|Monday, January 28, 2019|
Pontifical Urban University, Vatican City (Rome)
et us begin with the question: With the ongoing Chief Justice Onnoghen saga, could it be we are already at the point of "Bye-bye Nigeria" as we know it since 1914 amalgamation by the British? Is it time to say 'Goodbye Nigeria', the time is up? That is, after100 years of forced and unhappy marriage, the union of peoples of diverse value systems, cultures, languages and religions, diametrically alien to one another and have remained irreconcilable ever since. Has the Nigerian union finally collapsed under the present administration of President Buhari, a Fulani Sunni-Muslim from Daura in Northern Nigeria?
These are some of the questions, any sincerely concerned citizen of Nigeria must not evade as the country confronts the ongoing 'Chief Justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen saga': the antics of the present federal government of Nigeria headed by President Buhari, a former military dictator. They are questions we may not brush aside as we see heavy-cloud hovering over the nation on the eve of the general elections this February 2019.
Related to the above is that the issue at stake must be seen by Nigerian themselves as their own problem. The solution to the problem lies with the Nigerian people, not with foreigners. If at all, foreigners are coming to help us, theirs must remain complementary and not the substance. The substance to the solution to the problem of country lies at the hands of Nigerian citizens themselves. Foreigners won't solve our African problem for us in Nigeria.
With this clarification, let us return to our original question:
Put in another way: What is left of Nigeria again as a nation state under a democratic rule? That is, after President Buhari suspended the nation's Constitution by his unilateral removal from office, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), His Lordship Honourable Justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen on Friday January 25, 2019, without any recourse to the Senate and other relevant laws as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution.
According to the 1999 Constitution, the Chief Justice of the Federation can only be removed from office by the Senate through a 2/3 majority votes cast in that regard. Unfortunately, President Buhari bypassed the Constitution, and without any recourse to the Senate, unilaterally removed the CJN, Chief Justice Onnoghen from office. Very disturbing in this most bizarre act of dictatorship is the fact that Justice Onnoghen is the only Christian in the current three-arms of the Federal Government of Nigeria, notoriously dominated by the Sunni Muslims of the Sokoto Caliphate.
President Buhari removed CJN, Chief Justice Onnoghen from office and replaced him with a former Sharia Judge, Justice Tank Mohammed, whose wife is a serving senator of the ruling Buhari's APC government. Who knows, the new CJN, most probably, like Buhari himself, is a staunch patron of the infamous Miyetti Allah, sponsors of the marauding Fulani herdsmen militants, who move about all over the country, murdering innocent citizens, destroying farmlands and villages, while the federal government looks elsewhere.
With the unilateral removal of CJN Onnoghen from office by Buhari on Friday, January 25, 2019, who needs to be told again that Nigeria no longer exists, as we know it! There is now a full-blown dictatorship and tyranny in the land. Again, with the unilateral removal of CJN Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen from office by Buhari, no one needs to be told any more that the result of the forthcoming Presidential election is a forgone issue. Buhari is not going to relinquish power nor is he prepared to listen to anybody who tells him to do so.
Furthermore, those of us who are crying for the unilateral removable of CJN, Chief Justice Onnoghen from office are doing so in vain. There is nothing anybody can do about it. We have in Aso Rock, Abuja not "normal human beings", nor Nigerians like you and me, but rather affiliates of Islamic terrorist group, the West Africa branch of ISIS represented by the so-called Miyetti-Alla (Fulani Cattle Breeders of Nigeria). These are the creatures, who have seized power in the most populous African nation immediately after the 2015 general elections.
No wonder, Aisha Buhari, the wife of the President had alerted the nation that her husband is no longer the person in-charge of the federal government of Nigeria. That immediately after 2015 elections, she started seeing strange faces, some individuals, she had never seen in their house for the past 27 years of her marriage with President Buhari, visiting and spending hours and hours of private discussions with her husband. Aisha also said in the same interview to BBC that many of those that helped her husband to win the 2015 elections have been side-lined immediately the elections. That the government of her husband have been high-jacked by some strange fellows whom she had never seen in their house all the years of her marriage with President Buhari.
This tells us that the federal government of Nigeria have been high-jacked already by strange fellows, cabals, no one wants to talk about. This is the tragedy! It is what we are grappling with today in the country.
All this means that 'Nigeria is gone, election or no election.' Moreover, with the latest unilateral removal of a sitting CJN from office without any recourse to the Senate and Constitution of the nation, Buhari and his cabal at Aso Rock Presidential Villa Abuja have now succeeded finally in putting a final dead nail on Nigeria. "It is now goodbye Nigeria. The die is cast." That is the dangerous cloud hovering over Nigeria since that latest act of President Buhari on Friday, January 25, 2019.
Just yesterday, as I was pondering on the state of our country, Nigeria, a friend, former classmate sent me a WhatsApp message, which reads thus: "Prof., are you guys organizing some protest over there in Europe along with us here in Nigeria? That would be nice."
Below is my response to that insightful WhatsApp inquiry from a former classmate. I began my reply with the title: "Foreigners won't do our struggle for us." Thereafter, I made the following submission:
This is what I know about it. I mean my take in all these. In the first place, if I may ask: What has the foreign nation gotten to do with what is happening in Nigeria today under Buhari?
Sad that since Friday January 25, 2019, when President Buhari usurped the Constitution of Nigeria and unilaterally removed from office a sitting CJN, Chief Justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen, replacing him with a former Sharia Judge (and probably patron of the terrorist organization, the notorious Miyetti-Alla), Justice Tanko Mohammed, people are yet to take to the streets in the major Nigerian cities, like Calabar, Uyo, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Aba, Owerri, Abakiliki, Ikot-Ekpene, Ogoja, Awka, Onitsha, Kaduna, Jos, Makurdi, Yola, Lagos, Abuja, etc., etc.
Strange that not even a single street peaceful protest has been recorded since then in the home state and geopolitical region of the embattled Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, who is from Cross River State and the so-called South-South region. Even the entire former Eastern region of Nigeria (now divided into South-East and South-South, with no love lost among them), is as mute today as ever on this matter.
The question is, "What is it that has befallen us as a people, conscious of themselves and their surroundings, in Nigeria and Africa as a whole?'" One begins to wonder if we are really, conscious human beings in Africa like the rest of the people in the civilized world!
Mind you, speaking of street protest here does not mean asking people to take to violence protest in their demands for justice and freedom. Not at all. In actual fact, protest does not necessarily invoke violence. This is the worst thing that had befallen Nigerian state's reaction to public protest. Nigerian government often tend to respond to peaceful public protest with military and police brutality and recklessness. But this shows how primitive the government approach to public protest and legitimate public demands, is.
Government uses military and police brutality to respond to popular uprising and peaceful protest. This is with the view to intimidate the oppressed masses and force them into submission. However, conscious citizens should not allow themselves to buy into such a logic of intimidation of the masses by the government with military and police brutality during any peaceful public protest.
People should be encouraged to protest against any unjust decision of the government. It is people's right to protest. With determination and perseverance in their just demands, the masses through their peaceful protests, have brought to its knees, oppressive regimes and governments. It happened during Babangida regime after the cancellation of the famous "June 12 Elections in 1993." Popular uprising also brought down Abacha regime in 1999. So, this is not the first time Nigeria is to witness such a time.
The fact is that those who know the prize of freedom and liberation will never allow the government to cow them down while the impunity continues in the land. We must all join hands to fight impunity and injustice to standstill if we mean to restore sanity in the land.
Again, it is a pity that no Christian group in Nigeria has taken to the streets since last Friday January 25, 2019 to peacefully protest this humiliation of the only Christian highest office holder in the country's current three-arms of government: Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. Now that Justice Onnoghen has been removed unconstitutionally by Buhari as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, and his post given to an Islamist, a former Sharia Judge, Justice Tanko Mohammed, no Christian body or church in Nigeria has contemplated mobilizing Christians to protest against such an injustice, the enthronement of complete Islamic Republic in Nigeria by Buhari administration.
Nigerian Christians are not disturbed that with the unilateral removal of CJN Chief Justice Onnoghen, there is no Christian again among the current heads of the three-arms of the federal government: Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. These three-arms of Nigerian federal government are now all at the hands of people from one ethnic group and Islamic religion, the Fulani Oligarchy Sunni Muslims.
For me, this is the greatest tragedy of the whole Justice Onnoghen's suspension saga. It means that Buhari has finally achieved in our day what Uthman Dan Fodio and Ahmed Bello could not achieve in their days, the total Islamization of Nigeria through Muslims takeover of all the government machinery and political structure of the country.
With the three-arms of the federal government of Nigeria now under the full control of this Islamists and their ethnic irredentist Miyetti Alla, sponsors of the Fulani herdsmen militia, it is now an open secret that a full Islamists' Jihad has been launched in the country. This is whether one wants to accept or deny it. We are now under Islamist government. Protagonists of Sharia in Nigeria have finally, seized the seat of the nation's power and they are not ready to relinquish it to anybody no matter what. This has been their prayers since the time Uthman Dan Fodio arrived in Gobir (which he later renamed Sokoto) in 1804 and established the Sokoto Caliphate after killing Yunfu, the traditional ruler of the area who had earlier offered him and his entourage hospitality.
Already the group presently control all the other important government organs and security outfits of the country: the Military Service Chiefs, all security and paramilitary heads, INEC Chiefs, including the INEC Chief electoral collation officer, etc. Now with the judiciary under their full control - the new CJN and his hand-picked post-electoral tribunal judges and commissions for the forthcoming elections will determine who wins in the general elections of February and March 2019.
The results of the forthcoming elections are determined already. People will be wasting their time on election-day lining up to cast their votes. But the INEC Chief collation officer (who happens to be President Buhari's niece by marriage), is ready with a prepared result at her office in Abuja waiting for the right time to announce the "anointed" candidate, pre-chosen by the powers that be at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa Abuja. This is the reality on the ground today in Nigeria.
To the novice, we say: "Welcome to the "Islamic Republic of Nigeria."
The question now is, 'Is any one in doubt again that Nigeria has become a full-fledged Islamic state in structures and governance, politically, religiously and in its legal and even economic and educational systems? Make no mistake about it: Today in the eye of the world, 'Nigeria is an Islamic Republic.' What a pity and insult to our collective intelligence and sense of being!
This is the evil that has befallen our dear fatherland under the watch of our Christian religious and political leaders. May God have mercy on us all, so that we do not end up in the way of Lebanon, a 90% Christian in the 1980s. Unfortunately, today, Christians in Lebanon can hardly count up to 20% of the country's population.
The liberal policy of Christian politicians and religious leaders in Lebanon, their naivety and complacency to the Muslim refugees and politicians from neighbouring Palestine and Syria has altered the religious and ethnic demographic contour of Lebanon forever. Today there are more Muslims than Christians in Lebanon. This was something unthinkable in the '80s.
The same thing happened to the people of Darfur in South East Sudan. Through the terrorist activities of the Arab Janjaweed militants, who operate exactly like the Fulani herdsmen militants from Northern Nigeria, that part of Sudan has been seceded to the marauding Muslim Arabs, the Janjaweed militia! The indigenous ethnic African populations of Darfur, majority of whom are Christians, who have been living in refugee camps ever since the invasion of their land by the Arab Muslim Janjaweed militia have lost not only their religion and language but also their ancestral land to the invading Arab militias.
The Janjaweed militia in Darfur Sudan like the Nigerian Fulani herdsmen militia, were secretly, sponsored by the central government at Kartoum, in Northern Sudan. Lets' hope that Christianity in Nigeria and the indigenous ethnic populations of our dear country will not go the way of Lebanon and Darfur in no distance future. For this to happen, to save Christianity and our land from these evil hands, we must however, do our part as Nigerians and committed Christians.
Not foreigners will fight this war for us. It is our own struggle as a people fighting for their freedom and self-determination. Other peoples and nations have fought theirs and won and they never expected outsiders to do their struggle and fight for them. Our destiny is in our own hands. This is what we should always remind ourselves in this struggle.
God help those who help themselves. Only primitive people think that God will send his angels from heaven to do their fighting and struggle for freedom and self-determination for them. That is the way, primitive people used to think, waiting for divine providence and angels to come down from I know not what, and fight for them.
It is an insult to God himself, after he had endowed us with intelligence, wisdom, strength and freedom, to still be expecting him to do our fighting for our freedom and self-determination in our fatherland. It is an insult not only to God but also to human intelligence. God endowed us as human beings with intelligence and sufficient wisdom and strength to subdue the world in order to live in freedom as his free children, created in his image and likeness. Our failure to use our intelligence and strength to change our situation and condition for better life is a denial of what we are as children of the living God.
Nigerian Christians' complacency and naivety in a matter of this kind should worry any right-thinking person. For me, such culture of naivety and waiting for "manna" to fall from heaven is one of the worst things the new wave of Pentecostalism and miracle workers have brought upon Christianity in our land. Pentecostalism has ravaged the true sense of Christian faith in our land to the point of many Christians 'waiting for manna' rather than using their brains to create food and wealth. God, no doubt, has a place and hand in all we do and achieve. But these charlatan miracle-worker prophets and pastors tend to make their followers irresponsible and unresponsive to their concrete situations. This is compounded by the poverty situation in the land.
There is also the feeling among some knowledgeable people that most of our Christian religious leaders need to do more. However, without fear of contradiction, Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), in all sincerity have remained the most vocal voice in denouncing the evils that have taken over the socio-political machinery of the country in the present dispensation. It is expected that many more religious leaders will team up with the CBCN in confronting this malady in our land.
In the words of Pope Francis, church leaders should endeavour to "smell the odour of their flocks." A good number of our church leaders are still in their comfort zone amidst the scaring situation. A sign of no genuine contact with the reality of what is on the ground.
In fact, if today, Christian religious leaders and politicians fail to rise up to their responsibilities in Nigeria, I am sure God will raise new leaders from nowhere to save his oppressed people in Nigeria. Today, many Nigerians are expecting their Christian religious and political leaders to take clue from what their counterparts in other countries have done for their respective peoples. Examples of such countries and church leaders abound. It suffices to mention only a few.
First on the list is the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who in the recently concluded general elections in that country, helped in no small measure to ensure that the troubled central African country found a way out of its long political turmoil. Furthermore, late Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila in his country, The Philippines in the 1980s helped to end the brutal regime of the Marxist maximum leader and Dictator. Bishop Bello of East Timor in the early 2000s, saved his country from the threat of recolonization by the Islamist government of Indonesia.
In the same vein, the Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu became an icon for the collapse of Apartheid regime in South Africa and negotiated for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and for post-Apartheid South Africa peace and reconciliation. Finally, Archbishop St. Oscar Romero of El Salvador single-handedly fought the communist regime in his country when most of his colleagues in the Episcopal Conference, had been compromised by the Marxist Dictator in power.
Unless we allow ourselves be inspired by the heroic deeds of these courageous church leaders, I assure you, God will raise another Moses from an unexpected place to save his people in Nigeria. Period!
We are already living in that time of the manifestation of the true leaders of the children of God. The time for salvation is here. It beckons on us to seize it and save our tormented people and fatherland from tyranny and religious extremism.
In other words, I will be the last person to advocate for foreigner intervention in Nigeria or rather for foreigners to take over our responsibilities in our fatherland while we still claim to be true children of God, created in his image and likeness. In fact, why should we be waiting for outsiders to protest for us the injustice going on in our country Nigeria today? Why should we be expecting foreign nations or even those in Diaspora to fight for us while we have all it takes as equal human beings to fight for our own liberation in our fatherland?
It is very unfortunate that in the 21st century we Africans still believe that our salvation will only come through foreign helps and intervention in a situation like what we are presently passing through in Nigeria. This is the most bizarre aspect of the pit-hole Africa has been reduced to. .... Apologies to President Trump's "shit-hole." Unless we fight for our liberation as a people with determination and selflessness, nobody will fight for you or even come to your aid with sincere motive and objective. No foreign power comes to help you in Africa without ulterior motives.
In the same vein, no foreigners will come to your aid in your struggle for freedom and justice without they themselves seeing how committed you as a people are to that cause in your land:
For instance, in the current saga of Chief Justice Onnoghen unconstitutional suspension by President Buhari, the governments of US, UK, EU, and others, started to talk about it only after they had seen the vigorous protest and criticisms on social media put forward by some courageous Nigerian writers, authors, professional organizations, and especially, the main opposition party, PDP's courageous decision to suspend its electioneering campaign until President Buhari reinstates Justice Onnoghen within 72 hours.
It is only then that the world powers began to see some seriousness in us as a people and in what we are demanding and fighting for. Thus, they began to talk and warn the Buhari administration of the dangers ahead in such an unconstitutional removal of CJN Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen from office. It is our hope that President Buhari and his cabals in Aso Rock will listen to the voice of reason.
Those who are telling Chief Justice Onnoghen to resign because his name has been tainted by the whole saga are missing the point. For the embattled Justice to resign under such a political motivated witch-haunt of the President and his ruling Cabals, is to declare evil a winner. Justice Onnoghen must stay put in his office and serve his term until he reaches the retirement age. For him to resign under the present circumstance also means that there will be no Christian presence again within the three-arms of the present federal government of Nigeria. God forbid!
The fact on the ground today shows that the Islamization agenda of the present Islamists dominated federal government of Nigeria is now in its full swing and only the gullible will be wasting his/her time arguing about it. No one would say, we were not warned of this calamity earlier than now but many of us were either very myopic or complacency to comprehend the magnitude of what was at stake.
However, our consolation is that as history teaches us, evil men and their agenda have never had the last laugh. The children of the Living God always triumphs the machination of evil leaders and oppressors of God's people.
Be it as it may, unless we show some seriousness in our struggle for justice and freedom in our fatherland, nobody will take us serious. For instance, any moment people begin today to troupe out on mass to peacefully, protest the unconstitutional removal of Chief Justice the Onnoghen from office by President Buhari, in the major Nigerian cities, know you that our liberation is near at hand.
There is nothing a dictator fears most than popular uprising and sustained public protests. As we noted earlier, history teaches us that most Dictators in the past have been toppled through popular uprising and sustained protests. As long as we remain naive or expect others or even God to come down from the sky and do our fight for us, we shall continue to live under servitude of dictatorship in Nigeria for many years to come.
This is the point: The ball is now at our court. We either take it and achieve our liberation once and for all, or miss the opportunity forever. As we say in Igbo, "Ihe ana acho n'uko elu, di na uko ala."