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« Nigeria's Version of the Muslim anti-Cartoon Riots: Matters Arising | Main | Why Must we Kill Ourselves? »

March 27, 2006

Nigerian Unity on Earth, Not in Heaven

by Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa --- There are so many events lately that have given ammunition or might vindicate those who pledge for the break up of Nigeria. One of the new friends I made urged me to join them in the break up of my beloved Country. The sad part of these events is that it is not new.

These are recurring problems after which committees are set up; promises made to investigate culprits that would be swiftly brought to justice. It’s all talk and little action.

Even more distressing is the caliber of people who are fed up of defending the integrity of the Country. People are becoming indifferent. The younger generations have a bigger stake than those who want to seat tight until they die in power as African leaders are known for. If you are one of those who would die for Nigeria, people would tell you they are not ready to clean up your mess. Please go home and die in bed peacefully. Is Nigeria that much of a burden to carry? One only lives and dies for the Country one cherishes.

There have to be solutions to these barbaric acts to gain economic, political and self deluding awe in the name of Jihad, Crusade, Democracy and Ethnocentrism. We have lived like this for many years and still can not find solutions. We know the problems but we wait for God to either give answers or let us separately go our own ways instead of killing one another. If the answers are that easy, it would have been implemented a long time ago. We can leave God out of this for now, since He did not create our problems.

For a start, we have to stop fooling ourselves. These killers are not morons or crazy, they are average men on the street instigated and worked up by headless leaders using human blood as sacrifice to test and flex their muscles. These leaders are known and courted as power brokers or godfathers, thereby becoming untouchable. We have them in every part of Nigeria bragging of mayhem unless they get their way. They were thugs who lost their sense of direction, reincarnated themselves as politicians turned money missed road. In some cases they unwittingly loose control of the Frankenstein they created. As soon as they perform their unholy act, other politicians line up to spin atrocities in their favors.

Nigerians from Maiduguri to Warri know what provocation is in the case of Onitsha, and they have so expressed in different fora. We know Onitsha area to be the most cosmopolitan area in Igbo land. While the Igbo have no kings, the Onitsha people do as the Benin or Yoruba. They are related to other Nigerian Ethnic groups. See THE FATHER OF ALL NIGERIAN ETHNIC GROUPS. So it is ironic that retaliation came from there. Those who think they are the real Igbo, watch out for the Igbo of Onitsha. We can not take people’s gentility for granted.

This is in not an endorsement of violence. If anything, all the areas that have remained calm throughout any of the crisis have not gotten their due respect and encouragement. There are so many law abiding places in the Northern, Eastern and Western parts of Nigeria. Nobody flood those places with investment projects and showcase them in the evening news. We may need to give awards and start recruiting peace activists from these areas to other parts of Nigeria that continually burn. Nigerians of different Ethnic groups get along well and care less about separation there. Indeed, Muslims and Christians marry one another so much that it may be difficult to start any problem along religious line.

It is not easy for anyone to relocate and start all over again after spending youthful life building safety nest in another part of the Country, only to be disrupted by hooligans when one should be enjoying his past labor. Come back to the village, come back home, come back to what?

If we want to break up into City States again, we have to agree on what to separate into. Some people do not learn. Before we were Nigeria, we were mini City States or Nations as the Ethnic groups name themselves. We wage war against one another, took one another slaves sometimes over minor incidents as the chiefs’ voracious appetite for women. After we were invaded, we exchanges mirrors for gold, sold one another into another world where we were previously respected as Kings and Chiefs. Finally, we were cut into pieces on negotiating table belonging to England, France, and Portugal etc.

As we became Gold Coast, Ivory Coast, Slave Coast, Pagan Coast, Unbeliever Coast etc, we started dividing ourselves again. Some wise men in Nigeria wanted creation of States as the solution to all our problems, so we started creating them for political and economic reasons. Other wise men wanted their own local government, so we created so many local governments; some of them have more members in the council than their villages. We have more administrators than what to administer. Yet some of my brothers are saying let us try it again as if we have never gone through all these stages before. We will never be satisfied until every village head becomes a Head of State.

Some of my brothers dreamed about a small State like Belgium, Taiwan, and Luxemburg as if those do not have protectors and masters they trade with. What about Trinidad, Jamaica, St Lucia, Cape Verde, Haiti? Which Black Country in this wide world would we like to be like? I know many black countries that envy Nigeria. If we divide North, East, West or Niger Delta into Urhobo, Ijaw, Itsekiri and Anioma Nations; would that solve our problem? Did that solve any problem in Lebanon or Yugoslavia?

Every month or so each of these States and Local Governments ask Abuja for their allocations as if the money is coming from their backyard. On top of that, they complain about lack of infrastructures in their backyard as if they are generating internal income. Taxes, they refuse to pay. After taking their “share” and mismanaging a good part of it like a drunken sailor, they want to separate from the same finger that is feeding them.

Has anyone ever wondered what happened to “First in Africa” in the West; all the coal, discoveries and inventions in the East; all the groundnut pyramids in the North? We still have abundant herbs in our gardens or forest but no adequate teaching laboratories in our Universities to turn them into world class products. They have been replaced with easy oil money that has caused war and misery in our land. Niger Delta is the only backyard that takes less than it gives. They have a right to demand all their money and let the rest of Nigeria feed on their sweat. If they start starving, they may be preoccupied with solutions as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh did. They still fight along their borders.

Niger Delta is not the Gulf around Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi where billions are made from oil in the mist of poverty. Before the people can get out of Hurricane Katrina, the oil rigs came back to live. That is the might of oil as in Niger Delta. Those who call them all kinds of names and give them labels are pots calling the kettle black. If they are lazy, what are we, the collectors? We all know they get world attention when they vent. By venting, we can reason, rather than kill. We can map out solutions through this worthy media created by young men and women many of whom are loosing money now.

Where are the persuasive spirits of Azikiwe, Awolowo, Aminu Kano, Tarka etc that persuaded the North to see reason for a United Nigeria? Where are the untiring guts of Ukpabi Asika, Issac Boro, Saro Wiwa, Effiong etc that chose Nigeria in the face of human suffering? Let us invoke their spirit if there is something like ekurube magic. Nigeria, the land of the brave, the mighty, the intelligent, the arrogant (ask any African) and the clever, we need to put the brain we are recognized and known for throughout the world into use to stop destruction of lives and property. Nigeria is not our enemy; we are one another’s enemy. Hatred is not in our stars but in our mirrors. It must stop.

Here we are, trying to formulate the Continent into a Country while others are trying to break it into pieces. Go to any Country in Africa or outside and see how Nigerians are disrespected and treated as aliens out to destroy their economy with clever tactics. We have been killed, booted out of every Country in the World including the smallest African Country but we can not send our police to restore our rights and status there.

Now we want to treat Nigerians as aliens in their own Country? But then, how much can we say about a Country where its budding men and women are ready to risk death crossing the desert into anywhere knowing they will be treated as alien without right or status? When our Country breaks into pieces, we may not need to travel far to become the same aliens in the place we claim these rights, status and demand justice as Nigerians. We need to think again. If we are so smart, they ask, why is our Country falling apart?

Some of us have never been out of our backyards or been to other African Countries before finding ourselves in Europe and America. Africans are just beginning to trade with one another. It used to be more expensive to fly to East or South Africa than to fly to Europe. There was no need to facilitate communications, trade or diplomacy. We used to pride ourselves as English, French or Portuguese Africans. Before Kofi Annan became United Nation Chief, the French and the English tried to create artificial barrier as to whose turn – English or French African. They took us for a ride, stop blaming them; we are now taking one another for a ride.

If we can not find anyone to trade or play with, there are enough people in Africa and other people of goodwill around the world to play and trade with. If Nkrumah had his way, we will be talking about one Continent, one Country and one Destiny. If Nigeria can not save itself, how can it save the Black World? Nigeria, heal thyself!

Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa

Posted by Administrator at March 27, 2006 03:09 AM


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