By Ignatius Muotoh
After a most critical but thorough study of the Nigerian situation and her readiness for a positive change, one can sadly claim that there are simply no signs for a peaceful or a violent change now or in the future. Illusions have been conceptualised by many for an imminent Nigerian revolution such as the ‘Arab Spring’ in the very foreseeable future possibly at par with those of Libya, Tunisia or Egypt. However, I am from a different school of thought with a contrary opinion on such issues, even when it’s said that the word ‘change’ is a constant factor. This may be true in normal situations, but things are not normal in the Nigerian context. In the first instance, there’s neither a Spring in our weather nor the Arab stock in our ethnic equation.
A change is the substitution of one thing for another. It is a transformation from one state of affairs into another. It converts into something different. At times, it may be through a voluntary action of a group, or through a unified and often violent actions of the same group. I am of the opinion that none of such can happen in a complex and extremely unique country like Nigeria.
The derivation of this phenomena are based on a well established fact, which clearly states that revolutionary actions only occur where patrotic spirit thrives. The overthrow or repudiation of a system thorough the replacement of an established government by the people governed is crucial to this change. Patrotism is a devotional love. It acts as a support and defence of one’s country. It is a national loyalty and such indices are clearly a mirage in the Nigerian enterprise. Factors precipitous to this situation are numerous and often very unique to the Nigerian concept. Amongst these complexities are:
Tribalism is a strong loyalty to one’s own tribe. Most times it is an inflexible and blind loyalty to ones tribe, and quite often, leads to injury on other groups outside ones own. The adherence by the various tribes to their values and the refusal of each tribal group to accept or support issues that impact positively on all, acts as the bane to unity and development of the nation. It denies and voids any cataclysm for a deserved change. In the Nigerian scenario, there is an absence of national value, which in every situation, is a pre-requisite condition and a necessary ingredient for achieving some sort of cohesion amongst the populace. In addition, there’s also the absence of a nationally accepted standard of measurement of value. Hence, what may be an anathema to one group, may be viewed acceptable by the other group. In some cases such anathema may be socially acceptable by a group, as long as that group is protected and benefits from such act. Hence criminal actions by public officers and politicians are adjudged in relation to such officers ethnic affiliation And decisions are based not on rationality but often skewed by tribal influences.
This also explains why public servants who through the abuse of their positions, commit criminal acts or loot the nation’s treasury, may be loathed by other ethnic groups, while at the same time, honoured by their kind.
‘The a la carte’ of cataclysm.
Religion transcends into a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies. It usually involves devotional and ritual observances. It often contains a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
Constitutionally, Nigeria is a secular state, but this secularity is open to questions. For logic sake, If she is really a secular state as acclaimed by her constitution, why the urge and the agitation by some states for the Sharia? Why would a cartoon scripted in a far away country of Sweden, and considered blasphemous by the Islamic faithful, lead to bloodshed in an unrelated country, Nigeria. That’s the extent of the complexity of religious intolerance, which is totally unique to Nigeria. This unique complexity in religious affairs, is to borrow the words of the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ‘a puzzle found in an enigma and wrapped in a cocktail of mystery’. This unique puzzle, has continuously denied the Nigerian nation the desired growth and advancement in all fields of development. When taking a critical view on religion in the Nigeria, one can rightly adduce that there exists a near 50/50 population ratio to the Islamic and Christian faithful. This Christian and Muslim ration is certainly close an equal proportion. And this is where this unique problem lies. It is the bane to peace. Studies have shown that, for any nation to advance and develop accordingly, either one of these two religions (Christianity and Islam) must have an overwhelming population over and above the other group. Not proportionate. It’s either a Muslim dominated state, or a Christian dominated state. A case in point is Malaysia or Singapore both of which attained independence with Nigeria from the same Colonial Britain almost to the day. Both of these two nations for now, are miles ahead of Nigeria in all aspects of development index. In each of these countries, the Muslim population far outnumbers the Christian minority, and as such do not have as much religious frictions that impede development. These nations, forge ahead with policies for development at their own pace and speed acceptable to an Islamic nation. Another case in point is the nation of Malta which gained independence from the same British Colonial power four years after Nigeria. Again, this country has left Nigeria far behind in all aspects of development index, yet again. Examples abound when one takes a closer look at the following countries.
Saudi Arabia- Islamic majority, a fast developing nation. Qarta- Islamic majority, a fast developing nation. Angola- Christian majority, a fast developing nation. India- Hindi majority, a fast developing nation.
Therefore, it stands to show that with such unique complexity, it is difficult if not impossible for a nation like Nigeria to make a leap forward into any meaningful progression in industrialisation and development, since ethnic and tribal forces are pulling in all directions. When such forces are present in a nation, progress will be very slow, at best.
We will now take another look at other forces and frictions which have sprung up from such a conundrum and cataclysm which makes development an illusionary mirage.
Ignatius Muotoh, wrote from
Langley Berkshire United Kingdom