Nigeria on Shaky Ground: The Arrogance of the North and Seven Structural Flaws of the Nation’s Foundation by C. K. Ekeke
On June 6, a coalition of sixteen northern youth groups gathered in Kaduna house (Seat of Government) and issued what has been called “Kaduna Declaration,” in which the group gave an eviction quit order to Igbos residing in the northern states.
The quit notice order essentially states:
“We are hereby placing the Nigerian authorities and the entire nation on notice, that as from the 1st of October, 2017, we shall commence the implementation of visible actions to prove to the whole world that we are no longer part of any federal union that should do with the Igbo.”
According to Arewa Youth groups, the eviction notice to Igbos to vacate the north within 3 months deadline of October 1, 2017, was in retaliation of the on-going agitation for sovereign State of Biafra and recent “Sit-At-home” Shutdown of SE/SS region on May 30, 2017 ordered by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to honor their fallen heroes and heroines who perished during the genocidal war between Nigeria and Biafra from 1967 to 1970.
Abraham Lincoln, who created the “Medal of Honor” to honor soldiers who fought America’s civil war between the North and South for abolition of Slave trade, once said, “Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.”
Every nation that has fought civil war and genuinely reconciled, made efforts to rebuild their peoples and land without injustice and marginalization. It’s only in Nigeria that former Eastern region and its people are still treated like conquered people because they lost the war. Nigeria thinks she can move forward and make progress treating Biafrans – a potential segment of the nation as slaves. Let me leave this subject for another time.
The Kaduna declaration went in detail to insult the Igbo people calling them unruly, uncultured, criminals and accusing Igbos of all manners of illicit dealings, evil and the cause of conflict and lack of peace that exist in Nigeria today.
No matter the reason for this eviction notice, it is ludicrous, senseless, and outrageous. And many sensible and wise groups and persons from different parts of the country including the Northern Governors Forum, Northern CAN, SE/SS Governors, SW Governors, Ohanaeze, Afenifere, Middle Belt Youth Council, Niger Delta and several Igbo groups have condemned the Kaduna declaration.
But surprisingly, the Northern Elders Forum led by their spokesperson, Prof. Ango Abdullahi backed Arewa youths while condemning the Northern Governors who disowned the Youths’ declaration.
Despite the calls made by the governor of Sokoto State, El- Rufai and others to arrest the leaders of Arewa youth groups that issued such a threat, which is treasonable, no single arrest has been made or any of them questioned until today. Also the silence of the presidency, including president Buhari, former heads of State like IBB, Emirs, and especially the Sultan of Sokoto, is an indication that these senseless youths are being used and Igbos should take the eviction order very seriously.
Ndigbo and in fact, Biafran people residing in the North should heed the call to come back to their homeland and country in Biafra land.
Let us assume for a moment, it was Igbo youths that issued such a threat; the army, police, DSS and all kinds of military quad of Nigeria would have been unleashed on Southeast/South-south region to maim, torture, arrest and massacre Igbo youths.
The Arewa Youth declaration is a remarkable arrogance of the North. And it is time, this incivility and stupidity be stopped once and for all. We cannot continue like this and talk about unity. Where is the unity and one-Nigeria here? The basis for unity does not exist at all. In fact, the world is watching at our childishness and foolishness.
The truth is that Nigeria is faced with serious challenges of nationhood that needs difficult conversation and dialogue. Nigeria is on shaky ground and rapidly falling apart and disintegrating and the rulers and politicians are not bothered about it.
It is not an over statement to say that Nigeria is not working and will never work without fundamental and radical restructuring of the country. Nigeria is not one and will never be one without a different kind of political leadership and citizenship re-orientation.
But the troubling aspect is that the political elites are ignoring these frustrations and hopelessness that pervade the entire nation. The political elites and rulers are not helping matters at all. In fact, the corrupt political elites are the ones holding the people in bondage with their one-Nigeria myth and false unity.
It’s very sad indeed that Nigeria with so much promise of greatness and potential is hastily degenerating into anarchy and disintegration because of its false foundation. And sadly, most Nigerians don’t want to hear about them or even talk about them. But it is time to have these painful conversations and difficult dialogue.
There are at least seven structural flaws of Nigeria’s foundation.
The First Foundation Flaw: Nigeria’s Amalgamation.
Many reasons have been written that Nigeria’s problems and challenges are bad leadership, corruption, ethnicity, tribalism, religion and others. I agree with all those as symptoms; but the more I read and study the nation’s origin, the more I come to conclude that the root problem of Nigeria is its founding (foundation).
It is an established fact that Nigeria is a creation of the British Empire during the 19th century. When the Europeans especially the British, French and Portuguese invaded the continent of Africa in search of slaves and mineral resources during the later part of 19th century, the kingdoms of Oyo, Bornu, Hausa, Benin, Bonny, Jukun, Idah, Aro and Ibo in the Western Coastline of Africa lived in peace and traded among themselves.
These peoples and kingdoms had existed hundreds of years even before the coming of the Europeans. The peoples of these kingdoms and empires had deep political, social, religious, tribal and linguistic differences. By the later part of 1890’s when the British invaded and conquered these kingdoms, they created a monstrous nation for their political and economic interest and power rivalry with the French. Nigeria is an evil union created by the British for their selfish and political hegemony in Africa.
And so, the peoples of Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri, Ibo, Yoruba, Kalabari, and Ijaw were forced to live together without a well-defined set of core values that addressed national unity, patriotism and parameters to discourage social, cultural, religious and linguistic differences between the peoples of this new nation. Flora Shaw, the wife of Lord Lugard, Nigeria’s second governor general suggested these variant groups of kingdoms and territories around the Niger River over which Britain had established a Protectorate to be called Nigeria.
Today, there is evidence that the document ratifying the amalgamation of January 1914 was an experiment designed to last 100 years and if any group was not happy can pull out of the union. The amalgamation experiment of 100 years expired in January 2014, it has failed and it needs to be re-negotiated.
But why was the amalgamation document hidden from Nigerians and from history books which is rarely talked about or taught in schools?
The amalgamation of variant groups of people with distinctly deep religious beliefs, values, customs and way of life to form Nigeria by the British colonial empire is one of the worst crimes in human history. Amalgamation and conquest of nations and empires of Africa by the British, French, Portuguese, and Arab nations remains one the worst crimes of humanity – and Nigeria’s amalgamation and colonization is as evil as slavery and holocaust.
The Second Foundation Flaw: Nation’s Constitution.
The constitution is the most important document in any democratic institution. The constitution supposed to govern the affairs of the state and its people. It should provide defense, administer justice, and order, in which people could go in safety about their business. It should have checks and balances, that provide more realistic safeguards — constraining absolute power of the federal government, security if its citizens and welfare of all. The constitution supposed to set a well-defined set of core values that will shape the lives and especially those who are called to lead. Core values are constant and passionate beliefs that drive people lives, business decisions or nation’s priorities.
Nigeria’s first constitution was put together by the British people in 1922. These are people who do not understand our culture or social systems. Why do we think these colonial and slave masters will give us a document that is capable of creating a peaceful and prosperous society. Since then, the nation’s constitution has been revised few times yet the constitutional experts could not come up with a constitution designed to accommodate the social, cultural, religious and tribal norms of all the variant groups that make up Nigeria. The fundamental rights as defined in our constitution today are not one-sided and favor mostly the North.
Most of the national conferences that have been organized to deal the nation’s challenges have dealt mostly on how to divide, distribute and allocate oil revenue rather than how to establish basic core and patriotic values that will help unite the nation.
The current constitution of 1999 was put together by some foreign commission assembled by a military and murderous dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. It is absolute ridiculous that a country with so many trained lawyers and constitutional experts at home and abroad cannot come up with a constitution that embodies and embraces the common aspirations of every Nigerian citizen. And yet, these military dictators’ tuned politicians continue to play dirty and tribal politics to the detriment of the entire Nigerian people.
The constitution ought to be a cherished document as the basis for sound democratic government. We don’t have that today and we are almost 20 years in our democratic dispensation.
The Third Foundation Flaw: Lack of National Value System.
Nigeria does not have national and patriotic value system like other nations around the world. We are mostly driven by ethnic, tribal and religious sentiments. Developing a national core value system and national passion will help to inspire citizens to love their fellow countrymen and women, treat each with respect and work together to achieve common success.
Core values determine and shape daily actions of people. Core values ask the question, why do I do what I do? Developing national core values and the passion for why we as a nation do what we do is the secret to nation’s success. Well-defined strong national core values will not only contribute to any nation’s success but also will also inspire citizens to reach their fullest potential, embrace good change, communicate what is important and enhance credible leadership.
Core values are not only applicable to individuals or business organizations, families or churches, but also to nations, states and cities. Without a strong national value system, no nation can be very successful. Patriotic laws, national decisions and patriotic passionate national actions determine and drive nation’s priorities. Nigeria lacks it and it is a fundamental flaw.
Corruption is a decay and lack of ethical, moral, national and societal value system.
The Fourth Foundation Flaw: Corrupt Political Elitist Sect
Governance in Nigeria for the last fifty-five years has been hijacked by a satanic leadership cult —a group of corrupt political elitist sect, who are so selfish, greedy, egoistic, visionless malicious, mischievous, treacherous, and tyrannical.
Since Nigeria gained independence in October 1st, 1960, she has not had good leaders to pilot the affairs of the country. Nigeria as a nation has not really enjoyed any genuine political peace and national prosperity despite enormous blessings that God endowed on her. Instead, the country has been ruled and governed by military and political dictators that denied the people of Nigeria security, order, peace and basic needs of livelihood. For fifty-five years, what we’ve had is a military dictatorship, political hypocrisy, idolatrous religious system, and extravagantly indulgent corrupt judicial system that oppressed the poor, children and minority members of the family. In a nutshell, Nigeria’s rulers have failed to fulfill their obligation to the nation and its people.
The eminent scholar international literary giant and iconic poet, Prof. Chinua Achebe in his famous book entitled: The Trouble with Nigeria, writes, “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.”
The pandemic poverty, diseases, corruption, violence, ethical and moral decadence in our society are mostly attributed to lack of good and genuine leadership.
The late Dr. Joseph Nanyen Garba, the erudite scholar and Nigeria’s former permanent representative to United Nationin his classic book – Fractured History – Elite Shifts and Policy Changes in Nigeria, wrote,
“In our thirty-four years of nationhood, we have made an unprecedented turnaround; going from a nation of hope, strength, abundance, economic prosperity and high aspirations to a nation which has become the embodiment of a degenerate society…” he further added, “Nigeria, to my mind, does not lack real men and women. The ingredients for creating a formidable nation exist. What is lacking is leadership with the political will and the selfless dedication to galvanize the entire nation.”
I concur with the late Dr. Joe Garba and the eminent poet and scholar, Dr. Chinua Achebe. For Fifty-five years, Nigeria has truly become a degenerate, a complete lawless, corrupt and callous nation. Despite her enormous human potential and abundant natural resources, Nigeria has remained underdeveloped, improvised and continue to flounder simply because the nation has been ruled and governed by fools, idiots, nonentities and a corrupt political elitist sect.
The Fifth Foundation Flaw: Tribalism and Injustice.
Lack of genuine, strong and courageous leadership led to this flaw — ethnic hatred, tribalism and injustice that exist in Nigeria today. It is a well-known fact that before the white men came as missionary workers with pretense to colonize the territory known today as Nigeria; the various inhabitants of that vast area lived in peace and traded with each other. To subjugate and dominate this vast area for their economic and political purposes, these variant groups of people with profound linguistic, cultural, religious and even political differences were coerced to amalgamate into one country.
A name was chosen for the people without due consultations. Since then this marriage of inconvenience has been very problematic and difficult to manage especially after they were granted freedom and independence to live together and govern themselves. The marriage became more turbulent following the 1960’s political crisis, tribal and religious killings that led to unforgettable genocidal civil war of 1967-70 in which more than more than three million lives were massacred. That bitter civil war left an unforgettable anger, bitterness and hatred among the peoples of Nigeria. Even the end of war slogan “No Victor No Vanquished” could not bury the tumultuous and fractured history of a people that had been traumatized and to live peacefully and to trust each other became a very serious issue and challenge to fix.
The systemic injustices in Nigeria led some courageous men to form peaceful groups and some militant groups to battle against the biased, discriminatory and satanic system that they live in. Today, we have MASSOB, OPC, MEND, Niger Delta, IPOB and several other separatist groups across the nation – fighting to be free from Nigeria. It is shameful for a nation that has surplus cake to share according to former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, denied the region that is producing the national cake.
The Sixth Foundation Flaw: Ethnic Hatred, Religious Ignorance, Violence and Senseless Killings
Religious conflict, violence and killings are a major flaw of Nigeria’s amalgamation. It is a huge challenge and a major threat to the security, unity and national progress of Nigeria. Religious ignorance and intolerance breed violence. Religious violence and war have decimated more lives in Nigeria in the last fifty years than hunger, disease, and accidents combined together. Northern Nigeria especially has been a battleground between Islam and Christianity. Since 1960, Nigeria has had some many incidents of religious extremism and Islamic fundamentalism in its attempt to Islamize the nation. Islamic fundamentalism, fanaticism, terrorism and jihads are a big threat and huge foundation flaw. This flaw alone is enough reason to divide Nigeria.
The Seventh Foundation Flaw: Pogrom of the 1960’s that led to Genocidal Civil War
As some people have written, second genocide is silently going on in Biafra region today. The first genocide and starvation of Biafrans during the civil war of 1967-1970 remains one of the worst war crimes of humanity.
Way Forward: The Solution to these Structural Flaws—Fundamental Restructuring or Peaceful Division
Many in the past had written on the economic and political amalgamation of Nigeria. The late visionary leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo once observed that Nigeria is not a nation, but merely a geographical expression. Other notable visionaries and leaders of thought have also referred the Nigerian nation as merely a political expression for the economic and political interest of the colonial master – Britain.
The amalgamation of Nigeria as a nation is an issue that must be addressed if we really desire to live in peace and fulfill the assignment that God, Allah or the Divine Creator has put us together to accomplish for mankind and especially for the oppressed Black race of this planet. I believe that without genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, there cannot be order, unity and peace in Nigeria. We cannot move forward as a nation and fulfill our common purpose and destiny if ethnicity, tribalism and injustice are not addressed in the country. We truly need a national identity that harbors ethnicity and discourages tribal identity.
Nigeria is a corrupt, lawless, and failed country. It needs to be restructured or allow indigenous and variant groups that make up Nigeria to decide their futures.
The amalgamation of variant groups of more than 400 people and ethnic groups to form Nigeria in 1914 remains one of the worst atrocities of the British Empire and they know it.
It’s time Britain and international community peacefully dismantle Nigeria to avert another waste of human lives. The indigenous peoples want to live in freedom, liberty, justice, peace and prosperity for all. They are sick and tired of oppression, marginalization, ethnic hatred, religious violence, and killings.
The commentary on these structural flaws are fully discussed in my forth-coming book:
“The Problem with Nigeria: Reasons Nigeria Continues to Flounder and Way Forward.”
The book was supposed to be released in 2015, but due to Buhari’s victory and other extenuating circumstances, it was delayed. It’ll be published later this year and you can read in details the flaws of Nigeria and solution to fix the country.
Dr. C. K. Ekeke is a theologian, author, consultant, and leadership scholar. He is the founder and president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.