FEATURE ARTICLE

Thursday, July 14, 2022
foborji@hotmail.com
Pontifical Urban University, Vatican City (Rome)
NIGERIA'S PROBLEM IS BEYOND ELECTION AND CHANGE OF PERSONNEL
here is an Igbo adage which says, "ana zotagodu ala tupu azoba ute." Which loosely translates, "You first secure the land, before struggling for where to put your mat." Another Igbo adage says, "Onye na amaghi ebe mmiri siri mara ya, adighi ama ebe ono ko ya n'ahu." Which also, loosely translates, "One who does not know where the rain begins to beat him, may not know when it gets dried up in his body."

We shall continue to deceive ourselves as Nigerians, by thinking that the historical and never-ending problem of the country, political instability, terrorism, insecurity of lives and property, ethnic and religious intolerance and hate, glaring us all in the face today, is going to be resolved through the every four years 'ritual' of political election, or change of personnel in government. As the saying goes, "Only a foolish person, would be doing the same time over and over again, and expect a different result.

Again, we shall continue to deceive ourselves as Nigerians, if we continue to follow the current corrupt and self-serving members of the political ruling-class, believing, that election and change of personnel every four years, with the present faulty foundation of the Nigerian State, political system, structure and the fraudulent 1999 Constitution, is going to transform Nigeria into a modern nation-state. That, this is what will put a stop to the ongoing ethnic-hate and irredentism, religious bigotry and extremism, or the herdsmen terrorism and Islamists' insurgency in the country. To think this way, is to continue to deceive ourselves, endangering always, the lives of our people at the hands of our present and historical predators.

That is, believing that recycling every four years, during election, the same corrupt and looters of public treasury; sometimes, heartless self-serving politicians and bloodsuckers, controlled by the same masters of the born-to-rule mentality, a minority ruling-class from a particular region, religion and ethnicity, is the best way to go, in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation-state, like Nigeria? What a deceit of the devil?

This is to say, that it is high time, the indigenous peoples of Southern and Middle-belt regions of Nigeria, and Minority Ethnic Groups in the North, begin to think outside the box; and know that the problem with Nigeria can never be resolved through election or change of personnel under the present dispensation. Those who are shouting or campaigning today, for the already 'predetermined' result of the 2023 election, or for PVC, we all know, are doing so, not because they care so much for the country or for the welfare and security of lives and property of the citizens.

Not really! Their primary interest is to grab political position as a means of enriching themselves, members of their families and cronies. Their supporters are mainly, drawn from those who either are ignorant of what is at stake, or those who follow them because of what they think they can gain as individuals or groups, when such a politician or political party, is in power. None of them has the interest of the country or welfare of the common person, at heart. This is the tragedy of politics in the post-colonial Africa, especially, in the post-war Nigeria, since 1970, to the present-day. As the Kenyan human rights lawyer and public speaker, PLO Lumumba, puts it: "The African politician is Africa's curse."

The problem of Nigeria is both historical and structural. It is total, at the international, national and local levels. It has no moral or any value at all. It is an evil, that needs be uprooted from the African soil, from soils of all the indigenous ethnic nationalities that were logged together as one nation-state, under a colonial fiat by the British, and called Nigeria! The problem is the faulty foundation of the Nigerian State, the fraudulent structure and political system sustaining the Nigerian State since its flag Independence in 1960, to the present-day!

Without renegotiating this faulty foundation of the Nigerian State, no political election or change of new leadership or personnel during elections today, is going to change anything in the country. Rather, the problem of the country will continue to multiple ad infinitum, until it reaches the brick wall, the point of no return. Which is, almost, where the country is heading to already, unless something urgent is done to save more lives of the people and solve the problem, once, and for all. The question is about how to save more lives of the endangered people in Nigeria. Especially, the lives of the already traumatized indigenes of different indigenous ethnic communities in the Southern and Middle-Belt regions, and the Minority Ethnic groups in Northern Nigeria. All these, are the primary victims of the Nigerian State, in the present dispensation.

The struggle in Nigeria today is the struggle for survival. It is the struggle for survival of the endangered lives of the indigenous peoples in Southern and Middle-Belt regions, and the Minority Ethnic groups in the North. This cannot be resolved through election or change of personnel or leadership during elections under the present dispensation. But rather, through a total overhauling of the Nigerian State, its structure and political system. That is, by conducting a referendum for the self-determination of the endangered peoples of different indigenous ethnic nationalities, that want to opt out of the Nigerian State, to form their own separate, sovereign independent states. So that we all, can begin to relate well as neighbors (neighboring nation states), and not as enemies. This is the challenge today in Nigeria. It is beyond 2023 election or change of personnel or leadership through election, under the present dispensation.

Any nation-state exists to provide for the welfare and security of lives and property of all its citizens. Any nation state that cannot provide these two basic functions of the state to its citizens, no longer deserves to be called a nation-state. Such a nation-state, invariably, has ceased to exist. Since its foundation as a nation state, the Nigerian State has not been able to render, creditably, these two basic functions of the state to majority of its citizens.

Rather, the country, especially, since Independence in 1960, to date, has remained a "pressure cooker of violence and killings of its own citizens." The Biafra pogroms of the Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1970), in which over 3.5 million Biafrans, mostly Igbos, were killed by the Nigerian State-backed British military troops and governments' policies of starvation and blockade against Biafra. Since then, the country has been on the killing-spree of its own citizens, either by the military and police operatives, or through other means of the state-sponsored violence, Muslim fundamentalism and herdsmen terrorism, as is the case today.

All these are the results, or rather, consequences of the faulty foundation of the Nigerian State, the lopsided structure, and imbalance and discriminatory political system upon which the country was founded, and has always been governed and controlled, by any government in power. Allowing 2023 election to take place today, or thinking that a change of personnel is all that is needed, is to revalidate this faulty foundation and lopsided structure and political system of Nigeria. It means, above all, business as usual. It is like saying, 'let the killings, terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, and destruction of lives and property of the indigenous peoples of Southern, Middle-Belt regions and Minority Ethnic groups in the North, continue.' God forbid!

Therefore, the problem with Nigeria is the faulty foundation of the Nigerian State. It is its lopsided and imbalance, discriminatory structure and political system. The political structure, or rather system and style of leadership, that does not take into account, 'Nigeria's dangerous diversity.' No election conducted under this unfavorable political environment, faulty political foundation, structure or system, in Nigeria, will ever yield a positive result. This is, because, Nigeria was not created by the British, in the first place, to succeed as a modern nation-state. Rather, Nigeria was created to continue to serve the neo-colonial interest of the British and their local spinoffs, the most favored ethno-religious group/groups.

It is because of this fundamental problem with Nigeria, that after 62 years of Nigeria's flag Independence, and over 108 years of the infamous Amalgamation of Southern and Northern Protectorates of Nigeria by the British, Nigerian State has not been able to evolve itself into a modern multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious African nation-state! It is because of this fundamental problem of the Nigerian State, that since Independence, to date, the government and political leaders of Nigeria have not been able to cater for the basic needs of the State to its diverse citizens of different ethnic, cultural and religious configurations. That is, in the areas of security of lives and property, and in providing for the welfare of the people? Nigerian State was never programed to develop or succeed. Such that no matter whoever is in power, or elected as president or whatever, the person will never succeed in moving the country forward. That will be like tempting God, asking God, to do the impossible.

It is because of this dangerous diversity the present administration is viewed by many, as complicity, in the ongoing Muslim Fundamentalists' insurgency and Fulani herdsmen terrorism, ravaging the country. And both the government itself, and security operatives, are seen by the public, as the ones that are protecting and aiding these terrorists. Because, those who are controlling the Nigerian government, are kinsmen of those terrorists ravaging country.

Such that, terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, killings and destruction of communities of the indigenous ethnic groups by these terror groups, are what the 'favored' minority ethno-religious-group from the North that controls the Nigerian government, is using to intimidate and dominate others, and hold onto power in the country. This is what the same people mean, whenever you hear them and their cohorts, say, that, "Nigeria's unity is non-negotiable," or when they object to the clamor for rotational-presidency, restructuring, or renegotiation of the Nigerian State. For them, the political power shall never leave their hands or geopolitical zone. This is the crux of the matter.

Tell me, how election conducted in Nigeria today, under this atmosphere and dispensation, can ever be credible, transformative or yield any positive result? That is, in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation-state, like Nigeria; where the three-arms of the federal government, executive, legislative, judiciary; the five service-chiefs, the army, air force, navy, and Inspector General of Police, IGP; and heads of all the paramilitaries; principal federal government ministries, companies and parastatals, are headed and controlled by people from one ethnic group and religion?

The head of the INEC, Independent Electoral Commission, is from the same ethnic group. The same people control your PVC, Private Voter's Card. The head of Federal Courts' Judges in-charge of elections tribunals are all from the same ethnic group. The heads of Department of State Service, DSS, as well as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are all from the same ethnic group. The federal minister in-charge of the national security database and communications is from the same ethnic group. The head of National Population Census Commission is from the same ethnic group, and on and on. The rigged national census and imbalance in states and local government areas' creation, which favored them, gives them advantage, tripled, over all the regions in Southern Nigeria, put together.

Thus, this particular ethno-religious group from the Northern Nigeria Oligarchy ruling-class has continued to enjoy, from Independence to the present-day, the preponderance of majority in both the Senate and National Assembly, as well as in revenue allocation, employment, and distribution of developmental projects and infrastructures. In fact, the entire country and governmental structure as well as security apparatus, are under their grip and control. Nigeria is totally, under their control and sway. Of course, the Southeast (of Igbo nation of over 70 million people), as in all the cases, is the most shortchanged, maligned, discriminated against, and neglected, in the whole of the Nigerian State arrangement. A factor that ignited the renewed agitation for Biafra.

Yet, it is under such an unjust political environment, structure and system, some people still believe that election or change of personnel in leadership during elections, is where the hope and future of the respective indigenous ethnic communities and peoples that make up the Nigerian State, lies? That is, without addressing this faulty foundation and fraudulent political structure and system that underpins the Nigerian State!

The question is, 'How would any right thinking person still believe that election and change of personnel during elections, is going to stop the ongoing Fulani herdsmen terrorism and carnage in the country?

Therefore, the earlier all of us join hands with those agitating for referendum for self-determination and independence of their respective indigenous ethnic nationalities, the better for us all. The fact is that none of the indigenous ethnic nationalities in the Southern and Middle-belt of Nigeria, including the Minority Ethnic groups in the North, has its future in the Nigerian State under the present dispensation. Anybody telling you that Nigeria is going to get better tomorrow under the present dispensation is deceiving you. Do not listen or follow the advice of such a person.

Mind you, even the modern European nation states, we all admire today, are founded and structured according to their different ethnic-lines or rather ethnic-nationalities. This is the secret of the progress, peace and tranquility in Western Europe. It is the secret of their continued advancement in modern civilization, cultural, intellectual, scientific and technological developments in all facets of human endeavor. The same goes with the story of the Asian Giant countries, like Japan, China, Malaysia, India, South Korea, among others. Each of these Asian countries is organically, ethnic-based and constituted.

Again, each of the modern Western European countries, is ethnically, based and founded. That means, as a nation-state, they have shared value system, philosophy of life, culture, predominantly one religion and one indigenous language; as well as long years of co-habitation and shared history as a people. They developed as a people and nation, along that line. In other words, each of these modern Western European countries is an organically, founded and constituted, ethnic-nation. Which they now, call states or countries. This is the point!

For instance, France, is constituted mainly, by French people. That is, by people of the same French ethnic-indigenous population. England, by the English ethnic-indigenous people; Spain, by the Spanish ethnic-indigenous people; Italy, by the Italian ethnic-indigenous people; Germany, by the Germanic ethnic-indigenous people, etc. Each one of them, developed on its own right and autonomy (and has continued to do so till today), as an independent sovereign nation state. This is how these Western countries have been able to grow, develop, and interact and relate well with one another as neighbors, and not enemies.

This is how Europe was able to put a stop to their endless intra-ethnic wars and ethnic-cleansings of yesteryears. When all those nations of Europe were forced to live together as one people and nation-state, under the imperialism of the Old Greek-Roman Empire. And during the last 20th Century Adolf Hitler Nazi regime's fruitless effort to force all the European ethnic-nations, to come under the one umbrella of the infamous Nazi regime and hegemony of Germanic race. Exactly, like the same thing, the ongoing Islamization and Fulanization agenda of the Northern Nigeria Fulani Sunni Muslim Caliphate and Oligarchy that controls the Nigerian government. What this Nigerian government is trying hard to do in the country today. This is why all the indigenous ethnic nationalities must not relent until that monster is wrestled and defeated once, and for all.

Election or change of personnel during elections cannot do this job for us. This is because, the same group of people you want to stop their carnage and bloodshed in your ancestral land, are the ones in-charge of INEC and your PVC. They control the judiciary. In fact, they control all the three-arms of the federal government, and the security architecture of Nigeria. Each time election is conducted and you participate, in fact, you help in revalidating their stronghold and domination of Nigeria and your indigenous ethnic-group and people. So, the best thing to do is to say no to further election in Nigeria until a referendum for self-determination of your own indigenous ethnic nationality in the country is conducted. Referendum for self-determination is what each indigenous ethnic nation in Nigeria should be clamoring for, not election or PVC.

Our freedom and liberation as indigenous people, lies in self-determination and not in campaigning for continued 'fraudulent' election or change of personnel in Nigeria under the present dispensation. Self-determination is what is expected from each indigenous ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, to demand for its own people, as a fundamental and God-given human rights. Self-determination and self-defense are fundamental human rights, recognized by both customary and international laws, including the UN Conventions and African Union Charters. So, nobody is doing anything wrong or going against the law for demanding for the self-determination of his ethnic-indigenous people, and asking that they be granted the legal means of referendum to achieve it. It is not a crime to demand for referendum for self-determination. Nor is it a crime to engage in self-defense for a person or people under constant threat of extermination by the invading power or state.

All this means that the future and freedom of the African peoples of the indigenous ethnic nationalities, logged together under colonial fiat in this British contraption, called Nigeria, is not going to be achieved through election or change of personnel during elections in the Nigerian State, under the present dispensation. Our freedom and liberation as indigenous people, logged together in the failed Nigerian State and bad governance; and under the ongoing Muslim fundamentalism and insurgency; herdsmen terrorism, military and police brutality and impunity; can only be achieved through self-determination.

This is the only way we can save the lives and property of the endangered local communities of the indigenous peoples in Nigeria from the culture of bloodshed of the Islamists and killer-herdsmen that are ravaging the entire country and Sahel region of West Africa today. Once, the indigenous ethnic nationalities in Nigeria are set free, by granting them their respective self-rule, terrorism both in Nigeria and other Sahel regions of Africa, will reduce drastically. As it is today, Nigeria's dangerous diversity has continued to make the country a breeding ground for Islamist terrorists and criminals.

Let us, therefore, begin to embrace the call for referendum for self-determination, for our respective indigenous ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. Referendum for self-determination is the only legal and viable means available to all the indigenous peoples trapped in the Nigerian State, to put a stop to the ongoing bloodshed and carnage in the land. It is the route to the freedom and liberation of the indigenous people.

There is no enabling environment in Nigeria under the present dispensation, to make one think that any election or change of personnel or leadership during election, conducted by this Nigerian government, can resolve the fundamental problem with the country, as enunciated in this article. What Nigeria needs today, under the present dispensation, is referendum for self-determination, and not election or change of personnel or hands in leadership through elections.

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine!

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