Nigeria, the North, and How It Will All End
To the families of Nigerians that lost their lives in the dastardly bombing act on October 1, 2010, I can only express regrets that with unabashed abandon, elders such as Adamu Ciroma and his colleagues, under a nondescript organization called NORTHERN POLITICAL
LEADERS FORUM, are exploiting their misfortune and that of the nation to make as much political capital as possible.
I am a Tiv man from Benue State, who happens to be a Nigerian by the craftsmanship of the British. I am called a Northerner by geographical convenience. Accordingly, I shall open my heart and speak advisedly on some serious issues that have beset us as a nation most lately. I appeal to the reader to follow me carefully and thoughtfully as I make reference to some statements I have made in some previous articles for elucidation.
I saw and wrote about what I saw in November 2009 in an article entitled: 'On Yar'Adua's Incapacitation, the Constitution, and a Dream' the following words:
'It was Sunday night on November 22, 2009. I went to bed and had what you may call an open vision or a dream. Nigeria's president at the time, Mr. Umar Yar'Adua had died. I saw that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the Vice-President assumed the position of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There was uneasiness, particularly in the northern part of Nigeria. In this dream, Dr. Goodluck declined the request by the North not to contest the presidential elections in 2011. Then, the unease turned to something inexplicably dastardly.'
The bomb blasts on October 1, 2010 and the near euphoric reaction by people like Adamu Ciroma, the 'Northern Political Leaders Forum' and their supporters did not come to me as a surprise. But I know exactly how the drama shall play out. Nigerians, we must not forget so soon:
1. When Boko Haram struck in 2009, Ciroma and his 'Northern Political Leaders Forum' did not ask the late president (Umar Yar'Adua) to resign. When the leader of Boko Haram was killed in the custody of Nigerian security agents in an extra-judicial manner, apparently to silence him in order to protect his sponsors, Ciroma and his collaborators did not ask Yar'Adua to resign. How dare Ciroma and his collaborators to insult the intelligence of Nigerians!
2. Repeatedly, Nigerians have been butchered and killed during 'religious riots' in Northern Nigeria, the latest and most recurring being the Jos and Plateau State pogrom. Ciroma and his group were silent and did not ask President Yar'Adua, who was president during the peak of the crisis last year, to resign.
3. I am sure Ciroma was in Nigeria when the first act of bombing was carried out in Nigeria under the dictatorship of General Babangida, when Dele Giwa was killed. I don't know if he called on the General to resign.
4. We have lived in numerous crises orchestrated by the generation of Adamu Ciroma; I am not aware that Adamu Ciroma has reacted passionately, calling on the president or Head of State during those crises to resign.
5. Just recently, when the late President Yar'Adua left the country without a leader, and so in crisis, it was people like Adamu Ciroma, who threatened that nobody should remove Yar'Adua. He has never shown any interest in the preservation of this country, Nigeria.
We know exactly what the generation of Adamu Ciroma is trying to do. We know what exploiters of the nation's recent misfortune are eager to accomplish. They seek to sow seeds of discord and split further the north and south. They seek to cut off whatever remaining emotional attachment between the north and south. To what use is our education if we fail to see through this? They want to sustain the politics of divide that has left our nation swooning. They delight in holding the back of the mirror before us and yet abusing us for our inability to see our faces. They use religion to separate us while by their acts and utterances they show they aren't religious at all. But the end of the present drama shall depend on how President Jonathan handles issues. I shall provide some insight into what he can do and should do if Nigeria will survive this latest onslaught:
1. Avoid Distraction : The end has definitely come for those veterans of divide-and-rule politics. President Jonathan should desist from making further comments about the on-going investigation into the bombings of October 1, 2010 and allow his aides and relevant security officials to address us on the progress of the case. The reason is simple; whatever he says shall be misconstrued by professional politicians who want to mock the nation and distract from hunting down killers of our patriots who innocently lost their lives on October 1, 2010. Take, for instance, his recent statement that MEND did not bomb Abuja on October 1, 2010, but 'terrorists' did. I listened to him. He went further to say that 'terrorists' such as bombed Abuja and engaged in kidnapping recently in Nigeria committed such heinous acts, not for any altruistic reasons such as the liberation of the oppressed, but for personal selfish gain. An objective listener understood what the president was saying, 'Don't hide under a group such as MEND to commit criminal acts; you are a terrorist, pure and simple.' The question is, who is MEND that bombed Abuja? Let us see his face. If some criminals claiming to be MEND have refused to show their faces, but rather chosen to hide behind some four-one-nine-like emails, and others, who have been known to be MEND's leaders have publicly disassociated themselves from the crime, then it is not difficult to say MEND did not commit the act but 'terrorists' did. And once investigations unearth sufficient evidence, those individuals shall be charged to court in their names and not in the name of some faceless MEND. What the president said was deep, but people choose to hear what they may.
2. Avoid deceit : In an article, 'Nigeria: Interpreting Times And Events', I warned, based on what I saw at the time, that we were living in a period of great deception; that the mutually assured destruction of politicians, who shall betray each other leading up to the 2011 elections, shall lead to the liberation of the good people. I then warned that Jonathan was not clean. If President Jonathan will help himself and therefore, Nigeria, he must not use any information at his disposal, which should have been used to free Nigeria, to rather score for himself political points and blackmail his political opponents. He must not allow himself to be frightened from taking decisive steps simply because some people may impute wrong motives. If he does, he is done for. The law must strictly take its course, whosoever is affected.
3. Avoid destructions: Why will the president go beyond the INEC's request for extension of time to seek further amendments to the electoral Act 2010, which shall allow his aides, ministers, Ambassadors, Chairmen of Boards of parastatals etc., to vote in party indirect primaries? This is exactly what I was wary about when I wrote the article 'INEC Should Stop This Distraction and Confusion!' President Jonathan must not shred any existing laws for the immediacy of self-service.
No zone or region of Nigeria presently has a stable and strong leadership to guarantee a convenient split-up of the nation. I therefore, believe that should Nigeria be forced to break up by the provocations of elders such as Adamu Ciroma, who have lost self-control, the consequences of further break-ups shall make every mile a country in the aftermath. The North (of which I am a member) has no right to decide who should run for an elective office or not. Besides, no man or woman, elder or youth has the mandate to speak on behalf of the North in the same way no man presently (post-amnesty) can speak on behalf of MEND. Ciroma and his 'Northern Elder Politicians Forum' do not speak for me and many other Northerners. I understand that Dr. Iorchiya Ayu, a fellow Tiv man, is a top official of that forum. He and all his colleagues in that forum do not speak for Dr. Leonard Shilgba and Northerners in general. And I believe that given my training and passion, I deserve to be heard and my views deserve to be examined too. Ciroma speaks for himself; and his group must not arrogate to itself the responsibility to speak on behalf of the North. I will surely speak at the polls just like any Northerner or Nigerian from whatever region can do if they so choose. When I reach out to cast my vote, at that moment I have the power to decide politically who shall govern me. Enough of this nonsense! These are people that have destroyed Nigeria, left our children dying before they reach the age of five; left the amajiris of the North uneducated while they send their children abroad and to expensive private schools in Nigeria; left the north far poorer than any region in this country; left the north with horrible roads just as in other regions of Nigeria; and left our country with poor social services. They cannot deceive northerners of my generation, not with our education at least, unless our degrees are as useless as their arguments have been.
As I conclude, permit me to make some profound assertions:
1. There shall be no military take-over of government in Nigeria.
2. Many politicians will make a snare and fall inside. Some shall pay with their lives. Stray arrows shall get them.
3. The mystery woven shall be broken; the faces shall be revealed. That is the task of President Jonathan. If he deviates an inch from the true rule of law, betrays compassion, yields to pressure from 'Traditional rulers' and 'stakeholders', he himself shall be consumed. Remember King Saul. If you spare King Agag, the throne shall be taken from you. I have spoken. He that has an ear let him hear.
4. I speak to King Agag. Although you say in your foolish haste, 'Surely the bitterness of death is past,' you are deluded. For you shall be hewn down, even if not by the hands of a disobedient President Jonathan. 'As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.' You shall be blown up in pieces.
These are no ordinary times.
Leonard Karshima Shilgba is an Associate Professor of Mathematics with the American University of Nigeria and President of the Nigeria Rally Movement (www.nigeriarally.org ). TEL: +234 (0) 8055024356 EMAIL: