Today is June 12th, our nation’s Democracy Day and I have some home truths to tell.
The struggle for June 12th was indeed a noble, worthy, cataclysmic and monumental one. It was also something of a nightmare which littered our fields with many corpses and soaked the very foundation of our nation with blood, sweat and tears.
I can confirm that because I was deeply involved in it and for many years I, along with many others, fought for it’s actualisation.
Many were martyred, many were jailed, many were tortured and many were compelled to flee into exile.
Great essayists, keen minds and profound writers and thinkers like Professor Adebayo Williams, Professor Wole Soyinka, Mr. Gbolabo Ogunsanwo, Justice Adewale Thompson and the great Chinwezu kept us going, fuelled our courage, stirred our passion, inspired our spirits and ignited souls with their powerful essays which we read eagerly and voraciously wherever we found ourselves in the world.
This was an intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional and psychological conflict and struggle and we threw everything that we had into it.
Chief MKO Abiola was our hero and leader. He was the symbol and rallying point of the struggle and both he and his wife Kudirat sacrificed their lives for it.
I commend the Buhari administration for naming June 12th as our nation’s Democracy Day and I believe that Abiola deserves it. Yet this noble gesture, as commendable as it is, may well be too little and too late.
I say this because the Nigeria of today is the Nigeria of Buhari and not the Nigeria of Abiola. And this presents us with a very different set of challenges which have resulted in a far greater existential threat to our country than the annulment of Abiola’s June 12th presidential mandate and his subsequent murder ever did.
Consider the following. In Buhari’s Nigeria the President is from the core Muslim north. The Senate President is from the core Muslim north. The Chief Justice of the Federation is from the core Muslim north.
Again in Buhari’s Nigeria every single security, intelligence, investigative, military and para-military agency in the country except for the Navy is headed by a northern Muslim.
This begs the question: do the southerners and indeed the Christians have any place or any meaningful stake in Buhari’s Nigeria?
Yet it does not stop there. In Buhari’s Nigeria the core north says “no” when we say stop the genocide. They say “no” when we say restructure. They say “no” when we say establish a federation. They say “no” when we say establish a confederation. They say “no” when we say stop the hegemony.
They say “no” when we say Nigeria is a secular state. They say “no” when we say stop the Fulanisation. They say “no” when we say stop the Islamisation. They say “no” when we say Nigeria belongs to us all.
They say “no” when we say the northern minorities can lead the nation. They say “no” when we say there are many in the south that can govern the country.
They say “no” when we say Nigeria is not an appendage of Saudi Arabia. They say “no” when we say we are equal regardless of tribe or faith.
They say “no” when we say free Leah Sharibu. They say “no” when we say we are not their slaves. They say “no” when we say we demand a referendum.
They say “no” when we say we want to leave the marriage and break the union. They say “no” when we say stop playing this dangerous music. They say “no” when we say stop indulging in this dance of death.
They say “no” to everything and to everyone that seeks to resolve our differences in a reasonable and peaceful manner.
And so it has been for the last 59 long and turbulent years of our existence as an independent state and sovereign nation.
Little did we know that in 1960 we had merely replaced our external British colonial masters with a new set of internal ones.
We locked ourselves into a strange and deceitful web and became enmeshed and entangled in a complex catalogue of self-induced and self-inflicted woes.
Today we are a people under occupation and our land has been desecrated by the precence of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of extremly violent, dangerous, well-armed, blood-lusting, blood-crazed and blood-frenzied terrorists and killer herdsmen who are just waiting for the signal from their masters before they unleash unimaginable horror, terror and hell on our people.
Must we wait until we are slaughtered like flies and buried in mass graves, like the Biafrans, the Bosnians, the Tutsis, the Jews, the Congolese, the Armenians, the Red Indians of North America, the Aborigines of Australia, the Incas and Aztecs of South America, the Ouigas of Mynmar, the Yazidis of Syria and Iraq and countless others, before our eyes open and we demand to leave this tinderbox?
Can anyone blame Prince Adekunle Odunmorayo when he said, “The demand for restructuring is cowardly, useless and unachievable. Damn any restructuring. We want out of this charade. We want a new nation: we want Oduduwa”.
The Prince, who is my kinsman and a proud son of Ile-Ife, has spoken the minds of millions.
Yet it does not stop there. Permit me to add the words of one of the greatest, most moderate, most conservative and most respected leaders of our nation who fought to keep Nigeria together during the civil war, who has dedicated his entire life to that cause and who has had the privilage of leading the country on at least two separate occassions.
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