Many times the Cheetah chases the Antelope; the Antelope outruns the Cheetah not because it is faster than the Cheetah but by reason of the pursuit. While the Cheetah is chasing food, the Antelope is running for its live. "I only wish people would get away from this sentimental obsession of believing that those who call for an OPEN DISCUSSION on Nigeria are necessarily calling for Nigeria to break up, or that there is something sacrosanct about Nigeria, and that Nigeria can never DISINTEGRATE into 1000 pieces if care is not taken!
It was MAN that put Nigeria together. It is MAN that is holding Nigeria together as of today. It is MAN that is doing all the things that are threatening to break up Nigeria today. And it is MAN who can sit down to discuss and see if we can work out ways to fix all that is wrong with Nigeria. If my marriage is threatening to break up, and I refuse to sit down with my wife, and if need be, with family and friends, marriage counselors or pastors and priests, then I cannot be serious about wanting my marriage to work, and not break up!There is nothing called a marriage made in heaven! It is you who can make your marriage a 'HEAVEN or a HELL'!
It is the same with nations: Nigerians are the ones who can make Nigeria a HEAVEN or a HELL for us, if we are only willing to sit down and TALK HONESTLY about what is ailing Nigeria, each group from his or her own perspective, and then see how we can arrive at WORKABLE COMPROMISES. No one and no group can ever get 100% of what they want from any living arrangement, no matter how perfect!
Living together in a house, in a family or in a nation is always about being ready and willing to make COMPROMISES. There were very few words that could have expressed the Nigerian situation better than the ones above, they are the virtual words of my friend and brother Dr. Valentine Ojo of Tall Timbers, MD in the USA. It is the story of Nigeria. As I penned this admonition, MEND struck an AGIP trunk line in Brass Bayelsa, they called it a minor attack, a reminder that the issues are still there.
While they were at it, Mr. President and his erstwhile governor in same Bayelsa called each other liars. While it is difficult to say which of them was saying the truth. The fact is that both men represent the problem with Nigeria, mutual distrust. Again as Val Ojo puts it- The oil producing areas feel they are being abused, neglected and used, and reaping no discernible benefits from their oil.
However mysterious Gbomo Jomo puts a twist saying "We have constantly warned Nigerians about Goodluck Jonathan and his train of idiots running Nigeria. Events of the last few months have vindicated our position on the inability of this moron to lead Nigeria anywhere but downwards". Very harsh words, almost unprintable but coming from one's kinsman tells you there is trouble. "Rather than address serious issues facing the nation and its citizens, Goodluck Jonathan squanders public funds on tribalistic sycophants and thugs calling themselves ex-militants". This may be a lie, but it is equally not far from the truth.
The non-oil producing areas of the North, especially the North-East - to go by the recent revelations from Sanusi who should know - feel that they are not getting enough attention or their own fair share of the 'national cake'. Yet we are witnesses of the squandermania, looting, and maladministration that have been meted out to the people there by their own leaders.
The South East feels that they have been neglected and not compensated enough for the ravages of the Nigerian Civil War. At the slightest provocation they are victims, but they have continued to be plagued by the leadership of dealers. The South West feels they are being shoved away from center stage and gradually being marginalized, and that they are being held back in their desire to move ahead.
The Middle Belt feels that they don't even belong anywhere, neither to the South, nor to the North, that people don't even think that they exist or matter in the scheme of things. The Muslim North feels that their religion is not being given enough playroom. The Christian South feels the Christians are being persecuted in the Muslim North which they believe would like to Islamize the whole of Nigeria. Nobody is really happy with the project called Nigeria. From teachers, doctors, farmers, mechanic, security agents.
Just ONE...one CLIQUE which has been, and which is still today benefiting from the current chaos in Nigeria, a CLIQUE that cuts across ethnicity, geographical area, religion, and even educational and social class or status since even ILLITERATES who were once socially disadvantaged yesterday, have today become "honorable politicians" - Senators, Members of the House of Rep, Governors, Ministers, Commissioners, Presidential Advisers, and Local Government Chairpersons - all ENJOYING the GOOD LIFE - at the expense of some 99% of the population!
Shouldn't we better agree to come together and talk about it while we still can, even if those talks are going to be long and surely complex...and even if we may never quite agree on the reasons why some elements in the society are disgruntled? Must we continue in this fashion like an old rickety truck that is still barely moving, until that truck totally breaks down and can no longer move or even be repaired...? I do believe this may be the only choice facing Nigeria and Nigerians right now: an open an honest discussion forum - not only with Boko Haram - and call it whatever you like, involving everyone with something at stake, where people can bring out their grievances, justified or not, in the open.
The sooner we resolve to do the more INTELLIGENT THING, the better for all of us I do believe.
Nigeria can simply not continue like this, and hope to exist much longer as one nation. The handwriting is clearly visible on the wall, and we are merely refusing to read it correctly. The current crop cannot, it’s not an exercise the present NA can do or want to do but we have to draw modalities. It remains to wait and see if we are intelligent and mature enough to decide to do the right thing Time will tell.
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