444 views | Ozodinukwe Okenwa | April 18, 2021
Anarchy is upon us, anarchy is upon our land! It has sown tears, sorrow and blood already. From the north to the middle belt, south-west to south-east Nigeria is bleeding profusely. Hardly a day passes without ugly or sad news seizing our consciousness. Either you hear or read about terrorism and Fulani herdsmen exploits up north you are bombarded with banditry, kidnapping or criminal events down south. Nothing shocks any longer, not even when girls get raped and murdered inside the church or when the President abandoned Nigerians for London for medical tourism. It is like doomsday is here with us!
Nigeria is faced lately with her greatest challenge ever since the late Lord Lugard colonially amalgamated unilaterally the southern and northern protectorates into a nation. Though we have had challenges of nationhood before (especially the Biafran war) this time the drums of war are sounding with cacophonic crescendo from almost every region of the troubled federation.
Up north terrorism (led by Boko Haram) has decimated the population wrecking havoc, turning Maiduguri and other major cities in the core north into a killing field. Down south-west the Yorubas are making coherent noises about secession. In the south-east the ‘Biafrans’ are up in arms demanding a separate entity. In the Niger Delta an uneasy calm prevails with the militants waiting for another round of mayhem.
Daily the news from the homeland gives one the impression that Nigeria is presently at crossroads as the centre can no longer hold with the falcon unable to hear the falconer. In all these rebellious circumstances the Buhari-led federal government appear helpless and hopeless on the way forward.
Decades of injustice, marginalisation and nepotism have given rise to violent agitations for the dismemberment of Nigeria. For the first time majority of our people appear united in dismissing the forced unity as a smokescreen. Those preaching unity are themselves culpable of jeopardizing same.
President Muhammadu Buhari stands accused of undoing Nigeria’s unity. Or how do we rationalise the nepotism of the President? Or his ethno-religious politics, a policy that has divided our people more causing hatred, disharmony and social tensions across the land? Buhari has deliberately failed to lead us aright preferring to pander to ethnic and religious emotions.
Penultimate week (precisely on the wee hours of Easter Sunday) Owerri, the Imo State capital, was thrown into a state of ‘war’. Heavily-armed unknown gunmen in their hundreds had invaded the city attacking the police headquarters and the correctional centre. The police headquarters was ransacked and set ablaze while close to two thousand prisoners were released. The prisoners were woken up from their sleep and told to go home as “Jesus has resurrected”!
Again a military check-point along the Owerri-Onitsha expressway was not spared as the hoodlums attacked it setting ablaze vehicles and reportedly killing a military officer. Days later some other police facilities in the state were visited at night with weapons looted. The number of death and wounded still remained in the domain of speculations.
Shortly after the Owerri deadly attacks the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, had blamed the Eastern Security Network (ESN) for the violence. And days later the Supreme Court (sorry Cult) Governor made a volte face saying that the armed elements that invaded his state came from outside the state. He alleged that his political opponents were at work to destabilize the state.
And again he shot straight at the former Governor of the State, Rochas Okorocha, accusing him of seeking to turn the state ungovernable. Though Senator Okorocha had denied any involvement in the bloody Imo attacks he had advised Governor Uzodinma to consult more and seek professional advise on the way forward rather than throwing blames around.
Following the Imo violent incidents the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi, had said that the gunmen overpowered the Imo State Police Command men on duty because they “came with all the arsenals at their disposal” and “in large numbers”. Pray, how could a Minister tell us that criminals that invaded a state police command headquarters were more armed and prepared than the cops they met there? So there was not enough arsenal or large numbers of officers capable of repelling the attack?
A former Assistant Director with the Department of State Services, Dennis Amachree, had said the secret police had, prior to the attacks, alerted both Governor Uzodinma and the Nigeria Police Force at least three times but the Imo state government and the police failed to act on the intelligence. Perhaps, they never believed in the secret memo or they trivialized its content. That is failure of leadership on a scale beyond belief!
The sacked Inspector-General of the Police force, Mohammed Adamu, had declared that Nnamdi Kanu’s ESN boys were the ones causing the problem all over the south-east. But he misfired. Which diligent investigation confirmed the argument that the ESN were behind the attacks? Or was it calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it? That could be the reason why Adamu was relieved of his appointment even on official mission to Imo state!
However, it is worth emphasizing here that the fugitive leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) did not help his case and the group he led when he justified the attack on the Owerri prison. By saying that since the Nigerian government had failed to apprehend and jail killer herdsmen and pampered Boko Haram insurgents, then no one deserved to be in prison in any part of the country he goofed. Releasing hardened criminals, some of whom were convicted for murder and kidnapping and armed robbery, was unjustifiable and a huge criminal act in itself.
Yet in this extremely dangerous season of anarchy confronting us the solution is simple: tinker with the constitution to make Nigeria work effectively for the majority interest. That is, in other words, restructure radically the deficient federation and make it better for the good of all.
Those arguing conveniently that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable are living in fools’ paradise. They are living in executive denial! Nigeria’s unity must be negotiated and the time is now!
Nipping in the bud the developing rebellion cum insurrection across the federation requires leadership, something unfortunately lacking at the centre. Let us, together, break the hold of the centre upon our collective destiny. The time is, therefore, now to clean the Augean stable.