By Dr. Anthony Chuka Konwea
Nigerian Leaders are obsessed with national unity, which is fine by the way. After all the Holy Bible states in the Book of Psalms, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”However, the presumption of national unity by Nigerian Leaders is hypocritical because the unity they routinely affirm is not backed by their actions in or out of office.
People’s sensibilities are routinely assaulted by empty, meaningless, hypocritical and utterly deceitful slogans, not borne out by current or historical realities. Rote slogans such as “One Nigeria,” “Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable,” “Nigeria’s unity is settled” are repeated ad infinitum as if they would be realized simply by mindless regurgitation and not by practical demonstration or by genuine unifying leadership exertion.
At Independence in 1960, Nigeria’s national motto, proclaimed in the national coat-of-arms was “Unity and Faith.”In 1978, this was modified to read “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.” Of the four items listed, only Faith (in God, not in the nation) currently resides in Nigeria.
Quote me. Anybody who tells you that there is unity in Nigeria is mendacious. Anybody who tells you that there is peace in Nigeria other than that of the graveyard, is a liar. Anybody who tells you that there is progress in Nigeria, is a dreamer.
Evidently national unity, together with peace and progress, have always been inspirational pre-occupations. Unity was an aspiration at independence more than 50 years ago, it is still an aspiration today and from the look of things it will remain an aspiration 500 years from now.
On this last point, barring miraculous Divine intervention of “Lazarific” proportions, some doubts exist, because the comatose patient (read Nigerian unity)under the watch of a reckless doctor (guess who), may already have passed on.
If that is indeed the case, then what remains is how to break the sad news to the immediate family (read Nigerians) and then to commence preparations for the deceased’s final internment and the partitioning of the estate left behind.
It is rank hypocrisy for a country that discriminates against its own citizens based on ancestry and bloodline as Nigeria does, to speak of national unity. It is rank self-deception for a country that apportions developmental projects to its geo-political areas based on which ethnic group is domiciled where, as Nigeria does, to claim that its unity is settled. Quote me anywhere, the unity of Nigeria is not settled so long as these injustices persist.
If anything, under these circumstances, Nigeria’s out-proclaimed unity is a paper castle held together solely by the saliva and spittle emitted from the mouths of garrulous leaders. To be enduring the extant pseudo-unity must be pulled down and rebuilt from the ground up with real bricks (personal liberty, personal responsibility, equity, fair-play, merit etc.) all held together firmly by the binding mortar of social justice.
The road to national unity must traverse social justice. Taking any other route to national unity such as via “pythonic dancing” is a futile endeavor. Social justice means that ancestral lineage should neither be a benefit nor a hindrance in the quest for self-actualization. In the same vein, it means that bloodline should neither be a source of privilege nor a source of an impediment in the quest for self-advancement.
Social justice means that unjustly detained citizens such as the Shiite Sheik Ibrahim Zakzaky and his acolytes should regain their liberty or be charged to court immediately. Social justice means that itinerant Fulani herdsmen who go about terrorizing peasant farmers in their own farmlands, murdering innocent citizens in their village homesteads should be tracked down, arrested and made to face the extant Laws squarely.
The only determining factors for self-actualization and self-advancement should be merit and a proven track record for performance established via healthy competition. For so long as ancestry, bloodline, bias and prejudice remain as determinants of the fate of citizens, for so long shall national disintegration remain an objective possibility.
Those who think that the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Movement can be dismantled by mere proscription and by unjust labelling as a terrorist organization are making a grave mistake of immense historical proportions.
Like him or loathe him, Nnamdi Kanu, dead or alive, has emerged as the Commander-in Chief of majority of Igbo hearts and minds.
Forget about all the talk of National Unity. Insofar as it relates to majority of the Igbo, their hearts and minds have left Nigeria. The Nigerian Government may try to use state sponsored acts of terrorism to whip the Igbo into line, but do not be deceived. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still,’…… how true.
Only a new administration, not tainted by innocent blood, which is open to enthroning social justice and fair-play to all Nigerians regardless of ancestry or bloodline or voting pattern can ever hope to recapture majority of Igbo hearts and minds from the firm grip of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB.
As things currently stand, Nigerian Unity is a fantasy, a bubble, ready to be pricked by any small sharp object such as Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB, regardless of what anyone says to the contrary.
By Dr. Anthony Chuka Konwea