However, an attempt was made between 1985-1998 to hijack political power away from the Family. In as much as we are never a fan of Ibrahim Babangida but we need to recognise his contribution to the present decay of the Family. IBB, as a faithful disciple of Machiavelli, single-handedly wrecked irreparable structural and psychological damage on the Family. The bungling affair recorded in Agura Hotel is a testimony that indeed the havoc set in motion by IBB has gone very deep into the marrow of the Family. The inept group that held the 1999 presidential aspirants Don Obot Etiebet, Alabo Graham Douglas, Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo, Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme and Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo to ransom are the pretenders. The real Family does not do business that way.
With the Dasuki-Maccido succession imbroglio that was covertly orchestrated by IBB and later crudely finalised by Sanni Abacha, the real Family has been sent under. And we believe it is because heaven has taken the covering off the Family, that is why the family is dying and that is why there can be a future of equality, justice and freedom for Nigerians. As a drowning Family about to sink and die, there shall be the tendency to hold on to any straw, to battle recklessly and desperately for life and to choke life out of all those that are foolish to think that the Family can be rescued. It is finished. The die is cast. The golden age of the Family is over. Like all things in life, the Family has had its moment of glory and it should be allowed to pass on where all mortals go.
Inevitability of Sovereign Conferences
These are the background facts that informed the stringent call for Sovereign Conferences. We were aware of the stranglehold of the Family on the political life of Nigeria. We understood the facts of history that it is only by bloody revolution that this type of tyranny could be redressed. We are aware of the genesis and the nature of events that led to the American Revolution, to the French Revolution, to the Russian Revolution and even to the Mohammed Ali’s modernisation revolution in Egypt in 1805. We knew how Ali’s revolution murderously wiped away the Mamluk of Egypt. The Mamluks, like the Family, were an elite class of tyrannical military force of occupation earlier sent to Egypt as slave warriors by the Ottoman Empire. Before Ali’s revolution they had hitherto held the people of Egypt to ransom. Karen Armstrong (2000) while commenting on the Mohammed Ali’s revolution in Egypt notes that, “It seems in order to bring a people into the modern world, a leader must be prepared to wade through blood. In the absence of stable democratic institution, violence may be the only way to achieve strong government.”
The need to avoid bloodshed and disaster in Nigeria informed the suggestion we made for the types of Sovereign Conferences proposed. If violence and bloodshed is needed to build a strong government, thank God we are not interested in building a strong government but we are keener than ever to build numerous strong civil societies in Nigeria. There is no law that says mankind must always go the route of violence, blood letting, persecution, wickedness, war, assassination etc. to dispose of tyrants. We are also aware of the beastly level that violence can take a nation. A look at Britain and Northern Ireland, Spain and the Basque Homeland and Liberty (ETA), Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers, etc. tells the story that even when the cause is just, violence can never be a just option for redressing injustice, enslavement and inequality.
We are suggesting a novel approach that has never been tried anywhere on planet earth. We are pleading, urging and even begging Nigerians to please give this suggestion a chance to proof itself. The proposal may look too common, too pedestrian but still it might have enough juice of common sense in it. Let us go the route of common sense. Political theories from textbook are very good at stimulating and awakening the mind but we must allow our awakened minds to cook up these theories to the relevant taste and flavour of the culture and attitudes we are trying to influence. There is no way we can import the political ideologies of Britain, or America or Russia or Saudi Arabia or any other culture into Nigeria and expect a good yield of harvest. Each culture must be allowed to sow and germinate the seeds relevant to its environment. Just like in nature, there are some very good seeds that grow effortlessly in temperate climates but will wither away in the tropical climate and vice versa. This is the truth of life. The Family failed to understand this fact of life and so its incursion into Nigeria since 1804 and its inglorious effort to use bloodshed, fear, intimidation and patronage to plant and hold political power in Nigeria is an unnatural exercise. It is bound to come to nought sooner or later.
We shall be pleading with those who believe in the religious and political ideologies of the Family in Nigeria to reconsider this political game plan. This game can only succeed under a cultivated and sustained climate of fear and ignorance. However, as soon as the light of knowledge begins to shine on the polity, this macabre political arrangement is bound to collapse. We shall be pleading again with these believers not to do anything foolish. It is important for each of you to begin to fight the true Jihad. The true Jihad is the fight to free your souls from the poison that political religious leaders have fed into your mind. The true Jihad is the search for freedom from the love of power, from the desire to enslave others and from the use of injustice to perpetrate evil in the name of religion. This is the true Jihad that this writer will humbly recommend to you as a worthy fight.
Please do not get involved with a Jihad for the acquisition of territorial political power or a Jihad of false belief that there is something called a Muslim country or a Jihad of hate of other fellow Nigerians who refused to accept the incomprehensible dogma of the reformed political Islam. The true Jihad should be a spiritual struggle that shall make you submit willingly and freely to the unseen power of the creator of heaven and earth. The true Jihad should be the spiritual struggle that shall free your soul from the domineering control of those that use the name of Allah to enslave others. It is the struggle that is expected to emancipate you spiritually and mentally from the psychological and political manipulation of the so-called ulema and other religious zealots and lovers of power, money, position of honour and prestige. This is the true Jihad we shall recommend to all the followers of Islam who have not been blindfolded completely by the lies of the spirit of Shaitan.
It is important to draw this lesson home clearly. This writer will like to ask, if any true Muslim can sincerely argue against the fact that the total political philosophy and practices of the Family are in anyway short of idolatry? Is there any way a true Muslim can excuse the Family from the woes of Nigeria if we remember that they have willingly gave unabashed support to all the despots and tyrants that graced the political landscapes of Nigeria? Can the acts of the members of the Family that ‘arrogate to themselves divine power and behaved as though they were God, lording it over their subjects’, not be construed as idolatry, ‘a cardinal sin in Islam’? This is a serious matter and it has to be brought into the open. The use of religion, a noble and sacred philosophy, to pervert justice, to institute inequality and to deny others of freedom is contrary to the teaching of the prophets and teachers. These are the issues. Let us face them now or remain joyously at bliss in our slave colony.
The Nigerian political situation is like the case of a microbiologist who sends out a warning, “Do not eat this food. It is full of dangerous and deadly micro-organisms.” An ignorant fool replies, “Don’t be silly, I cannot see any germ here. Give the food to me. I will eat it and nothing shall happen to me.” Tell Nigerians about the contribution of the Family to the underdevelopment of Nigeria; they say, don’t be paranoid. Tell Nigerians that this Family is deliberately very invisible but has tentacles that reach into every part of our political life; they say, you are seeing things. Tell Nigerians that there is a diabolical Mafia clique that runs the political affairs of Nigeria, albeit in the shadow; they tell you, now you have lost it. Remind Nigerians to think about June 12 and the circumstances surrounding the annulment and the fact that up till today nobody knows who authored the unsigned Press Release written on a plain sheet of paper that annulled the election; they say, let us move forward and forget the past. Unfortunately, the past shall continue to haunt Nigeria until we do the right thing. The past must be revisited with open mind and common sense. It is under this desire to know the truth about the past that the peoples and nations of Nigeria can be set free.
There are other issues we would have loved to raise in support of our uncompromising position on the need for Sovereign Conferences. As it were these other issues can be subsumed under Agura Hotel Affair. We sincerely believe that the need to resolve the hegemony of Nigeria on the side of Common Nigerians and the commonwealth is the only project worth embarking upon in Nigeria at this moment in history. There are several important issues like religion and the constitution, corruption and government institutions, election and impeachment, debt burden and national independence, the illusion of rotational presidency, etc. that are doing the rounds among articulate Nigerians. Although, these issues are topical but on a closer analysis, they are mere symptoms of the unresolved national questions that pertain to the suppression of freedom, equality and justice of Common Nigerians. We must, individually and collectively, find answers to the question of what the true status of Nigerians is, are Nigerians slaves or free men and women? We need to know who really owns Nigeria. We need to have answer to the question of who are those exactly wielding political powers in Nigeria? And we need to resolve all the grey areas of the question of fundamental human rights of Nigerians to true freedom, equality, justice and self-determination. These are the questions we must address before we can move forward as nations and peoples. This is the larger picture.
The Larger Picture
It is important for every Nigerian and particularly our opinion makers to see the larger picture of Nigeria’s problems so that we can stop beating about the bush of inanity. The groups gaining from the status quo have a fondness for manipulating public opinion and national discourses. These Nigerians have perfected the skill of political subterfuge by their foxy ability to throw selected worthless bones at the chattering Nigerians to distract their attention from fundamental issues. And while the uninformed Nigerians are struggling and maiming each other over the dry bones the manipulators would have secured another round of cruel bashing and time to rip off innocent Nigerians. These clever Nigerians have learnt from the master of the trade, the political activity of divide and rule and of setting brother against brother, in order to reap where the manipulators have never sown. Under this inauspicious political climate, when we find fellow nationals, who claim to understand the problems of Nigeria, suggesting as solution the reformation of the administration of governance; the rotation of presidency by zones; the reformation of a deliberate faulty electoral process, etc. without a thought for resolving the status of the sovereignty of Nigerian nations or for carrying out a fundamental review of the entire political structures, it is clearly to insult and ridicule the intelligence of Nigerians.