Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Nigeria and the parable of strange bedmates

THE latest bomb attack in Kano State in which no less than 20 people, mainly South Easterners, were reportedly dispatched to their early graves brought yet another gloomy moment for a nation ceaselessly plagued by multifarious perils,  which daily threaten annihilation of its citizenry. The attack, another in a litany of similar hell raids by the Boko Haram sect in the last two years, heightened the tension of Nigerians who, since the killing-spree began in the North, have lived with their hearts in their mouths.
In escapist excuse to its helplessness and utter failure in nipping the bloodbath in the bud, the Federal Government has often alleged attempts by some disgruntled elements to scuttle the current political experiment without at least taking a nib at the crux of the crisis. It has, to its chagrin and consternation of many a troubled Nigerian, accompanied such massacres with statements of condemnations, scoffing at whatever suggestions that could obviously have quelled the wanton killings. Just immediately after the latest Kano bloodbath, the Senate, devastated, alleged that the attack was meant to destabilise Nigeria.
If the reality of orchestrated plans by some ethereal, but powerful masterminds of these bomb attacks now stares those in authorities in the face as it does keen watchers of the grisly trends, the country’s primordial claim of unity in diversity therefore needs an urgent review. Nothing more calls for this quick and decisive step by the government and the generality of Nigerians than the ever escalating insurgencies and the bitter history of wars, betrayals, massacres, bloody coups and socio-political decays that the country has stoically endured since its forcible merger by the Britons.
Running down the historical lane, we awfully remember the killings of the same Igbo tribe in the North in the wee days of the Nigeria’s independence and the resultant civil wars which nearly wiped a race from the face of the earth. Truly, Nigeria survived the onslaught, but with too many a casualty to discountenance the glaring fact that it is in a completely strange union and the continuation of which would increasingly fuel the embers of clashes cum murders as currently witnessed. The clashes of interest in the nation’s politics right from the First Republic, in which Chief Obafemi Awolowo was first a victim of political manoeuvrings before it was the turn of Moshood Kasimawo Abiola, whose June 1993 mandate was cancelled, and which ensured that one tribe, more than the rest, clutches the baton of power, paint the grim picture of a truly disunited Nigeria.
If during General Aguiyi Ironsi’s short reign, there were unrests in the North; if during General Yakubu Gowon’s nine year regime, the country was war-ridden if during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s democratic dispensation, the East again was the scene of kidnappings which took the ingenious intervention of late President Musa Yar’Adua to control, and if in this Jonathan-led administration, the North again is engulfed in an inferno of bomb attacks, then the message is crystal clear that Nigeria is a deeply polarised country, not minding the pretentious claim of its unity in diversity.
This admittedly unfortunate fact cannot be contested by the leaders who loudly chorus the song of oneness despite glaring evidences to the contrary. Their feigned patriotism is not unconnected with the stupendous wealth and sybaritic opportunity the country, as an entity, has thrust on them.
Thus the leaders, present and past, cannot understand the sense of depletion and devastation felt by those struck by the tragedy of death of relatives in the crises bedevilling the country. They don’t feel the tortuous agony a jobless Yoruba graduate feels when, after years of desperate search, he finally secures a job, say in Kano, but is afraid to pick it up as a result of the state of pervasive insecurity. How can they feel the traumas that Nigeria, as an entity, has to offer when, after holing themselves up in their posh edifices, they whisk their children abroad while the defenceless, susceptible families are wiped out in utterly irrational killings.
These proponents of one united Nigeria, who often have their tongues in the cheeks, hardly feel the hellish darkness of poverty, colic hunger, dehumanising sufferings, protracted illness, suicidal depressions, among others, into which millions of Nigerians are daily hurled.  Yet, “up Nigeria”, they shout. Nigerians need not be fooled any longer. The country is an unfortunate marriage of strange bed mates. Very bold are the handwritings on the historical wall that our diversities in worldview, culture, religion, education, background, orientation and indeed cradles are irreconcilable.
A continuous pretext on the part of our leaders would continue to spell untold doom for the country. Nigeria with these unabated bloodbaths is disintegrating. The earlier we start thinking in this direction, the sooner the elusive peace in the nation beckons.

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