Monday, December 21, 2015
NIGERIA AT CROSSROADS, THE ELUSIVE NATIONHOOD?
Icheoku says the only reason certain things, actions of some individuals and groups, as well as state actors themselves, are getting away with the things they do in Nigeria is that Nigerians, as a people, are not united and do not stand united against them. Nigerians protest individually, usually from their tribal or regional perspective, and depending on whose ox was gored and stand hands akimbo when others' ox is involved. Once the act does not touch or concern their ethnicity or tribes men and women, they treat it as not their business, hence don't usually get involved in it or in trying to resolve it.
This is the reason the oppressors and the henchmen and women of Nigeria get away with whatever atrocities they commit; because in the tripod based Nigeria, it is always easy for the oppressor to double-team with the unaffected against the affected.This is the problem afflicting Nigeria and until Nigerians begin to see a person's or group's or ra egion's problem as their collective problem, Nigeria can never move in the direction of attaining nationhood. Icheoku says the day Nigerians will start seeing each other as brothers and sisters who share in the same common destiny of the Nigerian state, that day will their dream of nationhood be attained and achieved. That day of euphoria is when things will generally get better for everyone, including the unaffected, the affected and the oppressor.
Icheoku says take for example the current marginalization of Southeast Ndigbo in Nigeria affairs which the Yoruba Southwest does not care about. In their thinking, it is purely Ndigbo problem which Ndigbo themselves should sought out with President Muhammadu Buhari, if they feel so marginalized; despite the fact that the issue is glaringly starring everyone on the face. Take also the issue of Boko Haram which is ravaging the Northeast but which every other group and people in Nigeria who are not in the affected region see as the North's problem. According to these non affected people, it is "dem, dem wahallah" so let them deal with it as they see fit. Further take the constant killing and pillaging that has refused to abate in the Middle Belt, where Fulani cattle rearers and local inhabitants farmers are constantly at war with each other, fighting, maiming, killing, burning and looting each other. Other none affected Nigerians see it as the problem of the Middle Belt, hence it is theirs to solve if they so desire.
Continuing, take the problem of nomadic cattle rearers in Southern Nigeria, which was highlighted with their recent abduction of a Yoruba High Chief Olu Falaye. As far as other Nigerians were concerned, it is a purely a Yoruba problem which only the Yorubas have to confront if they want it solved. Ditto the kidnappings and killings by the same wandering nomads of peoples of the Southeast and South-south region. Furthermore, very lately, Southeast and South-south region, formerly of Biafra, have rekindled their agitation for an independent state of Biafra. Many protesters have been killed by security agents; many have been detained and even their leader has been in detention for quite some time now. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has so far refused to honor a perfected bail which was granted by a legitimate court of the land; which bail was further affirmed by a Higher court which ordered the unconditionally release of the accused. The government has refused to honor these rulings, the guy is still being held, albeit illegally; but as far as other Nigerians are concerned, it is Biafran people's problem and they should solve it if they so desire.
Icheoku queries when has the breach of the constitution of Nigeria to a fair and speedy hearing, which a bail facilitates become a regional problem? What is the use of law if it is not broadly, fairly applied throughout the spectrum of the people that are under it? It is akin to an Igbo proverb wherein the chicken was laughing at the guinea fowl which is being deep-fried, not knowing that its turn will come in a few days later. Life lessons is not usually about the dead as the dead has died and moved on; no, it is always about the living, who has refused to or did not learn a thing from the dead. Today it is Nnamdi Kanu and the Biafrans whose rights to fair and speedy hearing as well as life, is being trampled upon with flagrant disregard to two duly constituted courts' orders and unlawful killings; tomorrow, it might become Otumba Adams and the Oduduwas or the AREWA or Niger Deltans.
What goes around, comes around; but regrettably in the usual partisan Nigerian fashion, even the supposed human rights lawyers in Nigeria are keeping mum while the constitution is being violated and in a democratic dispensation. Icheoku has not seen any of the Nigerian pretenders of defenders of human rights and the constitution raise their voice to condemn President Muhammadu Buhari's government for disobeying two valid subsisting courts orders. Not even the Nigerian Bar Association or other various States or Cities Bar Associations officials have voiced against this and you wonder why their selective advocacy and campaigns on human rights and abuse of the constitution. The funny thing is that these Nigerians will not miss any given opportunity to identify themselves as human rights lawyers and you wonder what shameful face they presently still parade themselves in, with a man who was ordered released from jail still being detained in utter violence to the letters of the constitution and the authority of the judiciary, which two institutions they were sworn to uphold and defense zealously.
What face would these people use to stand in front of cameras or interviews to identify themselves as former chairmen of this and that Bar Associations or Human Rights campaigners or advocates when they have not said anything about the vagrant refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to respect two valid orders of court. Icheoku is emphatic that a law abiding president or government must first comply with subsisting valid orders of courts and could summarily rearrest the accused if they want to. But to so completely disregard the two orders of courts as if the courts don't matter anymore or that the executive is superior to the judiciary, in a three tier government of co-equals, is rather benumbing and mind bugging. A matter made worse by the graveyard conspiratorial silence which the lawyers of Nigeria and their associations have maintained all this while. Icheoku here once again call on President Muhammadu Buhari to honor his uttered word that he is now a "converted democrat" and respect the law of the land hich every democrat is mandated to respect.
Icheoku says all these nonsensical madness in Nigeria will go away and simply disappear the day Nigerians start seeing each other as one; asking questions and demanding answers as one; seeing each other's problem as their own problem; and collectively acting as one towards finding solutions to their problems. That is the day Nigerians will truly heal and their country will indeed morph into a nation with Nigerians singing hallelujah that finally at last, they have a country which has finally transformed into a nation.
But regrettably, like many other things Nigeria, this wishful thinking is simply utopia as Nigerians agree among themselves that they are not one people, nor even a country talkless of a nation. Nigerians don't see themselves as one, neither do they see each others problem as a communal problem needing and requiring a communal joining of hands to fashion out a solution. As a result the massacre of Middle Belt people by the Fulani nomads will continue; the vagrancy of those nomadic Fulani cattle rearers in the South will persist; Ndigbo will continue to agonize their marginalization in Nigeria until something happens either to redress this situation or grant them their independent existence as a nation or a truly federating unit of Nigeria; Boko Haram and other Islamic militants will continue to run amok in Northern Nigeria and of course the Yorubas will continue to suffer whatever peculiar problem that is common to them.
At the end of the day, everybody gets shafted and a big conundrum will be left for everyone to stew in. They will continuously shout at each other, pointing accusing fingers at one another, fighting, crawling, scratching, maiming and killing one another for what a simple unity could have solved more peacefully. It is a very unfortunate situation indeed but the reality on the ground, which is bedeviling Nigerians, that after 55 years of attaining their independence, true nationhood has eluded the country. Nigerians, Icheoku calls on everyone to please wake up and smell the coffee that there is a need for a true united Nigeria. Further, a true unity, far and beyond the sloganeering unity which is served only when convenient, will indeed take care of all these separatists agitations in the land. Let every Nigerian be the change which everyone desires to see in Nigeria; and peradventure help move the country forward and into doing greater things. The country has crawled around for too long and it is about time it started running; only if the country can become united. But what a shame!