By Hajia Hadiza Mohammed
SIR: As a Nigerian in Diaspora, any time I remember my home country Nigeria I feel grieved. I cry for a country that is fast sliding irreversibly into anarchy. I mourn for a people that lack national cohesion and direction. I weep for a country that has everything needed to be great and yet rooted in abject poverty. I bewail a nation with a surfeit of talents, whose nationals compete with the best in the world and excel and yet cannot replicate the same feat at home because of dysfunctional leadership.
In Nigeria the masses live like hostages plagued by poverty, terrorists, bandits and criminals and oppressed by those elected to superintend over their affairs. The people are kept permanently divided along tribal and religious lines by greedy politicians who benefit from such prejudices and stereotypes.
There are hues and cries in every nook and cranny of the nation. There are cries of oppression and marginalization and the concomitant emergence of emergency freedom fighters and separatist agitators. Nigeria has never been this disunited.
There is no gainsaying the fact that no government in our 61 years history as an independent nation has exposed our differences and fault-lines like the present regime of President Muhammadu Buhari. And regrettably, the politicians who are elected as representatives of the people are taking advantage of the deplorable situation rather than work for the interest of the citizenry and the nation. The clerics too, who are supposed to preach peace, when they are not preaching prosperity without hard work, are preaching violence. Of course our National Orientation Agency that is supposed to re-orientate the public about our national ethos of patriotism and service is moribund and the mainstream media dwells on stereotypes; highlighting our differences and weaknesses. And sadly, the disillusioned masses are fighting one another and erroneously adoring those that brought hardship and misery on them. It is unfortunate in the extreme!
In theory, the call for separation is not in any way treasonable; what is treasonable is the criminal neglect of the people, our common will and the abuse of the oath of office. Those governing Nigeria are obviously selfish and outmoded. They do not understand the heterogeneous nature of the country. In a multicultural nation like Nigeria, decision makers must as a matter of necessity tend to interest of the disparate groups. There are cries of marginalization, persecution, intimidation, oppression, corruption, mediocrity and nepotism. And those in power are unperturbed. The result is that standards are lowered, principles are compromised, rules are flouted, values are eroded and impunity and mediocrity are enthroned. The result of all these come to mutual recrimination, suspicion, strife, bitterness, social unrest, youth restiveness, lack of faith in the country, armed conflict and separatist agitations. Thus, national unity is fractured.
History has shown that separation has never been easy otherwise the whole world would have broken into pieces. It took Eritrea and Southern Sudan many years of internecine wars, misery and blood-letting to separate from Ethiopia and Sudan respectively. The Catalans of Spain has since time immemorial, been fighting to no avail to separate from Spain. Nigeria cannot afford another civil war. Nigeria is not the only multi-ethnic nation in the world. But other nations have tried to creatively manage their differences. Although, India has had Pakistan and Sri Lanka carved out of it, but it is a multi-ethnic and a multi-religious entity and they are living in peace and Indian nationals are making remarkable impact at the global stage.
Clearly, the future of this country lies squarely in uniting the people. Unity will promote peaceful co-existence. Peace will engender greater national productivity and economic progress and Nigeria will take its rightful place in the comity of nations.
Indeed, there is strength in unity. It is said that united will stand and divided will fall. I think that we are stronger and better together. Therefore, it is expeditiously necessary that Nigerians close ranks and unite and fight the common enemy – the corrupt politicians who propagate divisive tendencies among us in order to take advantage of us all instead of dissipating energy fighting to balkanize the country.
- Hajia Hadiza Mohammed, London, UK
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