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Of Boko Haram, strike and subsidy removal

THIS is clearly one of the worst periods in Nigeria’s history. It is reminiscent of Professor Wole Soyinka’s “season of anomie”. This is a time when almost everything in Nigeria appears to be heading towards anarchy.

While the obnoxious Boko Haram sect slaughters Christians, the bulk of whom are southerners with relish and reckless abandon, Jos disturbances are taking an unimaginable, nay, inexplicable toll on people; workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and all manners of pressure groups, civil society organisations, human rights advocates, public affairs commentators and individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds are spoiling for war against the Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government.

Against this background, several questions and concerns cannot but agitate all of us even as we express our divergent views on the current state of affairs in our country.

Some of the questions are: Was the hostile attitude the best way out of our perceived or real predicament? Who is actually fighting who in today’s Nigeria? What are the reasons for the ‘war’? Are the reasons worth the bloodbath, the pogrom, the idiocy, the barbarism of the highest order that daily became our lot? Are the atrocities daily committed against innocent citizens and the State of Nigeria an accident of circumst our control or are they pre-meditated?

Are these atrocities merely an actualisation of threats deliberately issued in the build-up to the last presidential election which ushered in Dr. Goodluck Jonathan at a time the North felt it should bring one of its own to complete “a Northern slot” truncated by Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s death?

Is the current raging ‘war’ a religious war following the massive declaration of Sharia in several (if not all the) States of the North? Does the North want to secede from the entity called Nigeria? What is actually the Igboman’s ‘offence’ for which he has been consistently slaughtered like pigeons and fowls and other lower animals? Is this pogrom a continuation of the 1966-1967 Northern agenda which forced Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu to declare the State of Biafra? What does the Muslim North really want? The questions can go on ad infinitum.

It is necessary to posit a few points. The truth of the matter is that the North is angry that one of its own did not succeed the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. This is why it therefore wants to make good its threat to make Nigeria ungovernable. It, however, forgets that a stubborn child who does not allow his mother to sleep, cannot himself sleep. There used to be this jingle from Radio Nigeria which said that one who throws a stone in the market, does not know the stone might hit the head of the his father or mother or sister or brother or any other relative.

Now let us take a critical look at the present scenario: Boko Haram is bombing almost everywhere in Nigeria: churches, United Nations Building, Police Headquarters, etc. Members of the sect are muslims.

None of them is a christian, and they make audacious statements which no sane individual should utter. Consider some of them: “Western Education is Sin”; “Christians should leave the North within three days else they will be eliminated”; “there will be no respite unless and until Nigeria becomes an Islamic state”, etc.

But as distasteful as the posture of the Boko Haram sect is, it seems not to have occurred to the Southern Christians that there is a grand agenda to extinguish the Southerners from the entity called Nigeria. It has not occurred to them that they should close ranks, forge a common front and fight the mother of all battles for their survival.

Do these southerners who shouted blue murder because of the removal of fuel subsidy realised that by joining the Northerners to bring Nigeria to its knees, they simply acted the Northern script? Southerners who are members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) should wake up and “secede” from Abdulwahab Omar’s NLC. Omar, a northerner wants Jonathan to fail simply because Mr. President is a southerner. He therefore joins his brothers who have sworn to make Nigeria ungovernable by asking workers to down tools because fuel subsidy has been withdrawn.

Why didn’t he ask his colleagues to embark on a strike to protest the massacre of innocent Christians from the South? Between the massacre of Christians in the North and the removal of fuel subsidy, which is an uglier development which will evoke sympathy, empathy, protest and support?

Why did the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) not protest against the islamisation of Nigeria when the country was criminally smuggled into the Organization of Islamic Conference by IBB?

MICHAEL IKECHUKWU, a public  affairs  commentator, wrote from Awka, Anambra state


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