By Joseph Edgar… No word can be strong enough to express how I feel this morning, waking up to the declaration of the so called coalition of Northern Youths giving igbos a deadline to leave the north. The temporary relieve I feel by the immediate response of the Kaduna State Government and other leading lights including former Vice Preident Atiku Abubakar still does not totally assuage my anger .
This bigotry has been going on for so long with the emergence of ethnic militia, if I can call them that. The Biafrans in the east, the now calm Oduduwa Peoples congress in the west and the varied groupings in the North, all evolving into what we are now seeing. The most painful thing in all these is that the authorities have not been able to launch a cohesive campaign in social unity to mute these agitations even though shallow.
The blame lies squarely at the feet of the Federal Government. I have always wondered why these ethnic sentiments, although not starting with this administration but has seemingly found a foothold and thriving in this regime. Could it be that their policies are nurturing and feeding these people or that there is a deliberate but covert support for it by elements in power who need this division to continue to hold on to power.?Whatever the answer is we have a problem.
This idiotic declaration could only have come out of demented minds. How do you give a Nigerian a deadline to leave any part of the country. What are their plans after the deadline? Commence a progrom again that would now lead to reprisal attacks in the East on their own kinsmen and then we now have the kind of civil war that killed millions once again?
The only welcome relieve is that these charlatans represent but a very minor part of our nation and although their actions continue to irritate us, it’s is totally not representative of us as a people. We are majorly a peace loving people and the inter marriages and social contract that we have entered amongst the various nations that make up this country, I believe, is binding enough to resist the embers of sectarian violence.
However, in all these, the question remains why is the government lame? Apart from issuing vacuous statements, all we see is really no cohesive and combined strategy of dealing with or engaging these forces that continue to frustrate us. Arresting and charging the leaders for treason as is the case with the Biafran person has only gone to create a demigod. It has not in any way resolved the matter but instead created a kind of mystery around this otherwise average Joe who is parading himself around as the messiah.
If you ask me, I would suggest a planned national campaign on all fronts to strengthen the social contract between us. Using all platforms and activities like sports and the National Youth Service Corp we need to rebuild the essence of our continuous unity in the hearts and minds of our people. Incentives and security should be given to business owners who set up businesses outside of their native regions. So, like the Igbo man who has a business in sokoto, he should be given tax concessions and better business environment not only to encourage him but also attract others like him.
Inter marriages must be encouraged and supported. We need to dilute this strong divisions by breeding a new breed of Nigerians who have shared heritage. But much more importantly, education at all levels should be enhanced. Illiteracy breeds all these kinds of things. The more lettered our people are the better our chances of moving away from these kinds of politics.
Lastly, good governance. Terrible governance breeds strive, and pushes people into these kinds of frustrations which in itself leads to tension.
This must be nipped in the bud. This must be decisively dealt with to serve as a deterrent for other such actions.