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|The Kaduna Parade And Charade Of Charlatans: The Case For Collective Security by Chizgold: 1:44pm On Jun 12, 2017|
History can be one cruel recycler. June 12, 1993, exactly 24 years ago today, Nigerians accomplished what should have been a historic watershed moment in its political development as a nation. It was, to date, the freest and fairest election in Nigeria’s history. It was also a most unconventional election, one that contradicted longstanding wacky theory and practice of religious balance on presidential tickets. In that epic election, Nigerians, from north to south, east to west, massively voted a Muslim-Muslim ticket. Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola and Babagana Kingibe, both Muslims, were elected president and vice president, respectively.
But it was a great moment that would not be. General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida would go on to annul an election that was widely and globally adjudged a free and fair exercise. Reason for the annulment does not need a crystal ball. The Northern establishment wasn’t just ready to let power shift south yet. Any other revisionist excuse is just a moonlight tale. So, after wasting billions of dollars – both spent and stolen – on an obvious ruse, IBB and the northern oligarchs annulled the elections and plunged the nation into the worst human crisis since the civil war. There was mass hysteria; the country was burning; confusion everywhere; ‘everybody scatter-scatter’; dead bodies in the streets; and shops and businesses looted by opportunistic hoodlums. In the frenzy of the looming war, the Igbo up north and in other parts of the country, were on the run for dear life. Oso Abiola, they erroneously tagged it, for it should have been Oso Babangida. Hundreds of Igbo lives were lost in that madness. Entire families were wiped out in road accidents on the run back east.
Determined to actualize his legitimately won mandate, MKO pledged his life, if that was what it would take to effectuate the desires of millions of Nigerians who had had it with the Northern military oligarchy. As the heat got too much, and with the international community paying closer and concerted attention, the Minna coward ‘stepped aside’ for his Kanuri brother, General Sani Abacha. The expectation was that Abacha would do the right thing and hand over power to MKO. But it would turn out to be a hopeless pipedream. Rather than relinquish power, Abacha locked MKO up and engaged in a massive and unprecedented looting of the commonwealth.
Abacha gave MKO one condition for his freedom: surrender his legitimately acquired mandate. Lawyers would argue that MKO was an equitable president because equity regards as done what ought to be done. By that maxim, when individuals are required, by law or their agreement, to perform some act of legal significance, equity will treat that act as having been done as it ought to have been done, even before it has actually happened. The act of legal significance that ought to have been done by IBB and, later, Abacha, was to swear MKO in as the duly elected president of the Republic. By requiring a president in Equity to surrender his mandate and go home, Sani Abacha was issuing an illegal quit notice on MKO. Well, as fate would have it, and because God hates ugly, Abacha would quit before MKO in that macabre season of obsequies.
Since the June 6 charade of charlatans, otherwise widely referred to as the Kaduna Declaration by Arewa Youth Forum, I had been struggling with what an appropriate reaction would be for me. And by appropriate reaction is meant, first and foremost, whether the nuisance effect of such nonsense was even worth a response. Does one respond to the mundane tomfooleries of every attention-seeking bastards? If one does, then one would have to make it a fulltime job, seeing as Nigeria, in its unusualness, churns out a ton of such deplorable behaviors as a matter of routine.
So I wasn’t going to pen a response just because a band of bandits engaged in an everyday Nigerian behavior, as painful as that sounds. Not even the silly threat of illegal dispossession of Igbo landed properties in the North was going to move me; after all, that would not be the first time the Igbo would be dispossessed of their property. In the 1970 post civil war, the Igbo returned to Port Harcourt only to be told by their Rivers brothers that their properties were deemed abandoned, and therefore, forfeited. So I didn’t deem the antics of the so-called Arewa Youth Forum worthy of the time any person would waste in response.
But one thing would jolt me and pull me out of my shell. And that is the statement in the Saturday Sun, credited to one Senator Femi Okurounmu, a chieftain of the apex Yoruba socio-cultural organization, the Afenifere. Reportedly, Okurounmu attended a meeting of the Afenifere group where the decision contained in his statement was presumably reached. Here is Senator Okurounmu:
“This quit notice by the Northern youths should not be seen by any wise Southerner as being meant for only people from the South-East or that it is an empty threat. These Northern youths meant business, and not only that, they have the backing of the Northern elders, who have not only expressed their support for the youths, but have also affirmed their backing for the quit notice given to the South-Easterners. These Northerners should not be underrated, and one of the major reasons we are insisting that all Southerners should start coming back to the South now is that when these attacks on them begin, the Northerners will attack all Southerners. How are they going to separate a Yoruba from Igbo? It is going to be difficult. Southerners shouldn’t be gullible. They should start coming home now. They should not wait until the end of the ultimatum. We don’t want a repeat of [the] 1966-1967 pogrom, when hundreds of people of Southern origin, especially those from the South-East were massacred in the North…”
That, right there, is the major reason Nigeria has remained the big fat joke it is today. If one presumes that Senator Okurounmu spoke for the Afenifere, being a chieftain of the group, and having attended the meeting where the decision was reached, then one can equally presume that Okurounmu’s statement is the Yoruba response to the Igbo quit notice issued by a gang of daylight bandits up north. And what I take from Senator Okurounmu’s statement (the Afenifere position) is that Yorubas should also leave northern Nigeria because the Hausa-Fulani Arewa youth will “attack all Southerners”. They will do so because they will find it difficult to separate the Yoruba from the Igbo when the massacre begins. In other words, if it were not difficult for the northern bandits to separate the Yoruba from the Igbo, so as to kill the Igbo and spare the Yoruba, Senator Okurounmu and the Afenifere would not have asked the Yorubas to leave the North. Again, that, right there, is the very core of Nigeria’s social and existential challenge.
Now, let’s be very clear. The Afenifere response falls on both sides of the normative ledger. It is a good, indeed perfect, response if Afenifere’s founding and only mission is to serve as the protectors and custodians of the Yoruba nation. As parochial as that mission might seem, Afenifere’s response, spoken through Senator Okurounmu, meets that mission. But, if Afenifere was chartered with the greater, nobler, and more nationalistic goal of preserving the national center, then, its response is at best, unfortunate, and at worst, downright shameful. Either way, it betrays a fundamental problem with the Nigerian experiment. It proves once again that Nigeria is more contraptious than it is organic. It is a colonial contrivance hatched in the darkest chambers of British monarchy with little to no attention to long-term.
Nigeria lacks an organic center; it is not an organic family. We are neither brothers nor step-sisters; we are a bunch of foster siblings adopted by a selfish, non-related welfare Queen (of England) who did not love or care for us any more than she loved or cared for the resources she stole from under our feet. In the absence of an organic centric relationship, each sibling in the Nigerian foster system exists in silos. We exist in independent compartments. Except for electoral political expediency, we are unable to forge internal alliances, at least since the end of the civil war. When one sibling is attacked, or threatened to be attacked, by another, the remaining siblings play spectators. There is no sense of “the rest of us”. Hausa-Fulani have attacked the Igbo up north; Yorubas have attacked the Igbo in Lagos; Yorubas have clashed with the Hausa-Fulani in Lagos; and the Igbo have attacked Hausa-Fulani in Onitsha. And whenever these two-party skirmishes occur, the unaffected ethnic nationalities play spectators and go about their normal lives. Senator Okurounmu and the Afenifere are doing just that – playing spectators as the Arewa bandits threaten the Igbo up north.
If we are serious about building Nigeria, then, we can no longer afford to play spectators as one group heedlessly attacks another. It is time we adopted the principle of collective security. Better still, it is time we adopted a hybrid of collective security and collective defense. In national collective security system, federating nationalities covenant to desist from using force against other members of the collective, except insofar as force is needed as they band together against any member who attacks another within the group. It is a compact among groups to refrain from attacking one another and to unite in attacking any member of the group who attacks another member of the group. Collective security alone would have been a sufficient adoptive principle for Nigeria, but there are two reasons for bringing in some elements of collective defense as well. First, at the heart of collective defense treaty, such as NATO’s Article 5, is the solidarity slogan of “All for One, and One for All”. In collective defense, parties to the treaty agree to come to the defense of any member who has been attacked by a nonmember state. Second, given the fragile internal dynamics in Nigeria, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that a federating ethnic nationality that routinely engages in acts of violent aggression against another federating nationality would gleefully play spectator as another federating nationality is attacked by a foreign force.
Until a threat by a gang of hoodlums up north is treated, not just as a threat against the Igbo, but a threat against the “rest of us”, Nigeria will continue to exist in fragility. Until Senator Okurounmu and the Afenifere refrain from the silly direct-threat-target calculation and see an illegal quit ultimatum to the Igbo by a despicable gang of northern terrorists as a threat to the “rest of us”, Nigeria will continue as a foster experiment. Until we embrace collective security and collective defense as national ethos, the pathos of disunity will continue to dog us. The declared criminality of the Arewa Youth Forum should not be an Igbo fight. It should be a national fight. From Ijaw to Ibibio, Egba to Etsako, war drums, in the spirit of collective security solidarity, should be thundering with reverberations across the land. The brigands in Kaduna must get the message that a senseless attack on one is an attack on us all.
Ideally, that is what should happen – Nigerians coming together in the spirit and solidarity of collective security. All for one, and one for all. That is the ideal. But I am as much an idealist as I am a realist. And the reality as it exists today is that the Igbo will fight their own war and meet the Arewa threat. And they will do that bravely and gallantly. Ndi Igbo are no collective tenants in Nigeria; therefore, they are not liable to a collective quit notice from any part of Nigeria – be it Kaduna, be it Lagos. Period! If anything, ndi Igbo are landlords. Therefore, ndi Igbo are not going anywhere. A combined reading of sections 41 and 43 of the Nigerian Constitution puts that beyond doubt. Section 41(1) of the 1999 Constitution reads: “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.” And Section 43 reads: “Every citizen of Nigeria shall have the right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria.”
I have read statements issued by Igbo governors’ forum and Igbo lawmakers, urging ndi Igbo to ignore the Arewa ultimatum and go about their lawful businesses. The problem with that is that it sounds all too cliché. To ignore the Arewa threat as an idle threat would have made sense if evidence existed of concrete steps taken by both local and federal law enforcement authorities to keep the peace. Such evidence does not exist. Instead, the Inspector General of Police is known to have declared that there was no credible evidence of steps toward the actualization of a videoed, televised, and published threat that would warrant an arrest. Are you kidding me? What further evidence does the IGP need, a slaughter field and a mass grave?
Since when do sedition and seditious conspiracy cease being outlawed conducts under Nigerian criminal and penal jurisprudence? Has Ibrahim Kpotum looked at Chapter 7 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act (Chapter 77 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1999)? Has the IGP looked at Chapter 27 of the Penal Code (Northern States) Federal Provisions Act? The pronouncements of the Arewa Youth Forum meet all the definitional elements of sedition and seditious conspiracy. An overt conduct, such as speech and organization, which tends toward insurrection against the established order is seditious. The Arewa pronouncement is a clear subversion of sections 41 and 43 of the Nigerian Constitution, and an obvious incitement of discontent and resistance to lawful authority. Why were Nnamdi Kanu and other IPOB members arrested and detained again? What is the difference between their offence and the Kaduna Declaration by the Arewa Youth Forum? I will tell you. The IPOB want to be left alone to peacefully go their separate way. The Arewa Youth Forum want to violently force the Igbo out of the north, and illegally and forcibly dispossess them of their immovable property.
Look, if there is anything history has taught us, it is that some of our foster siblings up north have no aversion for violence. Therefore, their threat must be treated with the seriousness it deserves. A strategy must be developed to meet their typical intransigence. Urging the Igbo to stay put up north and to go about their normal businesses is not a strategy. Ndi Igbo will not quit the north; ndi Igbo will queue into the north. Ndi Igbo will not run from the north; ndi Igbo will make a run for the north. Unless Igbo governors have received sufficient security assurances, they must strategize and send reinforcement up major northern cities and towns. Enough of this nonsense already! Ndi Igbo lost over a million lives in the....
READ MORE: http://ikengachronicles.com/the-kaduna-parade-and-charade-of-charlatans-the-case-for-collective-security/
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