Nigeria On The Brink

Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

The country is in a bad shape.
Everything appears to be going wrong in Nigeria with a bewildering pace. The politics of the country is all jumbled up, and the economy is a total shambles. The kidnapping of schoolchildren up North is a clear and present danger that is being treated with kid gloves by the government of the day.

Not so long ago, in Ekiti State in the Southwest, two monarchs were slaughtered like chickens. In the Southeast, insecurity is all the rage with a good number of communities under the siege of the so-called unknown gunmen.

The savage killing of 18 or so Nigerian soldiers and officers in a Delta State community has reportedly elicited reprisals by the enraged army and the burning of the entire town.

Bandits are the law unto themselves all over Northern Nigeria, and the government is doing zilch to contain the menace.

Nigeria is so corrosively divided such that disaster looms large for the benighted country.

The politicians are not helping matters with their moronically padded budgets in a land where poverty reigns. It is as though Nigeria is a joint stock company of direct stealing by the executive and the legislature ordained by the judiciary.
In short, this is the age of shamelessness in Nigeria.

Some Nigerian patriots, notably elders such as former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, and the leader of Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, have made bold to call for a new constitution for Nigeria.

There is the crying need for a total restructuring of the country before the tragedy of anarchy hits home. Addressing the fault-lines of the old country is the only worthy cause to embrace now by all Nigerians.

The world has in fact lost count of the number of souls lost in the many battlefields that ordinary conferences would have prevented.

The Nigeria-Biafra war would not have been fought if the Aburi conference had succeeded in every material particular.
Many moons after that horrendous war, the issues that elicited the war in the first place remain unsolved.

How Nigerians can co-exist in peace ought to be negotiated and agreed upon by the contending nationalities. The European colonial powers that set up shop in Berlin in 1884-85 to allocate the area now known as Nigeria to colonial Britain acted in spite of the nationality groups then inhabiting the land.

Sir Frederick Lugard amalgamated the Northern and Southern Protectorates so that the South will serve as “the lady of means”, in the words of Lord Harcourt, to feed the arid North.

Lugard’s girlfriend, Flora Shaw, had suggested a name for the emergent country: Nigeria, a word formed from the River Niger, not minding that River Niger itself was named after the accursed racist word “Nigger”.

Thus from the very beginning Nigeria’s chequered history is replete with obfuscating contradictions. Some radical military majors thought they could change history by staging a coup in January 1966.

The coup was portrayed by some foreign agents to mean an ethnic group dominating the entire country through the establishment of a unitary system.
Northern military officers fomented a revenge coup in July of the same 1966.
After taking over power, Yakubu Gowon had prepared a speech to announce the dissolution of the Nigerian Federation on August 1, 1966 and the secession (araba) of the North until he was prevailed upon to change his mind by the British High Commissioner in Lagos, Sir Francis Cumming-Bruce.

Curiously the much-maligned unitary system has been pushed into greater gear by the insurgent power-wielders. The pogrom unleashed on the Igbo people in the North put a heavy question mark on the existence of Nigeria.

The Aburi conference in Ghana had to be convened as a last ditch effort to save the country from war. The agreements at Aburi became subverted and the Nigeria-Biafra war ensued.

After the war, military and Northern domination of power came to a head with the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by Chief Moshood Abiola.

General Sani Abacha locked up Abiola, and the country teetered on the precipice until somehow Abacha and Abiola died after one another.

It took the arranged re-emergence of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo for the Northern military to anoint a civilian fit enough to be trusted with power.
Nigeria’s misadventures with Obasanjo’s Third Term Project, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s death-knell presidency, Goodluck Jonathan’s besieged incumbency, and Muhammadu Buhari’s devastating incompetence do not need further elaborations here.

To give him his due, former President Jonathan organized a national conference in 2014 which may need to be dusted up toward the re-negotiation and restructuring of Nigeria for national survival.

There is grave danger in the land as the calls for restructuring, devolution of power etc. continue to reverberate.
Nigeria is on the brink, and something needs to be done fast before it tips over.

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