The various perspectives surrounding the herdsmen attacks in Benue, Nasarawa, Southern Kaduna and other regions of the country, calls for quick but rational and retributive attention. This is because, it has thrust some uncanny reactions far out of proportion. Some Nigerians fear the attacks are premeditated to propagate the ‘islamization’ of northern Nigeria and the country as a whole. Others see it as an organized attempt by enemies or oppositions to mock Buhari’s crown over insurgency and insecurity. Some still maintain it is the usual inter-ethnic rivalries common in Nigerian rural areas. As numerous as these thoughts could be, it becomes more complex to filter out a cogent truth that could navigate the hands of adequate responsiveness, towards a lasting solution on the national space. Its corollary also poses cataclysmic threats to us. These insinuations, if not tamed, could set the next flames our innocent troops will be suffering to quench. Worst of all, Nigerians could soon find themselves, touring the gory paths of settling differences, thus: religious, ethnic and political violence. Bearing these repercussions in mind, we cannot romance our national consciousness, into the nonchalance of bypassing the most probable instigator, an old idea of the political class: ‘the Divide and Rule Style’.
The Divide and Rule style is no doubt the relic that has haunted Nigerians for a period too long to number. It keeps twinkling at punctuated intervals to bring about flashes of misery and the agony that have made life no better than death in our own country. The activities leading from 2012 to 2015 are not farfetched. As we cannot forget in a hurry, it was the problem of faceless boko haram which nicknamed former president G. E. Jonathan: ‘a careless fellow who delivered his own people into the hands of insurgents to be made slaves on their own lands.’ It was further intensified with the allegations that, the high-handed corruption he grappled with loosed hands, crippled the capacity of our military; so that, his success back on seat was not negotiable. These divided Nigerians. The Hausas who were caught in the cross fires made it clear that the Man with the hat must know a thing or two to do with it. Hence, Buhari was the best candidate.
When Martin Luther King Jr. cautioned that it was better for himself and his comrades to live as brothers than die as fools, it was not just about the senselessness of a ‘black uniting with a black against a black’, he figured out there was a need for nationhood to glue out any form of manipulation by the Dominant Space. However, it is quite unfortunate today, that our borderline of nationhood is porous to the old divide and rule system; as though we have not all suffered from it. The President M. Buhari’s led administration has failed to challenge the very essence of leadership. We all knew the complexities before we voted for the change mantra. Instead, we are ridiculed with lies and blame games, inability to curtail the sufferings of the very man who elected him. The idea of exerting long suffering on the people, as a panacea for a happy ending has only made matters worse for the masses he claims to be representing. We celebrate security in the nation’s capital as though the rural areas enjoy same. The rampage of Fulani herdsmen has continued to gain applause from the incompetence of this administration to protect its citizens. It appears clearly that boko haram has worn a different mask. As we speak today, the security of life and property is still very well threatened. Even worst, the Nigerian social sphere is beginning to suffer wider gaps of divisions as a result of the perceived nepotism of this administration. These are concrete evidences to prove that this administration is guilty of the divide and rule style.
Draw an analogy of the immediate past and present government and you will see yourself standing in the middle of their cross fires. Like the unpleasantness of an old song to the ears, the words of Luther King Jr. must play into the rhythm of our situation; “it is better for us to live as brothers than die as fools.” The advice of former president, O. Obasanjo, should not be forsaken. The Coalition for Nigeria must be planted against the desertification encroaching on our nationhood. Every breath we take must grow us towards a well-meaning democracy, good governance, social and economic well-being and progress. We cannot underestimate the potency of this remedy as it was long foreseen by Achebe, (2012) as thus:
First we have to nurture and strengthen our democratic institutions…Strive for the freest and fairest elections possible, create a new patriotic consciousness not just one based on the well-worn notion of the unity of Nigeria or faith in Nigeria But rather one based on an awareness of responsibility of leaders to the led on the sacred schools and intellectuals.
When this is done, the bountiful harvest for us and the generation to come will be:
Under such rubric democracy, eligible candidates will find path in the various offices, free press can thrive and thus allowing a strong justice system to flourish. More so checks and balances will accurately find their footings hence it is from such environment that a leader, humbled by the trust placed upon him by the people, will emerge, willing to use the power given to him for the good of the people, (Achebe, 2012).
On the whole, the divide and rule system is the deadly device that has been used to deny the Nigerian people a befitting livelihood. The incompetence in ensuring the security of lives and property of the past administration is culpable on the present. The political gimmicks only seem to have worn different masks; the agenda of robbing the God-created Nigerian of life still remains. However, we have come to the point where Nationality can no longer be sacrificed on vain alters of cheap popularity and senseless divisions. This we must do by forming a formidable coalition for the love of Nigeria. Where the tie that binds us must not be of blood, religion, empathy nor sympathy, but a pain that means our pain; one that pains us all.
God bless Nigeria!
Alpha Enoch Yamush
Achebe C. There was a Country New York: Penguin Press. 2012 Punchng.com/full-letter-obasanjo-writes-buhari-asks-president-to-halt-2019-ambition