These days I have been having regular look in into ways and ideals of black civil rights advocates in America in the 18th and 19th centuries. What one discovers is amazing. You find the history of America and how that nation got to where it is. In many of the instances we share similar fate. America had calls for secession, like ours it came from group altercations and snowballed to a civil war. In their history you will find appropriation of power by a small clique, its use and of course abuse.
America began as a society of small independent colonies perpetually at conflict with one another, grew into a confederate before nasty experiences forced them to sit and renegotiate nationhood which took them into becoming states under a federal arrangement. The point I am actually labouring to make is that that great nation as we know it today had her very challenging moments; they were many, varied in nature and deadly but the difference came from being realistic, truthful to themselves and having this determination and penchant to act always in the greater good of the larger society and the human element. That made the difference. It was a case of a leadership class that had its ears to the ground and ever willing to hear and receive suggestions which must be applied.
This pattern worked for the whites, leaving them with far better standing and future. On the contrary the black population had a different perspective and ways and the outcome for them came out differently, not a pleasant one I will say. It is in the character of blacks to shift emphasis and put blame away from themselves. In this regard I can hear many say the condition of blacks was terrible from the beginning, after all they were slaves with no room for maneuver. Those who hold on to this view forget that majority of white population that travelled to the New World at the beginning were vagabonds and fugitives, criminals not gifted in great wisdom.
So what made the difference? Attitude! Whites sought the truth, held and creatively deployed it when found. When cultism and subsequently deep divisions became the issues, politics took a back seat and all hands were on deck to stem it. Legislators came up with new rules which were implemented without fear or favour. When it became inevitable they had to sit down to fashion a new union and the terms for its sustenance, every one agreed and it was done. Yes blacks were excluded and even discriminated against but instead of uniting and fighting to establish their place, they had divergent positions. It was this that gave rise to concept of “inhouse”and “outside slave.”
Inhouse slave, who was given access to few privileges said everything was okay; he thwarted every reformist moves and ignited black-on-black violence. Malcolm X in a famous treatise reveals that the most adventurous enterprise at the time was for fellow black who had clear understanding of issues to try and tell the rest the truth. He said it was the most dangerous gambit to undertake. See where blacks are after 250 years of American independence.
Juxtapose that with our situation and see if the similarity is not astounding. Getting statehood was troublesome for reasons that were not germane. Each group minus Igbo wanted separate nation-states. Founding fathers settled for federalism, each group under this format had semi-independence to act in ways and manners that suited them. Each region had their constitution, parliament, police, courts etc, suddenly a group used the military to truncate what was agreed and not just that, appropriated everything good themselves and worse, redrawing the administrative architecture in its favour. They talk of unity not being negotiable, trying to bind behaviours by force but forgetting that gains gotten by vanity disintegrate rather than build.
Nearly all may piss out but if only one pisses in, that one dark spot has capacity to pollute the whole environment. Many are in this union but their souls are not in it. And in the manner of blacks in America, no one wants to take a little time to think and ask the vital question, “What actually is the challenge and what is the final solution?” Every effort to make our leaders stop and ask the question is rebuffed, ridiculed or aborted. Many hide under different subterfuges to perpetuate higher evils in the warped thinking that time will resolve complex contradictions and possibly restore balance. It is not working, and the reason is simple: nothing in the natural moves until people move it.
What is delaying us from renegotiating our union? Haven’t we enough reason to so do long before now? Those who say constitutional amendment is it, do they ever tell themselves the truth that the configuration of NASS would not be what it is if citizens had sat to negotiate nationhood? Security challenge and cheapening of life; don’t manipulators of power know it has much to do with closed economic space. Is it not time we know we can’t have buoyant under stiffening unitary system.? If we like, every citizen can be trained as a soldier yet the challenge of insecurity won’t abate except we create abundance. Wealth thrives in competition.
A sadistic hegemony is holding us hostage; this should be unacceptable. Still using security as an example, two third of our leaders class visit developed settings and they see the layers of security. Federal government has multiple set ups each providing a check on the other. States have different security organisations too with distinct powers. Community and neighbourhood watch vigilance group are part of it. Now in those places, security personnel that guard hotels and bear arms are not federal or state security officials, they are private guards licensed by government to provide security; some establishments have theirs.
The question is: why are these things difficult to do here? The simple answer: some of us run with the wrong thinking that they can overwhelm the rest and establish their dream world. It is this that has turned our society into a killing field. It is most unfortunate. We must know that by acting in this manner we are instigating another kind of conflict, a war of attrition; one in which everyone would be the loser. There could also be the angle of international conspiracy. Whatever, if we are united, nothing would be that difficult to solve.