C8: A country at war with itself

By Tony Marinho

The C8 War: CCCCCC: Covid, Country, Citizenship, Character (Federal), Corruption, Currency, Crippling Debt, Conflicts.

COVID-19 records deaths approaching 700,000 infections 18,600,000, with around 45,000 Nigerian cases. Hand-wash, Social Distance and mask are essential.

Country, Citizenship, Character War: Is Nigeria a country at war with itself and its citizens and abusing federal character, but refusing to admit it or take ‘war-like’ action? Let our leaders prove it is not.  Nigeria is a country -a piece of land within borders. Chief Obafemi Awolowo said in 1947, Nigeria was a ‘mere geographical expression’. Citizens make it feel like home for each other. Dominance and subjugation negate nationhood. Awolowo had no citizen ‘at home’ feeling. Have you- in 2020?

That definition is step 1 in making a country. We citizens have a country name, passport identity to back-up the country assertion. But some ‘haves’, in Nigeria claim they feel we are a nation – a natural goal, but not always achieved. Look at Sudan and Ethiopia. So, Nigeria on the scale of nationhood is a new country searching to become that great moral entity- a nation. Nigeria is a ‘nation in evolution’! But there is a cost to delay – citizens’ bloodshed, loss of growth, life in despair, emotional dissatisfaction, disenfranchisement, and loss of a feeling of belonging, with no authority rectifying the devastating feeling.

In football and many sports, all citizens, Nigerians discover their collective responsibility and camaraderie and unite as a nation behind the best Nigerians, but not daily.

A nation is where the chest bursts with pride when challenged or on the first music note of the anthem, where heartbeats quicken and warmth glows through the head and hairs stand up on the neck at mention of the name ‘Nigeria’, with a tear shed at recall of the nation’s dead or at the heroic passionate singing of the inspiring Nigerian national anthem or at the unfurling of the Green-White-Green flag flapping musically in the breeze or at the swearing of the glorious binding Nigerian national oath and taking of the profound Nigerian national pledge. These are welcome tasks for the national patriotic citizen and carried out with easy love, concern, and commitment for a greater tomorrow.

But at end of game, that burst of pride and nationalism are merely transient.  The grim reality is the powerlessness, potholes, corruption and insecurity of life and the trauma and difficulty of sewing the Nigerian multi-coloured doll together or keeping a fractured Nigeria together.

We only partially succeeded after the Civil War (1967-1970) in the repair of the country but that war did not heal completely. Old war wounds caused by poor post-war progress causing delays have festered and re-opened as demonstrated by the still unfinished Second Niger Bridge, East-West Road and poor East West Railway and atrocious federal road network. But beyond the physical is the mental neglect and oppression with insultingly ethnic-biased appointments creating non-representation issues with dangerous effects on citizenship and polity. The breakdown of the principle of citizen involvement caused by the refusal to implement federal character in appointments and distribution of federal resources and also over-centralisation over peripheral activities through the Unitary Federal Exclusive List, a military coup relic, are the most glaring signposts that must be redirected to send citizenry in the ‘we are one country, one nation’ direction . But will the political class be bold enough to give and take enough for the country to change direction and become a true nation? There are millions of citizens pointing the way, but those with political sway, dangerously for Nigeria’s future, arrogantly ignore the route to confirming the nation has grown from a country. How myopic and malicious can they be? We grow, they grow. Get them glasses to see the children of every ethnic group, sex and family seeking one thing- a nation which loves them.

With such war fronts on many sides, it still appears that the leadership cannot combat the multiple lethal conflict wars facing citizens daily. It takes few preventive measures. Why is government fast to sympathise, but   too slow to save the citizen from repeated bloody attacks by marauding herders, Boko Haram and ISWAP even in Maiduguri and its suburbs best manifest by conflicts in Northeast and Southern Kaduna with 4-5 million IDPs- neglected refugees in their own country.

Add the Corruption War of ‘Most Nigerian Officials vs. All Citizen’ and undetected and un-resisted until there are over 50 different multibillion naira cases and thousands of multimillion naira cases of theft from repeated un-prevented assaults on every single MDA and state government budget by the politically appointed, workers, contractors demanding ‘20-100% Commission’ on everything?  Indeed, tell citizens that state officials have stolen more for their own tribal citizens than federal government greed.

There is a Currency War from theft, fraud, lack of financial control and transparency, oil prices, poor sales, and fraudulent refineries. Another C is the Crippling Debt N33+trillion especially to China the old/ new husband of Africa- the beautiful bride with a cheap dowry to be paid with assets. Google ‘China Debt-Trap’. On our behalf, SERAP and NASS demand to see the documentation on this N33trillion debt.

The attack on Governor Zulum convoy is another ‘isolated incident’. A further ‘Declaration of WAR’ against Nigeria while the armed forces court-marshals its finest! The violence on traffic in Lagos during the Third Mainland Bridge closure signifies government negligence. Who, what ‘C’ is next?

Written by James Alami

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