Deporting Nigerians from Nigeria should stop

At a recent dinner organized by one of the foreign missions in Abuja, a European diplomat, sitting close to me whispered to my ears, ‘’With this wave of governors deporting non-state indigenes, I hope you’re safe here in Abuja.’’ While holding my anger, I politically replied, ‘’I thought domestic issues should be left domestic.’’

But domestic matter or not, the truth that Nigeria is world’s laughing-stock can hardly be hidden. Mt worry is why have some fair and just minded Nigerians have preferred to look the other way while others prefer making politically correct statements so as not be caught up in the crossfire? Wasn’t it Aquinas, who reminded us that ‘’He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral…because anger looks to the good of justice! And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust’’?

That Nigerians are not speaking out against the evil men and women that have taken over our nation is a demonstration of how deep the bug called democratic politics has infected our conscience. But who else to blame should we blame than ourselves for accepting to live in an unjust society, where ethnic or religious affiliation, not excellence and hard work, brings the best rewards? Filled with professional gossipers and hypocrites, it’s understandable why everyone avoids telling the bitter truth. And as we singer ethnic and religious sings, let’s ready to face its eventual consequences.

This endemic culture of avoiding the truth, unless our own version of truth, as Luigi Pirandello once said, is why the opportunity Governor Fashion’s actions to fully address the ethnic and religious problem in this country has been swept under the rug in Nigerian fashion. But was Rwanda not sweeping its ethnic differences under the carpet until 1994 when the world woke up the brutality of ethnic genocide, where more than 800,000 Tutsi Rwandans were slaughtered by their Hutu brothers and sisters, facilitated by hate speeches like ‘’the Ten Commandments of the Hutu,’’ earlier published without anyone raising alarm?

But why should democracy that has been beneficial to most other practitioners in the world become the one to widening ethnic and religious lines in Nigeria? Isn’t that telling us something that there’s something wrong with our own version of democracy? If rather than forcing our leaders take us to the promised-land, it is forcing them to do otherwise, isn’t it an irony that it’s not grooming nationalist leaders? How much of this damage do we need to endear before recognizing the recognizing that the clamor for ethnic and religious president is a collective disaster? Unless an urgent U-turn, this celebration of mediocrity rather than excellence and hard work will soon destroy the very nation we’re building for ourselves and for our children, especially fully hijacked by the mediocre. Someone has to tell the painful truth or else our overstretched ethnic and religious divide consumes us all.

It is truly that there is no nation that has ever become great without first finding itself severally at a crossroads. But also true is that no nation has ever become great without exceptional nationalist leader showing the way. That is why America became great because it produced exceptionally brave nationalist like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and John Kennedy did everything humanly possible to drive to its glorious heights. And it’s the sheer bravery exhibited by Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao, that catapulted China to today’s economic superpower.

That our so-called leaders have hijacked our commonwealth is no longer news. What remains unbelievable is the docility of 170 million citizens. Can there be that national dream for common prosperity in such a society thriving on injustice and corruption, a nation ruled by 419ners who masked themselves as leaders? But the real question is, how long should Nigerians remain in their forced ethnic and religious camps before to come to reclaim their beloved country from the hands of these evil men and women?

That not all over past and present leaders are 419ners has been demonstrated by Gen Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari, and Gen Mohammad Buhari as well as Abba Gana (who notwithstanding as the FCT minister who handed over el Rufai still lives in a rented abode in one of Abuja’s poor estates) should not be appreciated for their impeccable leadership.

Of what benefit coming together as a people to form a commonwealth, if there is nothing common guiding it, if the strong and powerful should take everything that we own in common while fanning the embers of ethnicity and religious so that the dispossessed masses can never come together against them? Rather face the thieves the disenfranchised masses of Nigeria now kill themselves over the crumbs, believing they’re fighting the real enemy. Poverty and unemployment increase is, it has been demonstrated, besides crime and corruption, leads to increase in ethnic and religious conflicts.

But what else to expect when our army of graduates are forced to stay at home for years after graduating from university, doing nothing? Of course, some have devised survivalist strategy, including unleashing mayhem on the weaker members of the society since the powerful have the army and police guarding them. Or should an educated young man with a bright future prefer to join a kidnapping ring, an armed robbery or 419 gangs, when if gainfully employed should be creating wealth for the country? Unless we seek unconventional solutions to our present development dilemmas, we shouldn’t expect anything more than our present backward-looking approaches to development, which further bleeds ethnic and religious divide. What this means is that ethnic and religious cold war should be expected to be on the increase.

Should our rulers continue to hold the masses on the ground which unknowingly they too are on the ground, there is good news, even though most of us cannot see it already. As Samuel Adams, rightly said, ‘’It does not take a majority to prevail…but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush-fire of freedom in the minds of men.’’

If it wasn’t the sheer absolutism, feudalism, philistinism, and monarchical extravagance with which Louis XVI ruled his French subjects; if it wasn’t his ruinous tax on French peasants, which he wanted to extend also to French bourgeoisie; if it wasn’t fiscal recklessness, loading France with unproductive debts which turned France from one of Europe’s richest nations to Europe’s impoverished and bankrupt nation, what else would have injecting the anger in peasants and bourgeoisie to the bursting their bottled to the extent that were able to come together to organize and executive one of fiercest revolutions in Europe that not only saw sudden fall one of Europe’s powerful monarchies, but also the King Louis XVI’s public execution, bringing centuries-old absolute monarchy in France to an end?

If what caused the French Revolution in the late 18th century was so trivial to what is going on in today’s Nigeria, isn’t fair, then, to argue that our leaders are just leaving on a borrowed time? If for the basis of argument comparing the events of the 18th century with those of the 21st century could be seen as comparing the Stone Age and the Iron Age, then, what have our so-called leaders learned from what happened in Ben Ali’s Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt, and Moammar Gaddafi’s Libya?

If notwithstanding the high information walls separating Voltaire, Diderot, and Turgot from the French masses, these Enlightenment theorists were able to bring down to set the stage for the French Revolution, what should we say in today’s Nigeria, where in spite of mass impoverishment, the permeation of grass-rooted mass media is only waits for the time-bomb to ignite. Igniting this time-bomb only requires one ‘madman’ who, like the Tunisian man who set himself ablaze because he had had enough, will confront the system that while overreacting, triggers uncontrollable mass riot to engulf the entire nation.

Avoid what happened in Rwanda in Nigeria, requires measures that could de-emphasize ethnicity and religion. A Patriot Act should be in place to ensure that no Nigerian should qualify to contest for the office of the president, unless he or she is married to a Nigerian from another ethnic group, meaning a northern Nigerian marrying a southern Nigerian. Second, should any Nigerian be found to have made a divisive statement that could threat national unity, the SSS should be empowered to disqualify some a person from holding public office.

Thirds, because ethnic attires shown to be more divisive than uniting, there is the need to find national attire every public officeholder should wear or else suit should become our national attire. Fourth, the Act should mandate ministers to appoint their aides from all the geopolitical zones, not from their ethnic group since what they’re holding is a federal office.

Fifth, presidential candidates should be mandated to appoint their shadow ministers during campaigns so that should they win, these shadow ministers become automatic minister with full allegiance to the president and the country. Sixth, any Nigerian found guilty of deporting or relocating Nigerians from any part of the country, should by law pay a sum of one billion naira in compensation, besides rehabilitation.

Finally, ethnicity, religion, place of birth, and state of origin should be removed from official documents and replaced only with state of residence. And having resided in any part of Nigeria for five years, such a Nigerian should have the right to claim residence status in such that part of Nigeria with all the rights, including the right to vote for or be voted for in any election in the country.

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