(A political and public analyst, an intercultural expert, a life coach/ mentor, and peace/development advocate)
PLEASE, READ CAREFULLY TO THE END AND SHARE WITH NIGERIANS IN NIGERIA AND DIASPORA! THIS IS A DEFINING MOMENT FOR NIGERIA!
It will take the collective effort of all Nigerians for a better and glorious Nigeria to emerge. Every Nigerian (Christian, Muslim, or Atheist) should know why Nigeria is in the current situation where she finds herself. For example, corruption, nepotism, religious bigotry, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and insecurity are the order of the day. It is the responsibility of all Nigerians to fight and get Nigeria out of the predicament of the current mess, which is squarely a failure of leadership.
To begin the conversation, let me try by analyzing how Nigeria got here. The foundation of Nigeria’s current sociopolitical challenges can be traced to the colonial legacy handed over to Nigeria after independence by the then British colonial regime. The British colonial government used three pillars (religion, ethnicity, and regionalism) to govern Nigeria from 1914 to 1960. Though these three pillars worked and benefited the British colonial government, they were not meant to unite, develop, or help the people of Nigeria but only the British government and empire.
Hence, when Nigerians gained independence, the British empire handed the same leadership structure to Nigeria without dismantling those three pillars. The Nigerian founding fathers should have dismantled those three pillars and reconstruct ways of harmonizing Nigeria into one undivided solid entity. However, the founding fathers continued governing Nigeria with the same script, and those three pillars remain the worst nightmares of the nation. Religion, ethnicity, and regionalism politics breed suspicion and mistrust among the people to the advantage of the British colonial government. The British colonial administration understood the role of the three pillars in administering law and order in Nigeria and how to manipulate the same pillars to create division and disharmony among Nigerians, while she gains from Nigeria’s losses. Hence, those pillars were the beginning and foundation of all the sociopolitical woes confronting the country of Nigeria today and hindering peace, development, and progress. The inability of the founding fathers to forge a national cohesion that would rally Nigerians around national dreams was the most significant setback for the first regime after independence.
Nations are weakened and destroyed from within by forces or elements that hijack the religion, ethnicity, and regionalism politics to manipulate people by keeping them divided and fighting one another. Instead of rallying the people to fight bad governance and corruption, the agents of destruction and bad governance use religion, ethnicity, and regionalism to subdue and destroy nations. It is difficult for citizens to think of unity where religious, ethnic, and regional politics exists, and the lack of national cohesion hinders the formation of national character among citizens. The great lesson from Nigeria is that no nation that allows religion or ethnicity to determine its politics can succeed or achieve greatness. Countries can only achieve excellence when every citizen is judged by the content of their character and not their religion, color, or ethnicity.
The two major problems confronting Nigeria’s state today and hindering any practical solutions to the sociopolitical challenges in Nigeria are religion and ethnicity. It is time for all Nigerians to face this problem by refusing to allow religion and ethnicity to divide and destroy the progress of Nigeria. Nigerians who pay allegiance to their religious beliefs rather than the constitution of Nigeria are a setback to the unity, peace, and development of the country. The dual mandate of paying allegiance to both religious beliefs while seeking to obey the constitution has given birth to the myriads of socio-political problems bedeviling the country today. Nigeria needs competent and innovative leaders who will unite it around the constitution to forge a formidable national cohesion that will move the country forward.
The Nigerian State needs a constitution that every Nigerian must obey and adhere to irrespective of religion or beliefs. Denying Nigerians, a constitution that will unite the entire country is a disservice to Nigeria. The lack of a good constitution is an offshoot of the faulty pillars upon which the government-built Nigeria after gaining independence. The current constitution is a FRAUD and RECIPE for unending conflicts. How the constitution was drafted under different military regimes and handed over to various democratically elected governments is revealing. The writers’ motives for the 1999 constitution, in particular, are the architects of the sociopolitical confusion in Nigeria today from 1999 till date. The writers wrote the constitution of Nigeria favoring only one section of the country and made it difficult for politicians to change it politically without a fight. Therefore, I will not be wrong to assert that the military coups and interventions have only contributed to looting Nigeria’s treasury and worsened the nation’s problems. A new and better constitution that will unite the Nigerian people is crucial for Nigeria’s national cohesion and integration.
Western countries which practice democracy, do so through the active participation of the people. Democracy is defined in a layman’s terms as the people’s government, by the people, and for the people. The Nigerian democracy will never be effective until the people of Nigeria begin to drive the democratic process and the socio-political agenda of Nigeria. Nigerians have roles to play in ending the country’s sociopolitical problems by holding politicians and government accountable. We can begin the socio-political transformation of Nigeria by paying keen attention to the methods that politicians use in manipulating us. Also, by listening and mobilizing themselves to demand that the government should do the needful. Demand a complete audit of all the public security agencies (such as Police, Military, Naval, and Air force) in Nigeria. Demand that the government obeys and observes the rule of law. Request that the government restore and allow public and private monitoring and evaluating departments to operate and function appropriately in Nigeria. Demand a new constitution free of a dual mandate and one that will unite Nigerians into a typical Nigerian dream/vision.
Nigerians should send politicians and public servants a clear message that they and posterity will be held accountable for draining Nigeria’s treasury. Nigerians in Nigeria and Diaspora should insist that no Nigerian public servant or politician be given a visa to other countries for health or medical excursion. Once Nigerian leaders and their families can no longer obtain visas or are denied visas to other countries for health purposes, they will get serious about developing and equipping the hospitals in Nigeria. Also, the children of politicians and public servants should not be allowed to study overseas while other people are out of school. Public servants and politicians are the ones that destroy the education system in Nigeria.
According to John Adams, the 2nd U.S. President, there are two ways to enslave any nation (by the sword and increasing the national debt). I wish to add a third way: by destroying any nation’s educational system/foundation. Hence, the three ways to enslave any nation are 1. By the sword; 2. By increasing the national debt burden of that nation; and 3. By destroying the educational system. All these three ways have successfully been employed sadly by the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari. Even though past regimes or administrations have contributed a bit to these three ways of enslaving Nigeria, it became institutionalized in Buhari’s present administration. Nigeria is being destroyed by Buhari, who contested for power under the guise of fixing the economy, security, providing jobs and employment, and fighting corruption. However, the proportion of the damage of Buhari’s administration has paled the combined ills of previous administrations to oblivion.
So many concerned Nigerian citizens such as Late Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, Retired Nigerian Navy Commodore Kunle Olawunmi, Retired General T. Y. Danjuma, Fmr. President Olusegun Obasanjo, and others have all spoken of the grand design to destabilize Nigeria through the Islamization and Fulanization plan by President Buhari. It is not wrong to categorically state that Buhari and his APC government’s number one agenda is punishing and destroying the people of Nigeria while using the President’s political office to achieve their agenda. Buhari and the APC government have succeeded in executing and supervising genocide, economic depletion of Muslims (who are non-Fulani), and non-Muslims, using banditry and kidnaping, disenfranchisement through lopsided appointments and abandonment of federal character, and institutionalizing corruption. While Nigerians are aware of and witnessing the systematic execution of the grand design, the concern is what Nigerians in the current situation can do since the mastermind of genocide and war are those who hold power, security, law, and so-called order in Nigeria now.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, and other susceptible political elites in the APC government are the masterminds of the insecurities challenge in Nigeria. The first thing that Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State did after taking the oath of office as governor of Kaduna State was to dismantle the previous administration’s military/security checkpoints. The action taken in 2015 by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai was suspicious. It gave rise to Boko Haram terrorists, the so-called Fulani Herdsmen terrorists, and bandits/kidnappers to infiltrate and have field days terrorizing Southern Kaduna, where the predominant people were non-Muslims. Also, Governor Nasir El-Rufai single-handedly confirmed in December 2016 that his government had traced aggrieved Fulani in their countries and paid them (https://www.vanguardngr.com – December 3, 2016). These Fulani were from Niger, Chad, Mali, and Senegal. Hence, I boldly accuse and hold Mallam Nasir El-Rufai responsible for the wanton and widespread killings in Southern Kaduna, the insecurity breakdown in Kaduna State and Nigeria, and President Muhammadu Buhari as his covert supervisor.
For President Muhammadu Buhari, so much evidence confirms him as a security risk for Nigeria. For example, all the security chiefs in Nigeria come from one tribe – Fulani and one religion – Islam. Since Buhari is both Fulani by tribe and Muslim by faith, it is fair to all Nigerians to hold him and his government responsible for the insecurity in Nigeria. There is evidence of his colluding or frustrating the military in their job of securing Nigeria and ensuring proper security for the Nigerian people. President Buhari has only demonstrated that his main concern as a President is the welfare of his Fulani people and how they can destroy the indigenous people of Nigeria and takeover their ancestral lands. President Buhari and his APC government only celebrate terrorists, bandits, and kidnappers who are mostly Fulani, while killing Igbos/IPOB, and other self-acclaimed agitators as terrorists (what a paradox?). The worst crime by Buhari is opening Nigeria to terrorists and support Miyetti-Allah who invite Fulani from all over Africa, to come to Nigeria for the final jihad when he instituted the policy of securing a visa on arrival without any form of background checks whatsoever. President Buhari has confirmed that he supported the Fulani (Miyetti-Allah, the group representing the Fulani people in Nigeria) inviting their tribespeople all over Africa to Nigeria for Jihad when in November 2019, he announced that he (President Buhari) was inviting Africans to come to Nigeria and get visas on arrival. Hence, it is instructive to assert that President Buhari, Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani Herdsmen terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, and the APC government are using the same script to demoralize and devastate the Nigerian people. However, their styles/roles differ in achieving the same plan – the Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria.
POSSIBLE STEPS THAT NIGERIANS MUST TAKE
Nigerians in Nigeria and Diaspora must unite through all peaceful and legal/constitutionally justifiable means to protest, resist, and reject the current government of President Buhari. Nigerians should demand the government to solve the security concerns with immediate effect. Nigerians must reject the present constitution of 1999 as a scam, and recipe for conflict. Nigerians must demand freedom and the complete emancipation of Nigeria by pressing for a new constitution and true federalism. Every Nigerian should obey the new constitution equally without regard to religion or ethnicity.
All Nigerians (women, youths, students, teachers, police, soldiers, and public servants) should refuse and reject the current government’s leadership that has aggravated Nigeria’s insecurity by gradually pushing the entire country into anarchy. Nigerians should expose the hypocrisy and selfishness of the current administration for not putting the welfare of the people of Nigeria ahead of their selfish interests.
In the face of the ongoing genocide across Nigeria, almost every region wants to secede from Nigeria. However, secession from Nigeria by Igbos, Yoruba, or Middle Belt is not the solution because dividing Nigeria into three or four at once is implausible. Hence, all Nigerians should unite and fight to take back Nigeria and create the United States of Nigeria like the USA. We must connect and break the Fulani hegemony and free Nigeria from the bondage of the few Fulani political elites and religious leaders preaching hate messages. The time has come for Nigerians to be intentional about solving the security challenge and other sociopolitical concerns confronting Nigeria.
Government and those in public offices should realize that they are answerable to the people of Nigeria. The people of Nigeria should know that they are the employers of the politicians to manage power and governmental affairs. Hence, the government must account for them. Nigerians must refuse to be treated disrespectfully or as second-class citizens by those in government.
All religious leaders (of Christians, Muslims, and traditional) should unite and mobilize Nigerians to stop the genocide of innocent Nigerians. Nigerians should speak out against the evil, wicked, and blood-thirsty leaders/politicians hiding behind religion and ethnicity to rob and destroy the Nigerian people.
Nigerians should demand that stolen monies/assets be confiscated from politicians and returned to the national coffers. We can achieve even more if we request western nations, China, and Russia to stop giving loan to the Nigerian government. We can request what was done to the Russia oligarchy to be applied to all our past and current leaders. For example, any Nigerian who has served in government at some point in his or her life and has so much wealth, must account on how he or she got that wealth. Failure to properly demonstrate how such wealth was gotten, and genuinely so, should automatically imply that the wealth was stolen from Nigeria, and it should be confiscated and return to the national coffers.
Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visited Nigeria on October 16, 2021, and claimed to warn President Buhari of the presence of terrorists from his country in Nigeria. Turkey is one of the nations that breed, train, and equip Jihadists (Islamic terrorists) in the Middle East for global Islamization. Do you think Turkey’s President was in Nigeria to meet with Buhari for the good of Nigeria? History is about to repeat itself! The manner with which the Turkish genocide happened is the same pattern that President Buhari and his APC government are attempting to replay, to systematically execute the Islamization of Nigeria agenda. Please, read the history of the Turkish genocide, and you will see similarities of how the Turkish government treated the Armenian Christians and Non-Muslims as 2nd Class (1885-1915) before the genocide in 1915. It is the same as what is happening in Nigeria today (https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2015/04/turkey-was-the-ethnic-cleansing-of-armenians-islamic.html; https://er.anca.org/what-were-the-main-causes-of-the-armenian-genocide/).
Hence, Nigerians need to reject the confiscation of their previously licensed ownership of weapons and take further steps to acquire relevant and necessary items for their personal and collective self-defense. Communities, groups, and individual must be frugal and wise enough to compliment the effort of the police and the military. The killings in Nigeria have reached monumental and genocidal levels, and we have enough evidence to indict President Buhari and his APC government for conspiracy to genocide and mass murder of the Nigerian people who have entrusted him with the responsibility of their security.
Therefore, the people of Nigeria should unite and salvage Nigeria from destruction, understanding that religion, ethnicity, or region politics are not our problems but the selfish and malevolent politicians who have embezzled and robbed our national treasury empty. The Nigerian government has borrowed so much money and stolen them. The only way they presume they can escape is to allow Nigeria to go up in the flames of war. However, we can stop them from getting away with their crimes and wickedness if we unite to fight them intelligently. Nigeria would be a great and prosperous nation if we would do the right things and treat ourselves with honesty, sincerity, and respect. The era of nepotism, religious bigotry, and arrogance toward each other should stop in Nigeria, if we must escape the present bad mess and avoid the impending catastrophe.
I dedicate my effort to fight for a new and a better Nigeria as a tribute to the late Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, who died struggling to save Nigeria on September 19, 2021. Also, to all Nigerians who have fought for a better Nigeria one way or other and died in the process. I invite every concerned Nigerian to join the fight for a new Nigeria. Let us do this for our unborn generation, the children, the women, the youths, the men, and the helpless older people whose lives are traumatized by Nigeria’s current sorry state.
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Chris Gankon hails from the Southern part of Kaduna State and a doctoral researcher based in the USA. He is currently educating and coordinating Nigerians in Nigeria and in the Diaspora not to allow politicians in Nigeria use religion and ethnicity to force war. He believes Nigerian sociopolitical problems can be resolved once Nigerians learn how to hold its elective officials accountable to the Nigerian people.