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A National Insult Rejected By Okey Ndibe.


 

Okey Ndibe
Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

For those unaware of its source, I might as well state from the outset that the title of this column is not original. It’s adapted from a statement released last week by Wole Soyinka. The statement, which bore the Nobel laureate’s stamp of revulsion at moral impunity, chastised the Goodluck Jonathan administration for its bizarre line-up of 100 personalities worthy of honor at a ceremony marking the centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

The centenary list, typical of such rolls in Nigeria, was a hodgepodge. It bracketed imperial personages, so-called “contributors to the making of Nigeria”—including Queen Elizabeth 11 of England and Lord Frederick Lugard, first British overseer of the forcibly amalgamated territory—with such notable nationalist fighters as Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Anthony Enahoro. It squeezed Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Michael Imoudu, Aminu Kano, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, John Pepper Clark, Chike Obi, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Dagogo Fubara, and Moshood Kashimawo Abiola into the same tent as Sani Abacha. In an even weirder development, Mr. Abacha shows up—along with Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida—under the category of “Outstanding Promoters of Unity, Patriotism and National Development”.

How did we quickly forget that Abacha’s looting of public funds from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria was a patriotic act? Or that he gave his cronies licenses to import toxic fuel into Nigeria because he so fiercely loved Nigerians and fervently desired their development? Or that Babangida’s annulment of the June 12 presidential election was a recipe for Nigeria’s unity?

Anybody who only followed the Aso Rock version of the centenary could have run away with the impression that Nigerians are ever grateful to the coalition of British merchants, bureaucrats, adventurers and royals who cobbled their country together—and named it Nigeria. But the deeper truth lies elsewhere. There were two sets of memory at play last week, two attitudes to Nigeria—a so-called nation bereft of a national spirit, a space that is unformed, ill-formed and malformed.

Those who preside today over the looting of billions of dollars of Nigeria’s resources may deceive themselves that the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation of Nigeria is an occasion for celebration. Many—I’d argue, most—Nigerians think otherwise. For several months, the Internet was abuzz with speculations that the legal instruments of amalgamation stipulated one hundred years as the event’s expiry date. With a great sense of expectancy, many looked forward to the formal cessation of the tragic, nightmarish, and blood-soaked experiment called Nigeria. Was the Jonathan administration unaware of this swell of hope that Nigeria should cease?

In the build-up to the centenary, the band of Islamist extremists known as Boko Haram carried out one of their most savage and outrageous attacks yet. They stormed a secondary school in Yobe under the cover of darkness, slaughtered 60 boys, and set their victims’ dorms on fire. In any serious country, one such act would forever scar the collective conscience, provoking a resolve of “Never again!” Not in Nigeria, a place where a human life is worth far less than a chicken. How did Nigeria’s “transformational” leadership respond to this latest callousness by Boko Haram? It responded in its accustomed soft, indifferent manner. It issued the same tiresome, obligatory condemnation of the carnage, nothing more. The Presidency did not consider the shocking abbreviation of so many innocent lives an occasion to devise and announce a bold, effective plan to assure the safety of all citizens, especially school children, in the Boko Haram-plagued, terror-infested areas. It was, as usual, a do-nothing stance.

But then the government did something even worse than habitual abdication. Apparently, Reno Omokri, Mr. Jonathan’s point man on social media, orchestrated a release that sought to link Nigeria’s suspended Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, with a spike in Boko Haram’s gruesome activities, including the Yobe slaughter. Apparently Mr. Omokri did not reckon with the fact that many Nigerians are quite adept at cyber intelligence, deft at the kind of detective work that can unmask those who exploit the seeming anonymity of the Internet to slander others. Mr. Sanusi is the Jonathan administration’s Public Enemy Number One. The sacked CBN Governor committed the unpardonable sin of telling the world that a major agency of the Nigerian state had failed to deposit $20 billion earned from crude oil exports. In response, the government accused Mr. Sanusi of squandering the funds of the bank he ran, awarding contracts without following requisite laws, and dispensing Nigeria’s funds as if they were his private treasury.

If Mr. Sanusi committed these crimes, I’d like to see him prosecuted, convicted and punished. I’d also like to see the administration account fully for the funds that Mr. Sanusi alleged to be missing. Here’s what the government doesn’t have a right to do: sending Mr. Omokri, its cyber warrior-in-chief, to concoct and disseminate horrific lies against Mr. Sanusi or any Nigerian. Unless Mr. Omokri can demonstrate that he did not mastermind the craven forgery, he ought to resign immediately. Or be fired.

It’s tragic that the Nigerian government, from the president to his aides, continues to fiddle while the country burns. It’s shameful that President Jonathan and Nigerian legislators prioritize a phantom war—going after gays—when the country is besieged by mindless, well-armed zealots who see unarmed Nigerians, including children, as fair game. How does the targeting of gays solve Nigeria’s infrastructural problems? Are gays the reason elections are massively rigged in Nigeria; public funds looted with depraved greed; our educational system a shambles; our healthcare system ghastly?

Nigeria fought a civil war that claimed anything from one to three million lives. It was a war to defend a British-made idea, to uphold the sanctity of a space wrought by British imperial fiat. The mantra was: To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done. To their credit, the British had an excellent reason for keeping Nigeria one. Nigeria was their largest holding in Africa (and their second largest anywhere, after India). It was a prodigious source of raw materials for British firms as well as a huge dumping ground for British-made goods. It made sound sense, from the British point of view, to keep Nigeria one.

As British rule ended, the Nigerian elite who inherited the spoils of the state adopted as an article of faith the idea that Nigeria must remain one entity. But they shied away from asking the hard questions. What’s so sacred about Nigeria? Why should we remain one? What ends are served by remaining one? What does Nigeria represent? And—if unity was not negotiable—then what must be the irreducible terms of our engagement?

I’ve argued before that a central part of Nigeria’s tragedy arises from the fact that the country fought a costly war, but has never permitted the lessons of that war to inform its conduct, to shape its ethos. It’s as if we went to war to defend the right of a few to continue to plunder, to continue to feed fat at the expense of the rest of us, to perpetually rig themselves into power, and to add their contemptible names to every roll of honor, even though they refrain from doing anything that is remotely honorable.

As Mr. Jonathan feted the so-called giants of Nigeria’s centenary, a different, oppositional narrative played itself out. The collective memory of the vast majority of Nigerians beheld Nigeria, not as a splendid monument, but as a sordid, wretched edifice. They saw what Mr. Jonathan and his ilk refuse to see: that the Nigerian state is a provocation, a moral affront, a failed, misery-dispensing state.

Soyinka captured part of the spirit of that deep split in the way Nigeria is regarded. He acted bravely by excusing himself from the insouciant official ritual that amounted to an insult to the outraged sensibilities of the majority of Nigerians. In a statement of renunciation titled “Canonization of Terror,” Mr. Soyinka called attention to the wasted lives of the students in Yobe. He drew our attention to “the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership.” He would not succumb to the summons to collective amnesia, the only condition under which an ogre like Sani Abacha would be invited to arise, ghost-like, to accept national veneration as a patriotic champion of Nigerian “unity and national development.” Stated Mr. Soyinka: “Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance. To round up, nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach churning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership.”

In the end, Soyinka spoke for me—and I suggest, for many other enlightened people—when he stated, “I reject my share of this national insult.”

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

 

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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Four Frauds That Are Fatal For The 1999 Constitution Or Why The 1999 Constitution Must Be Jettisoned By Chinweizu.


By Chinweizu

These fatal frauds are 4: the “We the people” fraud; the “Federation” fraud; the “Fighting corruption” masquerade/fraud; and the “Socially responsible State” masquerade/fraud. Let’s examine them.

1.    The “We the people” fraud

On the 23rd of May, 2007, the Movement for a New Nigeria (MNN) launched a legal attack on the 1999 Constitution by filing Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/367/07 in the Federal High Court, Abuja and, in 2009, Suit No. FHC/L/CS/558/09 before the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, seeking the termination of the operation of the 1999 Constitution on the ground that it is a forgery and a fraud in that it was made via Decree by one ‘Gen. Abudusalami Abubakar’ who lied in the preamble that ‘We the people of Nigeria….’ made and enacted it.

The Plaintiffs in the Suits included Chief Anthony Enahoro, Dim Chukwemeka Ojukwu, Chief C. C. Onoh, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Prince Bankole-Oki (SAN), Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, Alhaji Asari Dokubo, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike and Fred Ageyegbe, Esq. The case, I understand, is still languishing in court, a victim of endless adjournments.

2.    The “Federation” fraud
Its federalism is a fraud because:

(a)    It falsely parades Nigeria as a federation whereas Nigeria ceased to be a federation in 1966, with the abrogation by the military of the 1963 federal constitution.

(b)    With the demobilization of the earlier federating units, its present states, the alleged federating units, have no constitutions of their own, making them false federating units;

(c)    It lacks fiscal federalism: its behemoth Central Govt. (falsely called “Federal Govt.”) takes for itself a lion’s share of the country’s resources and gives crumbs to the 36 states and the 774 Local Governments; they are thus not economically self-reliant entities but subsist on allocations from the Central Government; they are, consequently, mere economic dependents and  administrative agents of the Central Government—which is contrary to federalism;

3.    The “Fighting corruption” masquerade/ fraud

The 1999 Constitution is the Godfather of corruption, through the immunity clause 308. (1), which protects, and thereby implicitly invites, looting by the highest officials who have brazenly set the terrible example that the rest of society have emulated. However, it ostentatiously declares in Section 15. (5) that “The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power”, thus giving the false impression that it is for fighting corruption. But it then surreptitiously annuls Section 15.(5) by its ouster clause (See fraud #4, discussed next)  It is a fraud for the Godfather of corruption to give the impression that it is against corruption, and the fraud is compounded when it empowers the State to fight corruption but then surreptitiously discourages it from doing so. That’s double duplicity!

4.    The “Socially responsible State” masquerade/ fraud

The 1999 Constitution surreptitiously relieves the Nigerian State of the customary and fundamental responsibility of a state for the welfare and security of the people it rules: This is done by technically annulling the obligations clearly and ostentatiously stated in its own “Chapter II: Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy”. Chapter II is surreptitiously ousted in Chapter I, by section 6. (6)(c) thus:

(6) The judicial powers vested in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section –

(c) shall not except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, extend to any issue or question as to whether any act of omission by any authority or person or as to whether any law or any judicial decision is in conformity with the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy set out in Chapter II of this Constitution;

This is the ouster clause, since nobody can go to court to enforce any Ch. II provision. That is to say, if the government omits to act on Ch. II, it cannot be sued by anybody or be compelled by any court to do its constitutional duty. This clause, by making Ch. II non-justiciable, effectively makes it unenforceable, thus ousting it.

This covert ouster allows the Nigerian state to masquerade as a socially responsible state whereas it is no such thing. This masquerading gives it false legitimacy, and is a fraud.

Among the fine-sounding Ch. II provisions hereby ousted are the following admirable principles and laudable objectives (in bold):

13. It shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of government, and of all authorities and persons, exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers, to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of this Chapter of this Constitution.

14. (2)(b):  It is hereby, accordingly, declared that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government:

14. (5): The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.

16. (2)(d): The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring  that suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national minimum living wage, old age care and pensions, and unemployment, sick benefits and welfare of the disabled are provided for all citizens.

Ch. II was introduced in the 1979 prototype of the 1999 Constitution. But despite these clearly stated obligations, none of Nigeria’s governments have felt constitutionally compelled to fight corruption or abuse of power, none have felt constitutionally compelled to provide security or welfare to the people; and it has been constitutionally impossible to take them to court for these failings. Finding themselves protected from legal action, they have boldly and brazenly done their utmost to deny Nigerians even minimum social welfare, to inflict chronic insecurity on them, and to block the possibility of even minimal prosperity to most of the Nigerian population. They have thereby delivered hell to Nigerians and done so with an impunity conferred by that covert and technical ousting of Ch II which is still unnoticed by most people.  Their infliction of rampaging corruption is known to the whole world. So let us briefly examine and quantify their not-so-well-known record of inflicting impoverishment and insecurity on the Nigerian population.
Wholesale impoverishment of Nigerians quantified:

Here are the figures. According to the Nigerian Government’s own “African Peer Review Mechanism Country Self-Assessment Report (CSAR) for 2007”, paragraph 88: in 1960 (the year Nigeria attained independence, which was also the year it began to export crude oil) the poverty level was 15% of the population. In 1980, (after 20 years as one of the world’s major oil exporters) the poverty level had risen to 28% of the population. In 1985 it had risen to 46%, and to 65% in 1996.  In other words, despite its huge inflow of oil revenue, Nigeria’s poverty level had steadily risen from 15% of its 45m population in 1960 to 65% of its 112m population in 1996. That is from the Obasanjo Government’s own self-assessment report for 2007: from what better horse’s mouth could this have come?

We should note that, since it is the refined combination of both its prototype, the 1979 Constitution, and the set of military decrees by which Nigeria was ruled between 1966 and 1999, this 1999 Constitution has, in one version or another, been Nigeria’s operative constitution from 1966 till today.  That means that it was the de facto constitution during 30 of the 36 years, 1960-1996, when the escalating poverty level documented in that CSAR took place. That fact probably makes the 1999 constitution the world’s most effective poverty multiplying mechanism of the 20th century. (The Guinness Book of Records should please take note!) That alone is more than sufficient justification for Nigerians to get rid of it before it gets rid of them. If they don’t discard it now, the poverty level could reach 99% by 2020!

The irresponsibility and impunity granted the Nigerian state by the technical ousting of Ch. II is manifested, not just in the impoverishment of most Nigerians (quantified above), but also in trigger-happy massacres by state agents. Here are some

Major massacres of Nigerians by the State since 1966:

1977: Soldiers burn down Fela’s Kalakuta following his boycott of Festac 77.

1978: The military Govt of Lagos State demolish Fela’s Kalakuta, while he was away at the Berlin Jazz Festival.

1980: Farmers in Talata-Mafara, Sokoto State, massacred following protests against Impresit Bakalori, an Italian Company.

1980s: Students at ABU, Zaria, and the OAU, Ile-Ife, killed by police on several occasions.

1999, Nov.: soldiers, deployed to the Niger Delta to protect the oil companies from citizens outraged by the devastation of their environment, sack Odi village, Bayelsa State, killing hundreds.

2001, Oct: Zaki-Biam, Benue State sacked by army, with more than 200 killed.

2009: The Nigerian Military’s JTF devastated villages in the Niger Delta, reportedly killing thousands in a bid to bring the Niger Delta militants to their knees. Nigerian lawmaker, Alhaji Bala N’Allah, was reported to have said at the time: “Nigeria can afford to waste 20 million people in the Niger Delta to save the remaining 100 million population.” This was a vehement statement of the genocidal intent of that JTF operation.

This list of major massacres does not include the countless victims of kill-and-go “accidental discharge” at checkpoints and demonstrations; or the numerous cases of judicial and extra-judicial executions conducted by state agents, most notoriously under Abacha.

All in all, the 1999 Constitution has been, and remains, a Guarantor of bad governance and the Mother of all evils in Nigeria.

These frauds are not victimless: In the last 50 years, they have had deadly consequences for the probably tens of millions of Nigerians who were impoverished or ruined in other ways and went off to prematurely die, unnoticed in the statistics. Some crowded the shantytowns, some lived under bridges, the lucky fled abroad to work at jobs; the most desperate and adventurous handed themselves to human traffickers to take them across the Sahara to seek survival in Libya and Europe, with many perishing along the way.

If you’ve ever wondered why corruption in Nigeria is so brazen and so unchecked by the authorities, or why “kill-and-go” police are never punished, or why kidnapping has become a plague in Nigeria ever since the official example was set in 2003, when an elected State Governor (Chris Ngige of Anambra state) was kidnapped by a privately hired police posse whose high-ranking organizer (A.I.G. Raphael Ige) went unpunished, but was merely retired with full benefits, you now know why: These crimes are licensed by the 1999 constitution which covertly removed the obligation of the state to prevent or punish them.

These frauds and their deadly consequences open up for discussion the question of the legality and democratic legitimacy of the 1999 Constitution and of the institutions based on it. We must make that issue a part of this National Dialogue. While the lawyers will have a field day arguing every conceivable side of this question, it is our duty, as the victims of these frauds, to give ourselves political protection by giving ourselves, without delay, a constitution that is not open to such frauds, doubts and endless debates. And for that we need to proceed with a political process for making a new constitution for ourselves, a Peoples’ Constitution. And the first step to that is to get on with the SNC.

Chinweizu

All rights reserved.
© Chinweizu 2013
Sundoor999@gmail.com

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Ohanaeze, MASSOB disagree over conference.


Ohanaeze logo

The apex socio-cultural group of the East, Ohanaeze Ndi’gbo, and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, have disagreed on the proposed sovereign national conference’s ability to ensure the unity of the country.

While Ohanaeze said Igbo people backed the conference as the only way forward for the country, MASSOB argued that it would only yield positive results if the division of the country would be discussed.

The National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze, Mr. Tony Oganah, in an interview with our correspondent on Friday, said the shape the country would take would be known during the conference.

He said, “The East, Yoruba (South-West) and the North-Central of Nigeria are on the same page. I was a member of Pro-National Conference under late Chief Anthony Enahoro and ever since then, we have all agreed that SNC must be held. It is the only way to move forward.

“One thing I know certainly is that Nigerians want to stay together as one country under the terms and conditions the conference would define. Let us not circumvent the conference.”

The Director of Information, MASSOB, Mr. Uchenna Madu, however, told our correspondent on Friday that although the group could table its grievances at the conference, it has not given the conference a consideration.

Madu said MASSOB was not clamouring for the conference but for the actualisation of Biafra. He criticised the Senate President, Mr. David Mark‘s position that there might be no-go areas at the conference.

He noted that the group would not participate if those to convoke the conference introduced clauses that bar discussion of the country’s dissolution.

He said, “We can never depend on a clause or certain law made by certain people; we depend solely on the things that are leading us to Nigeria’s total collapse – the corruption in Nigeria, the ethnic sentiments, religious differences and the killings of our people. These are the things that can precipitate Nigeria’s total collapse.

“Look at the political differences, look at the Peoples Democratic Party today, look at other political parties at the same time. All these things are generating tension in the land. They are a welcome development; they make people to truly know and understand why we are agitating for Biafra.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

The Political ‘Higi-hagas’ And The Negotiation Of Nigeria By Benedict Oladipo Koledoye.


By Benedict Oladipo Koledoye

I borrowed the word ‘higi-haga’ from Igodomigodo, Hon. Patrick Obaiyegbon, presently the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Edo State. Hon. Obaiyegbon  has registered his presence in the political landscape with his very atypical manner of speaking.  To some, he is annoying and nonsensical, to some he is amusing, while to others, despite his use of words in different languages that could  be compared to some form of earth tremors,  he is making a lot of sense.

I am not sure of the etymology of the word ‘higi-haga’, not even sure, if the spelling of it herein tallies with that of Hon. Obaiyegbon.  However, I have decided  to use that word,  for want of a single expression to capture the dimensions of absurdities in our political landscape. It is interesting to note that, I have also taken liberty to pluralise the word- ‘higi-hagas’.

A survey on the discourses on Nigerian Political activities,  shows that we might have exhausted all the adjectives to qualify the Nigerian Political landscape. No doubt, Nigerians are very  good in  the  use of English Language, at least we have our own Kongi, as Nobel Laurete in Literature, to show for it. The first African to enter into this elite of the Nobels!

Even though Professor Soyinka is a winner of Nobel Prize in Literature,  very many Nigerians  have  also excelled in the use of English Language.  To this extent, there is no deficit of adjectives or expressions to qualify our  ever intriguing political activities.   For now, I believe, ‘higi-higa’ sounds hilarious, but at the same time, it sounds ludicrous and apt enough to capture the unfolding political activities.

Indeed  there are many ‘higi-hagas’ in the Nigeria political landscape.  It is so interesting and intriguing.  It is a political landscape that is not based on any form of altruistic values, but predatory values. Ours is a political culture that  is not based on any noble or heroic history, but it is consistently operated on amnesia. That is why at every  point, when it is expected that we take  decisive steps to truly evolve a new Nigeria , there is always  sinister ways of avoiding such moments by the political class. One of the amusing but annoying escape route is always the  invention of cliché such as ‘ to protect our nascent democracy’ and ‘let us move on’.

It is in this clime, that a father is reported to be campaigning for a son, who was a Governor, and has performed woefully, and he was reported to have told his audience, (that) “if you child has failed, will you not allow him to repeat (the class)?”.  We laughed about it, and indeed the son repeated the Governorship.  It is mind boggling how we simply overlook disasters in form of irresponsibilities and lawlessness of political leaders and simply ‘move on’, as we would always say-‘let us move on!’ Is there any other way we can describe this absurdity than invent a name word or phrase for it?   ‘Higi-haga’ is so apt. ‘Higi-haga’  it is!

Unfortunately, whether we like it or not,  the “Nigerian ship” is towing in the turbulent waters of a destructive storm ready to capsize the ship!; and no matter the political prevarications that  are sold through Government paid commentators on the pages of Newspapers and other social media, this ‘higi-hagas’ will haunt us one day. It is already hurting the soul of Nigeria.

I am a staunch believer in Nigeria project, I love Nigeria, I am proud to be a Nigerian, I am passionate about being a Nigerian. Nigeria should not be a failed Nation.  I am convinced that Nigeria should be a blessing to humanity.

However, when things are moving in the wrong  direction, patriotic Nigerians must continue to raise  objections to the political and economic absurdities.  Those who love Nigeria will not share in the vain hope that Nigeria cannot collapse, when some people are hell bent in destroying  the country.  I am yet to understand the basis of their hope.  When you are programming yourself to fail and you say you cannot fail, that  is the highest form of delusion.   For Nigeria to be the Nigeria of our dream, we need to be honest in dealing with the political ‘higi-hagas’.

One of the enduring  ‘higi-hagas’  is the  absurdities of the election of the Governor’s Forum. The endurance  of the new arithmetic  16 more than 19  till date, is to say the least terrifying. More terrifying is the loss of sense of shame by the  Governors, and the country’s political leadership.  For  discerning hearts, this particular situation is a threat to the soul of the nation.  It portends a great danger for the 2015 election. At a point we thought that the era, whereby   election results are announced in Abuja, while the election proceedings are still going on  was over. Recent events in the country show that it remains “business as usual”.  It appears, these guys are test-running a clandestine scheme for 2015. Will there be an election, or mere negotiation?  The latest meeting of the  Governor Jang’s group was on the 11th August,  8:00pm News on AIT reported the infraction as the Nigerian Governors Forum.

I am actually waiting to see how the same station will report the Rotimi Amaechi’s group that has 19 votes, whenever its meeting is convened. I think, the little difference between what happened at the Nigeria Governors Forum election and the  elections of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at Motor Parks lies in area of the weapon deployed in the battle. NURTW members would have freely deployed dangerous weapons, like machetes, axes, and guns, (remember Tokyo and Eleweomo in Oyo State), on the contrary, the weapon deployed by the Governors is so lethal to the soul of Nigeria. It is  an assault on values, assault on the sensibilities, and a great danger of morals for our children. Something must be done about this ‘higi-haga’.

The ‘higi-hagas’ in Rivers State is still subsisting. It appears that we have ‘moved on’ as usual!  No news again, at least for now. What I find so interesting in the whole saga is the sectional dimension it took, and the long term implications for Nigeria State. ( It is very interesting that the debate and politics of ‘relocation’ and ‘deportation’ of some indigenes of Anambra State, from Lagos State is ongoing.)   In Rivers State saga, the non-indignes were accused of meddlesomeness, and have been advised to stay clear of Rivers State internal affairs.  There are indeed so many issues in Rivers State Crisis,  however, the manner in which the Political elites have been carrying on is very disturbing. It is important that the Political elites live in the consciousness that Nigerians  voted for President Jonathan, as such, he is the President of Nigeria and not of South-South. The votes of South-South alone cannot gain for him the Presidential seat.   In as much as I acknowledge  their achievements in politics, whatever it might be,  I think their calculation may be wrong after all. If they strongly feel that the ‘higi-hagas’ are mere internal problems, they should go back to the history and read about the 1953 Kano riots, (it is interesting to note that some of the elders are also part of that era) they would realize how weak is their argument. It is pertinent to refresh the memory.

At the struggle for Independence,  the Southern Political Leaders, made up of the Action Group ( AG ) and National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) earnestly sought for self Government by 1956. A motion on the self-government was tabled in the parliament by Late  Chief Anthony Enahoro in 1953. The Northern Political Leaders, made up of Northern Peoples Congress  (NPC) opposed the  motion. They have their fears of being emasculated by the well advanced Southern Region in the event of Nigerian Independence.   The Southern Political Leaders viewed the stand of the Northern Leaders as retrogressive and reprehensible, they staged a walkout.  The Northern Political leaders where thereafter confronted by hostile crowds, apparently southerners,  who jeered at them and called them unprintable names.

These reactions enraged the Northerners, and heightened the tension between the South and the North.   Riot broke out in Kano when the southern leaders went to the North to campaign for self –government. So many lives were lost, not to mention property that was lost. It is on the record that even at this point Northern Legislative House sought for secession.  With this background, and with the benefit of hindsight, knowing fully well  the politicking within the so- called “Nigerian Democracy”, allowing their followers to pelt the five Northern Governors with stone is a terrible ‘higa-haga’. However, it appears we have moved on again, but I guess it is a temporary reprieve.

It is imperative  that the Political Leaders and elders should have a rethink about the future of the country they intend to ‘govern’ not the one that have so far been ‘conquered’. A ‘governed’ Nation is a civilized and progressive Nation. A ‘conquered’ Nation is a retarded and lawless nation akin to the state of nature before our forefathers learnt how to use stone or fire not to talk about the age of enlightenment. To this end,  I absolutely agree, Nigeria can be negotiated, we need to once and for all settle some lingering matters, so as not to disintegrate but to truly be a nation, a pride of Africa and blessing to humanity.

Benedict Oladipo Koledoye

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters 

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