The forthcoming 2023 general elections in Nigeria present some serious worries to many people who care about the value of human lives and the looming dangers facing Nigeria as the country enters this year’s general elections.
Accept or reject it, the forthcoming 2023 elections in the coming weeks in Nigeria, instead of ushering in any positive results or change, is actually, going to exacerbate the current situation of insecurity, violence and political and economic instability in the country. This is not to sound alarming. It is not being pessimistic either or sounding like a prophet of doom. But if truth be told, every honest and dispassionate person knows that with the 2023 election, if it eventually takes place, Nigeria is heading to an uncharted voyage, the consequence of which is better imagined than real.
This is why those who really love the people of this country and want to save lives, and human lives, should, as a matter of urgency, please, hurry and come to the aid of the endangered indigenous ethnic populations and communities in the country at a time like this. Help the gatekeepers of the Nigerian State to come to their senses, to understand that we need to put our house in order, first, before embarking on anything called an election. That is, as a people and nation-state. Because, anybody, who tells him/herself the truth, knows within his or her conscience, that no election conducted in Nigeria today, under the present dispensation and circumstances, is going to bring any positive results. Unless a miracle happens. And, unless, however, the fundamental problem of true nationhood and co-existence bedevilling the continued corporate existence of the diverse ethnic and religious groups that make up the country, is first resolved through a referendum for self-determination. Anything short of this is inviting a more dangerous problem of insecurity and violence in the country. God forbid!
Therefore, as things are today in Nigeria, ‘the only referendum for self-determination of the component Ethnic-Nationalities in the country is the most viable option. That is, of those major indigenous ethnic nationalities or geopolitical zones that want to opt out of the Nigerian State as presently constituted and structured, to form their own independent sovereign state. Only this can avert the looming danger.
This is why one would like to invite and request the International Community, the UN, the US, the EU, and especially, Great Britain, African Union and ECOWAS, to please, come to the aid of Nigerians, the inhabitants of that geographical space called Nigeria. Kindly, begin to interrogate their so-called political leaders and gatekeepers of that country. One would like the International Community, to please, begin to rethink also about Nigeria, and how to help the country and its inhabitants get out of its continuous cycle of violence and bloodbaths. It is high time the International Community begins to have a different approach to its diplomatic relationship with Nigeria – its approach to Nigeria’s problem of dangerous diversity. So as to help the gatekeepers of the country to come to their senses and put a stop to all these senseless killings and cycles of violence going on in the country.
It is high time the International Community begins to acknowledge and recognize that Nigeria, as it is presently, constituted and structured has never worked and will never work. Therefore, the International Community has the onerous task to try to come to the aid of the suffering and traumatized Nigerian people before the worst begins to happen. Let the International Community summon the courage and tell the gatekeepers of the Nigerian State, that enough is enough. That the country needs to be fine-tuned, or rather re-negotiated so as to save the lives of its endangered diverse indigenous populations and communities, who are in constant threat of extinction by the Northern Muslim extremists that control the central government of the country, the terrorist-infiltrated Nigerian security operatives, Islamist insurgents and herdsmen terrorism, and what have you.
International Community needs to come to the aid of the crying and traumatized indigenous populations and communities of the Nigerian masses – Christians and Muslims alike, that have become a kind of endangered species in the Nigerian State. That is, at the hands of their own leaders, the present corrupt and heartless politicians, the ruling class and most of the elites in the country!
What Nigeria and its inhabitants need now, if truth be told, is not another election, or the International Community’s so-called ‘Election Observers Monitoring Team.’ No. The country has been having those international monitoring teams all this while, at every national or state election conducted in the past. But where has that led us? What positive change has that brought towards improving the election process or democratic culture in the country? The answer is no. It is a waste of time, because, there have never been any credible, fair and free elections conducted in Nigeria since its political independence in 1960 to the present day. And there will never be until we do the needful. That is, re-negotiate the Nigerian State through a referendum for the self-determination of the component indigenous ethnic nationalities or major geopolitical regions of the country that want to opt-out to form their own independent sovereign state. Only this can put a stop to the Islamist terrorism and insurgency, as well as the culture of bloodbaths and political instability that has been bedevilling the country since its flag independence in 1960 to the present day.
Therefore, the International Community and Organizations instead of issuing the usual statement of warning or alarm, that no country can contain the number of refugees that may come from Nigeria should the country slide into violence and wars following the 2023 elections. The UN, US, EU, especially Great Britain, African Union and ECOWAS, should begin doing something now. That is, towards helping Nigeria and its diverse peoples to put an end to the chronic crisis of political instability, insecurity, terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, religious intolerance and ethnic cleansing in the country, by organizing a referendum for self-determination along the country’s major ethnic nationalities or current six geopolitical zones’ fault lines. Only this type of bold step by the International Community can avert the looming danger. Because of the high rate of corruption in Nigeria, most politicians in the country, who are actually benefiting from the corrupt system and rot in the land, are not prepared to do the needful, to correct the imbalance and rotten system in the country. For them, this election is business as usual. It is another opportunity to revalidate their looting system and continued enslavement and subjugation of ordinary citizens, as well as the permanence of violence and insecurity in the land.
Violence and terrorism as well as general insecurity and political instability, are a system’s problem. They are like the ‘industry’ of power through which the ruling political class, especially, the Northern ruling Oligarchy use to hold onto power in ‘perpetuity’ in the country. This is why for most Nigerian politicians every election is a do-or-die affair. None of them has the interest of the common man at heart. This is because the Nigerian political arrangement and structure favour such fraudulent and frivolous situations and things than resolving them. Nigerian political system and governance style breeds criminals and looters of the public treasury. It equally breeds Islamists, terrorists and bandits! This is the culture of looting, corruption, lopsided government, violence and intimidation that each election conducted in Nigeria strives to revalidate. This is why no election or change of personnel can bring any positive results in Nigeria today as presently structured.
In other words, no political election conducted in Nigeria today, or change of personnel in political leadership through election or whatsoever, is going to bring any positive results, today or tomorrow in Nigeria. The problem with Nigeria is beyond the ‘almighty’ 2023 planned ‘fraudulent and shambolic’ elections. Any elections conducted in Nigeria under the present dispensation will not only heighten the present state of insecurity but also embolden and increase the ‘volume’ of the current senseless killings, herdsmen terrorism and Islamist insurgency in the country. The ongoing killing of Christians and Indigenous populations by the Islamists and the state-sponsored violence and military and police brutality will continue unabated throughout the country until the International Community and the gatekeepers of the Nigerian State do the needful.
Mind you! Our concern is about saving lives! It is about saving the lives of the endangered indigenous populations of different ethnic nationalities, Christians and Muslims alike, logged together through colonial fiat by the British, which the British named Nigeria. We are worried and will continue to be worried, because, we want our people in what we call Nigeria today, to be able to be alive and live a dignified life in safety and freedom. That is, to begin to live in peace and tranquillity, and not in pieces, or in the present, continued mutual hostilities, senseless killings, hatred and resentment of one another. Enough of the bloodshed and ethnic cleansing going on in Nigeria!
Again. This is our concern in this write-up. We are considering some of the ways to put a stop to the ongoing senseless killings of innocent civilians, indigenous ethnic populations, Christians and Muslims alike, in Nigeria. Nigeria’s dangerous diversity is the problem. That is despite the much-discussed problem of leadership. There must be, first of all, an enabling environment for any political leadership that is people-oriented, and serious about building true nationhood and state, to emerge and thrive. Without such natural ‘ingredients’ for nationhood building, no leadership, no matter how good-intentioned its political leaders may be, will ever succeed. In the Nigerian State as presently structured and governed, such natural ingredients and enabling environment for nationhood building are lacking.
Dangerous diversities – differences in ethnicity, religious beliefs, value systems, philosophy of life, worldviews, and cultural and linguistic fault lines, will continue to frustrate any effort made towards building one, united, prosperous Nigeria. This is the crux of the matter. It is unfortunate. But at the same time, the human reality. Added to it, is the country’s long years of mutual hostilities, ethnic cleansings, pogroms, senseless killings, Islamist and herdsmen terrorism, etc. Such that there is no way any political election or change of personnel in the country today, will ever bring any positive results or change anything in the ongoing bloodbaths and carnage that have become like Nigeria’s second nature. There is no enabling environment for a credible, fair and free election to hold Nigeria as we speak either.
Nigeria needs to disintegrate, so to say, for the people to be able to be alive, and to live their lives according to their own norms and chosen political system and structure. So that we all can begin to relate well as neighbours, and with one another as normal human beings created in the image and likeness of God. Nigeria needs to disintegrate, so to say, according to its geopolitical zones and major ethnic nationalities fault-lines, to make each entity that would emerge, a manageable geographical space, and not an abattoir or theatre of bloodbaths as the country is presently experiencing. And has been experiencing since its creation by the British in 1914, especially, since its flag political independence from Britain in 1960. Nigeria is an artificial country that was not created by the British to survive or to serve the interests of its citizens – the indigenous ethnic nationalities and communities of that geographical space, named Nigeria by the British. Nigeria needs to disintegrate into manageable regional sovereign independent states, respecting its diverse ethnic nationalities or major geopolitical regional fault lines – its diverse and different ethnic nationalities, or the existing geopolitical zones. That is, if we really want to save lives and build a better future for the inhabitants of that geographical space the British named Nigeria in 1914, after their infamous amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates of Nigeria.
The dangerous diversity of Nigeria is at the root of the problem with the country. Until that is discussed and settled, once and for all, through a referendum for self-determination, there will be no end in view of the ongoing senseless killings, religious intolerance, bigotry, ethnic-irredentism, ethnic cleansing, pogroms, herdsmen terrorism, Islamists insurgency, and especially, the present state-sponsored insecurity, violence, military and police brutality and recklessness in the land. A Stitch in Time Saves Nine!
Rev. Fr. Francis Anekwe Oborji is a Roman Catholic Priest, a Professor Ordinarius of contextual theology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, Pontifical Urban University, Vatican City (Rome)
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