I’M acutely aware that ignorant warmongers are likely to accuse me either of cowardice or, even, betrayal of the current agitations for selfdetermination, of which I was part, that has been gaining momentum in the Southern parts of the country or both by the positions I’m taking in this piece. I will nonetheless canvas the positions I’m convinced are in the best interests of everyone who understands the concepts of humanity and tactical belligerence.
Fact is that Nigeria currently lacks leadership – in reality she has never had. Nigeria has never been blessed with sterling quality leadership with a revolutionary-visionary mindset for a comprehensive transformation of Nigeria from a subsistence stratum to a developed and sophisticated state. In fact, no leader has succeeded in making Nigeria discover itself. Rather, we have been having rulers who help Nigeria fritter away her formidable potentials and drive the ship of state backwards. Frankly speaking, in the 107 years of its existence since amalgamation, Nigeria has not succeeded in transiting from a mere country into a nation state.
A country is a mere geographical space with sovereign authority. That’s where it ends. A nation is a country with one soul, one spirit, one vision, one mind. A population of people with a collective dream and belief in their nationhood with unquestionable loyalty to its development and indivisibility. Unfortunately, that’s not the picture of Nigeria. None of those privileged to have ruled this country ever consciously or deliberately instituted the mechanisms for Nigeria to integrate in order to peacefully cohabitate for the purposes of coherent development. Their strength is in our violent divisions along ethnoreligious divides. They maintain themselves in power by setting us against one another in the manner of a herd of riotous American Pit Bull Terriers unleashed for mutual cannibalism. Our hatred for one another beyond the public pretenses is intense. Publicly in peace times we hug and smile and even do business together, but in the safety of our private discourses among the people of our own language and religion we give the most damning assessments of others not of our own language and religion. We harbor widespread and dangerous animosities against one another. But we pretend about it all. No ruler has ever tried to manage our diversity from becoming our adversity. We have remained on the untenable premise of no Nigerian is good except those of my ethnicity and religion. This has been escalated to the level of governance to the extent that nepotism is virtually a state policy especially as being demonstrated in the last six years of the Buhari Presidency. From day one, the president has demonstrated, without any scruples, his belief in the hegemonic domination of Nigeria by his Fulani ethnic stock.
He has continued to implement what seems a desperate Fulanisation agenda that is meant to turn Nigeria into a Fulani Republic of Nigeria. This opprobrious attitude and posture have been largely responsible for the heightened agitations for selfdetermination in the South-West, armed insurrections in the South-East and separatist militancy in the South-South. What has dominated our national space in the last six years has been governance domination by the ‘Hausa-Fulani’ and the extreme violence by killer herders who are mostly Fulanis. The president has defended and protected the latter more than any group of Nigerians despite their being responsible for hundreds of thousands deaths, destruction and displacement of millions of sedentary populations forced to become internally displaced persons whilst the government allows the genocidal army roam and raid free. We are confronted with a dehumanizing spectacle of cattle taking precedence over human beings. The Federal government under General Buhari has continued to encourage the killer herders to continue perpetrating mass killings, kidnappings, farm destruction and population displacements and committing horrendous atrocities on a large scale while the Presidency acts as their mouthpiece by defending every atrocity being committed by this army of occupation.
All of these have escalated tensions across the land and some Zones justifiably want out of Nigeria. Nigerians have never been this divided as being orchestrated by the Buhari Presidency. He aggravates the situation further by his arrogant misuse of power by talking down on Nigerians who have genuine concerns and legitimate grievances.
All his policies – RUGA, water resources Bill, brazen nepotism, etc, – are schemes designed to achieve massive land-grabbing for his Fulani people and their cattle in a comprehensively crafted Fulanisation agenda. Nothing has dominated our national psyche in the last six years more than conversations around the murderous escapades of killer Fulani herders under the active abettance of the Presidency.
The total aggregate of Buhari’s six-year legacy of disagreeable nepotism and obstinate incompetence – perhaps his 8-year term – is the achievement of the scandalous status of Nigeria as a country trapped in ‘multidimensional poverty’ according to the World Bank, plus intractably perilous insecurity worsened by secessionist agitations and armed struggles. Rather than demonstrate leadership by applying robust engagement of the issues and addressing genuine grievances, the president is content sitting aloof or unleashing his disreputable spokespersons on the populace for collective or targeted insults. Even state governors are not spared in the loquacious vituperations of presidential anger, especially when it comes to the menace of killer herders and demands for restructuring. Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina have earned a well-deserved public notoriety of presidential anus cleaners who do a terrible job of it by further messing up what they are paid to clean.
They call state governors names for proposing or carrying out policies that benefit their states and protect their citizens. They’re berated with acidic vehemence by the notorious duo – ibeji oran, as the Yoruba describe demonic twins. The president hardly talks personally to Nigerians and whenever he does, he escalates tension in the land by issuing threats rather than soothing frayed nerves like he did recently that attracted instantaneous censures locally and internationally which also led to Twitter and Facebook pulling down his genocidal threats. He seems so far removed from reality and acts so distant from the country he governs that even now that ISWAP/Boko Haram terrorists are settled barely two hours’ drive from his Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, official residence the president has continued to live in a haze of delussion probably believing that the huge clouds of insecurity hovering over and around the country could somehow be wished away. He communicates no action or concern or empathy. He doesn’t even communicate understanding. There is nothing to suggest that this president understand the dictates of a president’s job descriptions.
He is a perfect misfit for the job.
A former American Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, wrote that “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut out through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand”. Our own president is nothing near such a leader in description or character configuration. In the midst of overwhelming national confusion, President Buhari is missing in action.
The injustices in the land and cries of marginalization are real. The clamour for redress are loud, yet the arrogance of ill-gotten power wouldn’t allow the president do the right thing by dialoguing with critical stakeholders from all the geopolitical Zones. His government is yet to realize that you can’t treat self-determination revolutionaries like common criminals same as you treat terrorists. Self-determinationists are not criminals, but aggrieved patriots seeking justice. ISWAP/Boko Haram terrorists – including killer herders – are international terrorists with extreme religious ideology which is basically nihilistic in character.
All the above are our realities which provoke reactions of secessionist nature in the country today. People are justifiably angry! But whether the way some are going about expressing their frustrations is beneficial or not is another poser.
In my opinion, we are yet to exhaust all the available peaceful options of agitation for a better society. I can understand that we have a ruling clique that is impervious to reason and destructive in nature. But we have to interrogate the maximum effects of our actions wholesale in order to determine whether we stand to gain by that course of action or even lose more.
I’m of the opinion that we should collaborate better and strategically in the ceaseless clamouring for a comprehensive restructuring of the country that allows for bgreater autonomy for the federating units rather than the current unconstitutional and acrimonious unitary system that is killing the country by rapid installments. Restructuring is a productive low-hanging fruit that can benefit everyone in the country and if we pressure the powers that be hard enough, we will get it.
Unfortunately, the Civil Society and the intellectual segment of the larger society are too politically naive and lazy to lead the process of achieving resolutions of our myriads of challenges in a nonviolent manner. I can bet it, the intellectual political class will be among the frontline endangered species in the event of an all-out war breakout. Members of the power class and their hangers-on have amassed enough looted resources to last them a lifetime in the comfort of foreign lands where they’ve stocked up billions of our stolen commonwealth. You will be stranded and the masses would take out their anger on you and destroy you and all you have.
It’s no longer about speaking grammar or engaging in social media tigerism. It is time we rolled up our shirts and prepared to get dirty in the fight to save our country from the consuming fire that is already raging by providing the effective alternatives to armed violence and uncoordinated breakup. Let’s advocate more by collaborative interventions and organisation that would force the power mongers to listen to peoples’ demands and calm warmongers. I’m of the opinion that Nigeria’s problems can be solved by nonviolent means if due diligence is exercised by the intellectual-political elites.
I agree with an opinion that suggests that international terrorist organisations like ISIS, al-Qaeda, ISWAP and their local collaborators are just watching and waiting for our fragile security architecture to collapse and move in to take over and turn Nigeria into either a terrorist caliphate or simply an ungovernable space.
The Arab spring was such a substantial failure and tragically counterproductive on the long run simply because it was not well thought-out by the organizers. Today in Libya, once one of the best organised African nations, the people yearn for a return of the Muammar Gaddafi era that they jubilated prematurely at its demise. Libya failed catastrophically and it’s the mass of Libyans who are now the inconsolable collateral victims of its failure. Libya is principally an ungoverned and ungovernable space that has lost its beauty, honor and power. Syria and Yemen are a living hell to its citizens today.
I don’t think that’s what we want for our country and people.
A lot of ignoramuses are emotionally charging for war now without a proper estimation of it in human costs and the mass sufferings that are necessary to follow.
Niko Bellic posited that “War is when the young and stupid are tricked by the old and bitter into killing each other”.
Even now in relative peace, millions of Nigerians cannot feed themselves, how would they manage to survive full-blown secessionist wars that guarantees no assurances of success? Even if we succeed in getting separate nations, have you thought of the manifestation of the internal contradictions that are bound to arise and may snowball into a fresh series of civil wars among brothers in the battles for supremacy and power tussles as we are currently experiencing in South Sudan?
The focus of this piece is to acknowledge that we have genuine causes to agitate for a better deal and that Nigeria’s current structure allows for injustice and inequity which must be urgently redressed. I do not blame those who demand separate nations and I do not oppose those who have taken up arms to force their demands, but I believe that there is a better way to achieve our common objectives through positive actions.
I recommend that the intellectual-political class lead the initiative in an organised manner to secure the restructuring of the country and then we can move from there to demand separate states, if still necessary, in a more formalised setting as done in the defunct Soviet Union.
Whatever we can do to avoid the looming bloodbath which will still give us a result that is satisfactory to the greater numbers of Nigerians should be instantaneously activated.
We are running out of time