FEATURE ARTICLE


Sowore OmoyeleTuesday, November 26, 2002
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SOMOYELE@aol.com
New York, USA


NIGERIA: THE TROUBLE THAT WILL NOT GO AWAY


o an average Nigerian the sudden cancellation of the Miss World beauty pageant is another disgraceful outing for the nation. The acts of barbarism and bigotry displayed by religious fanatics at Kaduna in the last few days are another show of Northern Nigeria superiority to the rest on Nigeria.

The core North has a way of holding the country to ransom through its traditional institutions, later it was the notorious Nigerian army and now it is holding Nigeria up through religion and an array of stupid morontocrats in the name of Southern politicians who are mere Northern surrogates with home addresses in the South.

It is usual for the rest of Nigerians to bellyache about the current crisis by pouring out of volumes of raw emotion, it is easy to call the Northern Muslims names and tag Thisday newspaper irresponsible or even attempt to sympathize with Obasanjo as most Southerners usually. In my opinion that is beside the issue, what happened last week is a repeat performance of what has consistently happened to our body polity as the current leaders borrow from one of the Abacha strategies.

Abacha widely used sporting events and other distractions during his insidious reign. The idea of bringing sports events and a beauty pageant to Nigeria sounds fun, but it is a way of distracting national and international attention from urgent and burning national issues. It backfired last week. Those who felt that the various issues confronting Nigeria could be swept under the carpet learnt a quick but bitter lesson that contracting beautiful women cannot really help.

The Obasanjo regime is learning very fast that the issues confronting Nigeria goes beyond gallivanting around the world in well embroidered clothes, that it is beyond running for the second- term -a project to which his mind was transfixed from his first day in office-or pretending that all is well with Nigeria. They are learning quickly that the act of Southern connivance with an obstinate Northern oligarchy has its own day. Those who constantly defend Obasanjo and his cronies saw their towers of falsehood razed down last week. By now they have developed new arguments, but all of them are spurious and frivolous.

There are a lot of arguments about the responsibility of the press in this instance, so many stupid arguments! Only a person with a cocoon of ignorance residing in his brain will blame Thisday newspapers for the Kaduna carnage. It is unfortunate that some of those pushing these position are the same people who have enjoyed the benefit of a free press, it is a shame that they can turn around to blame the press in this case. I am sure that if Prophet Mohammed were to choose between a free press and dishonest followers in Nigeria- most of them thieves and adulterers in government house- he will surely go for a free press.

Those Godless fanatics North of the River Niger knows that they cannot survive the scrutiny of chastity anyway. The truth is that Thisday newspaper did not bring Sharia to Nigeria and they were not responsible for the various killings of Southern Christians in Kaduna in the last three years or so. The blame on Thisday is the most potent excuse on the hands of those who have seen the newspaper as the arrowhead of opposition against the visionless Obasanjo regime.

The way forward for Nigeria was clearly designed by the Northern bigots when they annulled the June 12th elections in 1993 and later introduced Sharia in 1999. It was up to the rest of Nigeria to follow up by making appropriate demands of the center in terms of redefining the charter of relationship in the bizarre Nigeria the religious bigots created. The idea of a united Nigeria serves only one purpose in Nigeria as of today, it is a strong blackmail instrument in the hands of those who stands to loose if we were to check upon the status of the assertion that Nigeria is still truly united. We have the stupid Southern politicians to blame what ever happened to the Southern governors' caucus? The so-called Patriots, the South-South groups. Were they ordinary instruments for getting attention and NDDC contracts? Why couldn't the governors even follow up on the threat to withdraw youth corps members from Sharia practicing states or simply insist that they cannot afford to finance Sharia with petro-dollar?

Instead they ducked their heads and settled down to the business of looting, scavenging and gerrymandering in their various state capitals and Abuja. Till today no one questioned how Sharia could be removed from our national psyche and before you know it has spread to Oyo state right there in our nostrils!

Beyond the outpouring of volatile emotions that usually dry up next day or the actions and counter -reactions that this kind of act usually generates. What are we going to do to help save Nigeria from the grips of horrible leaders both South and North of Nigeria? A lot of people feel that we should just break up Nigeria and everyone will simply go their way and every man in their own broken corner can practice their religion be it armed robbery, 419, corruption, assassination and larceny. It is a lazy approach to resolving national problems. If Nigeria were to break up today, every section will inherit their share of bastards from Abuja or somewhere around the street corner; the problem will not go away.

There are those who propose a Sovereign National Conference, my sympathy lies there as well, but honestly I am worried that a sovereign national conference in Nigeria today will be hijacked by the rotten elite. They have the money and a bag full of political tricks to win elections as representatives to the conference. They will turn the floor of the conference to another "Jankara market" where votes will be sold freely. The elite class will not just fold their arms and watch the SNC take decisions that will erode their power base, besides that, none of them truly support a truly sovereign conference that will confer power on a different body whose power supercedes their stolen mandates. Nigeria as it is today is the nation of their vision and they make no pretense about it!

Since we desire a Nigeria of our vision, we need strong intervention from our young people, we have to be ready to demolish and demystify the power structure that holds that nation's progress to ransom and that which continuously robs us of our dignity. We must be able to confront these charlatans and shenanigans to recover our future from their blood - soaked hands. We must be ready to match them power- for- power and calculate that it might require every means necessary through a REVOLUTION. Whatever emerges from that process can then be subjected to rigorous democracy and guarantee everyone the right to enjoy the freedom to remain within Nigeria or not. We have a right to change the course of events in our homeland. We should not let our history dictate our destiny! We can only retain this right if we exercise it.

If this commitment on our part is lacking for too long, the other possible option will be to allow this process of monumental manipulation to drift us as it wishes. In this way there is a predictable result- Nigeria may likely end up in chaos and a conflict of unimaginable proportion- God forbid but this may happen sooner than George Bush goes to war with Iraq