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Nigeria’s kind of distress

THE Holy Bible declares that no man shall prevail by force. God who made the heavens and this earth intended that man should rely on Him to achieve success in all endeavours. But man changed his ways so much that God himself concluded that the heart of man is desperately wicked.

Man built armies to conquer others, and from then arrogated to themselves the power to do anything by force on God’s earth. The key problem with Nigeria started from the army when they organised the coup  of January 1966,which led to much bloodletting, and a war. Since then, Nigeria has never been the same again, and may seize to exist if we continue to relegate God.

The soldiers who prosecuted coups, fought and won the war have continued to reap their rewards, by throwing the nation into permanent distress with their involvement in Politics.

One of them tried to transform from a military head of state to civilian president, but unfortunately for him death struck, and Nigeria is still howling over his stolen wealth.

Then followed another team that hurriedly put a constitution together and conducted an election that brought one of theirs as president in1999 with our stress increasing as a nation.

Three key factors that constituted the source of our kind of stress today include first, the Federal character policy, which has down played excellence in the Nigerian work place, and society.

It created the dichotomy in all things, to the extent that the entry score points into universities is much higher for the south in favour of the north. Some southern youths have reacted to the discriminatory score entry points, by joining the agitation for Biafra. President Muhammadu  Buhari, by excluding Igbos from his kitchen cabinet showed no respect for federal character, and have may have inadvertently laid the foundation for killing that policy. Time will tell.

The second  peculiar stress factor is the faulty foundation in the salary and work conditions in Federal and State civil service. Annual salary of the Nigerian worker can hardly cover his rent and feeding costs, talk less of his other family responsibilities. They do not have any housing, no health facilties, no water , no light,  nothing from government, thus workers devised means to survive within their salaries.

They either cornered most of the budgetary provisions for their offices to themselves, or raised tolls across every table in their offices. Our leaders became known as ten percenters, and today we have become a ‘fantastically’ corrupt nation, boldly accepted by our President.

Instead of taking ten percent of contracts, the leaders simply carry the whole money away!

Some of these leaders without blinking any eye lid, turn the nation’s youth into cultists and thugs for political domination, while others turn them into Almajiris who live in pathetic conditions, badly brainwashed as potential instruments for destruction.

The third national stress factor is the combination of born- to- rule and conquest mentality. The north of Nigeria, especially the Hausa Fulanis rightly or wrongly seem to believe that the British gave them Nigeria to plunder as a reward. What they did for Britain to deserve this kind of reward is yet to be explained so that we may understand it. We need to have knowledge and understanding of the reasons why Nigeria was given to the north to exploit as a reward, because people perish for lack of knowledge.

But if this born-to-rule mentality was planted by the British for their own gains from the Nigerian system, then the time to clean it off has arrived, because it is beginning to cause too much stress in the nation.

The twin mentality of born-to-rule and conquest of Nigeria, account for the happenings that created the challenges in the Niger Delta region today.

Government has continued to imagine that they can crush a people’s right to fairness in the distribution of a national wealth that flows from the belly of their lands.

The struggle of the Niger Deltans  has continued, in spite of the  killing of Ken Saro Wiwa and many others for demanding fairness in the distribution of oil wealth under the military,  the whiping out of the Odi Community in Ijaw land under ex- president Olusegun Obasanjo, and may not be successfully crushed even by Buhari, a retired General of the Army.

If the British and their privileged beneficiaries of Nigeria allowed for community or individual ownership of oil lands, and fair distribution of the gains from oil, we would never have known of militancy in this country. If the Igbos were conquered during the Nigerian civil war, who conquered the South Southerners?

The same mentality is responsible for the spread of killer Fulani herds men today, and rather than find solutions that will engender peaceful coexistence, some leaders in the north seem unified in forcing the grazing bill, upon other tribes of Nigeria as crazy as it appears.

If the President and ruling APC are really interested in the unity and peace of this country, they should jettison the grazing Bill and such legislations that fuel religious tension like the Kaduna State Anti-Religion proposed law.

It remains doubtful whether this country as it is today, can successfully crush Boko haram terrorists in the north, marauding Fulani herdsmen across the north and south, Niger Delta militancy in the South South, and Biafra agitations in the South East.

Crushing all these will deny the President his peace of mind for life, he should reconsider his options. Having lost a war, the South East has experience that cannot be taken away from them, thus the thoughts of crushing them again should be shelved, in the interest of one united peaceful Nigeria.

The spirit of peace and love for one Nigeria that the PDP managed to build and keep should be improved upon by the ruling party. Tearing and clubbing down all that the previous administration achieved is wasteful to the nation at large, just like trouble-mongering within the ethnic nationalities, and religious groups will not make Nigeria better.

President Buhari should not allow those who voted for him to feel and accept that they made a mistake.

Mr  Clement Udegbe, a lawyer, can be reached at


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