When you strip Nigeria of all its borrowed and illusive attires, what will be left is a wretched half-child-half-man nation on the verge of implosion. Nigerians and the rest of the world are beginning to ask themselves serious questions in the wake of a Nigerian man’s attempt at bombing an American airline over Detroit on Christmas day.
Nigerians, for so long in denial about the dangers of their floundering country, are beginning to rethink. Whether Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab was a crazy young man or the first Nigerian to be named a member of an international Islamic fundamentalist group, Nigerians are sure that nothing will remain the same.
As far back as June 1, 1969, the then Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu stated in his Ahiara Declaration that,
“The Federation of Nigeria is today as corrupt, as unprogressive and as oppressive and irreformable as the Ottoman Empire was in Eastern Europe over a century ago. And in contrast, the Nigerian Federation in the form it was constituted by the British cannot by any stretch of imagination be considered an African necessity. Yet we are being forced to sacrifice our very existence as a people to the integrity of that ramshackle creation that has no justification either in history or in the freely expressed wishes of the people.”
For those who have the eyes to see, Nigeria remains that eye-sore of the African continent. It is also the open-sore of the wider Black world. That it is irreformable is proven day after day since Britain granted it independence on October 1, 1960. Unfortunately, signs of that have been under the radar for many observers.
That the son of a former top Nigerian bank manager, who schooled at a top London University, tried to set a bomb inside an American airplane over Detroit, is all that is needed to refocus the attention of the world to Nigeria.
Since independence, Nigeria has had a civil war in which 3 million people died, mostly Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria. In the four decades since the Biafran-Nigerian war, there had been perennial massacres of people of Southern Nigeria in the North. Over 40 incidents had happened, some small, some large. Meanwhile, nobody had ever been arrested, persecuted or jailed for any of the killings. Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab will experience a different kind of justice in America.
In Nigeria, the Christian –Muslim conflicts often get a political disguise. Until recently, the Muslims of Northern Nigeria seemed more satisfied exerting their blow on Christians on the cloak of political reasons, be it in Jos in 1945, Kano in 1957, all of northern Nigeria in 1966, Kano in 1980, Maiduguri in 1982, Jimeta in 1984, Gombe in 1985, Kaduna & Kafanchan in 1991, Bauchi, Kastina, & Kano in 1991, Zango-Kataf in 1992, Funtua in 1993, Kano in 1994, Kano riot in 2000, Kaduna Sharia riot 2001, Jos 2004, Kano 2004, Kano 2007, Maiduguri 2009.
A careful look at the nature of the massacres, the choice of targets and the motivations behind them show the Islamist elements that desire to establish a pure form of an Islamic North that will not be adulterated by infidels. Within this period, the Muslims sporadically made it clear as when in December 1994 they captured and murdered Christian trader, Gideon Akaluka, who was under police protection. He was accused of tearing pages of the Koran in the northern city of Kano. Muslim group beheaded him and hoisted his head on a pike and paraded through the streets of Kano. On December 12, 2001, a Nigerian Christian truck driver, Saint Moritz, reversing his truck in Kano accidentally ran into an area occupied by Koranic study group. As students fled, one dropped his Koran. The truck trampled on a copy of the Koran. Muslim groups pursued the man into a police station, overpowered the few cops on post and killed him.
In 1999, the first predominately Northern Muslims state of Zamfara came out to declare its desire to have Sharia law fully observed. On January 10, 2001, while the rest of the world watched the Luna eclipse, hundreds of Muslim youths went on rampage in the northern city of Maiduguri. The youths blamed the eclipse on sinful activities committed in the city by Christians. They attacked hotels, bars, brothels, churches, burning and killing, screaming: “God is great!” “We want Sharia.” On October 15, 2001, as America began air strike against Afghanistan, riots broke out in northern Nigerian city of Kano against the air strike. Hundreds of non-Muslims were killed by mobs carrying the picture of Osama bin Laden. To date, thirteen states of the North have declared Sharia law. Since then, over 10,000 people have been killed in religious conflicts.
There is an ongoing war in the oil-rich Niger-delta area of southern Nigeria that influences the price of crude oil worldwide. In the Niger-delta area oil firms are polluting the waters of rural dwellers and armed youths of the area are fighting back, kidnapping expatriates and bombing flow stations and oil pipelines.
The Islamists in the North have made no qualms about their worldview that excludes the rest of the people of Nigeria. When they kill Christian Nigerians, as they always do, the rest of Nigeria make up excuses for them. Hardly were such incidents classified as terrorism, which is what they are. Before Osama bin Laden, there was Mohammed Maitatsine in Kano State of Nigeria who championed the elimination of non-Muslims in the north.
Meanwhile, what many people remember about Nigeria is the scourge of fraudulent proposals for fortunes unearned that flood emails and faxes across the world. It had since been seen as a minor irritation. Few people see it as a symptom of a deeper ailment. The Christmas Day bombing attempt has changed that. The tragedy of Nigeria is shaping up to be the tragedy of the world.
Currently, the Nigerian president has been on his sick bed in far away Saudi Arabia for over a month. He did not hand over power to his vice president because the man is from the south and as such is seen as a second class citizen by some Islamists in the North. So, for a month, the country has no leader. In his absence, politicians plunder the country’s treasury with increased impunity.
If Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia taught the world anything, it is that the world cannot sit back and watch a corrupt and unprogressive ‘ramshackle creation’ like Nigeria as it rots. It will eventually export its evil. Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab has finally exported the evil of Northern Islamist fundamentalism. This is just the beginning.
For the Nigerians, the time has come when they will stop sacrificing “their very existence as a people to the integrity of that ramshackle creation that has no justification either in history or in the freely expressed wishes of the people.”