The restlessness of our world
As I was saying… Two days ago marked 50 years of the declaration of the Republic of Biafra by Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. Predictably, there was muscle-flexing between the police and the groups pushing for the revalidation of the Biafran dream, a dream that cost the country more than two million lives and untold horrors. There are three main groups agitating for the dusting up of that declaration and actualising it. The combined efforts of security agencies were on the red alert days before last Tuesday in the East Central states. They crime-mapped everywhere and demonstrated their strength and readiness in the air and on land. In the words of DSP Geoffrey Ogbonna, “The aerial and land surveillance being experienced is part of the Command’s arrangements structured to upgrade her security network.” The day eventually passed. It is enheartening that there were no reports of ugly incidents.
It is noteworthy that we are beginning to realise that the Biafran issue will not go away until the fundamentals underpinning the agitation are resolved. Our attitude too is not as bellicose as it was in the past, and we are sensing the wisdom that no matter what and how we feel on any vexed national issue it is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war. The change in attitude is eloquently demonstrated in the holding of a colloquium in Abuja on “Biafra, 50 years after.” If it were in the past, any such gathering to discuss Biafra would have been promptly disbanded and organizers arrested and possibly accused of treason. See who were at the colloquium: the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; former President Olusegun Obasanjo, an active participant in the Biafran War; Alhaji Ahmed Joda, an amiable and delightful fellow, and a prominent member of the Super Permanent Secretary club of old; and Dr. John Nwodo, the national president of Ohanaeze, the Igbo socio-cultural organization. There was also an activity at the Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, on Sunday at which Osita Chidoka delivered a lecture.
Two weekends ago, General Alani Akinrinade, former Chief of Defence Staff, and one of the valiant war heroes along with Alabi Isama in Benjamin Adekunle Marine Commando, said if the Igbos wanted to go they should be allowed to do so with the proviso that there is a referendum among them, that is among the Igbos both at home and those in the diaspora. It will increasingly be seen that the idea that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable is absurd and not sustainable. It is outdated. From what I can see, restructuring the country is an imperative due to her diversities—pronounced cultural differences, differences in language, ethnic origin, values and world-view. Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has assumed a leading role in this drive, crisscrossing the country, vigorously canvassing her restructuring. His argument is that restructuring to engender true federalism would make for greater union, loyalty to the nation, collaboration and complementarity.
Just last week Thursday, it was again the subject in town. This time, it was at a national discourse in Abuja to mark the 90th birthday of Edwin Clarke. At the occasion, Akwa-Ibom State former governor, Victor Atta presented a paper titled “Restructuring, true federalism and resource control: Panacea for enduring peace and sustainable development in Nigeria.” Obong Atta said Nigerians not accepting that true federalism is predicated on resource control would fuel more crises in the future. He did say: “It is unfortunate that today, we quarrel, we fight, we indulge in all sorts of destructive contrivance because we want to device ways of getting more money from the federal purse. That is not federalism. This way we would never develop because we are merely sharing poverty.”
The gaze is focused on the pursuit of material benefits and satisfaction only not on love which should be the foundation of any association. There is a current of the New Time, of the time in which we are today, bringing everything to an awakening, including our spirit. Nothing can be hidden any more or for much longer. It must bear restating that the bulk of the problems mankind is grappling with today is borne out of lack of knowledge. Where there is no knowledge, there is groping in the dark. No one needs be reminded of what harm anyone encounters groping in the dark. Hence the Book of Proverbs says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” In 2 Peter 1:3, we read of a supplication for knowledge: “Oh Lord, give me knowledge to utilize the divine power you have put in me.” Yet, a man cannot begin to seek real knowledge until he has reservations about life and he begins to ask the question: Who am I? Where did I come from and where do I go when I leave this world? What is the purpose of human sojourn on earth? When I die what do I encounter on my way to where I long to be and indeed, what is the way thereto? The right knowledge will also enable us to have an idea, even if only faintly, of the stage of development in which our world is. It is because these questions have not been answered satisfactorily that the world is in turmoil.
At the moment there is an unconscious sensing that our world is out of joint and not heading in the direction ordained for it; that it is headed for disaster except we turn a new leaf for the better and redirect it. This unconscious sensing is leaving many a person restless in nearly everywhere in our beleaguered world. Many people are powerfully sensing that there is no more time left to fulfill the purpose of their lives. There are many finding the environment suffocating for the fulfillment of the purpose of their lives, hence the agitation by the spirit, the real man in earthly sojourn.
Is it conceivable that our lives as human beings sent down to this world are without purpose? We were born; we also become parents and grandparents; give away daughters and granddaughters in marriage. We build houses, the children also build their own; and the cycle continues. It is an unending cycle of birth and death, and of struggles and prosperity. A deep thinker is bound to ask if this is all to life. Those who have come to recognize and accept the perfection of the Almighty Creator must argue that there can be no purposelessness ever emanating from His Perfection. Is it also conceivable that there would be no laws by him governing our world and the more than seven billion human beings on earth today are left to their own devices, to our whims and caprices? How will there be no chaos and confusion if there are no fundamental principles, natural laws applicable in all countries and to all peoples, including the law of morality and the law guiding the formation of nation-states, both of which have been thrown out of the window? We only need to follow publications to see weird things happening in several countries. The word ‘permissive’ may be getting too weak to capture the state of affairs. The purpose of earthly life is to attain spiritual maturity and ennoblement with the attendant unfolding of talents and abilities inherent in all human spirits for essential upbuilding. And the period allotted for this maturity to be able to return home in Paradise is fast running out, hence the restlessness of the spirit so that it can develop and leave before our material world goes into disintegration and the spirit trapped in it goes into annihilation, losing all consciousness which is the same as what is generally referred to as eternal damnation.
To facilitate this development, the Law of likes attracting Likes, otherwise known as the Law of Attraction of Homogeneous Species put people who share a lot in common together, be it strengths and weaknesses, values, worldview, relative similar degree of inner development or lack of it, to form their own language, cultivate certain cultural traits and their societies. They are drawn inexorably to form their own nation-state so they can develop without interference and stranger elements impeding their development. Such is the immutability and perfection of this self-acting law that even among peoples, there are villages, hamlets and towns which are separated from one another and within towns, there are different wards. This law governs community of fish such that Talipia is separated from the camp of cat fish, and both are far removed from the camp of whales. It governs the animal kingdom as well as the colony of birds and so it is said, “birds of the same feather flock together.” There is no interference in the long stretch of metamorphic rock by sedimentary rock.
There is the complementarity and correlating Law of Movement such that as people develop in ones, twos and threes they hit a new degree of development, they relocate or migrate entirely and integrate into new neighbourhood or new towns or countries. Such new status necessitating relocating may be a carry-over from a previous earth life. It, therefore, needs be stated, according to higher knowledge now on earth that each person without exception decides where to be born and chooses his own parents in accordance with his needs for his spiritual development. Parts of the facilities for his development, according to revelation in the higher knowledge, are radiations of the soil, of the moon, the sun and the stars as well as of the plants and winds for the nourishment of our bodies. That is why each person is drawn to his native land and he is ready to defend it with his all in the event of an invasion or devastation by stranger elements.
Another complementary law is the Law of Sowing and Reaping, the Law of Karma and the Law of Retributive Justice, all of which describe the Law of Reciprocal Action which ensures that we reap what we sow unconditionally and in multiples. It ensures we are born where we have account to settle where we can reap what we sow to taste the fruits of our works, thoughts or speeches. A man who instigates hate will be born in another life among his erstwhile victims so he can be at the receiving end this time around. All the experiences are geared towards our benefit—improvement and spiritual development. There is also the Law of Spiritual Gravitation which places us where we belong according to our spiritual weight. We are dense through the dross of wrongdoings and light through good deeds, loving and pure thoughts. A person will drop or rise to the community his weight determines, here or in the Beyond.
Ignorance is no excuse under earthly laws, how much more under spiritual laws. They are, as a specific feature, no respecter of anybody. They apply equally to the lowly as well as to the mighty and high. We cannot, therefore, be too careful in our conduct, utterances and deeds, open or in secret. They form our carpet of fate. That is why interference in the development of a people leads to disharmony; it is a spiritual crime. Over the years mankind believing that they know better than the Almighty Creator who placed the Laws in His Creation as the manifestation of His Holy Will did not and still do not exercise restraint in tampering with or putting the laws aside and have ignored this orderliness according to laws. Different earthly powers in different lands, tampering with the laws have re-ordered and disarranged natural nation-states. Such unnatural nation-states where homogeneity is lacking are bound to fall apart provided there are knowledgeable, mature and sensible leaders who carry love within them to rise to the challenge of the Law of balance which ensures balance between taking and giving; leaders who recognize the dynamics of the times and begin to loosen up the structure such that the component federating units are allowed considerable autonomy to run their affairs according to their own light and at their own pace. The countries work as a union in agreed crucial matters such as external affairs, monetary policies, communications and defence to mention just a few. Countries that were previously held together at gunpoint and communism such as the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovak Republic have disintegrated on account of their heterogeneity.
Yugoslavia, for example, before it broke up consisted of Serbians who are Eastern Orthodox Christians, Bosnians are Moslems and Croatians are Roman Catholic. There was no room for dissent and everybody belonged to the state. The state was considered more important than the people. It was the state first and the people last. The same law at work reunited the Eastern Germany and Western Germany forcibly separated to become Germany as we know it today, thanks to Gorbachev who unleashed the forces of the Law which swept through many countries to return them to their natural unions.
Where the laws have been pushed aside for a long time such as Nigeria, the option left is consensus, which will be forged through restructuring. Nearly all parts of the country have been dependent on oil and gas from the Delta Region. A majority of the states have gone to sleep. Reports quote Economic Confidential, an economic intelligence magazine, as saying that 14 states are insolvent as their internally generated revenues (IGR) in 2016 were less than 10 per cent of their Federation Account allocations of that year. The index shows that without the monthly disbursement from the Federation Account Allocation, many states are unviable and cannot survive without the federally collected revenue.
The report as contained in the Annual States Viability Index (ASVI) indicates that the IGR of Lagos State of N302billion is higher than that of 30 states put together with only Ogun, Rivers, Edo, Kwara and Delta States spared. Their IGRs are said to be very impressive at more than 30 per cent each. The remaining other states merely generated a total of N258billion in the year under review. The report published on Monday shows that Lagos and Ogun states generated more revenue than their allocations from the Federation Account by 169 per cent (Lagos) and 127 per cent (Ogun). The IGR of the 36 states of the Federation totaled N801.95billion in 2016 compared to N682.67billion in 2015, an increase of N119.28billion.
The states that may not survive without the Federation Account due to poor internal revenue generation include Borno which realised N2.6billion compared to a total of N73.8billion it collected from the Federation Account, representing four per cent. Ebonyi with IGR of N2.3 billion compared to N46.6billion received, representing five; Kebbi N3.1billion compared to N60.88 billion, making 5.14 per cent; Jigawa with N3.5 billion compared to N68.52 billion, representing 5.15 per cent; Yobe with IGR of N3.24 billion compared to N53.93 billion representing 6.0 per cent. The others are Gombe, N2.94 billion compared to N46 billion it received, making 6.26 per cent; Ekiti N2.99 billion compared toN47.56 billion from the Federation Account; Katsina N5.54 billion to Federal Allocation of N83 billion representing 6,65 per cent and Sokoto, N4.54 billion to Federal Allocation of N65.97 billion, representing 6.88 per cent. Rivers with N85 billion to the Federal receipt ofN134 billion making 63 per cent; Edo, IGR is 23bn compared to N59 billion from the Federal, representing 38 per cent; Kwara, N17bn to Federal Allocation of N49 billion; Delta, N44 billion to N126 billion from the Federal, representing 6.88per cent. The report shows that only three states in the Northern region had IGR above 20 per cent. They are Kwara, Kano and Kaduna. Eight states in the South recorded more than 20 per cent. They are Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, Delta, Cross River, Enugu and Oyo. Those with less than 10 per cent in the South are Imo, Bayelsa, Ekiti and Ebonyi States. In the North: Nasarawa, Sokoto, Katsina, Gombe, Yobe, Jigawa, Kebbi and Borno states.
The 2014 National Conference recognizes this poor economic performance and almost total dependence on the oil and gas region of Delta states, Lagos and Ogun. To pre-empt states showing poorly in revenue clout from regarding restructuring as an economic war on them, particularly the North, the conference passed a resolution creating a State Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission. There is also to be Mineral Development Fund as a special fund of five per cent to jump- start the development of solid minerals which are yet to be tapped. The Fund is to be administered by a body whose composition and powers will be specified by the National Assembly. More money is also to go to the states through the reform that reduces federal share of revenue in the Federation Account from the current 52 per cent to 42 per cent. In other words restructuring will unleash creative and productive energies of all the states to fend for themselves. This is a giant step that should placate all grieving states. We then move progressively from there to new heights. This is eminently better than violence that would do no party any good. In the age of enlightenment restructuring and debate are superior to all other arguments. They get us closer to naturalness, that is the Laws of Life. It is an unacceptable irony that Bayelsa one of the richest states is numbered among the poorest in Federal Revenue Allocation.
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