The phenomenon of our view must dominate is not new; it could as well be as old as when men began to populate the earth. It is a tool for dominion. Britain is a product of dominion. I guess the tactics of a group forcing their opinions as state policy would have been so widespread with so much damage that Winston Churchill shortly before he mounted leadership of the empire in October 1943 told his compatriots, “We must beware of the tyranny of opinions which make one side of a question the one which must be heard.”
One of the challenges of our society has to do with subterfuge as an art in human relations and as a administrative strategy. This practice is pervasive as it could be found in virtually all facets of our daily dealings, but it is more expertly deployed by the leadership class from core northern states in the complex game to control the soul of our society. It is about double speak, saying one thing that is very captivating to the ears and hearts, then doing something else when it is time for action. Side by side with this is the syndrome of selective outrage.
Terrible things are happening in our society today. They distort reality, shattering societal equilibrium, dislocating people in various ways and dimensions, bringing harm to citizens alongside, yet those who are better placed to raise their voices in a positive way and put a halt to these evils choose to hide themselves in an attitude of clear conspiratorial passivity. When some these ugly developments take their root from people from their area, then it is “good.” It won’t matter if the health of the society is brought into jeopardy in the course of all of that and afterward.
If the nasty developments would further group interest like violence would do, that is well and good. In such cases the leaders of thought just switch into deaf and dumb mode; they maintain the attitude of “see no evil, hear no evil.” As far as they are concerned the music from the world of evil spirits can play on even louder. It wouldn’t be of issue if lives are lost and property acquired through years of hard labour are destroyed. They sit comfortably and gloat over bravery of their successor generation. Every national issue is defined from narrow sectional interest and worldview. What makes the whole scenario nauseating is strenuous efforts to foist an atmosphere of tyranny of opinions in which what should matter is the narrow perspective from their group.
The Petroleum Industry Bill, popularly known as PIB, which would strengthen out activities related to exploration and exploitation crude oil in our society has been in the National Assembly for nearly 12 years if not more. That Bill if treated with dispatch would streamline operations in oil sector, which is the main stay of our economy, cut waste, bring in more gains from foreign exchange and take care of the welfare of oil producing communities that suffer massive environmental degradation and economic dislocations arising from oil exploration in those areas. The core North doesn’t see it this way, so the bill has remained just that in those long years.
The bill if you want to know is still in the making while the bill on North East Development Commission has been debated, passed and the commission not only established but working. The south is complaining, but northern leaders believe it is a plus for national development, and ameliorates damages wrought in the north by insurgency. This is fine but it would be finer if manipulators of our system knew that oil communities suffer both environmental damages and health hazards arising from oil explorations and so much more than the rest of the country and therefore deserves quick and prompt attention over matters concerning their welfare.
Our society has established Nomadic Education Commission, we are yet to hear about any intervention agency established for the fishermen. Yet, daily we hear a group make a sweet song of national unity. Every genuine effort to redress imbalance is met with a response of threat to national unity. Few days ago, President Muhammad Buhari sang the tune of the refrain, “national unity non-negotiable”, one hears that and wonders what class of political science would teach that life and relationship in a plural setting is non-negotiable. This very provocative standpoint has lasted while a section has successfully planted tyranny of opinion and the other sections of the country are cowed.
Today, the core North occupies over 90 per cent of national strategic offices: the three arms of government are in their kitty; opinion molders from that region are never hesitant in berating people or condemning developments they perceive as threat to national unity but one never hears them say the face of the society as it currently exists is not only ugly but inciting, capable of provoking instability. As you read this, our society is spending billions of very scarce resources to prospect for crude in very dry arid areas. We are building a rail line into Niger Republic at a time the South East zone has no functional railway. Young ones who chose to protest have been branded terrorists but those from the north raping, kidnapping and killing citizens are bandits, even some are telling us they are not criminals but freedom fighters.
Under northern administrations our political architecture is not only distorted, but strenuous efforts are always made to drag the rest of the population into dictatorship. It is the atmosphere now; laws are altered to narrow space of freedom available to citizens. Our communication sector is emasculated, they have been so harrased to the extent they can hardly speak in the best of professional standards. Even the social media is increasingly under threat of a squeeze. Currently it’s been demonized, set for final “kill”.
Recently, one of the Northern elements that brought the central government into being, Kadaria Ahmed, began a position that is gaining grounds among northerners. She blamed the media for current spate of insecurity by over coverage. Kadaria herself who not too long ago lamented state of insecurity in her state Zamfara failed to tell us if it was right for the media to gag itself or whether it was professional excellence to see news and deliberately refuse to report. Why didn’t she see the greater sense in warning against nepotism in high places and invasion of our space by terrorists hired from Sahel nations to disturb the peace of our society. Many of us think people of her disposition should know that societies are not destroyed by those who perpetuate evil but by those who stay and watch evil men execute their acts. The media is not our challenge. Rather, our challenge is encapsulated in the acts of a group which makes nonsense of social justice. Federalism is inevitable. North can run ranches in the north and go by rail to sell their products. Until there is equal rights and justice, peace would remain elusive. This is a fact of history! It could be worse when there are strong attempts to install tyranny of opinion.