I remember when I was quite young and my father used to compel us to read the newspapers and magazines he always brought home, to enable us understand the issues going on around us. He told us that reading newspapers and magazines would enhance our education. I must confess that reading helped us and still does. It helped us learn the spelling of English words, shaped construction of sentences and understanding of the meanings of words. Nowadays, I don’t know how many of our young ones read newspapers and magazines. Their spoken English is poor and writing ability horrible; their thought process is bereft of sound logic and coherence.
That is not where am going; I touched on it because I want to embark on a brief definition of terms in this discourse, before we get to the meat of this very important subject matter which is at the root of why we have not been able to establish a country; I am not talking about a nation, 100 years after thriving empires were forcefully and certainly much against their wish amalgamated into one entity called Nigeria. Burden is weight too heavy to carry; forced to carry the load it weighs the person carrying it down. Look at our society and tell us if you don’t see our situation is becoming a weight too heavy to carry.
A friend and colleague of the pen profession, Dan Amor, wrote last week in his column in the Independent newspaper that our citizens are leaving the country in droves for Western Europe and America. He said they were virtually besieging the embassies. It is not mere travel to go and return; they are on no return mission. Why? Simple answer: too much unnecessary weight. Weight arising from the warped decision of a few to embark on a view, if you like a projection that is against natural law, creating a master and slave dichotomy and going ahead to shape our society around the unhealthy philosophy from the pit of hell.
‘Pangs’ in the context of this discourse talks about sudden sharp pains and deep negative emotions. We see these in armed robberies, indiscriminate assassinations, insurgency without cause, kidnappings, pervasive ritual killings, indiscriminate taxes, brutality and dehumanization against civil population by state agents, high inflation, hunger and deprivation, double speak, tyranny of opinion, closed economy and burgeoning unemployment, general intolerance, social tensions, conflicts and pervasive bad behaviour. The level of trauma is just inestimable.
Servitude is a master and slave relationship. More like one man or group lording over the rest. This kind of arrangement not only distorts reality, it tears at the foundation of the social fabric of a society. It was responsible for the tearing of ancient England and the founding of a new world in America. The ugly phenomenon is here with us and as has been the experience through history. It is daily releasing toxic materials into our system, provoking volcanic eruptions here and there with dare consequences. My elders tell us the reason we stay away from the evil path and remain glued to the path of justice is that when evil stays long it becomes the norm, and in that way society is worse for it.
Evil has stayed long in our society, its effects are not just telling, but they are biting. The master/slave structure is beginning to spill negatives, except for the few reaping huge rewards from the confusion; the rest of the populace are not happy with the situation at hand. Every oppressor desires the system to stay, in fact deploys all arsenal at his disposal to keep it going including divide and rule, carrot, hypocrisy, double speak, fake love, close opportunity, selective kind gestures and outright force to keep his advantage.
All of these are present in the Nigerian debacle. «Nigeria›s unity is non-negotiable!” What manner of speech is this in a deeply plural society and what kind of political science dishes out such a hypothesis or is it a theory? The north flies this; now if the south says arid regions don›t usually have high population density, the usual response from the masters is, «This is heresy and threat to national unity.” We often hear northern elite say “Citizens must behave properly, we must be national and put the interest of the nation first.» President of Nigeria of Northern extraction addresses the country in Hausa and there is no word of caution from authors of nationalism. Imagine for once if President Jonathan or Obasanjo before him ventured to address this country in Ijaw or Yoruba language? Stop just for a while and imagine what the reactions would have been from the masters, we would definitely hear very strong refrain like, “We have the numbers, let him come and go again.” We run a republican system, yet we have two jurisprudence system – civil and sharia law systems. Nobody sees the oddity.
Senate President Ahmed Lawan spoke in Owerri, Imo State capital, last weekend and he described Hope Uzodimma, the state governor as a “good man, one who made friends across all tribes, he worked well, he didn’t limit his politics to the interest of his people only he was predictable.” He asked Ndigbo to get into the centre by joining All Progressives Congress. How many easterners knew late President Yar’Adua and who were his friends in the area before he became president? How many times did Buhari step into South East and what charity projects did he do before he became President? Did any of them predictable? Didn’t Buhari and Kwakwanso, former governor of Kano state go to Yoruba land to threaten the indigenes and to defend Fulani herders before they ascended high political offices or gained national visibility. Did being true to their origin make them less political figures in the nation? “Igbo must change their politics before…” Before what? How many northerners of prominence have registered to be members of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)? Different people, one society, many destinies.
The greatest disservice of slavery is that it twist the mind-set of the victim. Years of oppression destroys victims sense of worth and places them under a sense of severe siege. Closed opportunities and denials make them vulnerable and desperate, they fall for anything. When from the oppressed clan leaders jump ship usually under inducement, the oppressors laugh them to scorn. By means of manipulation they make the victims fight each other. “We will make you President, Senator” and the favoured turns into a loose lion devouring his kind. President of Igbo extraction, barely two years to 2023 when it should happen if things were to be normal yet nobody is talking about it with certainty but when it was Jonathan a minority time even while controlling reins of power, it was like heaven will fall except power left Jonathan and went back to North. The Masters were definite, no rigmarole; it was never a case of the time wasn’t ripe. In another case, the people’s electoral will in Imo State had to be brazenly subverted to plant a stooge in advance to waylay Ndigbo in the bid to have a new leadership for their umbrella union, Ohanaeze. Am still trying to ascertain if the ambush worked or not. Like we say “time will tell.”
Harriet Tubman of United States of America said she saved 1000 slaves but would have saved 1000 more if only they knew they were slaves. That is the challenge in our case, those who should bemoan their fate and rise to fight for change chose to run in an attitude of reckless conspiratorial collaboration. That is the tragedy. The North, the Masters, never liked Amnesty Program, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) or the derivation principle.
Today, Amnesty Program apart from being technically killed, northern establishment want a version of same for northern renegades who are up in arms against the Nigerian state for no reason whatsoever. NDDC which is supposed to be directly under the presidency has been ceded to a ministry, with a Minister of Niger Delta extraction as supervisor. The deconstruction process is perfected then the blackmail of indigenes appointed and directed by same clique being thieves and enemies of their people is the song very loud thereby setting the stage for brother against brother fight. It is happening already – Governor Wike is on against Akpabio. This is where a national Marshall plan for development of Niger Delta would have sufficed. We have also have the Hope Uzodimma versus Rochas Okorocha and Oshiomhole versus unseen gods, each fighting for survival from a system they helped to nurture. From the West a great politician like Tinubu has accepted Fulani settlement for all states so that the Masters don’t put his head on the table for pepper soup.
Truth about oppressors is this: nothing is too dear to them; anything can be sacrificed to save the system. Anybody can be diminished and even killed to keep beneficiaries of the decadent order living and thriving. This is exactly the reason elders from my place insist we keep evil at bay. From past experience they know it serves no one any useful purpose. Those who insist they must ride the tiger, often will end up in its belly, and of course harm the society before taking an inglorious exit. This is why it is imperative we rise and collectively say no to bad behaviour. Eternal vigilance is the price for freedom.