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Nigeria: Demystifying the separatism clamour

By Steve Obum Orajiaku
19 May 2021   |   3:09 am
The above quote I found on the first page of an 822 paged book, which I judge in my limited knowledge as the costliest book I have ever seen or read. I bought it for N150000

The Nigeria Flag: SHUTTERSTOCK

“If you cannot understand a man, you cannot crush him. And if you do understand a man, you probably will not wish to crush him.” G K Chesterton

The above quote I found on the first page of an 822 paged book, which I judge in my limited knowledge as the costliest book I have ever seen or read. I bought it for N150000 (hardcover) but it cost “only” $600 (approximately N300,000) for the hard copy online. “A Right Honorable Gentleman” by Trevor Clark is a copious biography on the Life and Times of Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Ademola Adetokunbo, Chief Justice of Nigeria 1958-72 and Chairman of the Commonwealth Foundation and also The Hon. Lord Home of the Hirsel, KT both did the foreword.

If you then ponder on that weighty opening quote and what it practically translates to in the interface with the bitter clamoring for self-government prominently by the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) and the proponents of Oduduwa Republic, you will most likely be impatient to read the rest of this discourse.

Who said that a certain tribe in Nigeria is evil while yours is wholesome and saintly? That is sanctimonious if not smacks of sectarianism. The recent rising cases of hostilities that have engulfed the length and breadth of what used to be a peaceful and calm nation yesteryears especially with demoralizing body language of the presidency all goes to show a tacit promotion of deep distrust and despondency among the citizenry. The people are distraught: lethargy, depression and phlegmatic pattern of lifestyle have long set in. The fact that the beautiful people of Nigeria who are up till now characteristically renowned for resilience have found themselves at the crossroad, confused and criminalized by their rudderless political rulers is a present phenomenon. The only tiny glimmer of light in this thick and palpable dark tunnel is the bitter but boastful choice of proper national consensus or dialogue which the talk of restructuring Nigeria typically encapsulates. Let us talk now. Failure to concede and conciliate to this salutary option will ultimately trigger inevitable disaster that will consume everyone. Enough of dishing out political rhetorics about whether we should restructure or forbear as incorrigible demagogues are used to do, time to match words with actions is here and now.

Running a dysfunctional and epileptic system that only delivers retrogression, susceptible to foreign control, engenders disunity, generates rancour and ethnic strife and acrimony, is incompatible with productivity, and constituting economic liability is, to say the least, resentful, supporting drudgery and foolhardy. 

It is unfortunate that the solution to the difficult and dreary situation we are enmeshed in is not distant from us but it is just by the doorstep but neglected if not abandoned. More than that, indeed we are evidently destitute of the political willpower to engage in the needful tasks of nation-building.

Restructuring may just be a soft landing resolution point and the country’s clamoring elements of secession or self-government shouldn’t look like a gift horse in the mouth. At the end of it all, it will be a win-win and amicable settlement benefitting all and sundry. But if the body language of the member nations of the international community, particularly the Western hegemony with the “siddon look” (observing) posture of Russian and China depicts that of strong thirst for our bloodletting (which the silence of Nigeria President is insinuating presently) then the people must rise to the occasion, take the bull by the horn and restore hope and order by compelling constituent members of both houses of the national assembly. This tenet of democracy which we do have must be harnessed, maximumly. If indeed Nigeria politicians are sincere from the bottom of their hearts, this clarion call for due restructuring of the present state and system of the nation affairs which is generally believed to be replete with a deficiency should tickle their fancy.

And for anyone to nurse their ulterior motives such as routing the entire nation from secular entity to religious enclave, is a millennial joke, an impossible mission and a quixotic dream. The politically correct persuasion that a religiously and culturally divergent people like Nigeria consist of cannot stand but which Britain who hurriedly exited European Union through Brexit, wants to force down the throat of the innocent people of Nigeria, is too hypocritical and truly reflects conservative greed.  

Taking cognizance that this is an ongoing discourse, so promising to conclude it here will amount to a white lie but for space constraints, let me invite you to consider this other alternative, especially if you are a right-winger, such as a conservatively status quo zealots.

The other alternative is invariably the currently installed system we run, which is presently and gravely dragging us to abyss, is long due for review. Haven’t we seen the best the presidential system has got to offer us with its whopping recurrent expenditures, the honeycomb that forcefully pulls political leaders from diverse flanks of the country to the central Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja for refill after embezzling the previous dividends of democracy, so prodigally perceived. Haven’t we? Have we not been witnesses to the national project dichotomy it engenders because the disparate ethnic groups have been incapable of speaking and acting with one voice, ab initio? Have we not seen it?

That claim to “there is strength or power in diversity” used by its subscribers and advocates cannot hold water any longer in the face of debilitating disadvantages glaring us to our faces. Which continent on the surface of the earth does have a nation whose fundamental fabrics of belief systems, culture, traditions, language and even myths are so sharply opposing to, not just differing from each other and yet are still hoping against all hopes that they might survive the nightmare? Absolutely none that’s known to us. Why then is Britain bent on holding Nigerians hostages and the ransom is derived and siphoned via our rich oil deposits and their proxies are the oil company merchants? We will not stop speaking up and our ink shall not run dry until our liberation, emancipation and full liberty is no longer a nightdream but a daily reality, Amen and Amen.

Orajiaku is a freelance journalist and social activist.
(Tel. 08035530832)