This is a season of the absurd. It has been one of a serious test and soul searching for us, for Nigeria. We’ve had moments that tested our very existence as an entity, but this seems to beat them all. At the moment US troops, including some FBI agents, are probably in the country helping our military to search for “our missing girls.”
The number of the abducted schoolgirls has risen from more than just a hundred to 234, and then recently to 276. We just can’t tell the number. But is there anything we really know? If you ask me, I will say this is a big mess. It questions the integrity of our institutions. And Nigerians are beginning to ask questions.

How come some of the girls could walk back to Chibok from the camp where they were taken to in just a night, yet our military could not locate the camp? Why didn’t the sect claim they kidnapped the girls until the first lady’s inquisition? Who are the parents of these girls?
How come none of the parents of the said girls attended the meeting of the first lady? You may ask, “Why would they attend it if it took Mr. President two weeks to convene a meeting to search for the missing girls?” But then if they snub such opportunity, what other choice do they have? Wouldn’t the love for a missing daughter override any sense of anger or disappointment?
If the reports from some quarters are true, why did the Borno State Government give each of the families whose daughters were kidnapped a million naira? Is it compensation for the “lost” of their daughter or for what? This certainly does not look good. There is an ominous cloud in the air; we don’t know what it will birth. May be time will tell.
It is an acknowledged fact that home grown terrorism is a symptom of a failed state. Before now, we have had the problems of militancy in the Niger Delta, rather than dig for the root of the problem and for a lasting solution we did a quick fix – a very good one– and patted ourselves on the back celebrating a success whose foundation is not sure.
In fact, we so celebrated the Niger Delta militancy solution that we thought it is also the panacea to the ongoing insurgency; we thought it’s the answer to all our problems.
Have we heard the last from Niger Delta militancy? I’m not sure. And now we are battling with Boko Haram. After Boko Haram what else will we battle with as a country? We have refused to cure the sickness that’s why we are battling with different symptoms. Symptoms that gets worse with time!
Boko Haram, Niger Delta militants, corrupt judiciary, epileptic government agencies, moles in security institutions, thieving and worthless political class, unbridled corruption and capital flight, deep seated mutual suspicion among ethnic groups, and more are all symptoms of a failed state. It is all a structural problem.
Why don’t we want to face this challenge and deal with it? At least start working on it like every other nation serious about nation building.
A time comes in the life of a people when the question is whether to be or not to be. It is a question of ideology, of vision. It is a search for identity. Who really are we? This is one question we’ve not been able to answer. Worse still it does not look like we are ever willing to find an answer.
Nigeria is a political contraption of strange bedfellows put together by the British overlords. She is probably the only one left among such enterprises by Britain, others have all disintegrated.
There are two essential ingredients that help a multi-ethnic state like ours in the struggle for nation building. Unfortunately both are missing in the Nigerian experience. The first is a shared history of a long painful experience. This could be in form of war, slavery or systematic annihilation that births a revolution of a transnational character and a vision.
Such shared history of a long painful experience will serve as a uniting force for the peoples who would love to come together to overcome a common enemy. This also will help them in formulating a strong ideology of common identifiable values that give expression to their actions and pursuits.
Nigeria has never had such experience. We got our independence on a platter of gold. There is nothing we could put our finger on as the uniting force binding the Yoruba, the Tiv, the Ijaw, the Igbo, the Efik, the Hausa, the Fulani, and many others together. Nothing! Thus our salvation would depend on the second element.
The second is a federating system that recognizes the uniqueness of the component units, while making for the pursuance of common goals. Such a federating system must have the following features.
(1) A desire by the different groups to come together and stay together; (2) every federating unit must be economically viable; (3) the federating units should emerge along ethnic lines; (4) no federating unit should be so big proportionally to others as to be able to dominate others.
                                                 To be continued…
written by: Jucson Uko 
Jucson Is a communications and international relations scholar with keen eyes on global trends. As an author, Jucson analyses developmental issues in a simple and humanistic manner that recognizes man as the major actor of social change.

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