Nigeria May Become Somalia, Ivory Coast, Then Iraq

by Paul I. Adujie

Several centrifugal forces are pulling Nigeria in different directions.

The political opposition and opponents of President Obasanjo have ratcheted up their do or die battle for power, in order to end their political orphanage and in their obvious search for the plum usually found in public political offices. After all, government remains the sole growth industry outside of profiteering religions in Nigeria.

At another angle, Nigeria is being pulled by the so-called Biafrans, with their errant MASSOB and the plethora of dreamers that are awaiting the rebirth of the defunct or stillborn Biafra. MASSOB had sought to interfere in the just concluded census exercise in Nigeria and there are sputtering news of their frequent distributions of worthless paper currency that they dub the Biafra pound in market squares from Aba to Onitsha.

Then there is the Odua Peoples Congress or the OPC, a group that has been known as a violent ethnic militia with daggers at the throat of differing ethnic groups and at war with the federal government of Nigeria.

Additionally, there is MEND, the Niger Delta group that has resorted to kidnappings and hostage taking during the past several months. MEND appears to be most daring, the most organized and as well as the one possessing the most sophisticated weapons.

It therefore looks as if there are now different pockets of violent agitations in every region of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria. Added to all that is the ever combustible and fiery mixes of religious flare ups that have occurred too frequently in the recent past. There are now violent militias along ethnic lines.

These are all the incendiary ingredients that appear now to have coalesced into some ominous axis of evil, which is very discomforting, to say the least.

A valid comparison can now be made between these gathering storms in the various parts of Nigeria. They are spread across the major regions and ethnic groups and the similarities between these disagreements and the disagreements in Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Congo, Darfur Sudan, Haiti and of course, Iraq.

I honestly assumed that most Nigerians have watched, listened and learned from the unsavory experiences of the countries above mentioned. I thought too, that most Nigerians are also aware that there a vultures, openly waiting in the wings to devour us and leave our carcasses dry in the wind. We appear to be currently oblivious of all these, in our mutually induced zeal to annihilate each other. The vulture sees the oil, the loots to be had, without the requirements of invasion and occupation or re-colonization, because we are taking care of that in a self-destructive way. But are we willing to be dead rather than see the other Nigerian live? Are we as unthinking as that? Are we now Zombies

I have an eerie feeling, it is almost weird and sinister, a foreboding or harbinger of something unwanted, preventable and yet catastrophic and cataclysmic is about to happen in Nigeria, if our negative passions are not put in check

Whatever this is, whatever it might be, it is all completely preventable. But some Nigerians appear to be marching willingly towards the precipice, as if in acts to cut their noses to spite their own faces. Intelligent and discerning Nigerians, who are capable of doing right, are not doing so, but instead, they concentrate on parochial or myopic gripes which they hold on behalf of their subdivisions within Nigeria’s political arrangements. ACF is engaging in apparent political blackmail in the North, which it calls power shift. Then OPC is in the West, with numerous agitations that is not clearly defined, but distracting nevertheless.

Then MASSOB in the East, with a sort of an ambivalent and head spinning demand, the East demand the chance to realize genuine political aspirations of producing Nigerian president in 2007, while elements in the East also demand a Biafra republic. Which of the demands from the East is valid and possible in the circumstances? Can a foreign citizen (a Biafran be president of Nigeria? No!).

MEND introduced itself with drum-rolls and bangs! MEND have made demands regarding needed development, environmental degradation, enhancement of life and means of livelihood. All these are reasonable and reachable. But MEND has also made completely outrageous and outlandish demands. The nullifications of impeachment against DSP Alamie the former governor of Bayelsa, who they argue should be reinstated. MEND want Nigeria to overlook Alamie’s money laundering charges in Nigeria and England. These demands are nonstarters!

Now, when all these are added together, it tends to look very dangerous. It is as dangerous as, say, a room full of gun powder, petrol and a lighted fireplace. In the case of Nigeria, it as if the owner of the room is aware of the gunpowder, the owner of the petrol is aware of the gunpowder and the owner of the fireplace is equally aware of all the other equally dangerous elements that will combine to produce a volcanic eruption that will produce toxic ashes covering more than 150 million people. But all are beclouded by passionate bile.

It appears that everyone is aware of this literal seismic fault; it does appear as if everyone is aware that this could be the mother lode of all earthquakes. An earthquake that could measure 9.9 on the Richter scale and yet, everyone is preoccupied with their individual and group righteous indignations about their rights as owners, separately, of the room, the gunpowder and the fireplace. Even as it is obvious, that such insistence will consume and destroy everyone and everything

At the end of these pent up anger, these righteous indignations on the part of each owner, there will be no properties left to own and there might even be no owners alive to engage in any petty squabbles or quarrels about right to own room, gunpowder and the fireplace. As wrath produced a schism culminated in the shock and awe, volcanic eruptions put a permanent and yet undesirable end to the family quarrels over how to proceed and whose rights were first in time and turn. No one benefits in the end results.

Some Nigerians do not w

ant anarchy and disintegration of Nigeria, but on the contrary, some other Nigerians believe that the only end to their suffering and bondage is when anarchy and disintegration befall Nigeria.

In Nigeria currently, it is as if too many are too consumed in, consumed with their parochial interests defined by negative common denominators, such as region, religion and ethnicities. So that each and everyone, of them, are working separately to bring about, very possibly, annihilating volcanic eruptions of an indescribable magnitude while insisting on their aversion for tragedy and catastrophe.

But why do we have these coalitions of unlikely bedfellows? Why are too many Nigerians fixated on gathering these combustible incendiary elements or devices? Why do some choose gunpowder, fireplace in rooms without ventilations?

Why can’t the groups in Nigeria, with vested interests in what happens to Nigeria, with vested interest in the final eventual outcome of Nigeria, manage to eschew bitterness and therefore, avoid these magnified precipices? Why do they all seem, unwittingly, but most willingly, joyously walking off the cliff? Why are they engaging in what clearly appear as if an adventure in mutually assured destruction? There can be no benefits in assuring mutual defeat.

Why can’t some Nigerians see the benefits in our diversities, our size and our uniqueness? Nigeria must not self-destruct. We must accentuate the positive.

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Anonymous April 15, 2006 - 1:22 am

Faux pas! Its a family affair! Wait till you declare that the common igbo ladipo lagos spare part trader is no longer a nigerian and see what you'll get. Gideon orka coup failed because he excised some parts from nigeria. The situation is best summed up in the eternal words of our compatriot mr dokubo: nigeria is a nation where the worst never happens and the best is yet to come.

Cletus E. Olebunne April 14, 2006 - 8:42 pm

Paul, we need to ask why these groups exist. Once we know why and are able to provide solutions, then these groups will be history. For the first time I saw fear in your article, but Nigeria won't become Rwanda, Somalia or Ivory Coast if the leadership listens to the concerns of the people.

On Niger Delta: Obasanjo finally has admitted failure in the Niger Delta region. My hope is that it did not take the hostage taking and probably in an effort to gain support from the Niger Delta leadership for the perceived third term agenda. I truly hope not, because if it is, then a bad precedence is being set. In essence, the problem will continue because hostage taking and third term agenda are temporal, and it should not take violence such as hostage taking or selfishness in the perceived third term to hear people out in a democratic society. This would be deceit and perpetration.

It is equally sad that OBJ has just discovered the heartbreaking things in the region — collapse of community, community values and ethos, communal life and spirit, and that we are here to move forward (his words).

What is troublesome is the fact that after OBJ's admittance of failure, he claimed that his government had achieved some useful results since the 1999 meeting, 10 days after he assumed office. One wonders where is the thought behind the contradiction. Am I missing something here? I am sure not suffering from Alzheimers.

The only long term good solution concept that came out of the recent meeting is the fact that the root of the problem was identified as infrastructure, education and employment which when successfully developed and implemented will ensure peace, security and harmony. Whoa!!! Hello!!! someone just woke up. Extrapolate that solution concept to all of Nigeria, and you got yourself a peaceful society.

It is not enough to be remembered as a leader of an organization if it does not make positive difference in people's lives. Hence, the management or the leadership is as good as the performance. In the Niger Delta case, the leadership has admitted failure, therefore a zero performance.

On third term: I was not a believer that OBJ has the intention, but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck; it must be a duck. In this case it is quackery (fraudulent or ignorant pretender) democratic leadership. He can still walk away with dignity and respect, and let some of his good works be his legacy.

Cletus E.Olebunne

New Jersey, USA

Anonymous April 14, 2006 - 1:34 pm

It is no more a family quarrel.nigeria is at war! The earlier you know it the better.Why should Ijaws who own the oil be arrested and killed anyhow for speaking ?Is´nt it OBJ that said it with his mouth that the OPC has killed about 10,000 people.Why is he bent on killing Asari,Alamieyeseigha and Banigo.Why is he out to provoke certain tribes in Nigeria?If you are sincere with yourself you will note that the way Obasanjo treats the people in the Niger-Delta and South -East is not the same way he treats the Yorubas.I must tell you it is just for the patience of god and the people of the oil bearing communities Nigeria would have been history

Anonymous April 14, 2006 - 6:57 am

Dear Sir,

MASSOB…OPC…MEND…Arewa…Afenifere…Ogoni…Christian South…Muslim North. A Volatile Mix Indeed.

Somalia, Ivory Coast, Iraq? I Disagree

How About Bigger Rwanda!!!!!!!Scary Scenerio.

prince kennedy Iyoha April 13, 2006 - 10:30 am

Interesting article brother, but sad to realise that some selfish individual, pretanding to protect the interest of their constituancies, are wanting to bring about a replay of the late 60s. As democrats, It is sad to acknowledge that this things dont seems to happan when the military holds power.

The Niger Delta group, are taking up arms to agitate for an interest which i beleive is legitimate, but MEND should think of other avenue of protecting the interest of its constituancy by negociete, and not resulting to arms with the federal government, thereby desist from provoking or bringing about pains and lamentations to the people they are looking forward to protect.

It will be a relife to see the multinational companies realising that they have a role to help bring about a change, and improvement to the people they have milked to the bones for a long period. I strongly beleive that the situation of the niger delta people should improve. There is a Bini adege that says, for the body to be clean, both hands should help one and other beeing that the wealth of the country comes from that part of Nigeria, the federal government should also invest part of the wealth in the Niger delta area.

This administration most not fail to adress the concine of this people. On the contrary, he will be condeming them to insuficiancy and underdevelopment while they produced the wealth of the country.

Unlike the Ibos, they just dont have reasons to plug the country into another war, their agitation is selfish.


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