written by by C. K. Ekeke
As we continue to read and learn about the horrendous and barbaric massacres of Biafran youths at Nkpor near Onitsha and Asaba on May 30, 2016 by the very people who suppose to protect, maintain law and order in our society, one cannot but continue to wonder and question what sort of country Nigeria has become.
It is incredulous and beyond words to express the feeling of reading and seeing gory images of young men massacred in cold by a combination of the Army, DSS, Navy, Police and Boko haram jihadists during Biafra Heroes’ Day. It is unthinkable, unimaginable and unfathomable that this is happening in a 21st century country that prides itself as the giant of Africa.
What was their crime, my young son asked me recently? Their crime, I answered, was because they were celebrating Biafra’s Heroes Day – a day to remember their fallen parents – dads, uncles, brothers, cousins, family members, friends, etc., who died fighting to free them and their land from genocide and extermination. In celebrating their fallen heroes, they fell victims and paid the ultimate price – even in a more brutal and barbaric way than their parents died 50 years ago. They did not know they will be massacred. They were not in war front. They had no weapons or guns to defend themselves. What a brutal, barbaric way to die.
May God of heaven vindicate for their lives and give succor to their loved ones, who are grieving and mourning. I pray God Almighty to encourage their hearts and for them to know that their beloved ones have departed this evil and wicked world to be with the Lord in heaven. They have entered into everlasting peace and glory where there are no more pain, sickness, marginalization, injustice, oppression, repression, and suffering. May God dry your tears and fill you with comfort during this time of grieve, sorrow, sadness, mourning. May the Lord grant our young heroes eternal peace and give the bereaving family the fortitude to bear this incalculable losses. May their gentle soul rest in eternal peace! Amen.
By the way, according to international laws, it’s a criminal act to shoot and kill unarmed and peaceful protesters in a democratic system of government. The Biafran youths are being massacred all over Southeast and South-south regions by the Nigerian military forces for protesting for freedom and against against marginalization, oppression, and injustice. I hope the international community will investigate these killings and genocide being meted upon peaceful and unarmed youths in Eastern Nigeria.
I’ll be writing on the subject of freedom at a later time, but, it is important for us to know that human freedom is the supreme value of the human existence. For years, philosophers, scholars and thinkers have argued and debated that human freedom is the supreme value of the human soul. It is the yearning of every human heart – whether poor or rich. All human beings possess the same desire – to be free, to pursue unalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, because the human spirit is endowed by its Creator, God, with the desire to be free to pursue life, joy, peace and prosperity. In nutshell, freedom is the ultimate pursuit of the human spirit.
However, freedom is not easy to achieve and it is hard to maintain. Throughout human history, people and nations have paid the ultimate price fighting for freedom. Millions have died in civil disobedience and warfare in pursuit of freedom. Warfare, religious violence, ethnic cleaning, civil disobedience and other means have been used to fight for freedom and against land occupation. However, true freedom cannot be achieved through political ideologies or democratic tyranny. Even now in the 21st century, with the explosion of information and communication technology, the struggle for freedom remains one of the horniest issues of our time.
This struggle for freedom reminds of Nigeria’s long battle for her independence from Britain in the late 50’s. Nigeria’s independence was granted due to sustained national grievances of eminent leaders like the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Belewa and others against the British system of indirect rule. In 1960, Nigeria became an independent nation. However, religious intolerance, jihadist fundamentalism, ethnic bias and hatred, political instability, bad leadership, religious violence and injustice quickly marred the nation’s prospect for development and progress.
Until today, Nigeria has not really enjoyed any genuine freedom or political peace and national prosperity since its independence from the British colonial masters. In fact, the nation is currently in a serious crisis and challenge of leadership. With Fulani herdsmen insurgents and Boko Haram Islamic fundamentalists, Jihadists killings of innocent citizens with impunity across the country region – coupled with Niger Delta Avengers destruction of oil pipelines and sustained Ingenious People of Biafra agitation for independence from Nigeria – among other challenges and problems – such as severe economic crisis, food scarcity and weak Naira, Nigeria is in deep quagmire and the masses are terribly suffering.
It’s sad indeed that a country with so much promise of greatness and potential is hastily becoming a failed state due to poor leadership, government corruption, systemic injustice, religious intolerance, ethnic jingoism and hatred. While other nations around the globe are tapping into the 21st century high technology world to educate their young generation, motivating them to achieve great things, creating young entrepreneurs, building massive wealth, and prospering as a nation, Nigeria has wallowed in endemic corruption, vision0less political leadership, ethnic and religious violence and genocidal war – and in essence destroyed every hope of nation building and promise of peace, unity, and prosperity.
A cursory look of the nation’s history and sordid past will illuminate why Nigeria continues to flounder and blunder even up till today and the urgency for wise, courageous and compassionate men and women to rise up to save her.
It is an established fact that Nigeria is a creation of the British Empire during the 19th century. When the Europeans, especially the British, French and Portuguese invaded the continent of Africa in search of slaves and mineral resources during the later the 19th century, the kingdoms of Oyo, Bornu, Hausa, Benin, Bonny, Jukun, Idah, Aro, Igbos, Ibibio-Efiks, Ijaws and the Ogojas in the Western Coastline of Africa lived in peace and traded among themselves.
These peoples and kingdoms had existed hundreds of years even before the coming of the Europeans. The peoples of these kingdoms and empires had deep political, social, religious, tribal and linguistic differences. By the later part of 1890’s when the British invaded and conquered these kingdoms, and created a monstrous country, later named Nigeria for their political and economic interest and power rivalry with the French.
And so, the peoples of Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri, Ibo, Yoruba, Kalabari, and Ijaw were forced to live together without a well-defined set of core values that addressed national unity, patriotism and parameters to discourage social, cultural, religious and linguistic differences between the peoples of this new nation. Flora Shaw, the wife of Lord Lugard, Nigeria’s second governor general who suggested the name Nigeria for these variant groups of kingdoms and territories around the Niger over which Britain had established a Protectorate.
Then Britain imposed a system government and administration popularly know as “indirect Rule” in which the local affairs were largely left in the hands of Nigerian traditional rulers such as the Emirs, Obas and Chiefs while the national affairs were completely controlled by the British officials. The political structure was also intended to preserve the tribal distinctions in her new found colonial empire.
While the North accepted the Indirect Rule without problems, some local leaders from the South, who had managed to receive some education through British established missionary schools in Nigeria, began to challenge the British system of Indirect Rule. Some years later, a good number of Southern leaders including some Northern leaders aspired to share in the national government, which was the exclusive preserve of the British. Those elected to the congress were all British officials and the nationalists thought that the national administration did not represent the Nigerian masses and therefore protested against the British government to revise the 1922 constitution to include Nigerians in the Legislative Council.
And so nationalist leaders such as such as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Belwa, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Ernest Ikoli, H. O. Davis, Chief S. L. Akintola, Dr. M. I. Okpara, Solanke, and Eyo Ita among many others wisely challenged British style of government which was established for the people of Nigeria and most of Africa then. Through their struggle and pressure against the British colonial rule, Nigeria’s independence was granted due to the activities of people like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello, who were the pioneers of the nationalist grievances against the British system of indirect rule. Nigeria received her independence from Britain in October 1, 1960, and became a Republic in 1963 under a British Parliamentary system of Government. However, Sir James Robertson became the first Governor-General of the Independent federation of Nigeria.
The nationalist leaders established the parliamentary system of government in which Sir Abubakar Tafawa Belwa became the first Prime Minister of Nigeria and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first indigenous governor general of Nigeria. That arrangement did not last before tribal politics and religious sentiments led to the truncation of the parliamentary system. The first Nigerian military coup was orchestrated in January 1966 led by Major Nzeogwu, an Igbo man with Northern and Southwest military officers involved in the coup. The coup led to the assassination of Sir Abubaka Tafawa Belwa, Nigeria’s First Prime Minister and respected Northern leader.
Major Agui Ironsi became the military head of State, and took over the leadership of the country as first Military head of State. However, the assassination of Tafawa Belewa led to the horrendous pogrom against innocent easterners living in the Northern states in which over 300,000 Ibos were massacred. For months, there were riots, violence and anti-Ironsi demonstrations and killing of Igbos in the North raged. In July 1966, a group of Northern military officers, led by Theophilus Danjuma and others organized a coup in which General Aguiyi-Ironsi and others were killed in Ibadan. They revenged against the killing of Sir Abubaka Tafawa Belewa. Colonel Yakubu Gowon, a junior military officer became Military head of State. In the whole entire crisis, Lt. Col Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who was then Lieutenant Colonel and Military Governor of Eastern Region, remained loyal to the Supreme Commander of the Nigerian Armed Forces and actually sought peace with Yakubu Gowon and Northern leaders.
Ojukwu did not plan or involve in any coup. But suddenly, his life was thrust into saving the Igbos from orchestrated genocide and ethnic cleansing and extermination of Igbos in the North. Riots and violence erupted in the North and pogrom of Igbos in the Northern states intensified. Women and children were being slaughtered like chickens and transported in cargo Lorries to the East. Lt. Colonel Ojukwu on his part, did all he could to stop further killings of Igbos in the North but without success.
When negotiations and peace accord failed at Aburi, Ghana in May 1967, Gowon stubbornly divides Nigeria into 12 states without due consultations from the Military Governors. Ojuwku, who was then the military commander and head of the Eastern region refused to take orders from a junior military officer, Col. Yakubu Gowon, even though he was appointed to head the country after the assassination of Ironsi. When the pogrom against Igbos continued in the North without intervention of the Federal Government and failure of Aburi peace negotiations, Ojukwu as the Military Governor of Eastern Region had no other option than to secede from Nigeria by declaring the Republic of Biafra in May 30, 1967. The Nigerian army invades Eastern region in July 1967 and Biafra had to fight to defend itself from such aggression and invasion.
The events of that turbulent period 1965-1967 led to the political crisis, political instability, tribal and religious killings, military coups and counter coups, that led to unforgettable genocidal civil war of 1967-70 that decimated more than three million lives and left so much bitterness, anger and hatred among the major tribes of Nigeria.
Before the civil war, Nigeria had established three regional government regions – North, West and Eastern regions. After the war, General Gowon became the head of State of Nigeria. In the 1970’s with the oil price at all time high, oil coming primarily from Eastern region, yet General Gowon through his finance minister, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, introduced monetary policies that were purely punitive and spiteful treatment of the so-called enemies of the Nigerian state, that kept the majority of the people from the Eastern region people poorer than they were during the civil war. Nine years of spite and punitive rule against the people of Biafra despite the end of War Slogan, “No Victor NO Vanquished”, and the military peacefully ousted him, but the short-lived administration of General Murtala Mohammed paved the way for General Obasanjo to head the government. Despite the excess external reserves and more than $25 billion oil revenue during that time, General Obasanjo surprisingly introduced austerity measures and prudent fiscal measures which had severe effects on millions of people from the Eastern region. Poverty, pandemic diseases including quasiokor and other health hazards of the war era became rampant and afflicted many Ndi-igbo especially the children and elderly.
From 1970’s to 1999, Nigeria was ruled by military dictators and visionless politicians. Nigeria’s fight for independence, the parliamentary system of Government and the political crisis that led to the military eras of Aguiyi–Ironsi, Nigeria-Biafra civil war, Yakubu Gowon, Murtlala Mohammed , Olusegun Obasanjo, and then the first second republic presidential system that led to Alhaji Shehu Shagari presidency in 1979, and come to the cancellation of 1992 democratic elections won by Chief M. K. O Abiola, and the political maneuvering of that period which eventually led to Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency again in 1999.
A brief review of the succession of civilian and military rulers of that period clearly revealed how the Hausa-Fulani Oligarchy, the Sokoto Caliphate, the Kaduna Mafia and the Northern Jihadists reduced and rubbished Nigeria as a nation.
In December 1983, a palace coup takes place and Muhammad Buhari, a military general and a radical Islamic leader from the North ousts the incompetent Shehu Shagari, a school teacher also from the North of the Sokoto Caliphate. Buhari takes over the helm of affairs and accusing Shagari’s government of corruption and economic mismanagement, putting him only in house arrest, while the Southerners were put in prison, exiled, or executed.
On August, 1985,another palace coup took place, this time, Ibrahim Babangida, also another Northerner and Buhari’s chief of army staff , overthrows his boss and accused Buhari of being insensitive to the feelings of the Nigerian masses especially his ‘War against Indiscipline’ which was excessive and targeted to those who opposed him. Buhari was not even arrested.
Ibrahim Babangida began his reign with a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and market reforms that eventually destroyed the Nigerian currency and economy. During IBB 8-year regime, there were two attempted coups – Mamma Vasta in April 1986 and Gideon Orkar on April 1990. Both coups failed and IBB managed to survive those two coups. He executed the coup plotters and imprisoned most of his critics.
In 1990, IBB began a process to return to civilian rule. In June1993, a presidential election was held in which Moshood Abiola, a business mogul, friend and a trusted confidant of IBB, overwhelmingly won. But surprisingly in June 12, 1993, IBB annulled the election and declared that the election result was fraudulent, an election that was perceived to be the first fair election in the history of Nigeria. The cancellation led to civil disobedience by several human rights activist, pro-democracy activist, media and thousands of demonstrators. When the pressure mounted, on August 27, 1993, IBB resigned and appointed a lame-duck civilian from the Southwest region, Ernest Shonekan, as head of an interim government.
Within 3 months into Shonekan’s government, on November 17, 1993, another military general, Sani Abacha, also from the North and defense minister of IBB, booted out the transitional government of Ernest Shonekan in yet another palace coup and took over the government. Sani Abacha did not also touch IBB.
Sani Abacha was visionless and did not have any economic plan but a political agenda to entrench himself as a life president. He disbanded SAP programme and introduced a monetary policy that began the official pegging of the Naira against dollar and other nations’ currencies. During Abacha’s era, the official rate of Naira rose to nearly 200 Naira for a dollar. He destroyed the Naira and basically rubbished the Nigerian economy, which actually elevated greed, bribery, and corruption and enthroned most of the crooks, cronies and pathetic personalities we have today as political leaders in the nation. He looted the national treasury and left the Nigerian economy with a horrendous national debt. During his regime, most of the institutions collapsed.
Sani Abacha persecuted, arrested and imprisoned many notable Nigerians including Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, music icon Beko Ransome-Kuti and many others. He arrested and jailed those who criticized him and charged notable Nigerians like Poet Wole Soyinka, the 1986 Nobel Prize winner in Literature and Ken Saro Wiwa, leader of the Movement for Salvation of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), for treason and punishable by death for criticizing his government. Sani Abacha carried out ethnic cleansing in Ogni, Okirika, and Adoni – oil rich Delta regions of River State. On October 31, 1995, Abacha’s civil disturbances tribunal found the writer and environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other MOSOP leaders guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging. Despite appeal for mercy from the human rights organizations, statesmen, religious leaders, international governments and world leaders including the Commonwealth and Nelson Mandela, on November 10, 1995, all 9 MOSOP leaders and activist were hung.
Ken Saro-Wiwa, a writer, playwright and environmentalist was hung because he called the government attention to the oil spillage and environmental pollution and degradation in his hometown, Ogni. The military despot, Sani Abacha and his cohorts were so ignorant and visionless, that they refused to listen to the world renowned environmentalist.
Within that week, the United Nations (UN) confirmed of massive oil pollution in Niger Delta. The report from the United Nations Environment Programme, the first of its kind in Nigeria, was based on two years of in-depth scientific research. It found that oil contamination is widespread and severe, and that people in the Niger Delta have been exposed for decades – the report said. The report provided irrefutable evidence of the devastating impact of oil pollution on people’s lives in the Delta – one of Africa’s most bio-diverse regions. It examined the damage to agriculture and fisheries, which has destroyed livelihoods and food sources of the Niger Delta region and its environs. One of the most serious facts to come to light is the scale of contamination of drinking water, which has exposed communities to serious health risks. Amnesty International Global Issues Director, Audrey Gaughran, who has researched the human rights impacts of pollution in the Delta Region, said, “This report proves Shell has had a terrible impact in Nigeria, but has got away with denying it for decades, falsely claiming they work to best international standards.”
According to the UN and Federal Government of Nigeria report in 2007, it will take about a $1 billion and up to 30 years to clean. We know it may take as much as 50 years to cleanup and restore normalcy to the area devastated by oil pollution and ongoing oil spillage. The Niger Delta oil pollution is much worse than the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil leak in the Gulf Coast, which affected the ecosystem and fishing businesses of those that live around the coastline of Louisiana State, USA. The business owners and citizens fumed and when it is all said done, BP paid out nearly $750 million to compensate businesses, fix the leak and cleans their mess. Until today, BP is still faced with litigation, lawsuits, reparation and compensation for oil spillage in the Louisiana coastline. Oil pollution has been going on in the South-south and some Southeast communities for years. The BP oil spill was rated the worst oil spill in US history even though it was just about 7 month’s oil leak.
Today, the Federal Government under President Buhari has begun a cleaning effort in Ogoni land. The Niger Delta region oil pollution is been going on for 50 years. I hope the President Buhari finds sincere, honest, skilled and capable Nigerians and professional companies to be involved in the cleanup project. I also think that the minister for Environment and Niger Delta Commission should push for reparation from multi-national oil companies operating in the region as well as enforce stringent laws and policies on them to protect the environment and help to re-invest their huge profits in the region.
Let’s return to our nation’s sordid tales for a moment. Sani Abacha also imprisoned Olusegun Obasanjo and other critics of his government. He accused MKO Abiola of treason for declaring himself president and in 1996, placed him in solitary confinement. This was when they were cooking the plan to murder him. After the 1994 arrest, one of Abiola’s wives, Kudirat Abiola, launched a campaign for democracy and human rights. She held pro-democracy rallies, defied the military decree banning political associations, presented victims of military repression to international fact-finding missions, inspired many other people, especially women, and won the “Woman of the Year” awards in both 1994 and 1995. However, on June 4, 1996, she was assassinated in cold blood, and it is believed that this was ordered by Al Mustapha, CSO to the military dictator, Sani Abacha. On December 21, 1997, an attempted coup against Sani Abacha by Oladipo Diya foiled. In 1998, Diya and others believed to be co-coup plotters were sentenced to death.
Like IBB, Abacha set in motion agenda to return to civilian rule on October 1, 1998. However, in April 1998, Abacha became the only nominated candidate for the presidency. Even though many political prostitutes and visionless Nigerians supported him in his unbridled quest, many opposed him. Demonstrations and riots broke out, and many innocent Nigerians were killed. On June 8, 1998 Abacha surprisingly and mysteriously died of a heart attack.
After Abacha died, Abdulsalam Abubakar, another Northerner took his place, and set up a transition program that would lead the country back to democracy by 1999. After a series of political wrangling and meetings with imminent Nigerians, statesmen and international leaders to release M.K.O. Abiola and restore his mandate, mysteriously MKO Abiola died in prison. Abdulsalam Abubakar government said, it was heart attack, but most Nigerians knew that was not the truth. Abiola’s demise in prison provoked more riots and pro-democracy activism and the return to democracy was non-negotiable.
And so, in 1999, the nation returned to democratic presidential system of government. In 1999, a prisoner of Sani Abacha and former military ruler, Olusegun Obasanjo from Southwest, who gained world admiration fro handing over to the civilian government of Shehu Shagari, surprisingly won the presidential election under PDP platform. Many have written that Obasanjo’s civilian presidency from 1999-2007 was compensation for Abiola’s mysterious death and denial of his rightful mandate. During the 8-year presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo, corruption, political thuggery, godfathers, political assassinations, Niger Delta militancy, armed robbery, kidnapping, religious intolerance, radical Islamic fundamentalism and lawlessness reached its zenith.
At the time of completing his two-term reign, OBJ began to campaign for Alhaji Yar’adua, the then governor of Katsina State, and surprisingly handed the presidency to Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, another Northerner to be the president of Nigeria. President Yar’Adua took office in May 29, 2007 and in his inauguration messianic speech like sermon on the Mount, he admitted that Nigerians were going through hell and promised to create 40 million jobs within 10 years, lower interest rates, reduce inflation and achieve realistic exchange rate for Naira, yet he did not want to support CBN monetary policy which was the second phase of PDP economic agenda. He reversed most of the economic reforms and most laws of his predecessor and re-deployed Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the anti corruption czar to the Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Plateau State, Nigeria.
During Yar’Adua’s watch, Nigeria entered into a state of hopelessness, until his demise in May 2010. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, his VP and a civilian from oil rich Niger Delta region finished the term and then in April 16, 2011 overwhelmingly won the presidential election, which has been adjudged to be the freest and fairest election in the nation’s history.
However, the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, the country was besieged with radical Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. Hundreds of innocent citizens were being massacred and thousand displaced in several Northern states. The kidnap of the Chibok secondary school girls by Boko haram and the government inability to rescue them during his governance became a sticking stigma against his presidency.
President Jonathan rather than focused on the security challenges, economy and other social problems confronting the nation, embarked on constitutional amendment with a concocted six-year single tenure for the president and governors. Public opinion fumed against such insensitivity. Fortunately, the National Assembly tossed out that part of the bill, saying it is untimely and suspicious. However, there were items in the Constitutional Amendment such as true federalism that should be vigorously pursued. President Jonathan should have focused to provide solution to alleviate the suffering of most Nigerians by maximizing the technocrats he has appointed in his cabinet like Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Prof. Barth Nnaji and others. He should simply focused on the nation’s jobless economy and comatose power supply.
Unfortunately, his advisers did not advise him well. I personally felt that the six-year single tenure was a misplaced priority and frankly shows lack of trust leadership on the part of President Jonathan and the political prostitutes hovering around him. His weak and coward presidency led to the election of another ex-military dictator – General Muhammad Buhari.
And so, on May 29, 2015, ex-military dictator, Mohammadu Buhari came to power after defeating the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan on April 29, 2015 to be come the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria after three failed attempts. While ex-president Jonathan was hailed by all Nigerian and world for his congratulating Buhari even before the presidential election result was announced, Buhari’s win was greeted with euphoria that he’s the messiah that Nigeria has been waiting for to fix Nigeria. His stance against corruption and war against indiscipline during his military regime in the 1980’s were only his credentials.
President Buhari and APC leadership promised change – outlining seventy promises to deliver to Nigerians in their administration. Until today, not a single of those promises has been delivered yet. Rather, the country is mired in lawlessness, corruption and barbarism, impunity, lack of vision, lawlessness, and corruption of the highest order, executive rascality, extremist regime, hypocritical government, genocide, human right abuses, violence, killings, and massacres.
The military dictatorship regimes of IBB, Ernest Shonekan, General SanniAbacha, General Abdusalami Abubaka and the return to presidential dictatorship of OBJ and the weak and cowards presidency of Yar’dua and Goodluck Jonathan are nothing compared to the extremist, hypocritical and dictatorship government we have today.
Today, Nigeria’s fledging democracy is in serious danger. The nation is degenerating into anarchy, chaos, dismemberment and disintegration – if courageous men and women do not stand-up speak-out to stop the wrangling, viciousness and vendetta in the nation’s polity.
The President has been making some statements that defies the oath he swore to uphold the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria and defend her Sovereignty. For instance, while visiting the Emir in his home town last month, he said:
“For Nigeria to divide now, it is better for all of us to jump into the sea and get drowned.” He vowed to crush Biafra agitators. – President Muhammadu Buhari, May 2016.
These threatening statements the President, his loyalist and those who think they so much love Nigeria are making, do not reflect oneness and unity at all. In fact, they are the ones who hate Nigeria and do not mean well for her. We, who speak out against Nigeria – do mean well for her and wants the country to succeed.
But here are few statements made by the nationalists and founding fathers of Nigeria. These men by all indications, loved Nigeria, fought for her independence and survival – even though they never believed in “One Nigeria.”
Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in 1948 said:
“Since 1914 the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any signs of willingness to unite … Nigerian unity is only a British invention” – Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, 1948.
Chief Awolowo said:
“Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no ‘Nigerians’ in the same sense as there are ‘English,’ ‘Welsh,’ or ‘French,’ The word ‘Nigeria’ is a mere distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not” – Chief Obafemi Awolowo, 1947.
Dr. Azikiwe said:
“It is better for us and many admirers abroad that we should disintegrate in peace and not in pieces. Should the politicians fail to heed the warning, then I will venture the prediction that the experience of the Democratic Republic of Congo will be a child’s play if it ever comes to our turn to play such a tragic role” – Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, 1964.
I sincerely believe that the reason today’s apologists are clamoring for “One Nigeria” is due to the oil blocks and oil revenue that they control and the political muddle of corruption and covetousness that exist in the federal structure that hinders the right kind of people to be involved in governance.
For Nigeria to prosper and remain a united, indivisible country with its rich diversity, endowed natural resources and blessed human power; the evils and injustices in the federal system must be curtailed, eradicated and eliminated through the implementation of the 2014 Confab report; if not, Nigeria’s disintegration and demise will be a matter of time. Injustice and slavery will not last forever.
I pray God to stir up men and women with Spirit of Excellency and with a holy hatred for mediocrity and tyranny to rise up and liberate the country from bad leadership, political corruption, religious ignorance and intolerance, ethnic hatred and colonial enslavement. More than ever, the urgency for wise, courageous, visionary and skillful leaders to wake-up and emancipate the country from dictatorial and satanic political leadership and restore Nigeria’s historic honor and dignity among the comity of nations, is now.
Note: Some of the content of this essay was taken from my forth-coming book: “The Problem with Nigeria….Reasons why Nigeria Continues to Flounder and Blunder; Remedy for a United, Indivisible and Prosperous Country,” to be published this year.
- K. Ekeke, PhD., is a public theologian, consultant, author and leadership scholar.