There were cries of indignation from Nigerians all over the world. That was a typical national response to external interventions in Nigeria whether it came in sympathetic or empathetic good faith , inadvertently,mischievously, or outright inimically.
Nigerians can never be warned by anybody about any kind of impending doom.The reason could be related to the fact that for the past fifty years , the country has become enamored of some sort of insidious deathwish. Sadly, that one is in the throes of a deathwish is no direct indication that death is welcome.
The Western consciousness may be afflicted with the anxiety to name,especially theÂ dangerous, while Nigerians may have the contrarian anxiety to obviate naming the dangerous. Thus, at nights indigenous Igbo culture prescribes calling a snake a rope at night. Naming would probably be equivalent to talking about the devil mutating into an invocation of the devil.
Even the Western trained Nigerian medical doctor dares not inform a patient, like their counterparts do in the Western world that one has three months left before death.
You can see why even if the President was a certified cadaver some weeks ago, the Governors of the Southeast led by Peter Obi could still say to the stunned universe of politically obtuse listeners that the presidency has not compromised the constitution by death !!! It was and still is the right thing to say, given how Nigerians read their world.
Now, the Libyan strongman. Moamar Gaddaffi has come out to declare thatÂ the best thing for Nigeria is a fission into North and South. The declaration has surprised many. The strongman is a devout moslem but now he is regarded as deeply subversive as the USA for telling Nigerians a dangerous truth about their nation, a most terrible irony, considering the polar political posts from which Libya and the USA view the world.
But to be surprised is to miss the major point above about Nigeria. Do not say dangerous things even if they are true. Remember that in the quietening if somewhat draconian days of Buhari and Idiagbon, a decree made truth a crime if that truth was deemed embarrassing to the government!!!You do that,you intensify the sub-terranean deathwish that is best left sub-terranean.
In the face of dangerous truths, Nigerians have therefore practised to perfection how to close their eyes sweetly and pathetically like little children when they see scary things.
What indeed both the USA and Libya and so many in and outside Nigeria is suggesting to Nigerians is to re-organize, re-structure, or reform their nation radically if they desire survival.
It is so very sad that nobody is listening or wants to listen. The very driver behind this current dangerous habit of closing the eyes in the face of danger is clearly the boon from crude oil. Without that, Nigerians would have willingly opened their eyes to see and assess the danger staring everybody in the face. Nigerians need the courage to accept that their biggest enemy is greed.
The day the courage is found to face that greed, it is that day that the nation will find its way to recovery. The Republic needs radical de-centralization close to what was before the tragic civil war. People simply need to pull apart one way or the other to kill or impair the muscle of the bogey of domination or marginalization.
The fear of some catastrophe overtaking the ONE NIGERIA non-existent synergy should justÂ be forgotten for a while . Maybe , later, down the road, when mutual confidence and trust have been re-established, the country, IF NECESSARY could re-unite under a new clearly and carefully negotiated formula and umbrella.
The present representatives ought to raise their heads from the game of money sharing going on in the name of governance. They know there is no such thing going on. If there was governance, the national absurdist pantomime around the presidency would have ended long ago.
There would have been a serious legislation in place to halt all manners of desperado activities, dastardly and incomprehensble brigandage, kidnappings and so forth. These things indicate that nobody is really in charge in that country. Those supposed to be in charge have ceded power to vandals and hoodlums.
All in all,it might indeed be that the mind has to be totally disengaged from the fortunes invested in places like Abuja. Find a collective way of affirming rights of ownership and the collective responsibility of universal protection of citizenry.
Find a way of defining or re-defining the rights of other collective possession of sharable wealth like on-shore and off-shore oil and so forth. The present state of self-deceit ought to be brought to a halt with sane and sober thoughtfulness and reflection. Masochism is not machismo.
It is simply mindless suicide, and the sooner the country wakes up to recognize this glaring reality, the better for Nigeria today and the presently stony path to quite possibly, a better new Nigeria.
Professor Chimalum Nwankwo
Department of English
North Carolina A& T State University