By Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu
I am still at a loss as to what President Jonathan and his goons are celebrating in the so called centenary. Even the deaf and dumb know that Nigeria has been and remains increasingly a tragedy. Only a deceitful person celebrates failure. What has become clear over the course of the Jonathan administration is that he staunchly represents the status quo that furthers and constantly celebrates the nation’s abject failures while pretending that all is well.
In 1914, the British colonial dictatorship under the auspices of Lord Lugard arbitrarily amalgamated the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria, which was inter alia, a step further in consolidating the chaos of the 1884 partition of the African continent in the infamous Berlin conference by European imperialists. The legacy of the infamous partitioning of Africa without regard to indigenous cultures and ethnic nations; is a continent with the highest levels of internal strife in the 20th century and already replicating same in the beginning of the 21st century. Like much of Sub-Saharan Africa, the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria has proven to be the mistake of the century. It not only created an impossible nation which predictably moved on to become one of the most conflicted nations in history, it has engendered and fostered the world’s greatest theatre of corruption, misrule and social injustice enabled and sustained by the country’s forbidding ethno-religious contradictions.
Nigeria’s history is littered with ethnic violence from the early stages of contact between the North and the South. From 1945, the first documented incident of ethnic violence took place in Jos, setting the stage for a future of endless bloodletting. Since the Maitsatsine mayhem, ethno-religious killings have all but become routine. From Zango Kataf, to Sharia riots that killed more than 20,000 people, the Plateau state low intensity warfare and now terrorism that slaughters hundreds of people on a daily basis, Nigeria has for decades been one of the world’s largest killing fields.
When ‘structural genocide’ resulting from massive corruption, social injustice and its consequences on the millions who die each year from accidents caused by bad roads, deaths from treatable diseases as a consequence of dysfunctional hospitals and those who die from poverty and destitution are factored in, Nigeria would be nothing other than a land of misery and death. Since 1999, rather than benefit from an unprecedented oil boom and availability of resources, the nation has been further consolidated as a failed state without electricity, pipe borne water, good roads, railway lines, functional schools and functional hospitals due to monumental corruption and social injustice. Social violence is also on the increase with more than 300 people killed by Boko Haram terrorists within the last one week alone. There has been a proliferation of ethnic militia’s and self determination groups across the nation seeking a sovereign national conference where break-up will be part of the discourse.
Against this bleak backdrop one is at a loss understanding what exactly President Jonathan is celebrating in the so called centenary. Is he celebrating the fact that Nigeria has been locked in conflict and bloodletting since its founding? Is he celebrating Nigeria’s legacy of genocide that led to the ethnic war or the genocide in the war itself and the permanent divisions it has created? Is he celebrating terrorism that now kills hundreds on a daily basis? Is he celebrating the fact that Nigeria is the most corrupt and unjust country in the world? Is he celebrating Nigeria’s status as a failed that lacks basic infrastructure such as electricity, pipe borne water, good roads and functional hospitals in the 21st century?
Is he celebrating the absence of nation building and the bigotry that pervades the Nigerian space? Is he celebrating the fact that Nigeria features negatively in all indices of human development and has one of the highest poverty rates in the world? Is he celebrating the shameful fact that diseases such as polio that have been eradicated elsewhere are still prevalent in Nigeria? Is he celebrating the misnomer in the inexplicable fact that we import fuel even when we are one of the world’s largest producers of crude oil?
President Jonathan is Nigeria’s greatest disappointment. He has turned out a failure who could not use the momentous and peculiar occasion of his coming to bring permanent change to Nigeria. All his political capital is invested in sustaining and furthering the same status quo that has ruined the nation. I have come to the conclusion that he and his crowd of court jesters are madmen who are detached from reality. Nigeria has not worked and might never work. What Nigeria needs at this period of a centenary of bloodshed and disharmony is intense mourning, sober reflection and a genuine sovereign national conference that lets every ethnic nation decide their own destiny. This is what is needed and not a bogus celebration that celebrates genocide, corruption and abject failure!
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu via firstname.lastname@example.org