By Yinka Odumakin
WE spoke the whole truth that restructuring Nigeria back to Federalism will not solve all our problems but we cannot solve any of the nationhood crises comforting us today without it.
Mallam Garba Shehu’s faux pas on Sunday proved us right once again as he spoke from the abundance of the heart in a rabid bid to vilify Omoyele Sowore who was manhandled like a common criminal during the crude and violent invasion of a Federal Court in Abuja on Friday.
Shehu’s misstatement was coming after the bare-faced lie by the Department of State Service, DSS, that it did not enter the courtroom to effect the arrest of Sowore and that it was his supporters who were doing some scene for a Nollywood film. Never mind that we followed every bit of the tragic coup against the Judiciary in the order of the violent take over of Senate by the same DSS months ago. Yemi Osinbajo who was Acting President then fired the director general of DSS for the action and prevented Nigerians from seeing the true character of their presidency.
We must also be grateful to Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) who has put a lie to the words of the DSS with his revelation that the DSS actually apologized to Justice Ojukwu for their irrational conduct. We wait for them to deny this!
Further descent into barbarism
Those who are familiar with that place have alleged that the man Osinbajo naively eased out of office is now a regular caller at our seat of power and the pastor has never had the luxury of acting as president ever after the “rash” action. It was at a time the whole world was outraged by the further descent into barbarism by Nigeria that Garba Shehu poured sodium on a festering injury with a press release not well thought out but that captures the mindset that presides over the Nigeria’s daily unfolding disaster.
Instead of engaging in some public relations, the Presidency further immersed itself in further disaster with the unfortunate statement which partly read: “The presidency notes some of the insinuations in the media about the arrest by the Department of State Services, DSS, of the agitator, Omoyele Sowore. The DSS does not necessarily need the permission of the Presidency in all cases to carry out its essential responsibilities that are laid down in the Nigerian Constitution – which was the foundation for the restoration of democracy in our country in 1999.
“However, it should not surprise anyone who has followed his actions and words that Sowore is a person of interest to the DSS. Sowore called for a revolution to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nigeria. No government will allow anybody to openly call for destabilization in the country and do nothing. Mr. Sowore is no ordinary citizen expressing his views freely on social media and the internet.
“To believe in and desire armed revolution is not normal amongst ‘human rights activists’, as Sowore has been incorrectly described. Again, it is no surprise that he should be a person of interest to the DSS. The Boko Haram militants, who are behind the violence, also fancy themselves to be fighting for some sort of revolution. This is a matter for the DSS, acting under its powers. Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President”
The faux pas about Boko Haram that has taken thousands of innocent lives being elevated to the same level of Sowore who only called for a revolutionary protest that he didn’t carry out before he was arrested and could not have hurt a fly should not be lost on those who understand the clash of civilizations at the heart of instability in Nigeria.
Delegates at the 2014 National Conference would remember how a former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Coomasie as Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, got up on the floor to defend the jail-break by Boko Haram members at a DSS facility near the Villa saying they were justifiably protesting their detention without trial. Coomasie was regularly locking us pro-democracy crusaders behind bars under Deccree 2 without trials under Abacha. We went to courts and never broke jail.
General Muhammed expressed fury in 2013 when President Jonathan declared a fierce battle against Boko Haram wondering why Niger Delta militants were being given Amnesty while Boko Haram boys were coming under fire and declared that “attacks against Boko Haram are against the North.”
It is within this absence of nationhood that Garba Shehu’s declaration which practically means that the way some people in some section would see Sowore’s call for revolution as a good thing is the way others from another section would adore Boko Haram should be understood. Nigeria cannot become a nation unless we forge one out of this rainbow on the basis of cultural democracy alias Federalism.
YINKA, thank you for your article on the above subject. Your write up heightened my fears about our poor reading culture in Nigeria. The situation is very disturbing. No individual or society can advance without a good reading culture. This is because reading is one of the essential tools for obtaining and advancing wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
There is a saying that “readers are leaders.” Go into the memory lane and you will discover that great men and women who made and who are still making positive impacts on humanity were and are good and consistent readers. The situation in our society is different. There are many Christians and Moslems who have the Bible and the Koran in their homes and have never opened the books for a day, week, month or year.
Today, many students spend hours on the social media and on watching of movies. They never find time to log in to websites where they search, obtain and read materials for writing their assignments. Some students even buy textbooks and do not open them at all.
Something must be done before we finally descend to the bottomless pit of ignorance. Our education policy makers must do something now to restore the good reading culture that was the norm in the past.
While growing up in Port Harcourt before the civil war, the Port Harcourt City Council had a rich and well stocked library. The council also operated a mobile library that came to our school every two weeks. This motivated us to borrow books to read. There was healthy rivalry among students. Today, how many local government areas, primary schools, secondary schools and even tertiary institutions have well stocked libraries much less mobile ones. Your answer is as good as mine.
Tony O. Ekwe.
I READ your article on “Ogomudia prophecy”. I just want to encourage you because there are few people like you left now in this country – people who still have the ability to tell us the truth.
Majority of our people, especially opinion leaders whose positions on national issues can change the country for good – have either given up or sold out.
My views on national issues are very similar to yours, but I must confess that you are brave, and a good man. You are among the few Nigerians I respect, like Pa Ayo Adebanjo.
Many prominent Nigerians I have had the opportunity to interact with know these things about Nigeria we are talking about. They discuss them privately with me and I would say to them, “Give me a formal interview let me publish you”. Their answer is always “No, they will kill me.”
Yet, one day, all of us will die and leave this country and this world. Thanks my brother for your bravery.
IT is said that those who fail to
learn from history will be condemned or even be consumed by it. Unfortunately, we are studiously and deliberately erasing whatever remains of our distant or even recent past. History is no longer being taught in Nigerian schools! They also don’t want it to be taught or discussed in social media (hate speach bill in the Senate).What a tragedy!
Any family, community, nation or country that forgets or neglects its past will neither understand the present nor plan its future! When one has no sense of history, one has no past heros and role models one can aspire to emulate. The result: Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping!
This collective patrimony in planlessness and hopelessness would have been avoided or mitigated if regions and nation-states that make up this entity called Nigeria were allowed to express themselves and their cultural values.
The three major ethnic groups in Nigeria have strong cultural and entrepreneurial value-systems they are known for: these positive traits/disruptions, if you like, would have engendered healthy competitions that would push Nigeria to levels expected of it (in 2019) when countries like South Korea, China, Indonesia etc (in early 1970s) were looking at us with such envy and hope.
Change is so immutable in itself, that any entity that refuses to so do, will atrophy and die. Businesses are constantly being restructured for profit and for competition. Even siblings’ rivalry (competition) exist. Our parents deliberately set it in motion when we were in primary schools, as they openly compared, inspected and analysed our report cards at the end of every school session. Without competition there would be no growth.
Ethnic nationalities in Nigeria need healthy competition for growth. This unitary system is killing us. The unitary system is so discriminatory. There’s nothing uniting about it.
Even marriages are always evolving and adapting for growth and peaceful cohabitation. China saw what happened to the old USSR.
The leaders grudgingly reformed: embraced capitalism with limited liberalism. Are they happy for it? You bet. Even Saudi Arabia is gradually and I dare say, grudgingly reforming. If they don’t, they would be left behind; no amount of oil wealth will stop that from happening.
Is anyone out there who would redirect us from this road to perdition, doom and gloom? I am so, so sad!
Sir Patrick UBA