2002: National Year Of Sovereign Conferences: A Mid-Year Review

by Sam Abbd Israel

Dear Fellow Nigerians

It is necessary to re-affirm our commitment to the project of the National Year of Sovereign Conferences. On this understanding, there is a need to render a Mid-Year Review of events in order to keep each other abreast of this important matter. There is a saying in the South West of Nigeria, it says it is the duty of a diviner to relay the message of an oracle to a consulting deaf repeatedly and loudly too. It is the contention of this writer that the messages on the need for national sovereign conferences cannot be delivered as a one-liner item. It has to be repeatedly delivered and more loudly too at every instance until the non-listening or hard-of-hearing Nigerians hear and understand the message. If there is any serious sickness in the world today and particularly in Nigeria it is the cultivated sense of apathy by majority of the human race to issues of political power and the governance or administration of their societies.

The Common People of the world have carelessly and thoughtlessly relinquished their rights, responsibilities and powers to a small cabal of scumbags of the world that go by the name politician. In their naivety, the Common People expect these dregs of humanity in every nation to handle the affairs of their lives with equanimity, fearlessness, fairness, and justice. Since the Common People have refused to understand the type of personality lurking in the heart of politics their expectations, trusts and hopes have largely gone unrewarded. It is high time Nigerians accepted this simple truth that politicians cannot be trusted with power, money and honour. Politicians must be policed, challenged, scrutinised, monitored, and supervised at every level of decision-making. They are wheeler-dealers. Wheeler-dealers are not known to have any moral scruple or ethical principles of any kind. They flow with the wind of power and graft. If only the people of the world can understand this fact, then the idea of transferring the responsibility for the management of one’s life or the entire societies of a nation to the politicians shall cease forthwith. Politicians are not worthy of our trust and faith.

As the year 2003 approaches commentators and futuristic writers have started raising the alarms of probable anarchy in the land of Nigeria. There is gradually developing across the nation fears of all kinds. There is fear in the house, fear in the street, fear in the woods and fear in the highways. There is fear everywhere. Political hoodlums, thugs, gangsters have taken over the land. They are threatening to kill and they have already started killing indiscriminately. These hoodlums are found everywhere even at the highest level of governance. They are the social charmers who dressed to kill to woo our affection and praise. They are the killers of the economy who robbed the innocent citizens of their meagre means of sustenance. They are the killers of morality who scandalously eroded our moral and ethical values. They are the daylight robbers who contracted our resources to local and international fraudulent businessmen and women. They are the millionaires and billionaires who enriched themselves through kickbacks and up-front payments from ridiculously over-invoiced and over-inflated government contracts awarded to their collaborators-in-shame.

These odious groups of Nigerians are not and have never been interested in the people of Nigeria. They are the birds of passage and scavenger plenipotentiary. They are parasites. The status quo of Nigeria soothes them fine. They have no interest in democracy either nascent or full-grown. I am sorry for the combative introduction on the politicians. This writer has a moral allergy to the word politician. The word has never failed to draw out moral outrage in me anytime I come across it. Now having taken that load of anger out of our chest, what is the current position of power relations in the political fronts in Nigeria?



The month of May took us back to the memory lane particularly to the events that took place 36 years ago. Analysts and commentators used the opportunity to remind Nigerians again of the horrors that got us to where we are at the moment. The year 1966 was a watershed year that brought the worst out of Nigerians. It was the year of butchering, maiming, ethnic cleansing, hate and war mongering; the year when the blood of innocent Nigerians were shed needlessly and mercilessly; and the year when reason and wisdom deserted Nigeria. It was the year when the great darkness descended on Nigeria. We are yet to see any ray of light in the horizon and neither are we seriously searching for lighters to light the candles of hope and love that shall dissipate the darkness that has enveloped our lands and souls. However, it is needful to remark that without revisiting that period of our history with common sense, love, repentance and forgiveness, it shall continue to haunt us.

It was therefore disheartening to read the comments, analysis, memoirs, and history written by Nigerians, – not foreigners – that tend to eulogise these callous episodes in any form. That tends to see heroes in these atrocities. And that tend to see any form of justice in the catalogue of mayhem that the children of perdition inflicted on Nigerians. We are still reeling in psychotic delirium that this period left with us. It has led many of us to a state of perpetual insanity. It has made the winners more sadistic and more arrogant with the power that the episode gave them. It has made the victim hungrier for revenge, retribution, restitution and justice . Since all these expectations are not forthcoming, the victims have become cynical of the Nigeria project. They have become hateful of all those who rode to power, money and fame on the back of 1966. And the victims have become understandably more thin-skinned of any careless and insensitive comments on the dastardly episodes of 1966 and its aftermath. The victims have become inconsolable about the untold cost of the human and material losses they incurred and of the psychological pains that have been their lot in the political arrangement called Nigeria.

The madness is still raging and that is why one feels terribly angry when those who should know better are of the erudite opinion that the past is the past. And that all the undercurrent issues that pertain to that period should be consigned to the past and forgotten. Foul. The past can never be “past” until there is a justifiable resolution after thorough analysis of the causes of the problems. Until there is clear unambiguous understanding of the issues that sprung from that period. Until there is a political will to compensate the injured, to heal the wounds, to console the widows and the orphans, and to repay all those that were raped, robbed and pillaged. And until there is a spiritual will to forgive all that accepted and acknowledged their responsibilities and all that showed remorse in the despicable parts they played in that year, the past can never be the past.

It is obvious Nigerians really haven’t understood the amount of irreparable damage that that period caused to the polity. If writers do, they would have shown more sympathy to the victims of that episode and they would have given the injured more opportunity to tend their wounds and more time to heal properly before engaging in the distasteful debate of a one-sided perspective history of 1966. This is one of the fundamental issues that make the project of Sovereign Conferences inevitable regardless of the strong oppositions from the so-called patriots.

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