History and totalitarianism in Nigeria
The wise saying that those who refuse to learn from history condemn themselves to make all the past mistakes of their past generations yet again; mistakes which they would have learnt from that history not to make again. In actual fact, they not only make those mistakes all over again, but make them in a more advanced society than their ancestors; and so have greater damages done to their societies by those neglects.
This is the reason why it must be a grave pity indeed that howsoever, some people had decided to remove history from our formal education in this country. Whatever reason those people may have had, everybody in the country now must know that those who did so had done grave harm to this country by doing so. The true history of Nigeria, all very easily accessible in the internet by just e-searching for it, shows that the British colonizers started ruling us by all sorts of amalgamations and unitary governances. Thus, all civil and public servants in the country were posted by the same one colonial government to all the nooks and crannies of the country that they were able to find such staff for. When the clamour for independence started, it all centred around that same colonial Lagos only.
However, when immediately after the Second World War this clamour intensified, Sir Ahmadu Bello who was emerging as the single greatest leader of “the North” insisted that independence will not be agreed to “by the North” unless the colonial masters divided Nigeria back into regions which should function semi-autonomously, so as to give each region the mutually respectable chance to develop as they desired and at their own pace, under their own leaders. This took full statutory and administrative effect in 1952 and continued onto 1960 when we gained our independence from Britain.
The three regions then were fully viable states of their own and functioned as such, with independent governors, premiers, ministers, and ambassadors in the most important countries of the world. This was, of course, in addition to the overall Nigerian ambassadors to those countries.
When the military coup of January 1966 occurred, even though each region had its own military administrator as for the regional governments, being under a military set up, some significant elements of that apparently unwanted unitarism of old crept into governance in Nigeria. When the “counter-coup” of July 1966 took place, the coupists and their appointed rulers gave as one of the important reasons for the coup, the necessity to reverse the unitarism of the government that came with the January coup.
It is to be left to the consciences of everybody who care to think about it, if there is anything else that we have had since then, other than the furtherance of that unitarianism. This unitarianism in national governance has not only grown but has lead us to where we now are, of virtual absolute totalitarianism and autocracy unto a tyranny. Knowing that people are not going to take this lightly, all our military and paramilitary and even civil security apparatuses have also been brought under this totalitarianism; as anybody with any eyes can see. Only people who want to play funny economies with the truth will claim otherwise.
What makes the people who are doing these things to believe that they can bottle up the entire country of some 200 million people and 250 ethnic nationalities in this “militarily trapped in” situation beats my imagination. Above all, these people believe that they know God and worship Him; and indeed have all the elements of this religiousity around them all of the time. Since 2019, this totalitarianism has become complete, not only of the executive and their appointments but in our obviously funnily “elected” legislatures. The judiciary which has been reduced to practically unitarily engineered appointments has also become part of this unfortunate situation.
The expansion of this overrun has included “the failed but not given up Ruga settlement saga”, the IPPIS that has scuttled the running of many (even foreign and international, time and performance-bound) grant-based programmes in the universities and many other agencies that the ASUU has been up against, the socially unjust development plans for railways, oil and gas development, electricity, airports, road transportation and now even our waterways! This last unitarianism-based take-over of the second most important basis of life (in the air, water, housing/security, food, etc, hierarchy) of all our waterways was turned down by the last legislature that struggled throughout its time to maintain some reasonable independence from the unitarianism.
But the present apparently unitarialized and “yes parliament” is back and running amok with the legislation. So one asks, when shall we learn to work only for social justice, respect for truth and history, and for the common good? The socio-cultural groupings in the South-South, South-East, South-West and North-Central have been advising this present unitarianism government on these matters but they are not listening. The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has been doing the same in their absolutely even but only periodic conferences. Most other professional and intellectual groups in the country having been neutered are no longer able to do so, except for the ever embattled ASUU; but they are not listening. The so-called opposition party or party members are the only ones making all the consistent pointing out of these unwanted ways; but they are obviously not credible peoples as they themselves have records of similar, even if different political damages of the country.
So, it is now time for the citizens to do so by themselves. We have past the crude civilization of military schemings; and those who use it are not worthy of today.
However, truly modern and peaceful ways of overcoming primitivities must be found in the present circumstances. Therefore, as many as are not partisanly involved must rise up and begin to partake in these vocal independent media and other grassroots movements for social justice, for the pursuit of the common good and the true progress of the country. The poorest and most marginalized components of our country will surely be the greatest beneficiaries of such progress, contrary to what these our autocracy people are promising them.
Only a mass people’s movement will be able to reach all those people and encourage them to end their ignorance-based rabid followership of the breeders of the present roll down to anarchy; and the complete destruction of the country. All these must however be done plainly, charitably and educationally for the perpetrators of the evils; because they may truly not be knowledgeable of the evils that they are doing, in spite of what they may be thinking.
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