Warfare among Tribes
Have you run across this recipe for Tribes facing the dissolution of the treaty that binds them together? Here it is:
Pass a referendum bill…referendum campaigns conducted in a constructive manner…the need for a robust yet respectful debate…arguments “passionate” and “at times heated”, but informed and constructive…debate should be free from intimidation, jeering and sneering…politicians must not “go to war” over whether or not tribes should leave the political union…the sides on this question are not enemies…conduct this debate without losing the friendships and the positive relationships we have…whatever the result we will want to come together and whatever the people have decided we will want to act upon…mustn't create a legacy of bitterness and hatred…a civilised debate rather than warfare between tribes…
“A CIVILISED DEBATE RATHER THAT WARFARE BETWEEN TWO TRIBES…”
On November 15 2013, BBC News Scotland reported: “Scottish independence: MSPs pass referendum bill”. But it was Tom Peterkin reporting in the Scottish THE SCOTSMAN who gave us the insight and advice pouring from the hearts and minds of the Scottish leadership in “Scottish independence referendum bill passed” (http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scottish-independence-referendum-bill-passed-1-3188213). In there, Mr. Malcom Chisolm is reported to have stated the guiding and enduring agenda:
“What we need to have is a civilised debate rather than warfare between two tribes.”
By now, it is no longer news that Scotland is engaged in the exercise of her rights of Self Determination, pursuing steps to forge ahead and craft her own political and sovereign destiny outside of the United Kingdom, leaving a union resulting from a 300-year-old treaty. The UK government and the rest of UK have not tried to quash, subdue, suppress, intimidate or criminalize the process, nor threatened Scottish leaders and their people with the charge of Treason. UK has not bandied around the term, “indivisible” to mock and frustrate Scottish moves; UK has not made any claims of a special Divine dispensation guaranteeing her unity or stamping unity on her Seal. Rather, UK respects the right of her citizens and her tribal groupings to decide what is good for them and where they [want to] belong politically; and UK is determined, as a matter of principle and course, to abide by, facilitate and carry out such decisions. The rest of the world accepts the process, too. One does not read anywhere that such and such a country, superpower or not, is invested in the unity of UK; or that a “united UK” is supreme, and as such, Scotland is vilified and discouraged in her bid to leave, because “to keep UK one” is now an imperative to be achieved at all costs.
There are lessons here for Nigeria, most of them obvious, some not so obvious. For example, Scottish leader, Mr. Chisolm, sees the situation as an issue between “Tribes”. Wow! That word, Tribe, is a dirty word for Nigeria, a derogatory term retained from the regime of those who bequeathed their language to Nigeria and first used that word as an insult against Nigerians. No one in Nigeria can admit his or her tribe—not if he or she does not want to be thoroughly disparaged and condemned as a “Tribalist.” But to those who own the word and the language whence it derives, Tribe is a mark of natural identity which neither a three-century-old Union-treaty nor globalization can erase or take away. There in UK, it is still the “Queen of England”, not the Queen of UK; “the Prince of Wales”, not the Prince of UK, where England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland are the major tribal groupings of UK. They know and understand that the Tribe is the most natural and logical unit and basis for sovereignty and sovereign pursuits. They do not forget or deny their collective natural identity which is defined by Tribe.
Another lesson for Nigeria is this: why is it acceptable for other tribes in the world to exercise their Self Determination rights, but the same world frowns upon and discourages African Tribes from seeking the same basic collective human rights? Isn't it ironic and patronizing that the same UK government which allows its own citizens to purse a referendum for separation is yet the most ardent opposer of Nigerian Tribes seeking the same relief and disposition? Why does the US make [reported] statements implying that the continued forced unity of Nigeria is in the best interest (of the US?) and must remain so, even though the Nigerian Tribes want to do what the Scottish did not have to seek others' permission to do, what the Scottish Tribe is allowed to do in UK? Nigerians, indeed, Africans, must be lesser human beings, not human enough to partake of natural liberties taken for granted by the rest humanity on this planet? Why do the tribes in Nigerian, in Africa, allow themselves to be deprived of these liberties, either by other countries and or their expectations, or by their own self?
In any case, Nigeria should learn and understand that the desire and pursuit of leaving a union by a Tribe as such does not constitute declaring or waging war against the union. In 1707 the Scottish Tribe signed a Treaty with Britain to form a political union. In 2014, the Scots are going to decide either to continue to honor the treaty or to pull out: that's all there is to that. They don't even have to have an adverse reason to do so; it's their right. The act is not confrontational. Obviously, there are plenty of reasons why Nigeria's 1904 political “Amalgamation” “Treaty” cannot stand; any Tribe opting to leave has plenty of justification. To read such a move as a hostile act against Nigeria is not called for; such characterization is neither logical nor justifiable. In other words, it cannot and should not constitute or be regarded as a threat to Nigeria or to Nigerians (or to the world) that any Tribe or Tribes want to leave Nigeria.
As Nigeria prepares to engage in what is now looking like a “been there, seen that, done that” exercise (in futility), otherwise known as a Sovereign National Conference, wherein the outcome of continued non-consenting, unequal and forced union of Tribes is already a fixed endpoint, it is crucial that Tribes and peoples living and suffering in Nigeria wake up and take notice. Paraphrasing Albert Einstein, one cannot continue to do the same thing the same way over and over again and expect a different result. The Scottish Tribe of UK has handed you a recipe which fits Nigeria's situation where Tribes desire to leave the (unworkable) union. Use it wisely; use it. Ignore it at your own continued peril. Here are the essential steps the Scots are taking:
- Craft and approve a Tribe Self Determination Referendum Bill
- Debate the Referendum
- Specify Procedural details
- Focus on what Independence really means
- Vote on the Referendum
- Resolve to carry out the Tribes' wishes
- No hard feelings—preserve goodwill.
Oguchi Nkwocha, MD.
A Biafran Citizen