Tangentially, I take the title of this article to be humdrum. Why? Goodluck Jonathan was prognosticated to be the last president of composite Nigeria, but the doom prognosis is now legend.
Without obviating the trepidation and tension that eclipsed the country before and during the 2015 general election, Nigeria survived Jonathan; I believe it will survive President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, the whirling of events in the past few weeks gives me colly-wobbles. The unity of Nigeria is not only held by a tenuous thread at this time, the country is also teetering on the brink of a violent hate war.
Since 2014, the agitation for an independent state of Biafra has revved. But no doubt, the agitation grew in decibel few months after Buhari ensconced himself in government. Why? I believe it is because of the sectionalism and nepotism that has become accenting features of this administration, and of course, the neglect of the south-east which the president does not take a liking to.
Inasmuch as the secessionist agitation is a live threat to the unity of Nigeria, the Kaduna declaration dispatched by a coalition of northern youth groups led by Arewa – that the Igbo must leave the north before October 1 and that their property will be expropriated – is a deadly uppercut to the bloody jaw of the nation’s unity.
Although, a good number of northern leaders condemned the declaration, some other persons, “elders”, from the region endorsed it. The fact is, with the proclamation a deeper wound has been inflicted on the nation’s body. And it is an open-sesame for hate mongers and sizzled bigots to tear what is left of the country’s “bond” to pieces.
It was not surprising that some militant groups in the Niger Delta delivered a riposte, in kind, to northerners in their region – that they should leave the area before October 1. A day to celebrate Nigeria’s independence is now a potential doomsday. And of course, secessionist agitators cashed in on the divisive lineaments of the declaration to call for an exodus of their people in the north. This is, principally, a chaotic time in the history of the country since the civil war.
As a matter of fact, I have never feared for Nigeria’s future until now. Yes. The compost of hate, caterwauling, bitterness and recriminations on social media induces severe fear and anxiety. But in the deep of this fear, I believe that the country will not teeter off the precipice. Why? What binds Nigeria is maximally strong but ludicrous.
Nigeria is not held together by God, values, sacred principles or beliefs, but by corruption, indiscipline, greed, nepotism, incompetence, lust for power and vested interest. These are the strong forces cementing and patching up every leak in the roof of the Nigerian dome.
Again, as the 2019 general election closes in, there are more ominous threats to the country’s survival. While Arewa bleats power must remain in the north in 2019 even if Buhari is incapacitated, Ohanaeze youth threaten secession of the south-east if an Igbo does not emerge as Nigeria’s president in that portentous year.
Still, I believe we will survive 2019.
The 1985 song, ‘Nigeria Go Survive’ by Veno Marioghae conveys my thoughts. Nigeria will survive even when everyone knows that it is not working. It will. Yes, again, because it is where “I chop, you chop”.
In conclusion, the Buhari government must work at forging a united country. Nigeria has never been this divided. It has been said countless times that Buhari is sectional. This is a fact, and I know he knows it. The excuse that Jonathan too was sectional in his appointments and in the distribution of resources is what it is, an excuse.
Buhari must do better. Soon the sun will set on his government, how does he want to be remembered, as a sectional leader? As former President Olusegun Obasanjo once said, the problem with Nigeria is that it lacks a national leader. Buhari can make himself one before the end of his administration. His legacy should matter to him now. He is 74!
Saraki’s CCT discharge
Conspiracy theorists are now conjuring up funny stories of why Senate President Bukola Saraki was cleared of 18-count charge of false asset declaration by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Wednesday. As a “religious reporter” of the trial, I say with accustomed dispassion that the federal government bungled the case from its parturition. The witnesses called by the government were at best vacuous and impotent. They gave layers and layers of contradictory statements. In fact, one Samuel Madojemu, the chief investigator of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), the agency which filed the charges against Saraki on behalf of the government, publicly said his organisation did not carry out an independent investigation of the allegations against the senate president before filing the charges. Imagine?
Osinbajo’s north-south consultations
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has shown much of the rare leadership stuff he is made of. His deft intervention in the hate exchange between the south-east and the north saved a combustible situation. If it were to be some other presidents or even his “boss”, a listless committee would have been set up to look into the issue. But Osinbajo personally intervened in the matter, dousing the sputter of tension. That is leadership!