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One Nation, Two Countries

by Ahmed Yahaya Joe
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“Political Economy regards the proletarian like a horse, he must receive enough to enable him to work. It does not consider him, during the time when he is not working, as a human being. It leaves this to criminal law, doctors, religion, statistical tables and politics,”

– Karl Marx in, Wages of Labour (1844)

There is method in every madness. That is why my reaction to the recent massacre at St. Francis Catholic Church at Owo in Ondo State is in the abstract looking at the big picture.

Is there a connection between the nefarious intention of the killers of innocent Malama Harira and her four children in the South East and this most recent attack on hapless parishioners in the South West?

History teaches us there has to be a form of manufactured rage to keep the masses too busy not to notice any diversionary antics of the ruling classes in every society – a massive political and socio-economic smokescreen.

Nigeria is no different because between, “criminal law, doctors, religion, statistical tables, and politics” we are becoming more distracted from fundamental issues.

The gradual creation of two countries out of Nigeria did not start recently;

“Millions of Nigerians are increasingly realizing that the present economic and social system in this country has nothing for them except landlessness, indebtedness, unemployment, destitution, disease, illiteracy, and chronic and pervasive insecurity. The prime perpetrators of manipulation cover themselves with religious and ethnic disguises in order to further entrench division among our people….”

See details in, Manipulation of Religion in Nigeria by Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman (1987)

The attached aerial picture of Bonny Island’s Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) terminal was captured by the American photojournalist, Ed Kashi and published in his, Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta (2008)

In 2021 alone the terminal exported US$ 868.5 million worth of gas. It is owned by NNPC in partnership with America’s Mobil and Chevron, Dutch-owned Shell and French-owned Total.

How much of the billions of Naira accrued to the federation account was pumped into the local fishing village with rusted corrugated roofing sheets next to the terminal compared to the ambient, well laid out and properly landscaped residential quarters of NLNG workers also nearby in another picture?

That is the irony of Nigeria the political ruling classes don’t want any detailed discussion about. They also wouldn’t allow any ethnic, religious riots or even abductions take place place there not only because it is well fortified and constantly guarded but chiefly any disruption of the flow of natural gas to overseas can never be tolerated.

Indeed, what the collective interest of market forces unite cannot be put asunder by two countries.

Who stands to benefit most from the perennial religious we-versus-them in Nigeria?

22 lecturers of ABU, Zaria published, full page in the New Nigerian on the 20th March, 1987, and The Guardian on the 25th March 1987;

“We call on the Federal Military Government to shed all ambiguities and hesitation, and to declare and reaffirm that the Nigerian State is SECULAR and one of its most fundamental responsibilities is to protect the right of every citizen and resident to practice the religion of their choice.

We call on the Federal Military Government to implement this decisively and clearly by identifying publicly and punishing according to the law, all the rich and powerful individuals who are known to be behind the campaign of violent religious politics aimed at destroying our country.

We are convinced that the sinister and utterly reactionary forces behind this campaign of violent religious politics with the aim of destroying our country are made up of a tiny oligarchy determined to maintain its power, wealth and privileges at all costs including violent and well organized mobs in the name of religion…..”

When the political ruling classes deliberately allow ASUU members to be constantly on strike how can pauperized lecturers ever get to pay for full page advertorials to conscientize the nation on how Nigeria is degenerating into two countries on various fronts?

Are all the seemingly isolated incidents of insecurity including the manufactured rage emanating from various ethnic and religious we-versus-them in Nigeria part of flanking maneuvers on our nation’s political chessboard?

Dr. Usman further explains;

“Manipulation means, essentially controlling the action of a person or group without that person or group knowing the goals, purpose and method of that control and without even being aware that a form of control is being exercised on them at all.”

Late Harira and children including the denizens of Owo are currently citizens of Nigeria’s two different countries. They are however both known as collateral damage in political chess.

The Nigerian masses are like the most populous pieces in chess, the 16 pawns that cannot effectively group together to form a sustainable union – a broad-based coalition to challenge the more powerful pieces.

How could they ever rise up, seize the means of destruction and rule the board when there is religion and ethnicity to constantly tear them apart?

Think about it, there is always a particular purpose and an ultimate objective in every madness. And as the nation burns from Malama Harira and children to Owo, the various political ruling classes are continuing unabated without the slightest pang of any conscience beyond bland press releases by detached aides position to themselves for 2023.

What is the likely end game for such myopia?

“If the federation is at war in which part of the territory of the country is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable for elections the National Assembly may pass a resolution to postpone the election…. such postponement shall not be more than six months at any one time.” – Section 105, 1999 Constitution (As amended)

One country in Nigeria would enthusiastically support such an eventuality while the other would vehemently oppose it.

One nation, two countries.

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