And they also came for Igboho – Part 2
Continued from yesterday
History has repeatedly shown that the geographical boundaries of nation-states are in a continuous state of flux. This is most especially so in nations where the persecution and denial of the rights of some constituent units on the basis of their religions and ethnicities become the norm, where a section constitutes itself into an overlord over others, etc. Unfortunately, Nigeria, as currently configured, falls under this category.
Who thought that the Soviet Union would one day collapse and disintegrate the way it did in 1991? Despite its massive landmass (straddling Europe and Asia) with a population surpassed only by China and India, an ideology which touched every corner of the world, an army and nuclear capability that instilled fear in the US and its western allies and, mark this, a secret service (the dreaded KGB) that perfected the practice of absolute state control over the lives and minds of citizens; despite these remarkable records, the almighty Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) collapsed in 1991. It had been in existence since 1917.
It is instructive to note that the USSR was a loose confederation of 15 republics, with Russia as the most dominant. The others were Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belorussia, and Tajikistan. Although many remote and immediate factors were responsible for the ultimate demise of the Soviet Union, those that should interest Nigerians are as follows:
1.The government was strictly authoritarian.
2. Freedom of speech and other civil liberties were proscribed.
3. The one-party state was not accountable to the people.
4. Because Russia was the most dominant republic, the interests of the other parts of the country were relegated to the background and subordinated to the whims and caprices of Russia.
Do you see any parallels between the defunct USSR and Nigeria of today, under President Buhari?
As things stand in Nigeria today, these are the questions bogging the minds of most citizens: After Igboho, who will be the next victim of the Buhari gangrene? Whom amongst Nigeria’s patriots has the courage to toe the line of self-actualization as a way out of the current cul-de-sac and risk being infected by this gangrene? As Nigeria slides into that desperate condition that is turning our country into what Condoleezza Rice called an ‘outpost of tyranny, how many citizens can afford to court the strong susceptibility of that raging gangrene by calling out Mr. Buhari?
Those averse to the USSR-type solution say that it will erode the great potentials inherent in Nigeria’s diversity. They hope that the Nigerian state can still be salvaged through restructuring and true federalism. But this, they warn, must be carried out with all sincerity and without any hint of ethnic and religious bigotry and Fulani irredentism that have bedeviled our country since 1960.
But whichever way the pendulum swings, Nigerians know that, someday, there will surely be a reckoning. A dispassionate reckoning to right the monumental wrongs committed against the majority of Nigerians. Only then can the excruciating pains caused by this gangrene be permanently healed. And forgotten.
Gyang is the chairman of the NGO, Journalists Coalition for Citizens Rights Initiative (JCCRI.)
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