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Federal Republic of Nigeria – The Sun Nigeria – Daily Sun

Last Friday, we celebrated our independence day, 61 years of gaining independence from British colonialists. The government as usual gave us a public holiday, not to celebrate nationhood but contradictions. We had great goodwill messages full of so much sound but in reality signified nothing of significance. All the messages made allusions very far from substance. People in this richly endowed country still tell us we have to wait to be 300 years old before our eyes can see the glory. The worst is that the majority take it. President Muhammadu Buhari who rode to power on the mantra of change, to take us away from path of perfidy we took ourselves into, spoke of being stronger together and the benefits of a united Nigeria, yet he is six years on the saddle and the country has never been as divided as it has turned out to be under his watch. Under him, religion and ethnic supremacy have been entrenched as state policy. This is a major sin that has kept us very far away from a dream state; a case of hypocrisy, saying one thing and meaning another especially when it is time to walk the talk. 
    But he tells us of his readiness for the sake of a united country, yet under him people of his faith and ethnic group have taken over all important offices in the land. Despite this very destabilizing action, he trudges on, singing the song of a society whose unity is non-negotiable or settled matter. What a tragedy! It is symptomatic of all that is wrong with us, a character flaw that has retarded development and brought what ought to be a very thriving society to her knees.
     A nation with abundant human and material resources including the black gold called crude oil, yet the infrastructural base is at best still very rudimentary, not to mention available economic space which is nothing to cheer about. Sixty one years after independence, as George Orwell would observe, we live «in a society in which nobody is free, anybody can be clamped into jail for doing nothing, or one›s rights to decent living circumscribed and nobody cares, we have a culture where governments have even made the aberrations look normal, a part of existence.»
   We today live in a country where nobody is secured. All this while our leaders have created a political culture that encouraged vagabonds and hardened deviants to carry lethal weapons, their major task has been to offer personalized protection, private army if you like, to enforce personal and group desires. Today, the «boys» are turning the guns on the larger society. The situation has become so bad no one can undertake a stroll of 500 metres and be sure to return to his or her residence safely. Insecurity is boiling at the seams, it is threatening to spill over. Ours is a case where it has become impossible to be honest and live, the race of might is in full swing. We know the truth of our situation but we have allowed the very blood thirsty among us to hijack the space to infuse a reign of injustice, greed, impunity and the act of double speak and the consequences don›t look pleasant yet those who hold the rest of us down won›t let go, no sign of remorse . It is a case of move ahead, but ahead to no where in particular. 
    Human lives have become the cheapest commodity which shouldn›t be, yet our leaders prance the whole stage behaving like the ostrich or better still, like Emperor Nero of Rome, who frolicked while his kingdom burnt to ashes. Insecurity and no one is bold enough to insist on changing the narrative quickly via a change of the security architecture, so that we have in place multiple layers of policing to fend off the overbearing presence of terrorists  making life and living hellish. Societies that use the brain use this strategy, our leaders visit these places at our expense and see things for themselves, yet would not see the sense in that or the fact that we are supposed to be a federalist union. 
    Why are they blinded? Religious and ethnic supremacist wars. Yes, in this place development is measured in terms of ethnic and religious superiority not by roads, housing, food security, power supply, school enrollment and productive economic base. No! It is about retention of ill-gotten advantage. Conqueror›s mentality! In this warped thinking, putting guns in the hands of «vassal states» will shortchange the lords and water down their hold, so all can die including collapse of the edifice itself. Only predators with nothing at stake think and act this way. We are a federal state, that is the name but when it comes to creating the structures destroyed by the military during their misdirected intervention in power, people who mouth one nation, one destiny the most insist that won›t be. A culturally plural people should have ample space to express themselves and to enjoy their peculiarities. So some level of autonomy is necessary which  will even engineer positive competition. Many know this but say no we don›t understand it that way. When will knowledge come, nobody knows. 
   They even insist the unitary system is forgetting the basis for coming together was federalism. They want to be begged to understand why the wheels of our society should roll on well oiled rollers. Very amazing, isn’t it? This shouldn’t be so but it is because most people have this erroneous belief that life and development are based on grabbing. Unfortunately, grabbing may look sweet but it will not last long before it turns to ashes in the mouth. It is production that gives life. It comes when the whole agree and the whole can agree when leaders see sense to reach a consensus flowing from compromises. The compromise factor is missing and until we find it making a headway will be difficult, if not impossible. It is not a lesson time will teach, we are in it already. Our leaders can pretend but it won’t change things rather it could snowball into their hurt. We have seen it happen elsewhere. 
     It is time we do away with supremacist mentality, it hasn›t helped and will not help. It is time people do away with this fatalistic approach, no one section of Nigeria can successfully take control of the rulership of this conglomerate all alone and make it. Never! The question of «my population is bigger than yours» is of very little consequence where peace and progress is the goal. Consensus is a winner any day. If everyone is pissing out and only one person pisses in, that one act would spoil the environment for the rest. Control of means of violence doesn›t mean war can›t break out, a very nasty one whose end even the instigators can›t fathom can erupt. Given the anger in the land, it will be blood; and knowing imperialists and their wish for Nigeria no one area will be immune to the consequences. .
   Those who sing the mantra of united country, especially those who are leaders and particularly those in power, must stop and ask themselves if what they have done has implanted the pillars of unity across the land. The mere existence of sectional groups, loud and very belligerent on sectional agenda should worry them. It is a sign of deep division. Inability of citizens to talk Nigeria is because there is no corresponding vision in that regard. Sixty one years after independence, our constitution is still talking about indigenes; we have situations where the Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, for instance must come from among the Igbo lecturers. We want great nation but very shy to push the buttons of merit and excellence.
    The north must be told to come down from their high horses, if truth be told their thrust within the Nigerian experiment has not helped at all. The core north has great minds but they never push them forward, it is as if they have a pack with mediocrity, lowing standards and ruining institutions including stalling growth. This is not acceptable. The worse is distorting intentions and institutionalising double speak. Today they don›t understand federalism.They don›t want national dialogue, according to them past ones didn›t produce results. Whose fault? Same North, then why not insist we take a look at the outcomes. No way, the gains northern military officers brought must be allowed to stay irrespective of pains it imposes on the larger society.
They want to be begged to have the presidential seat rotated as if they begged the rest to have their kin in there. Before Buhari came the North spoke of «our turn», they were vehement, now the song is changing. It is now «the people must decide.» Isn›t elite consensus important again? Can›t good judgment prevail without debasing any group? If a fair sense of judgment existed the South East would be the natural consensus to produce the next president of Nigeria but not here; every one becomes clever, pressing perceived advantage to general ruin. North said on Monday they must keep it because they have the largest population. They forget Arkansas in the United States of America is the smallest and yet produced a president in Bill Clinton. Others say Igbo want Biafra, and therefore not eligible. It is as if there is nobody who wants Nigeria in the entire South East. Why then has it been such a difficult task to look for them and call them so they can help nationalists overrun those who are secessionists? This would have been if there is good conscience and abiding commitment to build a great nation. But there isn›t.
    Rotation is not ideal but the presence of conventions even in developed worlds is a testament that not in all cases we have to wait for the ideal before we move to create processes that would enable classical development, neither must every good conduct be about stated regulations. At the stage of our development rotation is good, and there is even urgent need to include it into the rule books to be expunged when the time no longer requires it. Rotation would have been a constitutional provision, but the same North said make it a gentleman›s agreement to run between North and South. It should be a constitutional provision and law at the state and even local levels too. In the absence of clear provisions in the law books, the stipulations of justice, equity and fairness are strong enough to hold the desire for rotation in place. Federal Character stipulation is a nailer. Good conscience is the king of them all.
    The controversy over VAT is needless if leaders told themselves the truth. VAT is simply consumption tax, it is not about production. It is a local thing. In our case it is not caught up even by the law which makes it a residual matter. Since those who thrive on aberrations are many it has become an issue, turning to ethnic war. Lawyers that should know have gone to become ramblers. Tragedy of a people. 
   On a final note, freedom is not free. It is about enlightenment, courage and sacrifices. Oppressors don›t drop advantages just for the sake of it. It requires bravery to deal with oppressors. It is about eternal vigilance. Our society will emerge from its current trauma into the right path, the contradictions are pulling, the core North knows the times are changing, it is exhibiting features of last stage of bravado, it knows one North is a myth, the Middle Belt has already spoken. The last reaction from Kaduna is indicative of fear. There is this posture, they can break the ranks of the others, Yes, the saving grace for the others will lie with them. They must close ranks and establish their presence. We need balance of force.
    The North Central, South West, South East and South South must rise to be counted or be ready to be vanquished. These groups must rise to be counted, they must know what they want, state and stand by them. They must insist right things be done. Current structure of one side grabbing everything and attempting to redraw the face of the larger society in their image must not only be halted they must insist on the right path. Heaven will not fall, only enemies of development will. Those who love peace must organize effectively as those who love war, that›s what Martin Luther King taught. It is a useful lesson. 

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Last Friday, we celebrated our independence day, 61 years of gaining independence from British colonialists. The government…

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© 2019 The Sun Nigeria – Managed by Netsera.
© 2019 The Sun Nigeria – Managed by Netsera.
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