“Fellow Nigerians” The gravity of our predicament compels me to call your attention with this heading, which is more reminiscent of an unfolding military coup than the working democracy that we would like to believe we are in. The future of our nation is balanced precariously. None of us can afford to ignore General Obasanjo’s third-term ambitions. If we do, it could mean the end of Nigeria as we know it. There is discontent and violence in the Delta region, perceptions of political marginalisation in the South East as a whole, endemic moral decay, break down of law and order, and the constitution under attack from those who should be defending it. Whether we accept it or not, we are currently between the devil and the deep blue sea; we are faced either with dictatorship or a break up of the country.
Dictatorship a La Anciem Regime One argument being put forth by the supporters of the third term is that the incumbent is a good president, and in the absence of better alternatives, it is best to let sleeping dogs lie. This argument is invalid as there are better persons ready to serve; if only the incumbent had created an atmosphere in which the rule of law and fair play reigned. In any case, why give him just one more term, why not leave him there till such a time as the “right” replacement appears miraculously from the skies! If PDP activists do not realise it already; the president is an old man, and while he has achieved certain things to put us on our way to democracy, the democratic state has not arrived; many Nigerians are yet to be emancipated economically, and there is yet so much more to do. We need radically different ideas and policies, backed by commitment and drive in a leadership that is ready to die for the interest of Nigeria and not to die to have Nigeria (in the pocket). Our situation today is not entirely dissimilar from what obtained in pre-Napoleon France under the Ancien Regime. Like them we suffer under the hegemony of a few old men and their moral and political offspring, and we too must be ready to agitate for our emancipation.
Breaking Up A Country That Never Was What of the other alternative; the breaking up of Nigeria. Well there are many that will argue that Nigeria has never been a country, but rather an amalgamation of peoples with much stronger tribal than national loyalties. This truth cannot be denied. However, so much water has passed under the bridge now that to break up the whole will be comparable to separating the milk and the cocoa from the Bournvita. The process of going our separate ways will be messy; and by the way, how many parts are required to complete the dismemberment? Two (North and South); three (North, West, East); four (North, Middle-Belt, West, East), five (North, Middle-Belt, West, South-West, Biafra), etc, etc. It is also worth remembering the atrocities that were committed in various parts of the country prior to the Biafran war, never mind that only the Igbo and Hause people were targetted in those massacres. The mind boggles to think what would happen in already lawless parts of the North as helpless individuals start trying to cross Nigeria to get back to their own newly created countries! Will we still be satisfied to maintain close contacts with our friends and family from the other countries after hostilities have finished and the tally of lives and property lost is known to all, as well as the likely perpetrators? An amicable break-up is an idle fantasy; the reality is frightening, especially when seen from the perspective of those living away-from-home in Nigeria today – what a contradiction.
To Acquiesce This Time May Not Be A Wise Decision So what can we do? To our left we have Atiku, to our right we have Obasanjo, behind us is Babangida, and straight ahead we catch glimpses of shadowy figures, nondescript and of unknown provenance; time is against us and the ground on which we stand is not certain. If we do nothing the ground could open up beneath us; yet if we stood up to agitate, we are faced with a vindictive and wicked cabal that would not suffer opposition/resistance gladly. What must we do?
The online dictionary at www.dictionary.com defines acquiesce as, ‘To consent or comply passively or without protest’. To do nothing is not an option; we need to remember that the Germans and the Hutu of Rwanda have all been tarnished with the same brush of genocide, and you never hear anywhere of the many people who did not participate in the evil that was going on around them. Silence at this time will be taken for support by those who do not know us personally, and how many people in this world can any one of us know personally? Seeking to take this cohort head on will not be expedient; we do not have guns, thugs, money or the state security services (army, police, SSS) on our side. However, we have GOD on our side, we have the force of right, we have the moral upper ground, we are more intelligent than they are, and above all, we have a voice and a conscience that they cannot silence, especially in the Diaspora.
Overcoming Evil With Good As a Christian I cannot advocate violence, even against agents of evil such as constitutes the core of the vile beast called the PDP, however, the pen can be more powerful than the pistol, and great armies can be swept aside by an idea/belief whose time has come. For those in the Diaspora, the greatest potential lies with you. Please take a few minutes to write to your representative in the legislature of the country in which you are resident. Alert them to the following facts:
- A third term carried through by Obasanjo could be the beginning of a president-for-life
- The reality of open-ended rule by one tribe could lead to a breakup of Nigeria
- The precedence of pogroms that preceded the Biafra war bode ill for any breakup
- The international community will not escape the consequences of such a fallout
- Oil prices will soar
- Refugees will multiply
- Neighbouring countries may be destabilised
- Pressure on the PDP and incumbent will be more productive before the third term begins
- The PDP and incumbent may be more inclined to respond to international criticsm than to local agitation
- Nigerians are prepared to knock on every door in government to see that action is taken now
Time is now to step forward and be counted.
Be prepared to picket the Nigerian embassy/high-commission in the country in which you live; it will only cost you a few hours/days, but it could be the difference between life and death for people you know back home. More information will be made available as the year progresses, but please be on standby to help the situation by using every legal/moral/ethical means to work against the plans of these few evil men who want to destroy our already frail democracy.
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