National Conference: OBJ's Comedy of Errors
January 21, 2005
In the wee hours of the birth of the present
democratic model I had written a piece entitled: 1999: The year Gorbachev
It was a recast of the faulty premise around which a deceived democratic
apparatus conceived its underlying hypocrisy and assaulting blight.
Considering the fact that the Abdulsalami ‘s regime’s
ardent disdain for constitutional reforms and salient issues of national
reconciliation before the tempting challenges of departure from the military
contraption and the definitive arrival at the successor of the process, it was
apparent that the circumstances are pre-mediated. One can
read the preamble of such under happenings rearing its head from the psychology
of power-play, political mindset and self-interest protection - class dominance
projections in a society characterized by high elasticity and resilience –a
difficulty entrenched but simply conceivable plan of action.
It does not seem as if the Nigerian problems and the National Question
are not real but the timing of redress and its surviving lay-outs are sealing in
approaches and concepts.
There’s a wonder that with elected
representatives to discuss national contentions, a remote recourse had been
begged and even shopped to substitute the entire democratic process that was
earlier seen as an inspiring contest. The whole episode is a
resemblance of, a comedy staged amidst the perfidy of anomalies and shallow
contradictions of contraries. It is like a replay of the
true image created of
in the military era-a habitual hysteria of habitus – the conquest of rationality
and entrenchment of arbitrariliness. The creator this time
submerged in his creations. No wonder the G34-the group that
fought the continuation of military regime –is once again re-assembling to stage
a similar attack against an elected representative that is suppose to be a
respite from the old norms of might-showing and dictatorship.
It is certain that the very problems of arbitrariliness and dictation are
very much at the doorsteps of the present democratic happenings.
No true democrat will be carried away by the fallacies of the new
innovations of national discuss, so also, no common man in his common senses
will have the belief that it is nationalistic and people-oriented.
No matter the imperfections in the system in terms of election of the
representatives, the representatives remain the only negotiating apparatus.
at present is a victim of global trends that invoked the foreclosing of the
ethnic barriers especially in civilized and established democracies.
As Nations’ conquer the barriers of medieval ethnic, racial and social
in the twentieth century is emphasizing the devolution of entreaties to un-trimmable
ethnic nationalities as breaking grounds in art of governance creating national
image of mental disorientation and psychological convulsions.
The national conference is like an open advocate of convocation of the
atavistic presentation of ritual primitiveness confined in the dustbin by about
four hundred ethnic nationalities to re-enact the bitter contentions and its
ridiculous puzzles –a sheer madness at the altar of disorganized discipline! -It
is a wrong decision at the wrong time and pursued by wrong societal needs of
leadership. The abuse of the fundamental laws of the land,
which is central to leadership, is responsible for leadership failure in
Nigeria and not the perceived crisis of
confidence by ethnic nationalities. Allison A. Ayida in his
book “Rise and Fall of Nigeria” gave a graphic panacea, “Cultural
Identity”: he said “is important in the quest for national
self-sufficiency. It is relatively easy to pontificate that
we should select the best in the traditional values and cultures of the
different ethnic groups in the country with a view to establishing a national
cultural identity. It may be more realistic to accept and
respect the traditional values of our respective peoples where they are not
incompatible with the rigours and the discipline required for the citizenry in a
modern state-the virtues of hardwork, honesty and integrity, justice and fair
play, respect for human dignity, etc. It is through an
honest search of our past heritage that we can truly evolve the right
psychological attitude to national self-reliance and self-sufficiency”.
What the nation needs at present is the establishment of rule of law and
as highlighted by Ayida, the enthronement of democratic ideals, which is an
all-encompassing sense of belonging. The problem with
Nigeria now is virtually a class-clique
manipulative tendency of power-game. With a free and fair
election that will rediscover the talents of nationalism, no ethnic group no
matter how large or small will contemplate fair beggings.
The irony of the prevailing circumstances is that the products of military
regimes used the ethnic power-blocks to climb the throne of power but exhibit
little or no common culture with the culture they claim to represent while in
power-showing total deviation from the cherished norms and caprices entrenched
in cultural identities. With all the imperfections in the
system, the best is to nurture the discernable and credible ideological
commitments into modicum of national restoration. The
cultural heritage that symbolizes the cherished attributes that are synonymous
with the democratic ideals should be upheld at all times. An
ethnic group representing any culture no matter how large that is anti-thetical
to the norms of hard work, honesty and integrity should be underplayed and that
ethnic group culture no matter how small that shows abidance by said attributes
should be endorsed as a symbol for national cultural identify.
However, the failed cultures must be encouraged through competitiveness
in the quest for fairness and justice because even in fairness and justice there
are ethics. This effort will discourage rowdiness, unnecessary scrambles for
power and observance of the lost values of our national self-sufficiency.
It will be a simple logic answer to a complex political mathematics – the
revival of national pride and enthronement of national self–restoration.
The fact that the situation had become so bad is not enough to bring back
the hands of clocks of civilization into stone-age convulsions.
It is a direct ticket to state of anarchy and anomie – the resultant
effects of total break down of government and governance. I
strongly belief that the President would not be happy with history as a leader
that will preside over creation of about four hundred nations out of the once
dreamful nation of earlier nationalists called Nigeria. This
is the clear consequence and sharp display of comedy of errors.
The recommendation of the
Governor Makarfi’s committee that three representatives from each state should
proceedings is incredible and alarming in that only few states in
are homogeneous along a tripod. In states like
Adamawa, Taraba, Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, Plateau, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo, Kogi,
Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Kebbi and Bauchi that have more than three
tribes (Adamawa for instance has more than hundred tribes) how can only three
represent the feelings of others. More so, with the advent
of the present dispensation these tribes had engaged each other in a fight
thereby instilling mutual suspicion. How will a perceived
enemy represent a foe in a game of discerning fight? Or a
perceived foe determine an enemy’s fate? What will be the
mode of selection of representatives? How can we ensure
total inclusiveness and all-encompassing level playing ground?
Are we not inviting a foreign anarchy into our land?
This innovation to me is both horrible and terrible. It is
better imagined than encouraged; a nation’s deliberate search for its waterloo.
We have just escaped the
streams of ethno-religious crises of varying dimensions; it is therefore
illogical to open another gate of its resurrections. The
only good innovation of this present government is that sharp lines had been
drawn between geographies, religions and cultures in politics and hence, what
needs at present and in future is a government who is an expert on the
psychology of mindsets and not government’s actions that enforced mindsets.
There is hardly any government’s action now that would not be viewed
along the prism of north and south divide, Christianity versus Islam contest and
Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Kutep, Fulani, tiv,
Jukun Gwari, Marghi, Kanuri etc’s co-option or misrepresentation.
This is the damage and the damage is real. In this
regard, the proposed National Conference is simply a civilian equivalent of a
political coup d'état against democratic structures and the Nation-its
approaches to me are both primitive and Pre-Cambrian, the choice and concept
absurd, it’s intentions, an unpatriotic dangles.
A mid-way approach as been
envisaged in the proposed national conference whose choice of membership, agenda
of discussion, stretch of mischief - makers and the outcome of its deliberation
will incite flashpoints and distractions. It is the surest
way to dislodge the prophecies contained therein in my earlier article.