The Nigerian Ideology And The National Conference

By Mbasekei Martin Obono
By Mbasekei Martin Obono
In some climes, humanity and development mean
everything. But in ours, politics and religion has
replaced everything. Some of us have watched our
steady decline from citizenship to partisanship and
in this, one thing is constant – political interest.
They don’t really care about us, do they? There is
not regard for sanctity of flesh and blood. We have
exchanged our humanity for religiosity and will
rather watch the child die of thirst than share our
water bottle because she doesn’t worship in the
same temple as ours.

As a people, we have become asymmetrical. Phrases
like “Muslim North” and “Southern Christian”
describe the division of our common heritage. We
have become so polarized that our judgments are
clouded by the psychological question that comes to
mind when we meet each other for the first time –
where do you come from. We have failed to realize
and recognize our common enemy when we are
faced with one because of our distorted judgments.
Is it not written, “A house divided against itself
cannot stand?”

While I was navigating webpages this morning, I
stumbled upon a tweet on by someone shortly after
AFP (Agence France-Press) news released the video
of our abducted girls in Chibok by the Boko Haram
terrorist group. The person’s tweet was more focused
on the fact that the girls have been converted to
Islam than their safety and wellbeing. I understand
that freedom of religion or association is a
fundamental and constitutional right which our girls
have been denied, largely because of the peculiar
circumstance in which they found themselves but
Nigerians seem to forget that a dead body cannot be
called a Christian or Muslim. We are first human
beings before we became Christians or Muslims,
from the North or South.

Today, the powerful nations of the world have
focused their security organizations in Nigeria to
help tackle the monster called Boko Haram which
history has shown started in Borno State, the North
Eastern region of Nigeria by a certain state governor
who used it as a tool to intimidate political
opponents. When the then leader who owned
sophisticated phones and drove exotic cars fell out
of favor with the state government, the group turned
to a monster, killing security agents, burning places
of worship especially churches. Today, it is widely
speculated that Boko Haram is a political machinery
of some powerful elements in Northern Nigeria that
is used to intimidate the President and his
administration.

In the wake of his administration, Late President
Umaru Musa Yaradua was faced with insurgency
from Niger Delta militants. The agitations of Niger
Delta militants had political colorations to them. The
militants wanted a South – South President, they
also wanted an increase in the oil derivation. This
was achieved and the militants ceased fire. This
could be used as a base to analyse the situation in
Nigeria. Any region that is seeking any form of
relevance must take up arms before their agitations
will be attended.

Truth be told, the problem of insurgency will not be
solved through military interventions. The issues are
simple, most Nigerian politicians have a sense of
entitlement. Therefore, when the political
permutations do not favor them, they resort to arms
struggle in order to get the attention of the power at
the centre – Presidency. What is rather unfortunate is
that, it is the innocent and poor who become
victimized in the society. Whilst Niger Delta militants
were busy attacking critical infrastructure, Boko
Haram is killing citizens en mass and also
destroying properties. The later has become more
dreaded than the former.

The political economy at the centre is too attractive.
They call it “national cake” which everyone wants a
slice of. If the military intervention in the North is
able to quell Boko Haram attacks, it will certainly be
a temporary approach.
If Jonathan looses the elections, the insurgency from
the Niger Delta will double up because the damage
will be fiercer than what we experience presently
under Boko Haram’s reign of terror. The reason is
simple; they may have acquired more arms than any
other region in the country even though they
surrendered their arms to embrace the amnesty
programme of President Yaradua. The 2014 budget
shows that the amnesty programme has an
allocation of 54billion naira. The question is, where
is this money going to and what is it used for? These
militants will certainly return to the creeks if
President Jonathan is booted out of office in the
2015 and their activities may not be limited to the
creeks this time, rather it will be an attack on critical
infrastructures which will affect the interest of our
economy and endanger human lives. Therefore, we
will be back to a circle of insurgency and terrorism.
The lasting solutions to Nigeria’s problems are
simple. The people need to come to terms with what
they want to do with themselves. We need to reason
together as a people and forge a common ideology.
There seem to be no Nigerian ideology today, nobody
knows it. We don’t understand the importance of our
flag, we sing our anthem and make a pledge that we
barely take to heart. The anthem has become a
music jam that a few artists have remixed time and
again.

President Jonathan had an opportunity to bequeath
us a nation with new ideologies and a better national
arrangement through the ongoing national
conference. The opportunity seems lost by the way
the conference was constituted. The only way
Nigerians can live peacefully and trust each other is
when we devolve the power at the centre. Perhaps,
power could be rotational. Federalism must also
follow the fiscal route. Let states live on what they
produce and contribute a certain percentage to the
centre. Let states have their political and economic
independence. Let states have their own Police and
generate their electricity. Let us live like a broom tied
together that sweeps the house clean and the
problem of insurgency will become history.
The national conference may not give us the
opportunity to address most of the issues facing us
at present because majority of those who are
discussing the future of Nigeria will not live to
partake in it. That conference was meant for young
people to design the future that they desire and
deserve. The conference should have been
constituted with eighty percent of people below
40years and an older generation which should have
been twenty percent. The twenty percent would have
been there to provide leadership and direction at the
debate but this was not the case.
At this point, this writer does not know if Nigeria will
have the opportunity to have a national conference
again but here is an opportunity we have blown away
like a candle in the wind.

Mbasekei Martin Obono is a Nigerian youth
and Executive Director at Cybercrimes and Fraud
Prevention Foundation. He is a fervent columnist on
Nigerian issues. This time, he writes from
Buckingham about the Nigerian
Ideology.

© 2014, Admin. All rights reserved.

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