The plight of Bakassi indigenes has taken a turn for the worse as hundreds of them were chased out of Cameroon with many feared dead. Those of them who made it to Ikang in Cross Rivers State on Thursday arrived with tales of suffering and despair. They were among the Bakassi indigenes that chose to…
For the third consecutive time, my discourse is revolving around the current troubles of our nation. Many are likely to wonder why. The answer is simple: we have by our collective actions driven ourselves to the precipice and the space available to us is so tiny, that all that is required now is a little push and we fall down into the valley. Valley experience we know is never pleasant. I will come back to the issue, before then I want to salute many ardent readers of this column especially the ones that read and find time to react. I want to say I value them and today would have been their day but the issue at hand is so serious that a late commentary on it may not do the nation any justice, hence this intervention. God willing the parliament would probably hold a session next week.
Now, back to the issue at hand: the nation is experiencing a convulsion. Nobody can deny it; the only person that can attempt to do so can only be a beneficiary of this decadent order and don’t be surprised they can be many. They are many who subscribe to “order from disorder.” In fact the occult organizations subscribe to this method and unfortunately for us many of those who lead us and those who populate the so-called political class belong to these associations and that partly explains why it appears we are constantly engaged in the game called “cycle of national stupidity” and the outcome is the pain we go through, state of national uncertainty and our classification as sub-human by the civilized world. If our mindset is not of the pre-Stone Age Era, I wonder how citizens would have initiated and still initiate policies and actions that cause massive deprivation, pains, undue conflicts and even deaths of innocent citizens, whose only ill-fortune is that God made them to be indigenes and nationals in a particular location.
Last week two very significant events happened, (I hope it won’t be more than these two given the rapidity with which ugly dramas unfold in our nation). The President of Nigeria, a highly pluralistic and contentious country decided to wish his fellow countrymen well on Eid-el-Fitr. Guess what he did, he spoke in Hausa language! Shortly after, former military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida gave a widely publicized world conference declaring his support for restructuring and devolution of power, an interesting contribution to a long time debate that has been there since the military took the self-imposed assignment of intrusion into the nation’s politics. Both developments have significant implications for the politics and social health of our nation. We take the president’s case first. Was he right to have spoken to the nation in Hausa during such an important occasion? The answer is absolute NO! He is the president of a highly heterogeneous society that at present is engaged in contentious disagreements with one another, so communicating to the nation in a sectional language, especially when the constitution has a recognized lingua franca, amounts not only to sacrilege, it is inciting and a classical case of fanning embers of disunity. Since we are in the era of looking out for hate speeches, what the president and his handlers have just done have transcended the realm of hate speech. It is within the confines of treason. If it were elsewhere like some nations in the Middle East and North Africa, what the president did could ignite insurgency.
The president’s attitude on this matter confirms a mindset that there are owners of this enclave called Nigeria and part of the rights of the owners include to define who a bona-fide citizen is, the rights and privileges. Before the president’s latest blunder, we have seen this trait manifest. Many Nigerians speak and write but when one unknown Farouk wrote on the social media accusing the Acting President of nepotism hell broke loose and it had to because ‘a true Nigerian’ had spoken and the subjects had to shiver at the voice of their master and of course, Osinbajo has since amended his ways by adding a core Northerner to his staff. That is the burden that is weighing down the nation and this takes me to the Babangida declaration. Before now, this soldier who fought during the civil war had continued to insist that our nation’s unity is non-negotiable; but today he has accepted that there is need for restructuring. This is good, he may not know it but inherent in his new position is the fact that every union is subject to continuous dialogue. In human union when you close the road to dialogue and negotiation, you make human relations mechanical. If you ask social psychologists they would say you have built anything but human-social relations.
But that is not the area that interests me most; the aspect I find very fascinating is the elaborate focus he gave on the possibility of another civil war if our disagreements continue the way they are going. I don’t share his fears and that is because I am yet to see anything that will result to a war. It should be interesting to note that only a section of the northerners draw our attention to war every time citizens agitate over manifest maltreatment and denials. This could be a fall out of the feeling that they control the security apparatchik of the nation. There is nothing in the agitations that should warrant war, they are all issues that require brain and good conscience. Secession is not unique to us and besides it is a legal right contained in international statutes we signed. It is happening in civilized nations, Spain and Britain for example, and nobody is talking about war, rather citizens have freedom to organize rallies, hold meetings and to stridently demand for referendum. Why is our own case different?
Everybody talks peace and say it must be by force but I don’t hear them give the same emphasis to the eradication of injustice and institutionalization of equal rights and fairness. Our problem has its roots in the wickedness, myopia and ignorance of many of those who have ruled this nation. The 1966 military takeover is called Igbo coup yet those who hold this view failed to say that the seed for military intrusion was sown by the inordinate ambition to extend areas of influence which came in the form of imposition of Northern surrogates in Western Nigeria. Reprisal actions killed soldiers of Eastern extraction, that can be tolerated but how do you explain the murder of over 300,000 innocent civilians of Eastern extraction living in the North? Our “constitution” provides for federalism, why are we running unitary system? Do we really have a constitution authored by the people? Why would anybody, especially those who sing about unity hate dialogue? Nnamdi Kalu is charged for treason but Arewa Youths who committed treason can’t be found let alone being arrested. Only the subjugated would accept the current political configuration where the President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Reps, SGF, Attorney General, Heads of the nation’s security, amongst others come from the same region and nearly of the same religion. It is only here that expansion of religious influence has become more important than building a productive economy. I don’t want to lie, I see doom except………