rotten eggs within its fold.
It is said that Nigeria would have advanced further than this in both democratic experience and the shaping of its destiny if not for the first military incursion into politics in 1966.
Like most adventures of that nature, not only did the coup not help solve the problems it identified, it further raised suspicions among the various components that make up Nigeria and the ensuing 30 month civil war which shook Nigeria to its foundation.
Subsequent attempts at regimes changes have also had their negative impacts. Then overthrow of Yakubu Gowon by Murtala Muhammed gave cause for middle belt officers led by Bukar Dimka, to try and stage a counter coup leading to unnecessary bloodshed and tension within the country.
The coup that brought Buhari in as head of state in 1983 was sacked unceremoniously with another that brought in Babangida in less than two years worsening the political climate then.
So the nature of coups the world over especially in Africa and Nigeria has not been palatable.
They serve to weaken democracy,, usher in dictatorship, destroy the business climate, introduce fear and in the end leave matters worse than they were.
That is why this recent revelation by the military on the attempt by few to take us back to those dark ages and the effort it has so far made to check such adventure must be commended. If other countries and indeed Nigeria had in the past had such early warning signs from their military such incidents would have been averted and the world would have been the better for it.
Within the period of this administration alone, the Nigerian military has fought fierce battles to keep Nigeria one by degrading and weakening the base of insurgency in Nigeria.
It has sacrificed many of its gallant men and women as well as officers to achieve that.
It has also lived up to the promise of the current administration to rescue the 276 school girls abducted in Chibok, Borno State in 2014 and has succeeded in rescuing alloys half that number so far with indications that it would more in that direction in the not too distant future.
Within the same period, the Nigerian military has also succeeded in reoriented its personnel to interact and interface with the civil populace in a manner that is a fresh breath away from its previous image of an institution that is intolerant to orderliness and decorum
Add to this its recent donation to Nigeria, this exposure of a coup and the stern warning for men and officers to steer clear of politics and you will see a refreshing, highly professional and patriotic institution emerging.
Nigeria must do all it can to sustain this attitude in the military and support the emerging culture of its officers for the country and it’s democracy to grow to a stage where Nigeria would become a reference point for good governance, strong institutions and infrastructure development .
Ugo, peace and conflict resolution expert writes from Canada Water, United Kingdom.