Please get on the Nigerian bus as it is about to leave the station or you will miss it. This is the last call to all Nigerians. The train is about to leave! There are many people who would laugh at this call or shrug their shoulders and say “good bye,” “adieus,” “bon voyage.” Or use languages that communicate the same message. They have their reasons:
1. Boko Harem is on the march and is becoming stronger and stronger and bolder and bolder. Nigeria has no future.
2. MASSOB is already set up in Eastern Nigeria and are threatening to reactivate its forces if that is what it takes to get the attention of Nigeria.
3. ODUA group has been dissatisfied for the longest time and with the loss of the top 6 positions (President/Vice, Senate president/deputy, Speaker/Deputy) what is there for them?
4. MENDS have already shown its muscle. It is lying low for now but the commanders are still around and would spew and spill blood at the slightest provocation. There is a possible merger with MASSOB as both sides may have unwittingly indicated.
It would seem that the East, West, North of the old dispensation is rattled and want out of the federation; out of Lugard’s, Cage; out of this “geographical expression”, out of the “British Failed Experiment.”
There are enough people saying “to your tents O! Israel.”
But to them I say “Do not cry for Nigeria.” Nigeria is well and strong and getting stronger by the hour. The very forces massed against it are the forces that are sustaining the country. There used to be a solid North, for which Mr. Ahmadu Bello could speak for. There is no such animal today. Who is the leader of the North? Buhari? The Sultan of Sokoto? Atiku? IBB? Adamu Ciroma?
Tell me for your servant heareth. Gwam Okwu (Osadebe) Talk to me.
There was a solid West. If Mr. Obafemi Awolowo said it so it would be. You go to a different route at your peril. Who is the Western Leader today? Tinubu? Fashola? ODUA Group? Obasanjo? Yoruba does not have A leader. The fight for one is on and will never produce a leader. The solid West has been dissolved and its soul is resting in peace.
There was never a solid East or Igbo (Igbo-enwe-eze has been recognized for centuries), but Zik and Okpara and Ojukwu came close. Alas, they too are gone. The rest of former East, now the SS, had peeled off a long time ago and has since peeled for from each other since. MENDS is a shadow of its former self. Who is the leader of the East now?
You tell me. Your servant heareth. Gwam Okwu (ibid)
To make matters worse or better depending on one’s perspective, no one speaks for any state either. For each state there are at least two speakers for a total of at least 72 voices. That is cacophony. And that is what makes Nigeria stronger. Cacophony of voices.
To gauge the strength of the new Nigeria, look at the combinations that produce the current administration. It is a solid unit comprised of the North and the South; Christians and Muslims, the rich and the poor. Parts of the election was probably rigged, but riggers made sure that the Federal character Clause was followed. They rigged everywhere to get the majority sought after. They could not have succeeded if they did not have a foundation in most parts of the country.
It is another proof that Nigeria envisaged in the British experiment is coming into being.
Want more proof of the solidarity developing in Nigeria? Judge by what happened AFTER the election at both Houses. The opposition (West) joined hands to defeat the wining party’s zoned candidate to the West, thus granting the top 3 of 4 highest positions to the North. The former East concurred. Where is the much-vaunted Southern Solidarity? It has disappeared into the thin air from whence it came.
It is now resting in peace with the solid North.
Nigeria is getting stronger in other ways also. They are moving around in greater numbers. I was in Calabar just this last year. I saw more northerners than I saw before the war and immediately after. And they were not soldiers as was the case immediately after the war. I stood by a mosque at the heart of the city and the number of worshippers made me shouts “whoa.” Most people including staunch Yoruba would now openly admit that Lagos is no longer a Yoruba city. The same observation can be made at Port Harcourt, Enugu, Onitsha, Kano, Maiduguri, Benin, particularly Benin. The Edo has lost complete control.
People are voting with their feet to belong in one Nigeria. They are disobeying the voices of disunity.
One more little sign, which many people may miss. Obudu Cattle Ranch was an initiative of one Michael Okpara of Eastern Nigeria. I was there before the war for both my Eagle Scout examination and award and Man’O War Bay training. There was not a single person who was not an Easterner there if you exclude Americans and Europeans. Today caucuses of the ACN, PDP, CPC, traders, labor unions etc gather there thus confirming the saying “if you built it they will come.” Cross-River built it up and they are coming from all over. By the way the same tourists from “all over” are flocking at the Uyo golf course and the related 5 (or is it 6?) star hotel in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
Nigeria, in ways bold and quiet, is growing stronger and stronger, politically, economically, religiously (I have met some Igbo Muslims), socially (even Val Ojo is married to an Igbo woman and Vicious Animal found that Hausa women could be prettier than their Igbo sister). I will not mention Atiku, IBB or any Yoruba leaders. I think it is widely accepted that Igbo men have found love in each of the cardinal points.
Lugard’s cage is developing a much thicker crust than even Lady Lugard could have anticipated in 1914. It is a little short of a century since the cage was conceived. It is looking as if at the century mark it will be indestructible.
The train is about to leave, please get on board. This is the last call.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
July 2, 2011