An informed narrative of the challenges facing the country at the moment would definitely be incomplete without a mention of the insurgency and the rehabilitation of the North East.. The two issues apparently have serious implications to the traumatized people especially the victims of the insurgency in the region. Also at stake is, the credibility of the elected representatives of the people at the Local, State and Federal levels.
This is because there is the widely held perception that their elected representatives have failed them as regards pushing for what would have addressed their plight. Defi nitely, without being told, controversies surrounding the rehabilitation of the North East will have huge political implications for political parties and those aspiring for elected positions in the forthcoming elections.
It is against this background that, rumours recently that the rebuilding of the North East has fallen into the stormy waters of politics, underfunding and intrigue is being examined. A very important point to note is, defeating the insurgency and rebuilding the North East are at the centre of the agenda of the ruling APC Government.
Th is underscores the importance of the success of the efforts to the Government of the day. Consequently, the rumors that the rebuilding eff orts are being stalled in various aspects are to say the least very disturbing. Th at is not all, concerns have been expressed over the non inclusion of vital components of an ideal Reconstruction effort into the blue print for rebuilding the Region.
This, coupled with the rumours that the activities of bodies charged driving the process have slowed down due to lack of funds has compelled many stakeholders to suggest that, something needs to be done urgently before the government efforts is derailed. The thinking is, more commitment to the effort should be demonstrated.
There are mounting agitations that some critical initiatives should be incorporated into the rehabilitation effort as was done in the case of the Niger Delta if the desired results are to be achieved.
It should be noted that, despite the fears being expressed the region is consoled by the fact that the Federal Government definitely cannot be blamed for the delayed take off and commitment to rebuild the North East. Some of the problems currently faced are self inflicted. Regardless, the time is now for the various constraints militating against the take off and sustaining the tempo of the rehabilitation efforts be removed in earnest.
Happily, the expectations of the people of the North East is high because of the belief that President Muhammadu Buhari is very passionate about rebuilding the Region. He has time and again restated this commitment as could be seen in his appeal to the President of the World Bank recently that was widely misconstrued. Nothing must therefore stand in his way to achieve the plans to rebuild the North East.
Beyond this, is the fact that the fortune of politicians and parties especially those hoping to win future elections in the region hinges to some extent on the rehabilitation effort should down on them that this is the time to redeem their credibility. Without doubt, the success or otherwise of rehabilitating the North East will definitely become a major campaign issue which determine the fate of political parties and aspirants.
Some keen watchers of the insurgency in the North East believe that the search for solutions should start first with, a good understanding of the predisposing factors that pushed sections of the people into extremism. A fact that cannot be ignored in this regard is, the North East especially Borno and Yobe states are, incidentally among the most backward in the country.
Th e literacy rate is extremely low thereby making a large population of youths susceptible to indoctrination. Also aggravating the situation is, the absence of strong industrial base and avenues for employment. The States and the Local Governments remain the only source of employment. Even at that, the precarious environment is not helped by the systematic collapse of the Local Government system in the States.
States and Local Governments in the aff ected States are today a shadow of themselves in terms of capacity and service delivery. Poor funding and lack of commitment could be attributed to this.
It is therefore not surprising that most of those attracted to the ideology of the insurgents are the unemployed, poor and marginalized who see it as an avenue to vent their anger on the status quo. Th e situation in some of the North Eastern states is a classical example of the nexus between leadership bankruptcy, pervasive poverty and insurgency.
Th e insurgency without doubt is partly as a result of, gross negligence, marginalization and frustration. What should be noted is, this perception rightly or wrongly invariably pushes the people especially the youths, into some form of rebellion. Furthermore, today, only very few of the impacted areas have benefi ted from any semblance of dividends of democracy. Most people aff ected by the insurgency are still wallowing in abject poverty.
Th e presence of government is far removed from them.
Th e resultant grievances, frustration and poverty therefore continue to engender sentiments inimical to peace in able bodied youths. Th is is why any strategy to check attraction to extremism should include strategies and polities to address the pervasive poverty and unemployment. Government at all levels must truly be seen to impact positively on the life of the citizenry.
In the quest for solutions to mitigate the socio-economic realities of the situation in the North East, the experiences of similar situations must be borrowed. Given the similarity between the situation in the North East and the Niger Delta, borrowing the measures proff ered to address the problems of marginalization, unemployment and alienation of the citizenry is apt. Before outlining the specifi cs, it is