Sunday, March 26, 2006

Nigerian Nazi Groups

The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) is unequivocally a secessionist group, just as well are OPC and MOSOP. Supporting such groups or sympathizing with their cause is tantamount to treasonable felony as described by the law of the land. The Nigerian civil war, fought almost 40 years ago was a senseless frenzy of blood letting resulting in the death of over one million Nigerians on both sides of the war. And it was all as a result of tribalist sentiments allowed to run wild.

All over Nigeria sectional groups are once again cropping up, all purporting to represent and further the causes of groups that are often described along ethnic, regional or religious grounds. We have the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Afenifere, Egbe Omo Oduduwa, Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC), Ohaneze Ndiigbo to name the most vociferous ones. All these groups are shamelessly xenophobic and bleat patent bigotry bordering on hatred for ethnic or sectional groups other than theirs. In their rhetoric one discerns the myopia, tribalism and blatant perversion of the commonalities that describe their respective interest groups. Just like Hitler’s Nazi rhetoric, they twist logic and distort the truth in a bid to warp the minds of the common Nigerian for their support. The poor unsuspecting common folk, like the German citizen of the 1930s feeds off these distorted logic and innuendos and the result is catastrophic. Many Nigerian youths have become misguided, paranoid and patently xenophobic; as a result, we have perennial senseless civil strife just like the recent ones in Maiduguri and Onitsha that spread to other parts of Northern and Eastern Nigeria respectively.

If only these tribalists could see beyond their avarice and quest for personal aggrandizement, wealth and power, they would see that there is so much to be gained from peaceful co-existence and diversity. The most advanced and richest nation the world has ever known, the USA, is what it is today because of the degree of diversity of its citizenry and the fact that people are given opportunities to express themselves so long as they exhibit some value-adding talent regardless of race, creed or social class. Most importantly, the rule of law prevails in the USA, and it is applied equitably regardless of status and social position.

The problem with Nigeria today has nothing to do with the various causes for which these rabidly tribalist groups purport to be fighting. It is multi-factored and includes lack of truth and justice, wholesale corruption, gross unenlightenment of the leadership and followership alike, and the abject poverty that has been inflicted on the populace by the devious leadership. By keeping the populace impoverished and uneducated, the ruling class has been able to easily manipulate them for their selfish ends. In the early days of the 3rd republic for example, when it was found that Governor Bola Tinubu had lied about his educational qualifications, Pa Abraham Adesanya, an Afenifere chieftain is credited to have asked members of his tribalist group and affiliates not to launder their dirty linen in public, while the same groups had been so vitriolic in an earlier similar episode involving impeached House Speaker, Salisu Buhari, who had likewise lied about his educational qualification. Such is the double standard applied by these tribalist organizations.

Hitler applied double standard and distorted logic in Nazi Germany and it resulted in the death of about 50 million people worldwide in World War II. These tribalist groups are doing the same thing in Nigeria with the perennial ethnic cleansings that take place every now and then. If the Hausas are not killing the Igbos in Kano or Maiduguri, it is the Yorubas killing the Igbo traders in Lagos, or Fulani cattle herdsmen in Ibadan, or the Igbos killing the Hausa ram sellers in Onitsha, or perhaps the Jukuns killing the Tivs in Taraba state. Is there no respect for the sacredness of human life? Just because a person does not share the same mother-tongue or religious faith as the next does not render the person less human.

Rather than sow seeds of division, hatred, bigotry and xenophobia would not a better Nigeria be engendered if these tribalist leaders came together to confer truthfully and sincerely, without any divisive motives on how best to get Nigeria along the path of economic and social development? Should they not be beating the drums of National patrotism rather than whipping up descriminatory and myopic tribal sentiments which are only destructive to the wellbeing of the people whose cause they purport to be protecting?

These tribalist and sectional groups are regressive and should be eschewed by all progressive Nigerians who would like to see a truly democratic Nigeria where truth and justice are equitably applied.

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Anonymous said...

I read a book called Graceland that was about Nigeria, I can see exactly where you're coming from. The troubling thing is we are seeing this more and more in the U.S. and politicians on the right now openly seek the support of these people.