War, Peace and the Federation of Nigeria

A little reading on the Nigeria Civil war of the late sixties reveals that what most people considered an ethnic issue did not really begin as an ethnic issue but a struggle within the army against what some top soldiers like Major Nzeogu considered corruption in the ruling government. It is a historical fact that Major Nzeogu surrounded himself with Hausas and had his base in Kaduna when he began his struggle prior to the war. General Aguiyi Ironsi also had a lot of non-Igbos around him and some people even think he was exposed as a president by his ‘naivety’. A few months later some people saw things differently and it became an ethnic issue leading to a civil war.

 

The understanding we had of Boko Haram’s struggle is an attempt to Islamize Nigeria and wipe out western education yet these days some statements I read seem to indicate that they are trying to prove that the current administration is not strong enough to stop them. Their actions further tell us that they are trying to wipe out Christians from Northern Nigeria (and possibly from Nigeria generally). Some of their statements also seem to be an attack on anyone who opposes their cause. What is all this really about?

 

If the other militia and non-militia groups in Nigeria – OPC, MASSOB, the Niger Delta groups and the like have begun viewing the actions of Boko Haram as ‘external aggression’, then we need to intercede harder. If Christian clerics have begun organizing congregations for reprisal attacks, then we need to pray even harder. Some may say we are being merely religious in calling for prayer while others vent their anger by writing against the Jonathan –led government. Whatever you view is, trust me, you do not want war in Nigeria.

 

A war in Nigeria means complete instability in the entire African continent. Managing close to 100 million fleeing refugees is not a joke.  A war in Nigeria means a standstill to the thousands of businesses including major African Banks whose largest branch networks are in Nigeria. A war in Nigeria means global impact on supply of crude oil. A war in Nigeria means the closure of a major market for manufactured products produced by major developed and developing nations: China, the US, India …. A war in Nigeria means a standstill in the economy. No matter how bad it is now, a standstill is far worse, believe me.

 

Everyone has a right to defend themselves but I do not believe that stirring up emotions about warfare within a nation as big as Nigeria in this day and age is a step in the right direction. I do realize that there is probably some dishonesty in the negotiations among leaders  regarding bombings in the North but I do think efforts should be directed at unveiling  the masked mafias behind this group rather than fighting all Northerners. As a possible solution to Nigeria’s complexity, I subscribe to Pa Enahoro’s idea of a Sovereign National Conference proposed as far back as 1992. Rather than dividing the nation violently, we should agree on what the terms of our living together are.

 

After the last civil war, I understand some Igbo’s swore never to make any investments in the North only to yield to the enterprising spirit just a few years after. Well, truth is “If they persecute you in one city, flee to the next” meaning in this context, better to stay among your own people than to be killed among another. Yes, another. We are one political entity but we are definitely different peoples and if we are going to live together in peace, then we must agree on the terms rather than depending on a mere political structure created by the British. Finally, maybe God is indeed trying to tell us something we are not hearing. God bless Nigeria.

3 Comments

  1. Akurios Igiri June 24, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Great piece.
    When d govt and ppl in powr only thnk abt d selfish gains dey realize frm d ‘unity’ of d entity called Nigeria, it will be near impossible 4dem 2 even hv time 2 think abt d fact dat ovr 250 ethnic grps need a docmentd agreemnt dat wd guide our co-existence.

    1. Mustafa August 8, 2012 at 10:01 am

      something like nigeria was made by enuapeors?.. this is true , but even european states have not always exisited. instead of dwelling on how the country was made, lets try and make the country work . dont u know that divisve talk like this makes nigeria not move forward. perhaps nigeria needs to seriously commemorate Biafra , but the problem is we are too proud a people to want to sit down and discuss some of the issues that Biafra , brought up. plus when people like Danjuma, and IBB are still around the biafra issue will not be dealt with properly. we need to apologise the each other 9 i.e. all the ‘tribes’) and try and move forward as one nigeria. and about igbo’s feeling marginalised, fair enuff there hasnt been an igbo president a while , however people like soludo, Ndi , and okonjo-Iweala , have shown excellent leadership in their respectiive areas. i pray for a naija that is less consumed with the politics of ethnicity , where people will vote for polticans PURELY on the basis of what that politican has to offer, not where he comes from . we are not the only african nation with different tribes ok , so can we just unite as a people and devlop our country so that the man on the street, where he is yoruba, igbo, hausa, ijaw, kalabari , ikwere, will be able to eat well and send his children to school.

      1. Kenneth August 11, 2012 at 10:19 am

        I agree with making the country work. The point of the article is deciding on what terms the diversity will peacefully co-exist. All countries with diverstity have some form of internal squabbles. The Normans and Saxons in middle-age UK, the black and whites in the US, the Serbs and ??? in former Yugoslavia I believe and so on.

        The former Yugoslavians decided it was better for them to be separate states and now I believe they are competing in sports together. East and West Germany decided they could be together so they broke down the Berlin Walls. USSR agreed on division peacefully etc. Now the point is not divide Nigeria, the point is that the people and not the Elite should decide how we want to live peacefully together.