The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar says ongoing agitations in the country are symptoms of rot in the Nigerian system. Abubakar disclosed this in Sokoto when Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State paid him a Sallah homage. The sultan said: “In the past, a lot of things were done by some people with impunity…
Ours is a nation full of irony. A nation of doublespeak, the more you can deceive the faster you are elevated to positions of higher responsibilities. We are very insincere and we take great delight in making a mockery of serious issues. We are betrayers of the first class order. A pastor recently gave a message on the act of betrayal and he identified the culprit as a person who will betray the aspiration of his people, pretending to belong but in reality he does not, leaker of his people’s secrets. Look at these qualities and see whether they do not fit most of those who run on the political stage claiming to be our leaders, from independence till today. Don’t get me wrong, nascent nations do have their problems, because from what I know, the making of a nation has never and would never be an easy task. But except in medieval times when we had issues like ours, when religious and ethnic contentions were the issues, things changed between the 19th and 20th centuries.
The contention was no longer around primordial sentiments but about fundamental pillars of a true modern nation-state. Take America, India, China, Singapore, Malaysia and even Russia as instances, the transformation that has made them reference points in world affairs came into being within the last 70 years and that was because the leadership in those places gave priority to more important issues of national development like citizens’ rights and welfare, development of agriculture, industrialization and expansion of knowledge in science and technology. If the priority or vision was anchored around promotion of tribe or religious superiority, desecration of merit, promotion of nepotism and lack of knowledge, I am very certain they would not have reached where they are today. Perhaps, they would have been like us but certainly not worse, because in our case we go the extreme what is wrong and evil.
The sword of destruction hanging over our nation today was clearly avoidable but it came over us because like I keep saying all of us, leaders and the followers have made it a national culture to leave substance and hold tight to shadow. Let me use current issues to explain what I mean. As the national temperature went high with the quit order given to Igbo by the Arewa youths to leave Northern Nigeria, a friend sent me a post which was quite instructive. The post had this in it, “In 2016 our national problem was where was the budget to be signed; this year 2017, the trouble has been who will sign the budget.” Another post said, “Look at what Boko Haram is doing and the Arewa Youths kept quiet all this time and now venting their anger on Igbo whose only crime is that IPOB organized a successful sit-at-home” protest. The third one had this, “Arewa knew about the health status of their son who is the president. They went ahead to vote for him. They were ready to kill for him. They forced Nigerians to vote for him. Now the decayed body parts are beginning to pack up and they want to cause confusion so that they can truncate democracy. Politicians beware.”
The President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, was right on target when he said on the Channels TV early morning show, Sunrise Daily, that the main problem of our nation is that one section of the nation has appropriated themselves to be the nation and what they want Nigeria to be is what should be and what they don’t want especially when it comes from the other sections becomes a distraction and irritation, and if stretched becomes sabotage or treason. We can all see these from recent examples. It is time we begin to name names and tell the truth about developments around us. We are a country quite alright but a country with different destinies. We got into it and have remained there because of the bizarre actions of a few who unfortunately have their majority from a section of our country, the North. Abiola won an election but couldn’t rule because by the golden rule operating here he failed one of the crucial tests, which was coming from the wrong tribe. It is even possible he failed on the religious score too because he was a free-wheeler. Now Professor Yemi Osinbajo is the Acting President by virtue of a sickly president who is on a long medical vacation. When he acted the first time the letter transmitted to the Senate stated clearly what the constitution prescribed, “Acting President” but the second one based on the same constitutional provision said “Osinbajo as the Vice President would coordinate activities of government.”
Today we don’t need God to come down and tell us the Acting President is hindered by primordial forces that create problems for this nation by their warped ideology that Nigeria is synonymous with a section of this country. Look at the unintelligent outburst of a coalition of Arewa youths, the reactions from Governor el-Rufai, Northern Governors Forum and some elders of Northern Nigeria and you see the hypocrisy in all of us. Firstly, the faces of those who made the Kaduna Declaration were anything but youthful, those were old men enlisted to cause confusion because the battle they took upon themselves was a misguided one which had nothing to do with them or the North. If anything the Biafra challenge is a Nigeria problem; that the Arewa took it up reveals a dangerous mindset and I hope the message is clear to non-Northerners residing in those areas. The description of Igbo as irresponsible by el-Rufai and some Northern elders simply because Igbo embarked on sit-at-home protest, is overreaching and very condescending to say the least.
If the truth be told we set ourselves up for the convulsion that is hitting us badly today. Some say the youths don’t know anything but I say that is a wrong diagnosis. Many of our children today have better knowledge and more information than many of us who call ourselves elders. We talk of unity and yet we impose burdens on youths from certain sections of this country. The youth from the South East would have to score 280 marks and yet may not get admission to the university but his contemporary in another section will score 50 and would be admitted to read choice courses. Yet we say they should not ask questions. I don’t want to border about the political architecture which was bastardised by the military. I get mad when some people say if you have problem go to the National Assembly. To do what, I ask? Maybe to encounter a so-called proportional representation which criteria were based on clear injustice? Neither Igbo nor IPOB did anything wrong; secession is a right enjoyed by everybody in the world. Scots in Britain want to go, in Spain the Catalonians just held a rally last week addressed by Coach Pep Guardiola of Manchester City FC, even in America, California wants to go and nobody is abusing or shooting them. Their areas have not come under security siege rather they have been given freedom to air their views. Today, based on promptings from the north this nation is spending billions of naira to search for oil in the desert and am sure if they found oil today the tune would change from our unity is not negotiable to something else. Don’t ask me what it is. The time to negotiate has come.