Options For Nigeria’s Political Development

Now, if I may aver here, what theoretical and practical approach did Rawlings and Gaddaffi apply to their countries’ problems? Well, it is on record that both of them overthrew corrupt leaderships. Rawlings overthrew General Akuffo while Gaddaffi overthrew a king who thought he was ruling a kingdom. Second, they pursued a-peoples’ oriented economic policies. What they did was to simply PROBLEMATIZED the whole country, and not some selected aspects of the problems, and ruthlessly cleansed the WHOLE. They pursued “social justice” that will endear the people, ignoring bourgeois technicalities, legal booby-traps and unnecessary formalities inherent in seeking “legal justice“. To problematize a social problem besieging a country is a revolutionary principle and a situational practice. This principle, where ever it is applied, is executed without pity.

Another probable fallout of Majors Nzeogwu [1966] and Orkar’s [1990] coups would have been to fall back on the status quo that they had sought to change. In that case, they would have to ISOLATE the problems that necessitated there coups, solve the problems, that is, corruption and, electoral malpractices. They would conduct fresh elections to hand over to patriotic citizens and either retire or return to the barracks. This simplistic approach is called the PROBLEM-SOLVING paradigm. This is the bourgeois approach suited only for the advanced capitalist economies. Historical antecedents show that this approach does not and cannot work in Third World countries. In his books THE PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED and EDUCATION FOR CRITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS, the late Brazilian professor, Paulo Freire, after a long research, had advocated that Third World countries should use the holistic or problematization approach towards solving their socio-economic problems.
Will a Rawlings or a Gaddaffi ever emerge in Nigeria? Your guess is as good as mine. History is not mathematics and Nigeria’s history is full of surprises.

OPTION 3: The other alternative before Nigerians is the revolutionary approach. A revolution led by the oppressed and not the oppressors, can help sanitize the system. Having been betrayed by a useless political class, that is daily fighting over the spoils of public office, the people decide to take the bull by the horn. The totality of the people is involved. History is replete with examples. In 1917, in the former USSR, when hunger, misery and poverty became unbearable, the people summoned courage and marched on to the Czar’s palace. The soldiers and guards were ordered to shoot at the approaching crowd. They could not, because they were afraid of the surging crowd of hungry-looking people, instead the guards melted into the crowd and joined the popular revolt of the masses. What happened to the Czar and the ruling monarch is now history. They are since dead in their graves. The people stood up, said enough is enough, took to streets and visited death to the opulent homes of the insensitive ruling feudal lords and their collaborators. This is a classical example of social justice.

With the level of compound corruption, monumental electoral fraud and other inane inanities, it is shocking that Nigerians have refused to revolt collectively. What happened in the Western Region during the elections of 1964 has comparatively, paled into insignificance to what happened in the 2007 elections. The 2007 election was catastrophic and farcical. This can only have happened in Nigeria. No wonder the late icon, Chief Tai Solarin, referred to Nigeria as “a big elephant with the head of a salamander.” Again, the 12th June 1993 election which was and still is up to this day, the best election conducted in the horn of Africa, was annulled with impunity by our self proclaimed “evil genius” called Babangida and Nigerians just stood by and watched as if they had no choice. There was no revolt except some pockets of reaction. Why the apathy towards a popular culture? Why the feeling of inertia towards a popular upheaval? When will the people glory in their own power and drink from the water fountains of their own creation? I take solace in this option on the established scientific fact that “revolutions are historically conditioned”. It will come when the concrete material conditions and suffering of the masses has reached its nadir.

OPTION 4: If we cannot go back to our regional parliamentary system; if our Rawlings and Gaddaffis have refused to emerge from the Armed Forces because of too much pepper soup in the barracks; if a revolution has refused to erupt out of the iniquities, evils, and sheer wickedness in the present amalgamated Nigeria, then there is the need for each agitating region to participate in creating a crisis situation in the country. This will destabilize the polity and make the political class uncomfortable and perhaps lead them into having a rethink on how to sincerely run a seemingly just country. Nigeria is a concrete social reality and a concrete social reality requires a concrete analysis. Poverty, hunger, misery, primitive accumulation and worse of all, corruption and persistent electoral fraud, are all concrete Nigerian realities. They are not mythical. They have to be confronted by us concretely– workers, students, market women, Nigerians in Diaspora, peasant farmers, intellectuals of the oppressed and the rest of the downtrodden; otherwise we will be finished as a nation. The politicians have no mercy and have no modicum of conscience when it comes to looting and sequestrating public fund, why should the people spare them?

The Niger-Delta struggle was borne out of internal contradictions generated in our dubious body polity. The movement started [?]off from where the Oodua Peoples Congress {OPC} have left off. It is my conjecture that the {OPC} should continue with its agitation and struggle towards a better deal for the children of the legendary Oduduwa. I also submit that The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra {MASSOB} should not relent in its struggle. I posit that {AREWA} in the Northern part of Nigeria should also continue with its agitation for a fair deal for the North. All these social forces have sincere aims and objectives and their attacks are on Lord Lugard’s shaky creation–Nigeria. Every ethnic group and tribe has a stake in corporate Nigeria. It is their fundamental right. There is therefore the need for this coalition of forces not to abandon their struggles until a true federalism is born. That all representatives of these regional forces were present in the East, to mourn with Mr. Ralph Uwazurike {MASSOB leader}, over the death of his mum, shows that there is a unity of purpose. Based on these premises, I postulate that if the OPC, MASSOB, and AREWA and other fiery ethnic groupings like the Middle Belt Movement {MDM} were to adopt the Niger-Delta method of armed struggle and a pincers-movement approach, the country would be grounded and we would reach the equilibrium point in good time. At that equilibrium point, all stake holders would be interested in genuine dialogue. Besides, sacrifices have to be made for Nigeria to move forward.

OPTION 5: The best of all is to keep our fingers crossed and hope for a peaceful disintegration of the country to its former regional formation or to outright separate independent states. This might at worst be borne out of internal agitations, propaganda, conflicts, armed conflicts, insurrections, riots, students and market women demonstrations etc {see OPTION 4 above } or, at best be borne through socially engineered peaceful processes. Again, history is replete with such examples. The old Eastern European bloc and the former communist Soviet Union have all disintegrated into smaller independent countries. The former member countries of the Soviet Union had broken away regained their independence and are presently growing at their own pace. There were no wars or trumpet of wars. Most got it on a platter of gold. Among them are namely; Ukraine, Latvia, and Lithuania. In the former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, have emerged independent countries like Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Kosovo and the Czech Republic. As strong as the Soviet Union was between 1950 and 1988, who would have thought that by 1990, the Union will disintegrate and collapse like a pack of cards and peacefully too? Anyway, that is history. And history is not mathematics.

As far as human nature is concerned, one cannot foist on a disunited people, an assumed consensual marriage of convenience that is devoid of any of love and respect. This is to sow the seed of discord. Recent research by Professor Mike Onwuejeogwu showed that Nigeria has, apart from the three major tribes, has about 500 ethnic nationalities and not 250 as is often been bandied about by government officials. The three major tribes and 500 ethnic groups have different languages, dialects, cultures, traditions and MORES. However, if a union of convenience refuses to converge, the alternative is to call for a referendum and perhaps peacefully stay apart and grow apart. In Africa, this has become a ding dong affair. If it is not genocide in Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, it is ethnic and tribal cleansing in the Sudan and Kenya. Or recurring religious riots in the northern part of Nigeria. The tell tale continues with no visible end in sight. The Nigerian’s case was aptly put across by Ogaga Ifowodo in his poem entitled: “God Punish You, Lord Lugard”! It is an interesting read.

I rest my case. Those who have ears let them hear.

Written by
Ephraim Adinlofu
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1 comment
  • A very well written article, with a touch of communism. I like the first option, but because option 2 involves some elemnts of bloodshed (and we have had enough bloodshed in our history) I am reluctant to subscribe to it.