By Jimoh Ibrahim, CFR
Osinbajo, at 64, Nigeria Vice President a Professor without a Ph.D. degree, must have come ahead of his age in the contemporary times of intellectual politics. In the few years to come, he will be out of politics, not out of the political system. He will be remembered for his thesis on human Security and the phenomenon of the state police.
Yes, Osinbajo may not achieve his desire for the state police for now. The government’s mathematical algebra characteristics (he is part of) and the irredeemable political strategy of individual self-esteem playing high in the face of human insecurity is one obstacle he may not overcome in the present time.
Osinbajo’s thesis is clear that state police will be fostering human Security and bring about much-needed peace for humanity. Osinbajo reacting to the elementary questions for students of Security in international relations who will usually debate: Security for in (or of) what, security from what, Security for what, and Security by what means?
Distilling those questions to an appropriate analysis will surely propel an answer that suggests a decentralising policing system in the converging federation of dotted ethnicity and scattered jurisdiction of an incredible human accident of one federation demanding for (golden) national unity. Suppose Osinbajo did not achieve the desire of his thesis now. In that case, it is too confident that at one time in the point of need. Nigeria (I predict will be begging for intellectuals to lead the government) in the face of the dangerous political lane, Osinbajo thesis will be a new strategy to go in a contemporary Nigeria (I mean the desire for state police).
The value for Security in the present time is indispensable considering the state of insecurity in Baghdad, Beirut, Gaza, Mogadishu, Grozny, Belfast. Again no one will forget so soon September 11 attack on the World Trade Center or the July 7 bombings on the London Underground or the not too far away from us the Boko Haram insurgency and the Nigeria military counterinsurgency. Or the state of insecurity passed on to us by the amalgamation of 1914 or the not too long after the Nigeria independence- the civil war of the Biafra nation attempt to secede from the circumstantial British inevitable federation of Nigeria. In all, there is enough for Osinbajo to be worried about.
Trajectorially, Thomas Hobbes reacted to the nature of Man in the state of nature. And, the desire for safety and peace necessitation the control of man by the leviathan. ‘there is no place for industry… no arts, no letters, no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’. I have reacted to Thomas Hobbes in the introduction chapter of my second Ph.D. thesis on Modern war.
I said, “A New war emerging in the face of the Nigerian leviathan’s undermined man’s dignity contrary to Hobbesian assertions—the Nigerian government’s failure to provide public goods to the emergence of the Boko Haram insurgency. The citizens contest their rights to life (now in danger), withdrawing their loyalty and support from the government and the armed forces. A praxis leads to a power shift from the state to the identified local group (Boko Haram), now defending their ethnic territory resulting in continuous violence between soldiers and civilians with mass civilian casualties, genocide, systemic rape, and unquantifiable property destruction fostering human insecurity. I further expressed the fear that: The experiences of clans, tribal groups, fractions, nations, and profit-seekers attempt to secede are noticeable from Tamils in Sri Lanker and Russian in East Ukraine.
Insurgency gaining control to power (Angola and Mozambique) or new wars arising from acquiring or having access to lucrative materials/ resources (Syria and Iraq) are comparative studies that strengthen the Nigerian insecurity dilemmas and may explain Osinbajo desire for state police.
If we secure individuals, we secure the state and the international geo-centric family. If we undermined the Security of one individual, we put the state’s peace at risk, and we invite war of the global system. We are venerable in modern times to think of anything in government more than Security. It is not the war of the missies’ attack of the common exchange of outdated AKA47, but there is a modern threat to Security that stays with us here daily, creating such challenges beyond our imagination. We already left the days of Tudor, Valois, Bourbon, Hapsburg, Wittelsbach, Hohenzollern, Savoy, Romanov, and so forth or the great dynastic families of Europe where the hegemon celebrate their martial rex est imperator in regno suo – ‘the king is emperor in his own realm’ the hegemon is not secure in the modern days if individual Security is compromised, the state have no rest in the face of abuse of human freedom and international war is echoing if human abuse is undermined. We do not know if the war will meet us in peace or we find peace after the war. If we act fast, it is in our interest to enjoy peace, and we cannot be policing from far away.
Osinbajo fear is the conversely the withdrawal of popular legitimacy when state profile reads red signal in security language, i.e., when states cannot satisfy these essential criteria, their statehood becomes suspect. States may fail when rival actors such as warlords or popular militias usurp some of their governmental powers, notably the monopoly of force. And with high crime rates, extreme corruption, a robust ‘black (unregulated) market,’ judicial ineffectiveness, military interference in politics, or cultural situations. Traditional leaders have more authority than the state in a particular area of competency or regional jurisdiction. Or summary, the inevitable institutional void converging, we may not travel too long to see. Domestic circumstances in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Sierra Leone, and Sudan have in recent years all been characterized by conditions of armed conflict, famine, disease, and refugees.
Consequently, these are widely acknowledged to be ‘failed states. And Nigeria inclusive (God forbid and as I do know Osinbajo praying in the redeemed church praxis) that Nigeria end in such a game plan. Again, about 2 billion people live in insecure states, with varying degrees of vulnerability to widespread civil conflict. In other words, for somewhere in the region of 2 billion men, women and children worldwide, national Security has failed to guarantee personal Security. This statistic is a damning indictment of the national security paradigm.
Our lovely Vice President, I know that Crystal champagne will not flow at your birthday celebration today, after a lot of fasting and in the lent period. Still, I bring greetings from my bachelor’s degree cohort at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) International Relations Department. I wish you many happy returns.
Jimoh Ibrahim, CFR is the Chief Executive Officer, Global Fleet and writes from London