What is the real problem with Nigeria? Why is a country so extravagantly endowed so conflict-prone? Why the growing calls in certain quarters for Nigeria’s partitioning along ethnic, religious and other primordial boundaries? Why can’t Nigerians live in peace and harmony? What is the way forward for the Nigerian State and its people? These are some of the questions constantly thrown up by the centrifugal tugs and pull that have traditionally defined relations amongst Nigeria’s multifarious groups over the years.
There seems to be a consensus in certain quarters that the Nigerian State cannot continue as currently constituted and operated; a concurrence that the groups constituting Nigeria are too dissimilar to continue living together as one; an agreement to the assertion that Hausa-Fulanis, Yoruba’s, Igbos, Christians, Muslims and Nigeria’s other indigent groups have nothing in common, hence, the need for everybody to go their separate ways. Thus, compared to other equally culpable factors – such as grinding poverty, a regime of asphyxiating corruption, crippling unemployment, pervasive illiteracy, a tightly closed political system et al – the supposed animosity in relations amongst the country’s constituent sub-national groups are continually cited as the major reasons why the country is enmeshed in negative peace – an emasculating peace of the graveyard.
The structural cum administrative incongruities the Nigerian State has had to grapple with since its creation has not helped matters. It is a statement of fact that Nigeria is one of the most structurally deficient countries in the world, which logically makes it one of the most difficult countries to administer. These inconsistencies have resulted in poor governance with its concomitant asseverating effects on the populace, which have thrown up several national questions, most of which bother on whether or not the country should continue as currently constituted. Attempts by successive administrations – civilian and military – to obviate the visceral deficiencies in the system through executive policy reforms, legislative and judicial proclamations have so far failed in stemming the burgeoning calls across the country for the union’s dissolution.
It is not as if calls for Nigeria’s partitioning are recent developments. In fact, prior to the country’s Independence from British servitude, the Hausa-Fulanis flirted with the idea of leaving the Nigerian Union. The Igbos fought a war of secession with Nigerian loyalist forces from 1967-70 – a call that was recently resurrected by the recent pro-Biafra agitations. In the heat of June 12, 1993, Election Imbroglio, the Yorubas made plans to declare an Independent Oduduwa Republic. In the heat of the Niger Delta conflict, the people of that region continued from where Adaka Boro stopped by asking for self-determination from the Nigerian State. Thus, the centrifugal pulls of disintegration have traditionally defined the evolution of the Nigerian State.
However, despite the somewhat convincing arguments of the advocates of partitioning, a more dispassionate and in-depth analysis of the real challenges that have prevented the Nigerian State from transforming into a viable nation-state since independence reveals an entirely contrasting picture that is not usually amenable to public scrutiny: the fact that the regime of conflicts that have become Nigeria’s Albatross is the handiwork of its ruling political elite; evil concoctions of an axis of evil that assumed the country’s reins of governance at independence; demonic designs of a crop of cheap opportunists who have ganged up against the rest of the body politic; a satanic league where the darkest, crankiest and most demented minds to have ever traversed these lands habitually shoot poisoned darts at their own.
There is an age long myth about how the British supposedly left political power in the hands of Northerners and economic power in the hands of Southerners. At one time, the hype was about the Kaduna, Lantang and other media created ethno-political syndicates that were said to be running the affairs of Nigeria. These days it is about the return of the Hausa-Fulani Muslims to Aso Rock. But these categorizations are simply hollow myths without substance as the only homogeneity that has ever existed in this country is the alliance among the elite forces who constantly struggle to maintain their hold on the joystick of political power because of the several doors it opens to them, for the possession of political power in Nigeria, as has been consistently demonstrated over the years, guarantees its wielders access to, and control of, the country’s economy which has always been the main attraction for the seekers of political office and is largely responsible for the criminal system of corruption and the various politically motivated – ethnic, religious et al – conflicts bedeviling Nigeria’s growth and development.
The animosities amongst the multifarious groups constituting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which have continually stalled the nation-building process, are simply the ingenious contrivances of the itinerant ruling classes who have pivoted the affairs of Nigeria since its creation. Just like Nigeria’s defunct colonial masters, who favoured the divide and rule policy of administration, their Nigerian replacements have taking this sadistic strategy to deplorable heights. If one may ask: Since 1960, what have the ordinary members of Nigeria’s ethnic groups whose kinsmen have been privileged to run the country’s affairs at all the levels (local, state and federal) and arms (legislative, executive and judiciary) of government benefited from them? Your guess is as good as mine!
Rather than act as buffers against the forces of disintegration, successive Nigerian leaders, through their inglorious actions and inactions, have helped fuel animosities amongst the country’s heterogeneous groups. Rather than wield the country together into a giant compendium of a peaceful, prosperous nation, they have further estranged the constituent units. Instead of patriotic leaders that are committed to providing the greatest good for the greatest possible number, Nigeria has been led by self-seeking ethnic bigots; rulers – and not leaders – who, having refined and perfected the sadistic divide and rule stratagem of the departed British colonial Conquistadors, have sailed the country’s ship of state off course. These bushwhackers exploit the country’s fragile unity to score cheap political points by always throwing the ethnic dice. Nigeria has been cursed with demon-possessed leaders; self-serving vultures without conscience; greedy Mongrels whose primitive affinities and proclivities have inadvertently pushed the country closer to the precipice.
Without a doubt, the pre-independence order of serfdom has been fully restored and restructured to cater to the selfish whims and caprices of native supremacists who cut across all the ethnic, clan, religious and other sub groups in Nigeria; the few ones within the populace who are involved in the reprehensible business of commandeering “our” collective wealth for “their” common good. You find these characters in government, as members of the diplomatic corps, as top brass of the armed forces (serving and retired), as members of the Council of State, as party chieftains, as contractors, as traditional rulers, as heads of organized religions, as heads of big businesses, as commanders of militant groups, as heads of organized criminal consortiums, and in other contrived capacities. They constitute the legendary “Establishment”. These set of people pose as representatives of their constituencies, but are murderous backstabbers who should be avoided like killer diseases. They represent no one but themselves and their cronies. This assemblage of bounty hunters, form the soft-landing base that eases the business of corrupt enrichment, especially during times of national crisis when they take up the mischievous roles of “Peace Ambassadors or Emissaries”, “Citizen Diplomats” and other contrived nomenclatures that are meant to cloak their self-aggrandizing objectives. They are always around, always recycled to keep the subsisting order of deceit in place.
The Nigerian State is structured to serve the interests of superintending grandmasters; a pantheon of the gods; a band of self-styled cognoscenti encapsulated in self-love; deities who must not be addressed by common earthlings. Just like the emperors of ancient China, these human divinities act like the forces of nature. Like the legendary Greek gods on Mount Olympus, they assume that air of extreme pomposity, regality and immortality that sets them apart from mortal beings. These characters see the Nigerian State as a robot customized to assuage their kleptomaniac urges; a mere machine that must be attuned to do their perverted biddings. They are driven, unflinching, calculating machines, who live in a world beyond the ordinary; an ethereal dimension where everything is seemingly within their reach. That is why they think they can toy with our unity without scruples.
Compatriots! If we must to fight, it shouldn’t be against one another, but against our common foes: the inglorious mischief makers in our midst; those agents of darkness masquerading as angels of light; our so-called leaders – rulers is more appropriate – who exploit our ignorance to mercilessly manipulate us; those bigoted ethno-religious champions who have perfected the art of playing us against one another to satiate their ravenous appetites for the accoutrements of office; master con artists whose infamies are well documented. Hausa-Fulanis, Igalas, Binis, Igbos, Tivs, Angas, Ijaws, Urhobos, Yorubas, Christians, Muslims and members of all the country’s indigent groups, despite their cultural diversities, must begin to see themselves as potential allies in the quest for a new, united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria. Nigerians must recognize more of those things that bind them together, and detest those divisive issues that estrange them. If we must fight, let us start by first of all identifying the real enemies in our midst – the political jobbers who exploit us to access power, the corrupt politicians stealing our commonwealth, the conflict entrepreneurs and instigators who exploit our diversities to foment strife, the ethnic apologists who abuse their privileged positions of authority to promote personal agendas et al – and confront them. If we must fight, let us come together in one accord to passively resist the actively corrupt members of the ruling political establishment: politicians whose schemes have turned Nigeria into a giant war zone from where positive peace has completely taken flight.
Comrades, we should no longer allow our unity and divinely ordained destiny as one of the potentially most prosperous nations on earth to be toyed with by a band of debauched, narcissistic sadists whose encapsulation in self love – that all consuming passion – has pushed our country to the precipice of Balkanization. It is time we stood up to the wicked manipulations of the bloodhounds misdirecting our ship of state, deliberately sailing it towards an avoidable iceberg. That is the only way out of this national mess. We must stand together in unity against the forces of disintegration in our midst, or fall divided.
God save Nigeria!