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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