FEATURE ARTICLE


Olatunde Opaleye, Esq.Wednesday, November 27, 2002
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OLA_G_OPALEYE@fleet.com
New York, USA


ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!


t has happened again and we are in the world news and focus. The Miss World competition has been moved from Nigeria to London because of religious and ethnic violence perpetrated by fanatical muslims in the north in particular and generally holding every other region of the country to religious, political and economic ransom by the way and manner they practice their own brand of islamic religion.

A lot has been said and written about islamic extremists in Nigeria and all over the world especially in recent times in view of the recent war on terrorism by the United States of America and her allies, it is sad and unfortunate at this time in Nigeria political history that islamic fanatics in Nigeria decided to align with the likes of Osama Ben Laden and his Al quada cohorts who are currently at large.

It is quite disheartning that Nigeria image which our president has been trying to sell abroad has now been battered by the recent hullabaloo of the Miss World Pageant to a point that no reasonable business venture will come to Nigeria going by the standard of directors responsibility for business decisions as the current trend in company practice.

Nigeria as a country is made of various ethnic groups with Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani predominantly the three major ones. These tribes have different cultures and religion which are diametrically opposed to each other when it comes to the issue of beauty contest the north cultural position is a far cry from other parts of the country.

In the yoruba culture and tradition from the olden days up till today the king is respected and he holds his position subject to checks and balances by the chiefs, but his veto power is preserved. In all yoruba towns the annual yam festival or coronation aniverssary is still celebrated and young maidens engage in dance competitions to entertain the king, chiefs and townpeople and it not unusual that the king may exercise his power of veto, although sparingly in recent times to take one of the maidens as wife. This is a privilege to the family of the girl chosen and usually met with little or no opposition. This tradition is still encouraged as secondary school drama groups are part and parcel of these ceremonies today.

In Igbo culture the age group female and male cultural dances and acrobatic displays is an opportunity to woo and encourage courtship among youths and elders are always on hand to guide and instruct on proper conduct and disposition at these outings. This clearly show that beauty contest is not alien to the Igbo culture as prices are awarded to the best dancer or age group. The Igbo also operated democracy of age groups for decisions about issues concerning the village or comminity which are discussed and agreed upon at the elders meeting. Suffice is to add that age groups also take decisions about community service and contribution to the villge or town including but not limited to clearing of the village square, beautification and other scheme that they deem necessary.

In the Hausa culture it is very difficult to separate the culture from the religion and politics of the town as the spiritual head of the village is also the political head, the subjects live at the mercy of the king or emir as they are called. It is a feudalism that also encompass the religion of the people it not only control the political life of the subjects it also control their mind despite the colonisation by the british, the northern part of the country was allowed by Britain to retain this system of feudalism, may be because it would be expensive to replace it or out of respect or religious tolerance by britain a Chritian country or due to the development in Egypt and Algiers during the era of clonisation. Beauty competition is therefore left to the interpretation of Islamic scholars who advices the emirs and in the present political dispensation it became an opportunity to bring the present government into redicule by formenting trouble at the slightest excuse and dragging the name of the country in the mud before the international community.

One must also add that due to the prevailing situation courtship in any form is alien to the northern youths as girls are sold out by their parents from the tender age of eight or nine years to their much more older adult males usually the same age as the girl's father or in some cases older and the female child never grow or blossom to her full potential physically, mentally or biologically before having matrimony thrust upon her, not to talk of taking part in a beauty competition. Recent campaign has condemned this practice in view of the many cases of labor and delivery problems faced by these babies having baby for example VVF. It is only recently within the few educated northerners that female children are being given the opportunity to realise their full potentials.

Having gone through political, religious and cultural set up of Nigeria the recent assault by the northern Muslim is another display of intolerance, barbarism, religious and political irresponsibility of a section of the country to foist their own agenda and archaic way of life on the other part of the country and cold calculation of the fanatical north to wrest power from the present administration. It further shows the belief that the Islamic religion is a religion that now thrives on innocent peoples blood despite the fact that there are a lot of peaceloving muslims who understand the need for peaceful co-existence in the current world, and the fact that no nation could survive as an island as shown by the case of Iraq and Libya when they were subjected to international sanction and scrutiny.

Myself, and many positive thinking Nigerians that want to move forward hereby state categorically that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, it is time we told the northerners that if they chose to live in sixteenth century we the rest of the country do not have to be dragged back to the dark ages so that they can practice their religion in the most inconvenient, intolorable, barbaric, unprogressive and completly irresponsble manner to the detriment of other parts of the country and the world community in general at this time when the whole world is running out of patience with the muslim fanatics of this world.

We must say enough is enough to the taken of innocent lives in the north at the slightest opportunity under the guise of religion to execute ethnic cleansing and genocide on other tribes, it is a known fact that a muslim igbo man in the north (although rare) would first be regarded as an igbo man and attacked or killed than as a muslim of the same faith. It is also a known fact that most of the almajiris fanatics who have no visible means of livelihood usually line up at the gates of their emirs and few rich to beg for handouts, it is in their nature and belief not to question the authority or source of the wealth of these chosen few, who for centuries have kept them in the dark ages for their own selfish purpose while they send their children to the best schools abroad to come back and perpetrate their reign of deception. It is also a known fact that the north is the most backword part of the country despite the fact that northerners have ruled nigeria for over thirty five years out of the forty three years of independence.

Enough is enough for the way the federal government has been handling with kids glove issues involving the nothern fanatics. I see no logic in the arrest of the writer Isioma Daniel, and Simon Kolawole the editor of the alleged offending publication without the arrest of the deputy governor who issued a death sentence on the writer and unleashed mayhem on innocent people. One could argue that Isioma was exercising her freedom of expression as guaranteed by the constitution albeit at an inappropriate time but that does not give anybody the right to take her life or order her execution under any interpretation of any religion as the constitution also preserve life of it's citizen except taken in the execution of the law.

Enough is enough for double standard in the interpretation and execution of the laws in Nigeria what is good to the goose is also good for the gander, the basis of a marriage or partnership is free will and determinism, if the purpose of the relationship is lacking in trust, respect for others point of view and religion, culture, peaceful co-existence, equal right, justice, goals and aspiration, then it is time to sit down and review the agreement to highlight our differences and expunge the cosmetic similarities with a view of forging ahead together or separately.

Enough is enough in the squandering of our nations wealth and looting of the treasury by some well placed people in the society while millions suffer in the midst of plenty. It is only in Nigeria that the government would negotiate with a thief simply because he is from one part of the country or belong to one tribe to return money that was stolen and the person will have the audacity to renege on the agreement, yet he was released because of political expediency. Mohamed Abacha from his various statement after his release has demonstrated that he holds all of us in contenpt and have no respect for the federal government of Nigeria, but can we really blame him ? when we are now trying to close the gates when the horse has escaped. The federal government should have filed papers to recover the money before his release. If Mohamed Abacha is not guilty of any conspiracy as held by the tyranical four judges of the supreme court , then from my legal point of view we should open the prison gates and let out all convicted criminals. I salute the courage of Justice Ejiwunmi we need more like him to clean Nigeria.

Enough is enough of northern despotism: it is bad that they tell their people or subjects how to live their lives, it is now worse that we cannot have a beauty contest in Nigeria without the consent of the fanatical northern muslims. The constitution of Nigeria is subject to the vague islamic religion as interpreted by the fanatical clerics and myopic emirs who cannot see the larger picture except perpetration of their islamic kingdom.

Enough is enough of regional political parties it is time we take our destiny in our hands and have a national conference to discuss as I said earlier our differences and the way forward. History will not forgive us if we do nothing to arrest the current development in the country and quickly seek a peaceful way to break up as the alternative is likely to cost us dearly in terms of human and economic losses, we should learn from the USSR experience by putting an end to the nation called Nigeria and avoid the ignition/explosion of various kegs of dynamite planted in religious, political and ethnic guise all over the country.

Enough is enough a word is enough for the wise.