As Nigeria Shifts Nearer to the Breakline
Whose fault is it?
By Ehi Ekhator,
Compared to the past, as youths get involved in politics, the political unrest across the globe has spread like a wild fire certainly for the fact that youths are now becoming aware and taking parts in what’s happening in their lives.
Nigeria, a West African nation with more than 182m populaces, 521 dialects and 36 states isn’t left out in the drum of distress prompting a few calls to break.
In 2005, the US anticipated that Nigeria would stop to exist in 2015 in perspective of the threats posed by continued ethno-religious crisis over the years. In 2008, the United States military in May, conducted a war games called “Unified Quest” to test how her country military would respond to a war in parts of Africa with reference to Nigeria.
In 2015, the then President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan concede to defeat and handed over power to the now President, Muhammadu Buhari.
Jonathan in his battle for peace astonished the United States government with his choice not to challenge the outcome either lawfully or forcefully in the 2015 general election in spite of a few inconsistencies revealed by the media.
After Buhari was sworn into power, a US based lawyer, Lloyd F Ukwu opined that Nigeria is a beheaded snake with a risky head that can in any case nibble. He put the majority of the issue on the President; Muhammadu Buhari who he said was stoking trouble.
According to Lloyd “Decapitated snake, head still bites Disturbingly, Nigeria is still not completely out of the woods; as it may still break up. The possibility of conflict and dissolution of the country continue to loom because Buhari is stoking trouble. He is actively stirring up issues that can lead to serious national conflicts. Nigeria is a very complex country, and its governance is complicated by tribal, religious and sectional rivalries.
“Buhari is insensitive to this complexity and lacks the finesse and dexterity to govern Nigeria. With a military background and orientation, and a total lack of a liberal education, he is ill-equipped to preside over a democratic Nigeria. He has no refinement, and as such, only understands the language of force. He also does not understand the world order. Recall that he once referred to Germany as Western Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel as President Michelle. “
Two years after the assumption of the present administration under the political party of the All Progressives Congress, the country is more separated than any other time in recent memory. Everybody is sitting tight for the fence to fall while some are confounded on the direction to run should the most noticeably bad happen.
The current development in the polity, in particular the intrusion of Fulani herders in all aspects of the southern and Christian dominated areas in the north, the activities of militants in the South and the ceaseless attacks of the Islamic Boko Haram sect in a spate of terrorism-like bomb attacks are getting to be noticeably troubling.
The more exasperating one is the possibility that the northern elites are taking control of everything in the nation. Numerous Nigerians are feeling neglected and not carried along. The Indigenous People of Biafra are clamoring for a breakaway as they believed they are least regarded and treated unreasonably by the nation, combined with the long standing division between the north and the east
In a similar call, the south western part of the nation, the Oduduws is additionally requesting its republic. One of its elders in a meeting in March, 2017 uncovered that the locale would welcome the disintegration of Nigeria.
Senior statesman and one of the main voices in south western, Ayo Adebanjo anticipated that Nigeria would soon deteriorate.
He said “We are going for disintegration. That is what i am sorry about. You cannot keep the country together like this. You would continually be suppressing there and suppressing there. The Southern Kaduna affair, the people there shouted against regionalism because of the oppression
“If you look at the agitation of the South South, South east, and they are not even insisting on restructuring; it is restructuring within Nigeria or outside of it. We even understand that some radical Yoruba have drawn the map of the Oduduwa Republic and all that, but we are keeping them down.
“There is an advantage in the economy of scale but we cannot keep them down for too long when we know that they are being cheated. We say those areas that they feel they are being cheated; let us iron it out so that we can stay together. What is wrong with that?
What Adebanjo was alluding to was the deserted confab report. During the previous President’s administration, seeing the direction the country was heading, Jonathan called for a National Conference which brought elders of various ethnics under one rooftop to table their grievances.
If the report is implemented, many areas where people are feeling left out would be tended to, but the minute the present administration came in, the north considered the report insignificant, and was pushed aside which made many assumed that the northern elites are not prepared to an end the unfairness in the country, therefore, a call for disintegration.
There is the likelihood that the Niger Delta groups would pitch tents with the Biafrans, another group that are feeling objectified by the northern elites whom they accused had assumed control over their oil blocs. To enlist their grievances, a group called Niger Delta Agengers sprung up, bomb a few oil pipelines until the government assured to involve them in the improvement.
A new Niger Delta group called Rondel Solidarity Movement had approached different groups on the 8 of June to converge with them to actualize Independence for South. The gathering ascribed their purposes behind leaving Nigeria to President Muhammadu Buhari abuse and the control of its area oil well by the north.
The group said “We shall return power to the true owners of the lands, the monarchs, in English-style power sharing between the Royals and the people in a Parliamentary system. we demand Independence for Rondel from Nigeria from 2018.
“Rondel comprise all the six states in the present South-South of Nigeria. Rondel is an acronym derived from the Region of Niger Delta, later Republic of Niger Delta, if the Arewa groups make good their threats.
“Rondel is our name, Rondish will be our Language and Rondland shall be our capital city. Details of these, including the locations of Rondland, shall be in our October 1 book.
“ no inch of Rondel in the six states of Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Cross River, Edo, and Rivers States shall ever be ceded to any other people or nation for any reason whatsoever and all those people drawing maps up and down are hereby warned to desist forthwith or risk our disproportionate vengeance including present and future social and economic sanctions.
“Our motivation for decision to leave Nigeria are first President Buhari’s treatment of our people as 5%, Northerner’s nearly exclusive illegal and immoral occupation of our oil wells destroying our ecosystems and the eviction notice by Arewa Youths with tacit support of government and the Arewa leaders.
“That since that treasonable order by Arewa youths, and because no one was arrested, tried and convicted for the high treason, the same matter for which Nnamdi Kalu was imprisoned for about two years, we no longer have faith in one indissoluble Nigeria.”
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, ACYF, a coalition of social-political organisation in the Northern Nigeria on Tuesday, trying to hush the continually growing Biafran voice, gave a three month ultimatum to the Igbos in the 19 states to vacate or be prepared to be pushed out by compel.
The present call had pulled in responses from various parts of the nation, including the federal government who had called the security agencies to capture those behind the statement.
Howbeit, the police had stated that the force is still in chase of those behind the communique though others believed that, of course, the police have declined to make a move as it concerned the north.
The call for disintegration increased after the President during an interview in the United Kingdom referred to the individuals who didn’t vote in favor of him during the Presidential race as 5%. It was apparent that the message was coordinated at the Southerners who turned out in mass to vote in favor of the previous President, Goodluck Jonathan.
To complicate and checkmate the north, a coalition of Niger Delta groups on Friday, the 10 June, 2017 issued an October 1 ultimatum for the northers to leave their region.
The aggrieved militants also asked the federal government to handover all oil blocs controlled by the northern to the people of Niger Delta.
“A coalition of the Niger Delta militants met today in Port Harcourt to review the recent call by the Arewa Youths groups that the Ndigbo should vacate all the Northern states within three months,” it read.
“We demand 100 per cent control of our resources. We demand that the Federal Government should hand over all oil blocs owned by northerners to Niger Delta indigenes. All the companies operating in such oil blocs/wells should vacate within three months.”
“All northern indigenes working in NNPC and any other board that has anything to do with oil/gas should be sacked with immediate effect.
“We demand an independent and sovereign Republic of Niger Delta. We are tired of living with the North under Nigeria. We are tired of the President’s sentiments against the Niger Delta people.
“On October 1, 2017 we shall declare our independence come rain, come shine. We shall take our destiny in our hands and free ourselves from the slavery of the North as they are tired of one Nigeria.
“From October 1, 2017, we don’t want to see any northerner close to (the) Niger Delta; any attempt to penetrate shall meet fierce resistance. This time, we are not going to play defence, but attack.”Cause of increased calls for division
Why now? Why are there many calls for disintegration?
On why there are more calls for division compared to the past, a former governorship aspirant in Edo State, Dr. Pedro Obaseki believed that the current leaders are out of ideas, and expressed worries that Nigeria may actually seize to exist.
“As I read posts online of late, A Heavy Sigh weighs my heart. It’s clear: as a nation, We do face an Existential Threat. I talk both as a Nigerian and a Midwesterner/Bendelite.
“Nigeria CAN & WILL WORK but the Rules of Engagement and Terms of Association should reflect contemporary realities. There appears an impending conflagration in the horizon. Nigeria may not remain as it presently is. Things are spiraling out of control. And our present crop of leaders appear to be out ideas! And this is worrisome!
“Every ethnic group is grandstanding and I wonder: whither this sabre-rattlings?! We must salvage Nigeria. But We Must insist on a More equitable NIGERIA. This IS IMPERATIVE. Our Midwest/Bendel people, (EDO & DELTA States) hypothetically, are caught in betwixt!
“But are the Bendel people ready for it? My answer is simple: WE HAVE TO BE! This brings to mind the Results of the Midwest Referendum, 1963. July 18, 1963.
“The total number of eligible voters, being persons whose names appeared in the Federal Electoral register of 1959 was 654,130. Of this number the percentage that voted in the affirmative was 89.07%, well in excess of the required 60% (or 392,478) for the creation of the Mid-West region. The region that was born on August 9, 1963 as a result of the July 13th plebiscite remains the only major administrative unit of Nigeria created by due constitutional process.
“So in preparation towards disintegration if it happens (GOD FORBID), we will stand by the referendum. We won’t be Any one’s Collateral damage. This ain’t 1967!
“BUT WE AIN’t PUSHING FOR A DISINTEGRATION. But we ain’t anyone’s Canon Folder. People are, in near-infantile fervour, clamouring for War! War!! Have they ever wondered what the collateral damage will be. Who’s going to be their canon folder? Who will play the FALL GUY? Edo? Delta? The MIDWEST? Never!”
Another eminent Nigerian, a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-kayode opined that Nigeria will definitely break . He attributed the cause to northern Islam and Fulani herdsmen.
He said “Nigeria will break up. Northern Nigeria has two problems: the Fulani and Islam”
A Human Rights Lawyer and Advocate, Mike Ozekhome believe that the abandonment of the 2014 conference report by the current APC is unfortunate. He opined that the solution to Nigerian current problem were all on the report.
“I have always been surprised, but of late, bemused, when I hear some people kicking against restructuring. Restructuring is not tantamount to a break-up.
“It is simply an idea designed to address the unnatural imbalance and lopsidedness of Nigeria, which puts her permanently on an explosive keg of gun powder, driven by various centripetal and centrifugal forces.
“We are operating a Unitary System of Government, euphemistically dressed up in the borrowed garb of Federalism.
“Nigeria has recurring mutual distrust and suspicion, ethno-religious crisis, political implosion, unabated violence, insurrection, youth and gender discrimination, unspeakable criminality, simulated peace of the grave yard, fear of the unknown, fear of fear, elite’s collaboration to continuously hold down, by the jugular, in a most asphyxiating manner, the beleaguered hoi polloi and Frantz Fanon’s “Wretched of the Earth”.
“The present agitations for self – determination by various ethnic groups (IPOB, MASSOB, OPC, APC, Niger Deltans, etc); the present crisis of confidence, ethno-religious crisis, Agatu, Herdsmen, Kidnapping, robbery, terrorism, Boko Haram, murderers, Southern Kaduna, hired assassinations, etc, are but symptoms of a larger malaise: lopsided and inequitable system of allocating and distribution of scarce national resources, leading to an eerie feeling of utmost marginalization, suppression, oppression, repression and subjugation.
“The over 600 recommendations of the distinguished Nigerian patriots, men, women and the youth, from all works and strata of life of 2014 National Conference, must be immediately retrieved from the archives where there are gathering dust and spider cobwebs by this government, put on the front burner, and utilized meticulously for the purpose of re-engineering, retooling and reformatting this Nigerian contraption that is still not working.”
The US based Attorney at law Lloyd F Ukwu believed Buhari is responsible for the current division in the state. He described the President as a man who is not vast in handling dynamic Nigeria.
“In my viewpoint, Buhari is insensitive to this complexity and lacks the finesse and dexterity needed to govern Nigeria. With a military background and orientation, and a total lack of a liberal education, he is ill-equipped to preside over a democratic Nigeria. He has no refinement, and as such, only understands the language of force. He also does not understand the world order.
“He wants, at his whims and caprices, to jail southern politicians and his enemies of northern extraction such as Col. Sambo Dasuki for corruption. He wants to rearrange the judiciary, and reconstruct and expand Kirikiri Prison.
“He will then fill the prison with his political enemies, as all those he fingered for corruption will automatically be arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and jailed for one hundred years or more by a compliant judiciary, dominated by northern judges.
“It is understandable that a president appoints people that he is comfortable with to work with him. But to appoint only his friends and relatives to pivotal positions as the Director Generals of the Directorate of State Security (DSS), Customs and Immigrations and the Chairman of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) is nepotism.
“Nepotism is corruption. And he insulted the sensibilities of Nigerians by justifying the appointments on the grounds that the appointees are loyal to him as friends and relatives. It is wrong for him to give the impression that only his friends, relatives and others from the northern part of Nigeria are competent, and committed to his vision. In addition, his punishing of those regions of the country that did not vote for him in the presidential election is grossly unfair. It is not only setting a dangerous precedent but inflames ethnic fury.” Lloyd stated.
A former state Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Frank Evbuomwan, commenting described those calling for the division of the country as agents of death and destruction.
“Some people are being seduced that gold and Eldorado lies at the end of the breakup of Nigeria. However, prevalent present greed and mistrust only points to bloodshed and destruction.
“Our development does not lay in how many constituent parts we break up into, but in how we tackle corruption (which is the real problem) and nepotism; and focus our resources into productive ventures.
Nigerians should be wary of these parochial politicians, advocates of division and ethnic jingoists. They are merely agents of death and destruction. They will not hesitate to plunge this nation into crises for their own selfish ends.
In a swift response, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Engr. Ogbeide Ifaluyi-Isibor, though agreed that greed and mistrust only point to bloodshed and destruction, argued that the north and south are different people with different laws.
He said “Alot of times, in an attempt to sound politically correct, we talk about the “oneness “of Nigeria and why we must remain albeit sustaining the status quo of unequal yoking..
“While I understand that naivety thereof, the truth however stares us in the face on a daily. We are a different people with different laws but in “One country” atleast according to the books.
“Illegal mining in the North is pardonable.Illegal refining in the South is punishable by death.
“Toddlers get registered and vote in the North,but it is electoral malpractice in the South.
“You blaspheme in the North,you get killed and your killers celebrated. Nobody cares about blasphemy in the South.
“I have made excellent colleagues, friends and business associates of Northern extraction ,some of whom will read this piece and agree deep down in their hearts but can’t say it. They can’t speak against what is to be an advantage to them and perhaps I would do same if it was me.
“Even our Constitution is skewed to favour the North and by extension our laws and law making processes.
“Threats from the North are downplayed, it is called treason when it comes from here.
“Yes! We can’t propagate hate on social media, but we can express ourselves.I just did!”
Despite the controversy brooding in Nigeria, the President, Muhammadu Buhari who had promised Nigerians positive change is currently “resting” in the United kingdom.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo seems like a man under a spare or a full housewife who is afraid to divorce her husband for the fear of remaining homeless and penniless.
Buhari who seem to careless of the trouble has not made any public statement on the ever growing wild fire but communicate through his aides in a statement that seems as if he’s encouraging the fight rather than halt it. Finally, the Prediction of the United States may come to pass as Nigeria draw nearer to the breakline.
Ehi Ekhator is an international based journalist, the Publisher of Naija Center News
Email: [email protected]