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Enough of sectional sentiments

It is  regrettable today that politics in Nigeria is getting more brutal, more bizarre and damned bloody. Political assassinations are common place  in the agenda of today’s politicians. Our politicians now pursue more eloquently those traits and interests that divide us rather than inventing means of cementing the bonds that unite us.

This trend has become a critical  factor for our politicians, senators and members of the House of Representatives, especially those from the northern axis.

This is a  sharp departure from the examples given by our  first generation politicians:. Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe  and Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Balewa, despite being Nigeria’s first executive Head of State, was so humble and humane. Azikiwe was one of Nigeria’s strongest political canons yet was so humorous and he never saw politics as a do – or – die affair. I can vividly remember the Owelle of Onitsha declaring himself a “beautiful bride” in 1979 for other political “grooms”  who were willing to dialogue. Was that not the apex of humor and  camaradie?

In the case of  Awolowo, his role as a socialist reformer, a great “recovery economy” strategist and an avater did not make him pursue politics as the beginning and end of life. Today,  Awolowo is a reference point for his robust intellect and adamantine principles.

And so what has gone wrong with  the Nigerian  project? Why have we jetissoned caution and reason and embaraced this virulent  politics of hate and bitterness? In fact, where  did we get it all wrong? How did we meander through this course of violent events without fragmenting into smithereens?

When the military seized power in January 1966, little did we know that 45 years later, Nigeria would still be wriggling  in this murky and rudderless syssipphean tragedy. Even the best of military governments can only compare with benevolent despotism which still smacks of authoritalanism and individualistic leadership.

The military are trained to defend and not to govern nations and their lack of democratic experience is what has moved us to this deplorable watershed. Some military apologists have rationalized that the military came with good intentions but were corrupted and polluted  for their own selfish interests.

However, some other socio-political commentators believe that the military came to steal, to kill and to destroy. This latter school of thought believes the military smuggled fiscal indiscipline, unmitigated corruption and state- sponsored terrorism and violence into our body politik.

And after a long military interregnum, Nigerian democracy started in 1999 with a military leader in mufti. As a result of this, violence did not leave our shores even as a democratic nation.

This violence has now become a  trait of the political class which has also filtered down the base of the pyramid.

Now, politicians openly encourage violence by inciting their followers to reject election results and cause mayhem and incalculable damage to the  nation. This strain of violence and confrontation has also affected the entire political system by producing a new wave of political antagonism and hatred.

This scenario played out in both houses of the National Assembly. For instance, in the lower House, a committee of 19  northern  experts  have been chosen to critically examine and analyse any bill going through the House with a view of  expunging any anti-north interest before the bill is allowed to sail through.

It is the  height of unpatrotism  for the northern  caucus and lobbyists to submerge core national interests for zonal and parochial interests. It is not only shameful but also absurd  to learn that the north, in its morbid anti- – Jonathan crusade, has snapped up those sinews that link us together in order to orchestrate the publicity of our differences.

Do our lawmakers not watch intelligent and inspiring debates on international networks?  It is infortunate that the invidious resolution to make Nigeria ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan has blinded some lawmakers so fatally that their actions and attitudes have become so unfortunately puerile and ridiculous. What a farce, what a pity!

These northern legislators have also accused  Jonathan of filling most vacancies in “key sectors of his government with people from the south-south.

It is unfortunate that these political jokers have forgetten that the north has governed this country for 38 years during which time they have not only monopolized all key sectors of the economy but also milked and sucked the nation dry.

But, today, these same northern leaders are accusing the president  of nepotism, favouritism and all forms of  vices when Jonathan  has not even spent  six months  of his tenure.

Our politicians should delve into history and discover how our founding fathers fostered  unity among all the various ethnic and geo-political zones even though “tribes and tongues may differ”.

But our politicians are more interested in sharing booties rather than settling down and leafing through historical journals to discover the way  forward.

Instead of employing and sponsoring Boko Haram, our frustrated northern leaders should invest in long term integrative strategies. They should stop planning sabotage and embarking on disintegrative trips to split the country.

Our people and politicians should seek the old and righteous ways of God as only  righteousness can salvage this nation from a  Boko Haram engineered disintegration.

By Ben Nanaghan
Lagos Nigeria


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