Recently, rumours of coup were rife, and within same period marking the 50th anniversary of declaration of Biafran experiment and genocide against Igbo, even though the military authorities have dismissed it. Expectedly, this jolted some Nigerians, who equally reacted, depending on the prism they viewed it from. In this country, if you are telling the truth, a fatwa is passed on you. This has cowed many Nigerians, who otherwise would have stood up to be counted, as we grapple with the onerous challenges of building a strong and virile nation.
But, the truth must be told. The country is in deep trouble, is hemorrhaging and on ground zero. Therefore, only the administration of ‘bitter pill’ will bring her back to life, and then reasonable progress follows. This ‘bitter pill’ will not go down well with many, especially those who are benefiting from this dysfunctional system pray that it continues, but those who love this country and wish her well are ready to swallow the hemlock to come up with a workable solution to the problems of the country.
There is an urgent need for change, as we have applied all known economic and political models that other backward nations had employed and are now in the league of developed nations.
It is not about political restructuring of the nations. No, this will not work, as all those apostles of restructuring don’t seem to have clear-cut ideas of what they are canvassing. Even if you are to restructure, all those elected at the National Assembly and the states Houses of Assembly, who may be affected by the restructure, as well as the elected executives would they gladly step down for the implementation of the outcome of the restructuring? If you restructure and collapsed the nation into zones and dismantle the states or you reduce the number of seats at the various legislative houses, you would one day start witnessing agitations from various groups, who felt shortchanged in the new configuration and would bring you to the same circle of stagnation we had just came out from.
A situation where you must always have the possibility to create a destructive force to be listened to, as we have seen in the past can hardly make progress. Let’s use a very bad example. Starting with the death of the late business mogul, Chief MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. The South-west used NADECO and OPC to draw attention and in 1999, head or tail, the Yoruba were made to produce the president in the person of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. After him, power moved back to the North that had always believed that the presidency is their birthright. However, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who succeeded Obasanjo, couldn’t complete first term, as he fell ill and died.
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who was Yar’Adua’s deputy, became the president to complete the remaining one year in office of Yar’Adua’s government.
After that, Niger Delta, the treasure house of the nation, used militancy to draw attention and made bold statement and thereby got the presidency on platter, as Jonathan won the election and continued. From 2011, when Jonathan won the election, there was well-orchestrated plan to make sure he didn’t go for second term. That gave birth to the ugly side of Boko Haram, a terrorist Islamic sect and of course, a Western covert operation of sort that made the regime of Jonathan ungovernable.
This and other factors made Jonathan government to crash like a pack of cards, then Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari emerged, and since 2015, the nation has been on edge.
Then the frenzy for Biafra by the Igbo is resonating everywhere, and this has not given the Buhari government any good international image, especially given the Amnesty International reports that Nigeria’s military had allegedly killed hundreds unarmed protesters in the Southeast and some parts of South-South.
Within this period, Fulani herdsmen are rampaging killing and sacking many communities, especially in the South and North Central regions leading for Southerners to cry foul over what they termed as expansionist agenda of Hausa-Fulani hegemony with its consequence of leading to another civil war and ultimate fragmentation of the country.
The Fulani herdsmen are now a big issue, and the talk about a national dialogue on Fulani herdsmen problem is being muted. As it stands, there is deep animosity and mutual suspicion among the ethnic groups. The fear of Biafra has turned the South East a besieged zone. Journeys by road had shown the same siege through countless roadblocks. As you are crossing one checkpoint, a mere look ahead of you, of less than half a kilometer, will reveal another barricade. It is all so frustrating. There is no war, or security breach. South East is not North-east where Boko Haram still calls the shots (forget about government’s propaganda of, “we have degraded Boko Haram”; Boko Haram is still very potent, controlling large areas, killing and maiming people on a daily basis.
This was buttressed on May 26, 2017, by governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, who warned Nigerians and concerned authorities to disabuse their minds from the wrongly held assumptions that the Boko Haram insurgents has been defeated. The governor gave the warning during the formal signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Kukar Centre and Profuturo to educate the children in the 19 northern states.
Military bases are being established in the South East, just for the fear of Biafra. Yet, in this Boko Haram-ravaged region, you would not find this armada of security, treating the entire geo-political zone made up of five states like a conquered territory.
Nigeria won the war between her and secessionist Biafra, but she didn’t win the peace that is why after four decades the ghost of Biafra haunts the nation.
This time around, it is not only Biafra that is agitating to break away from Nigeria. It was after the war that the Ogoni came up with MOSOP, Southern Kaduna, and other ethnic groups just because their eyes had been opened and so started questing the basis for being in Nigeria. In a newspaper interview last weekend, leader of OPC, Chief Gani Adams said that the Yoruba youths were ready to declare Oodua Republic.
Ndigbo is very serious about Biafran agitation for self-determination. Those silver-tongued, brilliant phrases and ideas from two of our leaders: John Nnia Nwodo and Chekwas Ojezigbo Okorie are basically saying Ndigbo minds.
Despite the Amnesty programme, the flame in the Niger Delta is yet to be doused. How long shall we remain with this? The time to tell ourselves the truth has come. If anyone is expecting democratic revolution in the Nigeria, such a person is hallucinating and building castle in the air. The political class is inhuman, and has turned the system into buccaneercracy, vikingcracy. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, while in office, said if Jesus Christ were to come to Nigeria to conduct elections that He would fail. This is one of the foremost leaders, who has seen it all, both as military head of state and president, and went to jail and escaped death by whiskers.
Therefore, Nigeria can’t meet the taste of future if political solution different from what we have now is not applied. One of the mouthpieces of North, Alhaji Ango Abdulahi, has said, North will support restructuring but the dilemma remains. Would anyone elected under current unitary system step aside or head an interim national government? It’s very doubtful. As Buhari has been unable to improve Nigeria, an upgrade of the Acting President, Yemi Osibanjo, to president will change nothing, instead motion no leapfrog. At all levels of our government and administration, it’s impossible to administer Nigeria without corruption. Nigeria has been sequestered and treacherously raped with deadly distrust among country’s ethnic nationalities. We don’t have a country. That solution is military intervention, but not the type we have had in the past.
There is the need for military intervention. Before you stone me to death for suggesting the way out of this quagmire, take a look at where we are coming from and where we are and see if there is a glorious future for this country under the present order. The military will not shed blood because we have shed more than enough blood, which is still hunting us, as we are yet to atone for it. The military will be for a brief period of two years of Interim National Government.
They will organise a sovereign national conference, where all the ethnic nationalities come together and discuss on the way forward and from there, for the first time, they would come up with a constitution made by the people, subject it to referendum for the people’s rectification not all those fraudulent constitutions that had been forced down on our throats. It is only through this that we can repair the faulty foundation, which Nigeria was built on.
This current Fourth Republic must end. Note, France passed through several republics until they got it right at the fifth, when France’s republican system of government was established by General Charles de Gaulle under the constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958. One more military mutiny to end the unitary administrative evils of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic is highly imperative. In Egypt, change of order was instructive when Muslim Brotherhood-led government got bad. The status quo Nigeria we hail thee – national anthem must be restored, against arise to obey who? – The Obasanjo national anthem that never accommodated Igbo nation. Shambles!
Nigeria has been a forced marriage. A marriage forced on elite hardly works, while a marriage forced on two fools may turn out to be workable. However, the people who made up today’s Nigeria were clobbered together because they were in the dark and like ‘fools’ didn’t know their left from right and what they were going into, and that was why the union worked under the imperial colonial maters. But when the colonial scale fell off from their eyes, various groups started asking questioning on how they entered into the marriage. That was the reason till his demise, the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo described Nigeria, as geographical entity, and refused to see it as a nation. May the souls of fallen Biafran heroes and heroines rest perfectly in Christ Jesus name, Amen!
• Nwosu writes from Okai, Eziama, Isiala Mbano, Imo State. Tel: 08023035430; Email: email@example.com