Nigeria Needs Unity!

Nigeria suffered an economic downturn throughout the military era, and citizens were particularly hit hard. The Nigerian community is often demanding, but fragile, because social ties are sustained not only through legal norms and common self-interest but also through the affective government-citizen’s relationship. According to political scientist Lewis Austin, “everyone must be consulted informally, everyone must be heard, but not in such a way that the hearing of different opinions develops into opposition”.

The historical development of nation states have proved that we can not develop as a nation unless we condition ourselves to be able to engage each other in a more civilized and logical manner since it is through this metamorphosis that we can harness reasoning in the market of ideas for our leadership and our development accordingly . Hatred and spite which have dominated the thinking and behavior of most Nigerians can not guarantee growth. Contrarily, they can at best destroy us as a people denigrating us the opportunity to develop as a nation notwithstanding our immense human and natural recourses.

Nigeria is what it is because of our inability to accommodate each other and function as a group. Our development, historically, has been slow compared to other nations because we can not function with a free conscience without introducing the politics of tribalism and sectionalism. What we are as Nigerians is the body picture of the Nupe, Hausa, Igbo, Fulani, Yoruba, Ikwere, Igala, Tiv, Ijaw, and Ibibio, Ogoni, Anang, Ishekiri, Urobo etc. This is the beauty of our young democracy and we have to condition ourselves to come to the realization that we are one people with a common destiny. Our diversity is a gift of nature that we have to appreciate and admire because we come together with different strengths and characteristics.

The current status on internet feuding among Nigerians is not just a disgrace but very demoralizing, barbaric, uncouth and uncivilized. It is an insult to our culture and an affront to our parental teachings. Hatred which we have exhibited lately through our comments on the internet is an abominable behavior which undermines our potential to grow as a nation. It is a character trait which is not only ungodly and but also denigrate us as Nigerians the chance to get best from our potentials. We are nothing short of hypocrites when we go to Church as usual every Sunday or go to the Mosque on Friday and simultaneously perpetuate these hideous acts of hatred on a daily basis. Shame on all those who are involved in these senseless and indecent acts.

I am not advocating for unconditional love among Nigerians but unity of purpose and ideas for the remolding and rebuilding of our nation. It is therefore imperative that we engage each other in a civilized and mature way epitomizing cultured people and qualities that identify us as Nigerians. It is true that we can not be on the same page on every issue yet it is still our responsibility to conduct ourselves in a respectable way that reflects the image of our parents.

In is important for us to understand that people who generate articles only attempt to introduce a discussion with their opinions on an issue. It is therefore our onerous duty as citizens to contribute meaningfully if we so wish in promoting the discussion. The end product of the thesis and the anti thesis becomes a guiding principle for us and our leaders alike. This is a simple process which does not call for insults and unnecessary insinuations.

Presently, it is difficult to discuss anything political without attracting insults. Why does this have to happen? Do we owe allegiance to our nation or our parties? I believe that we support our respective parties because of their avoid aims and objectives to take care of the country’s business. Don’t we have the right as citizens to question the performance of their leadership if we find them wanting? If we do which I suppose is our civic responsibility, why then do we translate any comment about President Yar’Adua or Ex – President Obasanjo into exchange of insults between fulanis and Yorubas particularly. Freedom of speech is free speech about the truth and not an instrument to be used to debase somebody, so let us discuss the substances in issues and stop attacking the people on tribal grounds. It is getting too much and exceedingly ugly and we have to put an end to it. We are one people with a common destiny and it therefore make reasoning to learn to accommodate each other in a civilized way, for we either swim together or sink together. The United States (Of America) has a simple culture which we all know very well. Every debate has the left and the right which is conducted in a civilized way. People on both sides argue seriously and ferociously, and yet they have coffee or lunch together after debates in the interest and service of the nation. Why can’t we live together in peace emulating this example of tolerance from this great nation that we live in, the U.S.A.

Constitutionally, Nigeria is meant to observe a government of laws, and not of men. Given that men are naturally self-interested, despite being rational, they choose to submit to the authority of a Sovereign in order to be able to live in a civil society, which is conducive to their own interests. In the State of Nature, every person is always in fear of losing his life to another. They have no capacity to ensure the long-term satisfaction of their needs or desires. No long-term or complex cooperation is possible because the State of Nature can be aptly described as a state of utter distrust.

The Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Nigerian-Biafran War, 6 July 1967 – 15 January 1970, was a political conflict caused by the attempted secession of the southeastern provinces of Nigeria as the self-proclaimed Republic of Biafra.The current conflict in the Niger Delta arose in the early 1990s due to tensions between the foreign oil corporations and a number of the Niger Delta’s minority ethnic groups who felt they were being exploited, particularly the Ogoni and the Ijaw. Ethnic and political unrest has continued throughout the 1990s and persists as of 2007 despite the conversion to democracy and the election of the Obasanjo government in 1999. Competition for oil wealth has fueled violence between innumerable ethnic groups, causing the militarization of nearly the entire region by ethnic militia groups as well as Nigerian military and police forces.

In Nigeria, the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government’s power over citizens. In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers are separated into distinct branches and the will of the majority of the population is tempered by protections for individual rights so that no individual or group has absolute power. The fact that a constitution exists that limits the government’s power makes the state constitutional.

The power of the majority of the Nigerian people is supposed to be checked by limiting that power to electing representatives who are required to legislate with limits of overarching constitutional law which a simple majority cannot modify, but here the reverse is becoming the case.Also, the power of government officials is originally designed to be checked by allowing no single individual to hold executive, legislative and judicial powers. Instead these powers are separated into distinct branches that serve as a check and balance on each other. A constitutional republic is designed so that “no person or group [can] rise to absolute power.

Conflicts of competence between bodies entrusted with protection of human rights should in principle be avoided, as well as situations whereby two highest judicial bodies may give contradictory answers to the same legal problem. Such situations, which are undesirable in general, could, in the present circu

mstances of this region, affect the very essence of the constitutional order and thus the State as such.

The human rights protection mechanism foreseen in the legal order of unity government presents an unusual degree of complexity. The co-existence of jurisdictional bodies entrusted with the specific task of protecting human rights and of tribunals expected to deal with allegations of violations of human rights in the context of the cases brought before them inevitably creates a certain degree of duplication. Who are they kidding, a country where ethanol is allowed as a local gin, causing loss of lives to the same citizens this government vowed to protect, where the ordinary citizen has become an endangered species…. With the emergence of the super rich who are driving around in fancy expensive cars on pothole – strewn roads alongside military escort, having participated in looting a dying nation? I know that sounds a little harsh, but I mean no disrespect.

What am I thinking, when in a country where people are thought how to spend money, but not how to raise it and, a place where the old-fashioned ideals of thrift and delayed gratification is a bankrupt one? Instead, the way people envision growing rich in Nigeria is through a ‘windfall’—the lottery, duping someone, entering into fake alliances or temporal relationships with the sole aim of personal benefit… Is it the new’ Nigerian rebranding?’. In the age of quick-fix, instant gratification, nobody has time to wait for anything.

Where is my head,…. when in the land where children’s welfare is not a major part of the national agenda because they can’t vote and can’t demonstrate, and why should I dream of the possibility to put at least, a low-level medical personnel in every school district to take care of the students’ minor medical needs? Then again, why should one even expect the decline of the middle-class as a national security and stability issue, which requires an undivided attention of every Nigerian in the House, villas and political arena?

What am I saying, when we live in a country with mixed up and misplaced priorities? Only God knows why wind and solar energies are not the major parts of our quest for cheap and renewable energy equation. Am I just a dreamer, who dreams of impossibilities for a nation full of potential and possibilities? As a concerned citizen, I’m always tempted to daydream about all the things Nigeria could do, but I’m beginning to question myself and the status of my faculty. I don’t blame you for thinking that I’m smoking some crack. Sometimes, I I think so too, especially when I dream of all the things the nation should do to claim its place on this planet.

Interpretation of the constitutional instruments in force should be very careful. The newly created institutions of unity government will have to take into account the complexity of the constitutional order and the need for speedy and effective judicial protection of individual human rights. When deciding which case falls within their competence, they should take into account not only laws and regulations but also the case-law of other institutions. Co-ordination of their practice by disseminating information on the cases which have been introduced, or are pending before, or which have been decided by either institution will be of utmost importance and should be ensured even in the first months of operation of the institutions concerned.

Nigerian leaders made the creation of a strong community sense to be a difficult and time-consuming task. Unity,that most prized social value, is not easily attained. One mechanism for achieving Unity is the use of check and balance to develop a national sense of group identity. Political parties and factions, the offices of national and local governments, businesses, university departments, research groups, alumni associations, and other groups sponsor frequent ceremonies and more informal parties for this purpose. A group’s history and identity can be carefully constructed through the use of songs and symbols (often resembling, in miniature, the Yar’Adua government’s creation of symbols of Nigeria, great nation, good people in the present political crisis).

I reject few Nigerians’ ethnocentric stance, which puts ethnic group on the royal pedestal, while devaluing others, particularly, as less acquiescent to basic human rationality. . Knowledge-production, be it from a Fulani-Nigerian, an Igbo-Nigerian, a Yoruba-Nigerian, or an Ijaw-Nigerian, seeks to reinforce our nation’s cultural diversity. It also underscores the many substantive roles that each ethnic group has played, and continues to play, in preserving our nation’s socio-cultural capital, growth, and development. Those who support tribalism and balance employment quota by rejecting others based on their ethnicity only undercut our nation’s collective efforts to unlock the unexplored treasures of knowledge and inter-ethnic engagements. Secondly, it also stalls increasing undertakings by the government, and civil society, to knit together our fragile nation which has become less tolerant in the face of incendiary ethnocentric writings, which come with no prescriptive therapy to addressing our nation’s growing problems. Those siege mentalities, and the victim’s cunning ability to win ethno-converts to his cause, will harm our nation’s inter-ethnic relations.

No culture is authentic, and neither are the people who believe in this constructed theory. Ethnicity, like human culture, is an unending journey. As we navigate our way through many cultural spaces, and alleyways, we unconsciously pick unknown cultures to complement our own; an experience which has helped, and continues to help, to shape our understanding of other practices beyond our cultural territory. In recent times, Western scholarship, culture, and the fashion industry have appropriated romanticized, exorcized, eroticized, and commoditized indigenous African art, artistry, and dance. The West has successfully integrated the stated into new areas of specialty. In a global village, Western corporate executives understand the profits that come with integrative creativity, and the commoditization of Nigeria’s originality.

Despite the rivalry between many of the world’s religions, and the negation of other religions as ungodly, we see some form of commonality between historical ecclesiastical adversaries, and increased calls for inter-denominational accommodation to minimize world conflicts. The rebirth of the worship of Yoruba’s “orishas” in North America attests to the intersectionality of global religions as humanity migrates to each other’s cultural spaces. We are the pathway to our country’s development, the hope to the restoration and rebuilding of our nation which demands that we change our mannerism. Our nation is confronted with very serious problems and we need serious minded people to evolve ways and means to get a visionary leader to lead us. We can’t afford to lose any brain on this war path. We were once like Malaysia but where are they now economically vis-à-vis our nation? China has found a way to lure investors to engineer and propel their booming economy .Let us get busy and be proactive in out thought process and stop wasting our brain power.

Nigerian Unity therefore, is neither wishful thinking nor a luxury. It is a necessity! If the 120 million Nigerian people living below the poverty line will find hope, if the many proxy crisis taking place in this country all because of our natural resources will be eliminated, if the senseless insurgency that has already claimed about 40 thousand people in the Niger Delta region will stop, if the thousands dying in politically related crises will be rescued, and if the Nigerian is to find his real pride and identity and proof to the rest of the world that it is not a lost nation then the only answer lies in UNITY NOW!
It is important that the Nigerian Leadership do not consider their own convenience and parochial interest over the sovereign will of the Nigerian people. The threat to their positions and the fact that they may now be “reduced” to governors in the advent of a true Nigerian unity and this government is still no basis for non-commitment. Indeed a contrary attitude by the Nigerian Leadership will for the first time portray them as true leaders and not savages out to perpetually devour their own people.

As a nation, we will always stumble upon the malcontented divide-and-rulers who convulse at seeing others who don’t look, talk, walk, dance, sing and think like them. We will also encounter the many vices who fail to acknowledge “Ijaws” as equal partners in nation-building. However, beneath the edifice of the ethnocentric constructivism are patriotic Hausas, and non-Huasas, who have contributed immensely to our nation’s growth, and development, despite years of their rejection by dominant ethnic groups, and the bleeding wounds afflicted on them by depraved politics, and policies. No ethnic group can assert “lordship” over the other. Let’s embrace each other, and respect what we bring to the table. To deny other ethnic groups their rightful place in national politics is to assault the values of freedom and justice for all.

The 21st century requires that we place less emphasis on our ethnicity. It should not hold sway over our dealing with others, and the state’s distribution of the nation’s assets and resources. Let’s respect, and see each other’s ethnicity, and culture, not as a threat, but rather as strength. Out of diversity, comes unity.

Written by
L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu
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