Nigeria’s disunity: Buhari’s detribalization!

by L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu

No nation can be built on [tribal] hatred. This is one reason Nigerians should defend the integrity the Nigeria as an entity. Our voices should never be stilted if we see that any of our politicians, any of our political parties, is trying to politically survive on tribalism and tribal or regional support. If Nigerian people have decided to protect their nationhood, let patriotism play a big role so that we can thrive to champion the cause of a prosperous nation.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s speech on Tuesday, May 10, 201, was on the right direction. He preached on the way to enhance Nigerians oneness. His elaboration hinted particularly on the elections which are now over .He believe everybody won so there should be no need for despair; calling for the need for celebration by all in Nigeria with a closing of the ranks. His speech (though on text) becomes a limelight into the speck of atrocities brought about by disunity in Nigeria.

Struggling for Nigeria unity, it is necessary to combat firmly the fabricators and abettors of division. It is dishonest towards the integrity of Nigeria ethics for anyone to claim enact injustice on one another out of prejudice on differed dialect, culture and background.

If people are being prosecuted simply because they are defending their dialect, it makes no public appeal, but if they conspire to snip-off live from citizens of different dialect, culture and religious background; the law has to take it course, per adventure if there is no law on the ground, a strict penalty must be put together.

Some Nigerians cannot hide behind the tribe, behind the Islamic religion to kill. The majority of these perpetrators is poor and has got nothing to do with these characters. These people have been indoctrinated and are being used in the name of religion to avenge atrocities and havoc.

Every Nigerian needs not to stay away in the propagation of Nigerian socio-economic strength. There is nothing tribal about Nigerian foundation and growth. As for the post-election violence and Gen. Buhari’s tenacity, our May 2011 nigeria4betterrule debate public opinion gave a bottom-line that asks the retired General to tow the line of persons who had loss elections to shed sword.

In November 7, election, year 2000; Al Gore lost the election: there is no doubt. There are two reasons why this can be stated as a certainty. In the first place, Gore lost because on the morning of the day after the election he still had not won. Furthermore, in the past two weeks he has ensured that by the time this campaign is over there will be practically nothing left to win.

For most Americans, a presidential election is supposed to be a unifying, almost cathartic event. As the returns roll in, a gradual sense of inevitability takes hold, a sort of media-produced chrysalis starts to crack, and by the end of the evening one candidate has emerged as the choice of the American people, as the President of the United States. Unfortunately for both Gore and George W. Bush, in this year’s election nothing of the sort occurred. Instead of a steady drumbeat of support for one candidate or another, growing in volume, we had numerous false starts, and back and forths, all night long. As a result, no one could truly step forth as “the President”, and the failure to capture that prize on election night will never be completely put right. Whoever wins will have to bear that burden of an uncertain and lackluster affirmation. Thus, the presidency was lost, even before it was won.

The uncertainty of election night, we now know, was due to the absolute closeness of the election, with neither Gore nor Bush succeeding in gaining a clear cut majority, particularly in the crucial swing state of Florida, whose twenty five electoral votes would decide the election. The only election in the memory of most Americans that was this close came in 1960, when John F. Kennedy narrowly edged out Richard M. Nixon by about 100,000 votes. As many commentators have reminded us, Nixon, claiming that it would hurt the country to pursue recounts, decided to concede, so we will never know what might have occurred if he had continued to fight against the decision. But Al Gore has given us a good idea.

Buhari and his friends should not be allowed to turn crime into a virtue. And we appeal to all Fulani-speaking people of goodwill not to be misled by these evil demagogues who seem to all the time be on the side of criminals. Some issues in Nigeria should not base on any tribal or religious factors to settle.. What is tribal about Nigeria’s 2011 election? Buhari knows very well the role Jonathan played in getting Nigeria on the right track. Tribal considerations should never be brought into matters where they have no relevance.

If Buhari thinks he will get Obasanjo, Danjuma and their friends entrapped, he will be in for a rude awakening. Instigating bomb-explosions will not deter us. We will not be turned into a pillar of salt. Nigerians who fought for this democracy will fight for justice to the bitter end. We sincerely advise persons who set Nigerians political circle on gun-cake to think again.

This is what we think and believe. Of course, our courts of law will have their own position at the end of the day – and this is what will really matter. And how do we close ranks? Well for one, do not think that you performed your sole democratic responsibility when you voted. No. That was only the first step in the process of democracy. We have to be conscious that democracy is not a zero sum game. Democracy means that the majority enthrones a leadership that must still work with the cooperation of that majority to take care of EVERYBODY’s interest and move the country forward.

Nigeria cannot afford to be a political disaster zone. It has an internationally accepted government headed by moderate President Goodluck Jonathan; a government at deed. The north shouldn’t run itself as autonomous region from which extremist freely terrorize by setting on bombs and explosives at public places.

Hard-line northern contestants, while incapable of establishing themselves in power, have gradually eroded the government’s writ since the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua last year when President Jonathan was drafted by the lawmakers’ doctrine of necessity. In reality, the government is in charge. The country is in a vortex of orderliness — another democracy in the making.

There is no doubt that if northern cabals were to establish themselves in control of the country, it would be disastrous for Nigeria. They detest its extremism and thuggery. As in the military era when the junta ruled and hundreds of thousands of Nigerians fled the brutality of its twisted version of brutalism, even greater numbers of Nigerians have fled their homeland, not just to escape the intimidation, brutal killings and the chaos but also out of fear of their killers’ squad.

Nigeria would probably not have been at peace now if governments in the sub Sahara Africa and beyond had kept out of the military affairs. Abacha’s meddling, with his 1994 hook to power, has been obvious. Nigeria’s has been more covert. Nonetheless, despite all this and despite Nigeria’s desperate need for a stable government that truly reflects the views of Nigerians, there has to be no small amount of concern at the way the Nigerian politicians are responding to events.

Nigerian politicians fail to “take action” against problems facing Nigeria and Nigerians at large. Those of them who have tasted power before keep sabotaging the incumbent’s effort to bring about a prosperous Nigeria. If these politicians outside government do not stop “adding sand” into government people-wellbeing projects, an enactment that would work against that backdrop is underway.

Nigeria is increasingly seen as the economy- nerve of Africa if harnessed properly; desperate politicians’ threats will only increase its already evident para

noia. That will only destabilize the country’s eve

There is no one persecuting the northern politicians over matters. If this was to happen, we would be the first ones to defend the rights of these same people.

And we will do this on principle and not out of tribal or religious political expedience. We will do it out of the belief that crimes are committed by human beings and whatever crime one commits, he or she still remains a human being. And as long as one remains a human being, there are certain fundamental rights they should continue to enjoy. And these should be defended at all costs.

We seek to clarify this position to our people and our readers, and not to leave them impended by divisive political positions of Buhari and his minions.

We believe that fragmenting our country into tribal and religious politics will not help us move forward and deal with the many problems and challenges facing our people. This country needs the maximum unity of its entire people, of all its forces. Yes, the Fulani-speaking people constitute 43 per cent of our population and they can be said to be a big force; but they are only one force.

What we need is a collective force of all Nigerian people. Let us not forget that before, the tactics of those who used to rule over our destiny consisted of dividing us and setting one force against another. They set every faction of the people against the other factions. They set one humble tribe against another humble tribe to serve their own interests of divide and rule.

The tribal regional politics that are emerging with force in our country, Nigeria are dangerous and they serve no other purpose other than to weaken the people and make them easy to manipulate by all sorts of unscrupulous politicians. They are weakening the people by their practice of setting one humble sector against others.

They have divided the people into petty political parties that bring no guidance to the nation. They have divided the ignorant and misled people into factions supporting unscrupulous and greedy politicians. Thus they are weakening the people. Thus they are confusing the people.

We have to struggle for Nigeria’s unity. And to struggle for national unity is, necessarily, to struggle against divisionism. It is also necessary to unmask and isolate the small pseudo self-appointed tribal political leaders wherever they appear, conduct campaigns of division, intrigue and provocation. It has to be underlined that the greatest propagandists and defenders of thieves are today found in the ranks of these tribalists – whom, objectively, they serve with their irresponsible utterances and activities.

The national unity we are talking about should be for today and tomorrow. We should be ready to travel together and in unity with all those who wish to unite in the struggle for the same objectives. We do not understand national unity as mere declarations of goodwill and good intentions. National unity is expressed, manifested, consolidated and developed in common activity and struggle.

A proper solution to the great national problems our people face today is impossible without the struggle for unity. The struggle for national unity should never be seen as a transitory measure. It decides the present and will decide the future of our country. And its consolidation is indispensable in the period leading up to elections when opportunistic politicians of all stripes are trying to feather their nests.

And let’s not forget the regional problems of the mid 1960s. We were lucky we had the good political skills of Usman Dan Fodio and his colleagues and overcame the divisions of that time. We therefore wish, above all, to recall this past, so as to foresee and plan for the future better. Let us not forget that our struggle for independence was intrinsically bound up with the fight for national unity. The struggles to defend and consolidate national unity demand permanent vigilance and action to neutralize and eliminate the maneuvers of political opportunists.

And by defining tribalism and regionalism as enemies to be fought against, we will be depriving the opportunists of the chief instruments of their anti- people maneuvers.

Tribal identity is a subject that most Nigerians feel most uncomfortable with at the best of times. Yet it is something that we must confront and deal with – as a matter of urgency – if we are to avoid the kind of tensions that have driven a good number of African countries to the brink of civil war.

The truth is Buhari, together with his cohorts, had dealings with few politicians who paly “spoilers”. They were trying to get their help over the presidential election petition. We know they did many things together, they became friends.

We therefore urge our people to listen to all our politicians and listen carefully so that at the end of the day, they have a good idea of where each one of them stands. We urge all our people to on that day vote wisely and only for politicians who are known for their honesty, ability, dedication, and concern for the welfare of all. Fifty years after independence, it’s time for Nigerians to decide where we stand

Let us not forget that citizenship demands a positive contribution from everyone to build our nation’s future. And this includes fighting corruption, tribalism and regionalism because a corrupt nation will never be a fair, just and humane one.Actually, tribalism is an extension of corruption. We therefore make a clarion call to all our Fulani, Kanuri and Nupe speaking Nigerians to fight this emerging dangerous tribalism being championed by failed politicians and their minions.

Politics based on tribalism or regionalisms have been weighed and found wanting. And for this reason, we must ensure that tribe or region become only God-given gifts to each one of us and not an indelible mark or attribute that accords a special status to any of us.
It is intolerable and unacceptable that after more than 50 years of independence, of nationhood, we still have politicians in this country whose political outlook is dominated by tribalism and regionalism, whose relations with others are polluted by tribalism and regionalism. We should all detest tribalism and regard it as a barbaric thing, regardless of whom it comes from.

We say this because tribalism is a dangerous cancer capable of eating away the fabric of any society; it poisons the minds of the backward, the bigoted and the prejudiced. Tribalism is blight on the human conscience. And we should never allow our country and our politics to play host to tribalism.

Tribalism must be consciously combated and not discretely tolerated through all sorts of regional, political alliances. Tribalism degrades those who engage in it, that is both the perpetrators and the victims of it. And because of this, any effort to protect the dignity of our people calls upon us to fight tribalism without respite. And we shouldn’t cheat ourselves that tribalism is an easy thing to fight. It isn’t. All of us know how stubborn tribalism can cling to the mind and how deeply it can infect the human soul.

We hate the practice of tribalism and regionalism, and in our hatred, we are sustained by the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Nigerian people hate it equally. It is therefore imperative for us to overcome all political practices and outlooks that promote tribalism and regionalism. We hail from all corners of the country and have joined together for a common progressive objective.

We should rid our ranks of all impotent tribal thinking. We will only be able to overcome our poverty and backwardness by strengthening our unity and persevering in our efforts to develop our country. Political parties should be formed and run on ideals and principles and not on tribal or personal cult.

Political parties that are formed for the sole purpose of putting into State House a member of a certain tribe or to be led only by a member of a certain tribe should have n

o place in our politics and should not be given our votes. Nigerians should be aware of the dangers of tribalism and regionalism and reject political parties and politicians who try to rely on these divisive practices to gain power. Only political parties and politicians with no tribalistic outlook and who look for the common good of all people should be voted for.

Those with ethnic-centered political parties deserve no national support and should not be allowed to use such vehicles for political alliances that may turn our country into a federation of Ethnic hatred. We are an indivisible nation. And only political parties with a reasonable national character deserve national support. Those who want to carve our country into tribal zones and then get into alliances with other equally tribally-based parties deserve no support, no votes. We should never accept zones. We should only use our votes for the good of Nigeria, as opposed to the good of a particular political party, group or individual.

Let’s use our votes to create the Nigeria we want to live in. We must only vote for people on the basis of the good we think they can do and on the basis of their commitment to the nation regardless of the region they come from, their tribe, language or political affiliation.

Nigeria needs patriotic leaders; people who place national interests before personal ambitions. It is interesting that today Mr. President is talking against tribalism and the need to put regional, tribally-based political parties to shame. We can only hope that there has been a genuine conversion of heart on this score on the president’s part.

We say this because Northern mode of politics has all along been anchored on tribalism and regionalism. We have not forgotten, and we will never forget, Buhari’s campaign in the 2007 presidential elections and how it was anchored on tribalism and regionalism. Launching his campaign in north central, Buhari told the people of that very important zone of our country that they should brutality and violence against anyone coming from another part of our country to campaign there and tell them to go back where they come from. We criticized Buhari for that naked tribalism and regionalism.

And to date, Buhari has never denied that he made such statements. We have waited all these months to see if Buhari would apologize for, or repudiate, those statements.
To date, he has not done so. We still have the recordings of these statements. So Buhari can never dare to say he never said that. Given this background, and looking at his political practices since then, we are convinced that Buhari is an unrepentant tribalist and regionalist. And his anti-tribalism and regionalism talk is nothing but empty rhetoric, a mere regurgitation of paradigms that he knows our people want to hear. Buhari knows very well that Nigerian people don’t like tribalism and regionalism.

So he is simply trying to speak their language in order to win their votes, yet in his heart of hearts, he is a tribalist and a regionalist to the bone. Buhari’s campaign team was dominated by tribal, regional and nepotistic considerations.
For Buhari, where he hails from matters much and one’s tribe is a big issue in his dealings. So all this talk by Buhari of being anti-tribalism is a lie. Buhari is simply trying to manipulate the Nigerian people so that they can vote for him in this year’s elections.

But we know very well that manipulators have never deserved anybody’s respect or been successful anywhere. As we have stated before, manipulators are like little sailboats that go with the wind and the waves. Manipulation is synonymous with opportunism. Manipulation doesn’t have substance; it doesn’t have roots.
We think that everything – respect, relationships and understanding – is possible among people who are honest with themselves and with others.

If Buhari is to enjoy the genuine respect and support of the Nigerian people, he must give up the pernicious habit of identifying only with those who come from the same village, town, state, local government, region, village, tribe as himself, who speak the same language and have the same culture and traditions as himself.

Today, every key state or government institution one looks at is dominated by people with tribal, regional or language connections with Buhari.If they don’t have this connection, then some other form of nepotism comes in – they must be former schoolmates, workmates, subordinates or superiors, personal friends of Buhari or children of such people or indeed they must be his children’s friends. Merit has no meaning in Buhari’s scheme of things. So Buhari’s anti-tribalism and regionalism talk has no meaning, has no substance, and has no roots.

It’s mere empty talk aimed at hoodwinking the Nigerian people and making them believe that he is what they want him to be – anti-tribalism and anti-regionalism. This is not the way to run a country that has more than 250 tribes and ethic groups. This is surely not a recipe for national unity and for governing well.

And again, Citizens must brave up to put right; all they are not championing very well. Rather than a question of power at all costs and by whatever means, let us curtail and fight for the unity of purpose.

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1 comment

Gabriella Tarka (from Benue State) May 25, 2011 - 10:16 am

Good job bros. Arizona-Ogwu, you are a masterpiece to governance. I am happy the way you write and your method of organization. thank you. Nigeria must unite.


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