Opinion: We all sinned in Nigeria

Editor’s note: Since Nigeria got independence in 1960, the country has witnessed ups and downs but 56 years as a country has not bonded the people as ethno-religious conflicts still rage on.

In this opinion by Clement Udegbe, he points out that all the major ethnic groups contributed to the decay and called for correction in order to foster peace.

We are all sinners 

Fifty six years after independence, we are more polarised than ever along ethnic and religious lines, a fantastically corrupt nation desiring to change and eliminate corruption, yet discovering that we want corruption back, in spite of the abundance of human natural, and mineral resources God has blessed us with.

A nation where government accepts no responsibility for anything. We have no regular supply of electric power, no public water in our taps, security is a huge challenge, standard of education is falling, our leaders travel overseas for minor aches, road infrastructure has failed especially in the South East, and many other places, we have become more import dependent than ever, yet our leaders go overseas to plead for help to clean up the mess, they majorly created, or failed to deal appropriately with.

Today, our leaders’ stories to their world colleagues make us appear like a tenant, who after living in a house for over one and a half years wants the next house neighbour to come and clear the septic pit.

What a man sows, he shall reap, and the major zones of Nigeria, the South East, South West, Middle Belt, and the rest of the north, have sinned to bring us to this state of affairs.

The Igbos of the South East, had the political, military, and economic mandate for Nigeria at independence. Dr. Nnamidi Azikiwe, Zik of Africa was the Governor General or President, Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi the head of Army, Sir Louis Ojukwu controlled the Stock Exchange, with the North wielding the political power, and the South West the economic power.

The Igbo sin 

Igbo politicians maltreated their less privileged neighbours in the present day South South. Some young Igbos in the army became proud, and in 1966, packaged a coup de etat, that was lopsided in their favour.

The result was manipulated in such a way by the rest, to massacre Igbos and chase them to their homeland in a three years civil war.

The Middle Beltans were used as soldiers to prosecute the war and in killing Igbos. After that war, rather than stay back and rebuild their land, Igbos abandoned the place, scattered all over Nigeria, and refused to learn from the war experience, hoping and believing rather naively, that their “enemies” would come and rebuild their land, and give them handouts.

Their closest neighbours, and in fact brothers, in Rivers State, wickedly converted Igbo property to their own, and have been struggling in vain, to change their identities to justify the sin.

The deliberate restructuring of the then East Central State, was again negatively exploited by their political leaders to suppress that strong Igbo spirit that helped them survive the wicked war. Hardship teaches, but Igbos refused to learn.

They neglected their war veterans, those who fought with their bare hands, local guns, bows and arrows, and made sacrifices to keep them alive today.

They did not celebrate their war veterans, even a list of the dead and victims of that war, cannot be found anywhere today! To survive, Igbo traders introduced “Original and Fake” Standards and later “ China Standards” into imports in the Country, thereby complicating the challenges for generations unborn.

The Yoruba sin 

The Yorubas of the South West on their part, connived with their northern friends to execute the war against Igbos. Yorubas at first, told the world that if Igbos left, Yorubas would follow, but quickly turned round to use hunger for the first time in the history of the world as an instrument of war fare against the Igbos. The result is that Igbos lost the war, over two million Igbos died, with no regrets, from others.

As if that was not enough, they gave each Igbo person only twenty pounds irrespective of what he had in the bank, reaped from what they never sowed, just to plunder the Igbo man.

Soon after, they promulgated the Indigenisation Decree, thereby converted the sweat of even foreigners to their own gains, and the Yorubas became the region of the super-rich, super-performers, but based on the sweat and blood of others.

They said Lagos was the Capital of Nigeria, and that it belonged to every one. The wealth of Nigeria was used to build up Lagos seaports, Airports, high rise buildings and road networks, but today, Lagos belongs to Yorubas, and they are saying, if you don’t like the idea, go and develop your own home land. You see? Who has fooled who?

The Hausa sin 

The north is gradually sending the same message regarding the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, which was developed ostensibly from the money from oil from the South South, and South East.

Somebody again, wants to take what belongs to everybody, and the Yorubas may understand that, because they are benefactors of the same game.

Oil was first drilled in Afam and Oloibiri, in the Rivers State, in the early 1960s, but it was just about eight years ago that they saw electric light for the first time! The north believes that they own Nigeria, and must be pleased with the wealth of Nigeria, thus, the Niger Delta region is massively neglected, while the wealth from their product is used to develop other lands.

 Ken Saro Wiwa, who dared the powers of the north and their Yoruba allies was killed, Odi, a Niger Deltan community that tried to dare federal might, was wiped out, and the trend continues today, with ‘smiling crocodiles’ in that region.

If only the north was fair in the ruling of Nigeria as their “inheritance” from Britain, all would have been well. But the word is missing in their lexicon!

 It may be human to offend, and divine to forgive, but forgiveness is not in the political tradition of the north of Nigeria, and that is why they must keep Nnamdi Kanu, playing games in spite of calls from meaningful leadership groups for his unconditional release. Climate change challenges stare at the north, but their solution strangely seems to use the grazing bill to acquire lands from the south, with herdsmen as foot soldiers.

We have all sinned against God and ourselves. Until these issues are properly addressed, and stop continued bloodshed, respite may never come to Nigeria.

This opinion first appeared in Vanguard.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent our editorial policy.

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