Unemployment and idleness are two dangerous factors that breed corruption, social disorder, crime, resulting in insecurity and violence in every society. Insecurity negates growth and development; the absence of which a state is enmeshed in continual fear, and danger of violent death. It was an English philosopher, Thomas Hobes who described life outside society as solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. The current state of insecurity under a governor that careless about the afflictions and fears of his constituent can only be likened to that in Hobes philosophy of life – without government.
As it is known today, a state or society cannot be secure and prosperous unless it is governed by a people-oriented leader and real statesmen and women with the interest of the citizenry at heart. Those who should know believe that insecurity affects economic growth by drying-out investments, increases unemployment and dwindles government revenue, amongst other downsides to it. Despite these effects, government capital expenditure and security vote on internal security are not deployed to tackle the hydra-headed problem in Edo state under Governor Obaseki whose popularity among the voters of the state is now a thing of the past.
Insecurity generally disrupts development of nations and societies. Denney (2013) observed that the relationship between insecurity and underdevelopment is much stronger than the relationship between peace and development. That is, where there is conflict there is often underdevelopment.
According to official data, unemployment rate has been on steady increase in Edo since the last three years when Governor Obaseki took over leadership of the state. Labour force statistics published by the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the rate of unemployment in the third quarter for Edo state in 2018 increased to 25.1 per cent, from 19.6 per cent in the same quarter of the previous year.
The labor force population was estimated at 2,095,235 an increase of 116,032 from Q3 2017. The total net (created minus lost) number of employed persons (full time and part-time/underemployed) decreased by 13,607 persons within Q3 2017 and Q3 2018. Although the underemployment rate declined by 1.06 percentage points from 19.5 per cent in Q3 2017, to 18.4 per cent in Q3 2018, no serious government would be careless about a rising case of unemployment in its state considering the known threat or implication of such situation. According to the 2018 Labor Force Survey conducted by NBS in the third quarter, Nigeria had a labor force of 90.47 million nationwide.
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu rightly said recently that the current administration of Governor Obaseki receives over huge amount of money monthly as security vote, but gives the police little. One thing is clear, an underfunded police force cannot effectively fight insecurity. But Obaseki seem oblivious of that obvious fact.
“The present government has not been able to show any serious commitment to the security funding of the state. Every month, the governor collects millions as security vote and gives the police little. That does not show commitment to security. The amount is not even enough to fuel vehicles”, he said.
Cases of attacks and reprisal attacks of high dreaded by banned court groups in the state have been on steady to the bewilderment of everyone, while the government turns the other way. Hundreds of lives have been lost that daredevil act while the Obaseki-led government appears helpless. For instance, no fewer than 10 persons were killed in a single day within Benin City as rival cult groups, Aye and Eiye confraternities engaged in reprisal attacks earlier this year. Nothing was done apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators. The situation goes unabated.
Besides that, kidnaping, political thuggry and armed robbery have been on the increase since Obaseki took over government, especially since the last two years.
More resources need to be dedicated to combatting insecurity with anticipated sincerity on the part of the state administrators to securing lives and properties. That doesn’t interest Obaseki and his team.
His apparent failure to provide the desired dividend of democracy to the people of Edo and create jobs for the energetic and hardworking teaming youths is one that has not only created insecurity and high rate of criminality back, it has also won the state an embarrassing laurel as the state with the highest number of illegal immigrants to Europe, America, Asia and even the Middle East.
According to official information, about 50 per cent of those who migrate out of the state are moving to escape economic hardship/poverty.
Many Edolites are also being forced or tricked to emigrate through child or women trafficking under. The state is ranking high in insecurity, political thugry, impunity and other security threats because the current administration is hell-bent on breeding high crime rate through unemployment. It is evidenced that the state has practically refused to create the enabling environment for private sector to thrive, failed to create direct or indirect jobs or provide welfare package for the aged and vulnerable persons.
As it stands, Edo state is not only leading in political thuggry, social disorder, prostitution, armed robbery, kidnapping and internet fraud, it is now suffering severe food crisis under Governor Obaseki.
Even in his immediate locality, Obaseki has failed. In a research by Vivian O Omuemu, Efosa M Otasowie, Ugochukwu Onyiriuka of the Department of Community Health, College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin, Edo State gave credence to that. The research unveiled the prevalence of food insecurity in Egor local government area of the state. According to the research, the prevalence of food insecurity was 61.8 per cent. Food insecurity was higher among households with younger heads. Such an alarming figure in one local government within the Benin metropolis is an indication of prevailing hunger, starvation and grand poverty is communities and local governments that are distant from the seat of power.
The expectation is that government will support farmers (both subsistence and commercial) under different programmes like agripreneurs to ensure food security in the state. But that can only be so in the minds of those who think Edo should be great again.
Inability to have both physical and economic access to sufficient food by individuals and households has been shown to cause predictable reactions and responses such as feelings of uncertainty or anxiety over food supply, perception that food is of insufficient quantity and quality for members of household, reduction of food intake and hunger.
One fact Obaseki and his lieutenants need to know is that improved food security and nutrition are necessary for the achievement of the first Millennium Development Goal (eradication of extreme poverty and hunger) as well as providing an enabling environment for achieving the other seven Millennium Development Goals while the progressive achievement of those goals also will further enhance food security and improved nutrition. Failure to appreciate that fact has dragged the state down to its knees.
The influencing factors are search of new employment opportunities and better livelihood options, high unemployment rates, relatively low wage rates, desire to improve personal economic prospects, political instability and conflict, poor working conditions and poor infrastructure.
Edo United for Homeland Empowerment, one of the phony political groups loayl to Obaseki expressed worry over the deteriorating security situation in Edo State few months ago, saying incidences of kidnapping, cult-related killings and political thuggery have assumed alarming proportion.
its president, Frank Ekhator who noted the unabated kidnapping, cult-related killings and thuggery in Edo, said, “Edo United for Homeland Empowerment condemns such criminal and barbaric acts and call on the government and security agents to intensify efforts at nipping the problems in the bud.”