Nationalism, Nationhood, Self Agitation and Aggression: Nigeria in Focus by Aondowase Frank-Kelvin

Nigeria is not the worst country on earth. Nigeria is equally not a failed nation-state incapable of defending its territorial borders. However, non-state actors have consistently challenged Nigeria's sovereignty. Nigerians are angry and agitated about themselves for having failed. They are angry and agitated about the government for being the cause of their failure and angry also about family members for showing little interest in their plight. 

The atmosphere is charged, with the general population exhibiting aggression on virtually every frustration. Citizens lament the absence of immediate measures to address their plight leading to the imminent loss of zeal in their daily routines. The result is widespread suicide, discontentment and aggression. 

Similarly, some Nigerians have picked up arms against the state, causing widespread havoc, and killings, and thereby rendering several populations homeless adding to the list of frustrations. The energy crisis resulting in the lack of Premium Motor Spirit has given rise to queues at filling stations thereby rendering small businesses exposed to shutdowns with loss of livelihoods. Many citizens have asked where to seek relief amidst law enforcement concerns with criminal elements at the peak of strategies poised towards killings, maiming and kidnappings.

These agitations have raised several questions about the citizens’ adherence to the concept of nationhood and nationalism. Adasu, AFK (2020),The Right to Self- Determination: South Sudan in Perspective , Mindfield Publishers, Abuja at page 30 sees the twin concepts of nationhood and nationalism as complex. Nationalism is an ideological movement aimed at attaining and maintaining the identity,unity and autonomy through social cohesion.

This encompasses actions that members of a nation take in seeking to sustain their political sovereignty. It also relates to the attitude that the members of a nation have when they care about their identity as members of that nation.To this end, where is the national identity of citizens to address the challenges of insecurity.

Nationalism typically features the supremacy of the nations claims over other claims to individual allegiance and full sovereignty as the persistent aim of it's political program. Here, have the citizens subordinated their interests for the general good of the Nigerian state. Territorial sovereignty has traditionally been seen as a defining element of state power and essential for nationhood. The concept of Nationalism and nationhood can be equated with patriotism. 

However, the writer has persistently questioned the resilience of the citizens with regards to patriotism. Should individual agitations and frustration overwhelm nationalism and nationhood?. If this is the position ,do Nigerians have any other country to turn to should catastrophe tear her citizens apart? The answer is in the negative. Nationalism must give birth to patriotism for national rebirth and cohesion to thrive. Without this, agitations and frustrations would continue to create discord within the general population.

I am of the view that nationalism may offer checks and balances over the threat posed by individual agitations resulting from frustration of citizens. Leaders should target programs aimed at addressing the plight of aggrieved citizens.

Politicians must particularly work in tandem with the local populations by identifying the intrinsic factors causing agitations with a view to addressing the root causes. National resources should be deployed for the overall benefit of the general population, while self-centred approaches to graft must be curtailed.

AONDOWASE FRANK- KELVIN ADASU PhD (Law) BL- The author is a security analyst, legal researcher and writer.

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