By Atejunomi Otidi
The Country Nigeria presents itself as a paradox in many senses. Whereas everyone carries the Nigerian passport, the highest loyalty of most citizens is to their ethnic and religious groupings. Where these conflict with the national interest, the ethnic and religious interest are given preference. And there-in lies the contradiction of the Nigerian nation and the challenge of forging a nation out of the Country called Nigeria.
There has been of recent, a resurgence of lawlessness in the form of attacks by supposed Fulani herdsmen whose actions instead of being condemned and resisted by the government officials are pampered, encouraged and excused by claims of their being provoked. Since when has Nigeria become a nation where every supposedly aggrieved individual takes the law into their hands to seek redress as if we exist in a Hobbesian state.
This is not the Nigeria we used to know. But then, how did we get here? I will attempt to proffer some reasons why we are where we are.
Lack of a national ideology
As of today our country lacks a national ideology. We have not defined who we are and what we stand for. One hundred and four years after Lord Lugard amalgamated the North and Southern protectorates in 1914, we still remain a hugely divided and directionless people.
Disdain of intellectualism
This is a nation that has numerous Universities and Polytechnics yet the policy and decision making process do not connect with these hotbeds of intellectual reasoning.
The intellectuals in this country are excluded from the policy and decision making process thus Nigeria has staggered from one policy summersault to another. The best policy Nigeria has had in the past fifty years was the Liberation of South Africa and making Africa the centre piece of her foreign policy – that emanated from the Universities.
Today, the universities are a shadow of themselves and we have elevated Brawn over Brain in our nation. Hence, the resort to armed conflicts in the event of the slightest disagreement. Intellectual discourse and healthy arguments/rivalries have been reduced to ZERO.
Lacks of the fear of God
Nigerians appear godly on the outside but the god that controls them is the god that they don’t fear. It is the god that they can bribe, the god that does not see their secret dealings.
Until Nigerians come to the knowledge of the Lord, God Almighty, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient and the Omnipresent, they will only move in circles.
Having said that, it is important that we understand the world in which we live today and the scenario that is creating an endless melee of crisis all over Nigeria. It is only when we intellectually analyse these scenarios and their effects on our nation that we can really proffer solutions that will endure.
SITUATION ANALYSIS OF THE GIANT OF AFRICA
There are multiple scenarios overlapping on the Nigerian nation and creating tension and pockets of crises all over the country. Until their causative effects and implications are studied carefully, analysed and addressed, we may be fighting symptoms rather than causes with the resultant effect that we continue to be engaged in one crisis after another ad-infinitum. These are:
The International Islamic struggle for turf and ascendancy
The rise in terrorism and violence by adherents of Islam are traceable to the struggle for supremacy between the Sunni personified by Saudi Arabia and the Shiites personified by Iran. All other smaller groups are aligned behind these big two. Their interpretation of the place of Islam and the Muslims in world affairs have often triggered violence of one sort or the other. Why is Saudi Arabian Jets bombing Yemen? Why are Syrian refuges not welcome in any Muslim Country? Food for thought!
The struggle is fierce and Nigeria is one of the Fronts. These two Islamic tendencies exist in their numbers in Nigeria. The recent and ongoing demonstrations in Abuja are examples of divergent Islamic religious persuasions in Nigeria.
The struggle for Tuff between the West & China.
The Western governments have realised that there is a resurgence of the cold war with the ascendancy of China and to some extent North Korea. China’s incursion into Africa is of particular interest. The private sector patronage and investments of the Western economies are gradually being replaced by Chinese businesses and investments. These of course come with all expectations of political influence. Therefore, the West will not sit back idly and lose its influence and rights in Africa without a struggle. This can take any form that they deem strategically effective. Nigeria is a major stake in the pie of Africa.
The activist foreign policy of Nigeria
In the seventies and the crusade for the reparation for centuries of enslavement of Africans championed by late MKO Abiola in the eighties have not been forgotten by the West who are largely beneficiaries of slavery. Nigerians were at the forefront of the reparation fight and the West will not tolerate a resurgence of the fight by stable and prosperous Nigeria.
Late Muammar Gaddaffi and African Union Government:
The late strongman of Libya had very little respect for inept and despotic leaders especially of the negroid African stock. His successes in the provision of basic amenities and infrastructure in Libya had propelled him to believe that better living conditions being experienced by Libyan citizens could be replicated all over Africa. To achieve this objective, he advanced the creation of a single government for Africa obviously with him in the driving seat.
When this dream was not accepted by most African heads of state and governments, he resorted to attracting dissidents from African states, training and arming them for possible assignment in their countries. With the forceful removal of Gaddaffi by the western powers and their Libyan allies, these trained and armed militia men largely dispatched to wherever they could ply their trade of violence. Quite a number of them are Nigerians and some have been sighted among Malian militia and certainly elements of these forces must have found their way into Boko Haram and the now ubiquitous so-called Fulani Herdsmen. These are merchants of violence who are ready to be procured for the inflicting of violence and pain regardless of the cause or objective.
The National Dimension of Perpetuation of Fulani Leadership
Since the incursion in 1804 of Fulani into the present Nigerian space, their interest and focus have not shifted from the original aim of siezing the religious and political leadership of the areas they access. The British intervention, to them, was only a temporary intervention. The push must therefore continue. Today, the Hausas as a distinct Nigerian ethnic group have largely been emasculated, thus the emergence of the hybrid “Hausa-Fulani” whatever that means. This imperialist expansionist desire is active and is being pursued in all dimensions sometimes subtly and sometimes brazenly. It accounts for perpetual demand for leadership and unco-operative attitude to other parts of the country emerging as leaders of Nigeria. The desire to give effect to this longstanding religio-political objective may be behind some of the crisis.
Control of Nigeria’s Natural Resources
In spite of pronouncement by various governments since independence to the effect that Nigeria’s economy needs to be diversified and abundant natural resources explored, processed and exported or consumed locally, nothing tangible has been achieved in this area.
Consequently, Nigeria remains mono-product economy depending only on oil which is concentrated in the South-South zone of the country. The fear, therefore of denying other parts access to this resources, which has become the only source of economic and political empowerment has made struggle for power and control in our country to by very fierce. The wealth of many Nigerians cannot be traced to production of goods or services but merely to access to power and authority. This has proven to be a quick and easier access to unearned resources.
This is the reason for experts and highly knowledgeable professionals abandoning their lucrative professional endeavours and businesses to idle away in the corridors of power or at the various Assemblies, National and in the States.
The calculation of these elite group is not fuelled by the desire for national development but that of self-sustenance and if possible, national development as a bye-product.
Since the colonial era, the desire of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria have been to preserve their own territories of influence and encroach into other areas. The Northern Protectorate and later regions was a master of this game. Thus, while they supported the creation of mid-west region, and were proposing to create a Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers region, they violently supressed the alliance of the middle-belt with the Western Region. It was the coup of 1966 that brought the Tiv riots to an end.
This struggle for tuff is today still being carried out by various means. The lack of major economic enablers and empowerment of the indigenes of the middle belt is traceable to this.
The economic situation of our country has created a situation where many, especially youths have found it difficult to understand. This is because they cannot understand how a country so endowed with human and natural resources could be so mismanaged to the extent that majority of them are not assured of gainful employment inspite of their qualifications. This embarrassing situation has led to some embarking on dangerous exodus from the country while others have taken to criminality. Some of the crisis in the country today are as result of people taking up their dissatisfaction with the way things are on the rest of the society. Better governance can only arrest this unfortunate situation.
There are Spiritual dimensions also to the crises in our country. This is linked to God’s plan for humanity and the perpetual failure of Man to meet the expectations of God inspite of Gods continuous love.
God has a perpetual love for humanity and will not wish to destroy it a second time hence, He sent Jesus Christ to be the Saviour of the World.
Jesus has come as Saviour and what is left is His second coming as judge.
For all who reject Him by failing to take the lifeline provided through Jesus Christ, there is no other excuse than to wait for His judgment.
Nigeria is a significant arrow in God’s hand to warn of this impending judgment.
The assigned role of Nigeria has triggered a commensurate response by the enemy of humanity. He wants Nigeria destroyed before it can fulfil its eternal destiny. The inexplicable destruction of innocent human lives and sometimes orgy of violence can only be attributed to inhuman desire for blood and pain. This Spiritual dimension can only be addressed by righteous living, prayers and a life of obedience to God.
To be continued