Home Opinion Nigeria: 62 Fruitless Years of Search for Nationhood

Nigeria: 62 Fruitless Years of Search for Nationhood

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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By Emmanuel Gandu

[While Nigeria is still in search of nationhood, Nigerians are being brutalized by intolerable vices and led by a nepotistic leadership that ‘have put a knife on the things that held us together and we’ve fallen apart.’ Therefore, any sacrifice to reclaim our humanity, and our country from the brink will not be too much].

Nationalities Agitations for Self Determination

Nigeria began to witness an upsurge in the spate of agitations for self-determination and secessionist groups in all parts of the country of late.

Never in the history of Nigeria have there been this kind of galvanization of the populace and reawakening to regionalism for self-determination as witnessed during the administration of president Muhammadu Buhari.

Incidentally, Buhari was overwhelmingly voted into power in 2015 and given a renewed mandate of another four (4) years in 2019 to bring the country together, and ensure the needed peace that had eluded this country since independence.

Regrettably, things are getting worst by the day.

The Igbos through IPOB insist on actualizing their Biafra secessionist agenda.

In order to give teeth to the biting youthful fighting wing. The South Eastern States have set up the “Ebube Agu” following on the heels of the Yoruba South West States of Oduduwa republic with their defense outfit of ‘Amotekun’.

While this is going on, the Middle Belt is said to be comfortable belonging to a now new territory in Nigeria without the Hausa Fulani North.

In the midst of all this, the South South is unrelenting on their age long land degradation and clean up campaign, water pollution, and resource control agitations for which their own beloved son Ken Saro Wiwa along with nine other environmental and human rights activists of the famous Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) were brutally executed by hanging in Port Harcourt on 10th November, 1995 by then Head of State Major General Sani Abacha.

For the first time, the Southern Governors comprising of South West, South East, and South South came together in an epoch making meeting to chart a way forward in the face of a Nigeria that is drifting on the precipice towards the brink.

Undoubtedly, ‘Emperor’ Buhari is widely accused of pursuing selfish and unpopular policies of nepotism, marginalization, regionalism, and worst of all a fulani occupation agenda.

Expectedly, the Buhari presidency is widely accused of putting a knife on the things that held us together and we’ve fallen apart.

IPOB Perspective

Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was formed as a reaction towards calling for attention to addressing some of the grievances of marginalization visited on the people of the South Eastern Nigeria by successive governments.

At the end of the 30 months Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970, the then military government of General Yakubu Gowon’s popular declaration of “no victor, no vanquished” was hailed by the world community as a welcome means of putting behind the sad experience of the war.

Interestingly, Gowon went a step further by unveiling the government’s 3R’s policy of Reconciliation, Reconstruction, and Rehabilitation all meant to reintegrate the rebel and secessionist Biafra into the bigger Nigerian federation.

However, fifty-two (52) years after the civil war, manifest indicators abound to show that this policy declaration had failed rather woefully without solving the issues that led to the war.

Notable grievances bothering on injustice, marginalization, alienation, flawed federalism, and inappropriate sectional domination have never abated to placate the Igbos.

For example, no Igbo ever ruled Nigeria since the end of the first republic. Even Nnamdi Azikiwe was just a mere ceremonial president in that first republic.

Of recent and in efforts to addressing the fall out of the south east youth restiveness, President Muhammadu Buhari only succeeded in putting salt into injury when he referred to the Igbo Nation as “a dot in the middle”

Not surprising, anyway, all these actions and inactions of continued alienation of the Igbo race in a federal Nigeria by successive governments have only succeeded to endanger social unrest, armed insurrection, and insurgency.

Undoubtedly, this is the catalyst needed by IPOB to recruit foot soldiers in order to actualize their longtime dream of a self-determined Briafra Nation.

Like him, hate him, love to hate him, Ma’azi Nnamdi Kanu is an enigma that is seen by many Igbos to put his feet in those big shoes left behind by the only Ikemba, Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu as he stepped forward to emerge and became the leader and symbol of the Igbo struggle.

If Nnamdi Kanu is not quickly given justice, if there is no visible and honest Reconciliation, Reconstruction, and Rehabilitation of the Igbos; and if agitations of other regions are abandoned  to a stage where they team up with the Igbos as a result of obvious marginalization, alienation, nepotism, and other unpopular policies visited on them continue, the next civil war in Nigeria may be multi-faceted, which will likely exceed the territorial limitations of the 1967-1970 imbroglio and pogrom.

This situation will definitely threaten the peace of not only the West African sub region, the Gulf of Guinea, but also the whole of Africa.

If that happens (God forbid) Nigeria may break up into several nationalities as experienced in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Sudan just to mention a few.

Fulani Occupation Agenda

The Fulani through their militant wing of the fulani herdsmen as guided by Miyetti Allah have for a long time now been allegedly pursuing an agenda of “kill, drive, occupy” in as much territories as possible.

In like manner, the Buhari presidency have been accused by many keen watchers to be sympathetic and supportive of this occupation agenda.

This is glaringly evidenced in his body language, and policies that have continued to change in name, outlook, and nomenclature as Nigerians keep opposing.

Regrettably, this much talked about unpopular RUGA, Cattle colony, grazing reserves, Cattle routes, Ranching, fulani settlement, etc have succeeded in galvanizing the Buhari presidency on one side and the non-Hausa/Fulani Nigerians on the other. The outcome of which the two opposing sides are on a collision course to the detriment of good governance and progress.

This rampaging fulani herdsmen terrorists have since been, and are still wreaking havoc all over Nigeria from the wide plains of the North, to the green lustful vegetation of the Middle Belt, and down to the swampy forests of the Niger Delta.

In this their campaign for occupation, this gun kitted herdsmen rape, kill, burn, destroy communities, and occupy.

As unfortunately as it is, in this fulani genocidal campaign of occupation, millions of indigenous people have been killed, a lot more have been dispossessed of their ancestral land, and hundreds of thousands have been neglected and abandoned in IDP camps for up to seven (7) years.

Wrongly or rightly, Nigerians are allegedly accusing Muhammadu Buhari of waging, pursuing, and accomplishing the unfinished Fulani Jihad of conquest/occupation of Nigeria’s land begun by his great grand fulani kinsman warrior Usman Dan Fodio.

The British Connection

Nigeria gained her independence from the colonial master Britain on 1st October, 1960. Since then, Britain had maintained her traditional influence on Nigeria diplomatically, politically, economically, and in so many other ways. For these reasons, Britain watches events in Nigeria with keen interest.

It is not a hidden fact that Britain is at home with the domestic affairs of Nigeria especially as it favours the North. This is clearly evidenced in her tacit support of Nigeria led by a Northern leader.

On the other hand, Britain is also quick to offer advice to the South on the right steps to take in order to keep Nigeria one.

Having realized that the Igbo race command a monopoly of enterprise, industry, business conglomerate, entrepreneurship, corporate Nigeria, manufacturing, and the diaspora remittances,

Britain have always been on hand to advise the Igbos to remain in a Nigeria for their interest.

IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu was standing trial in Nigeria for terrorism. He was granted bail in April 2017 on health grounds, but he jumped bail and fled to Britain. In March 2019, trial judge Justice Binta Nyako revoked the bail and issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

By Friday 25/6/2021 or Saturday 26/6/2021 Nnamdi Kanu was re-arrested, flown to Nigeria in chains for continuation of trial.

Britain is allegedly fingered in the escape of Kanu from Nigeria.

Interestingly, Britain has washed her hands off the re-arrest of Kanu. However, some Nigerians are taking this story with a pinch of salt, accusing Britain of complicity both in the jumping of bail and escape, and in the arrest and deportation of Kanu.

Rightly or wrongly, a keen watcher of the unfolding political events has alluded that “the Empire strikes back”. According to him, “the British have made their move on their international chessboard”.

One fact however is obvious – Britain is not really interested in the creation of a Biafra, neither Oduduwa, nor any other kind of dismemberment of Nigeria.

This is exactly what they did at the wake of the Biafran agitation that culminated in the Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970 when they:

(1) Declined to support Biafra.

(2) Advised the North not to break away when calls for “Araba” (secession) dominated the entire Northern region due to the killing of prominent Northern leaders like Sardauna of Sokoto Ahmadu Bello, and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in the Major Chukwuma Nzegwu led coup of January 1966.

Actually, Britain volunteered this advice to the North because Crude oil from the South was soon going to be a boom and the north will lose out if they exited Nigeria.

They listened to that good counsel and Yakubu Gowon emerged the military leader and Head of State in the ensuing counter coup by Northern Army officers who accused Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi of complicity in the coup of Chukwuma Nzegwu. Aguiyi Ironsi was incidentally toppled and killed on 29 July 1966 in that coup that was led by Theophilus Danjuma and Murtala Muhammed.

GOWON who was the then Chief of Army Staff and at the young age of 31 went on with one Nigeria in line with the popular acronym that spelt his name during that war period – Go On With One Nigeria.

Referendum Jigsaw

Commentators, keen political watchers, aggrieved parties, etc have called for the conduct of a referendum to determine the desirability or otherwise of quitting or remaining in Nigeria.

It may be recalled some of the instances where a referendum supervised by the UN was applied to allow nationalities to exit their former country. Such countries include the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Sudan.

Regrettably, however, it may be a herculean task to conduct a referendum of dismemberment of Nigeria.

This is because the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended did not accommodate any clause anywhere in any sections of that document for a referendum to determine the dismemberment of Nigeria.

The United Nations Watchdog Status

The books of the UN define terrorism as:

(1) The deliberate commission of an act of violence to create an emotional response through the killing, suffering, and destruction of the victims in furtherance of a political, religious, or social agenda.

(2) Violence against civilians to achieve military, political, or religious objectives.

(3) A psychological strategy of war for gaining political or religious ends by deliberately creating a climate of fear among the population of a geographical entity.

The role of the United Nations:

The United Nations was formed on 24th October, 1945 at the heels of the end of World War II to maintain international peace and security, give humanitarian assistance to those in need, protect human rights, and uphold International Law.

Today, the UN is doing much added new work not envisioned for it in 1945 by the founders.

The world body has set sustainable development goals for 2030 in order to achieve a better and more sustainable future for the world.

UN Member States have also agreed to climate action to limit global warming.

Terrorism Index Table:

On the fight against terrorism, the role of the United Nations is highly commendable, as it is uniquely placed to assist Member States to effectively prevent terrorists acts within their borders and across regions.

The UN employs many strategies and criteria to identify terrorists’ groups in order to attain world peace. One of the strategies is the Terrorism Index Table compiled for countries and released regularly.

According to the UN Global Terrorism Index 2020

(a) Nigeria is the third (3) most terrorised country in the world.

(b) Fulani heardsmen have been tagged as the third (3) most terrorist group in the world.

UN Resolutions:

The UN Security Council have come up with resolutions seeking to address issues affecting both repentant terrorists and victims of terrorism.

Some of these include the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy A/RES/60/288, Resolution A/RES/72/284, A/72/840, and etc.

Some of these resolutions have been seen to be applied on Boko Haram, and the IPOB, but none have been applied on Fulani herdsmen.

Therefore, if truly Fulani herdsmen is a terrorist group as we have seen them to be and understand,

why haven’t the UN Resolutions been applied on Fulani herdsmen?

Squander-mania / Corruption

Every past Nigerian government have been accused and confronted with staggering figures of corruption. The squandering of Nigeria’s wealth has been bleeding the country dry thereby leaving the coming generations with a gloomy bleak future.

Nigeria is yet to complete the final repatriation of the Abacha loot when others like the Abdulrasheed Maina’s # 2 billion pension fund corruption case surfaced of which he was jailed for 61 years (concurrently for 8 years) in November, 2021.

Not done yet, and for the ministry of finance to allow Ahmed Idris in 2022, the Accountant General of Nigeria to steal a whopping #80 billion in the first instance and another #90 billion in the second instance calls for serious concerns especially in a Buhari led government that prides itself with a water tight corruption fight.

Series of allegations of corruption cases at the corridor of power churns out figures that lend credence to incontrovertible facts.

For instance, the missing #3, 143, 718, 976.47 billion traced to the Ministry of Finance by the Federal Auditor General office in the 2018 and 2019 audit reports for which the Socioeconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is suing Muhammadu Buhari (Jan. 2022) for non-investigation.

Furthermore, corruption in government agencies is becoming increasingly alarming from year to year. For instance, an audit query mandated the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to refund series of staggering sums of money to the Federal government as products of corruption. These amounts of money include (a)#40.13 billion, (b) $922.64 million, and (c) £289,931.82 million.

According to research by Transparency International, their Corruption Perception Index for 2021 placed Nigeria at 154th position out of 180 countries. This placed Nigeria as the 2nd most corrupt country in Africa.

Unfortunately, one of the short-term consequences of this squander-mania is the warning from the Washington based World Bank that Nigeria might have one of the highest inflation rates globally in 2022.

A long-term consequence is that Nigeria has been borrowing to run the country. These foreign debts are mounting so much that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned in its 2020 and 2021 country’s report that Nigeria’s low GDP compared to her debt profile is highly vulnerable to uncomfortable shocks.

As it stands today, world economic experts have warned that Nigeria will spend 100% of her revenue to service debts by 2024.

Surely, and sadly too, a gloomy and bleak future stares at Nigeria.

Christian/Islam Dichotomy

Nigerians have continuously been at daggers drawn at the slightest seeming provocation from any action (even if perceived) that offense the sensibilities of their faith.

Lives have been lost, property destroyed, worship places burnt down due to religious conflicts between Christians and Muslims.

The hate, mistrust, and sharp division between the two different Nigeria’s religious adherents has so much dominated negatively the past 62 years of nationhood that it transcended every sphere of – education, civil service, employment, residential, land allocation, state/local government creation, administration, armed forces, and politics, etc.

Of unfortunate mention is the crisis arising from the Muslim Muslim ticket in the selection process of elective positions for governance at the national level.

Agitations have come from the various nationalities in Nigeria.

The South East complains of marginalization, and alienation. The South West of Insecurity and land occupation by foreign invaders.

While the Middle Belt complain about killing and insecurity, land occupation by invaders, marginalization, and alienation; the South South is unrelenting on their age long complains about land degradation and neglect despite being the goose that lays the golden eggs.

These agitations according to keen watchers of the polity and public opinion analysts have continued unabated, and even gotten gloomy during the Muhammadu Buhari presidency from 2015 to 2022.

Little wonder the calls for, and phrases like restructuring, devolution of power, decentralization, amendment of the constitution, regional security outfit, food blockade, Muslim-Muslim ticket, etc have suddenly found entry into the National Lexicon.

Regrettably, the country seems to be drifting and getting closer to the brink.

It therefore remains to be seen whether this Buhari government of APC will rise to the occasion by listening to the voices of reason to save this country from disintegration or stick to their stubborn draconian policies of putting a knife on the things that held us together thereby letting Nigeria Fall Apart.

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