Nigeria is a secret; and she has seven secrets. For this country to become profitable to the majority of Nigerians the secrets must be exposed in the most lucid manner that not a few Nigerians shall know about these and hopefully catch the necessary anger required for either liberating mass action or induced constitutional re-structuring. Then, our eyes shall be open and we shall drive away our common enemies.
Secret 1: Nigeria was created by a lie to remain a lie.
When the British created a chimera called Nigeria in 1914 she did not intend for Nigeria to evolve into a nation. Nigeria was designed to last as long as it served the interests of the British. An internal switch was built into the design sketch; this was and still is the “Northern Administrator”. A low level British Administrator during the colonial days of Nigeria, Mr Harold Smith said this in 2007: “Our agenda was to completely exploit Africa. Nigeria was my duty post. When we assessed Nigeria, this was what we found in the southern region; strength, intelligence, determination to succeed, well established history, complex but focused life style, great hope and aspirations… the East is good in business and technology, the west is good in administration and commerce, law and medicine, but it was a pity we planned our agenda to give power ‘at all cost’ to the northerner. They seemed to be submissive and silly of a kind. Our mission was accomplished by destroying the opposition at all fronts. The west led in the fight for the independence, and was punished for asking for freedom. They will not rule Nigeria!”
Just as the late Ikemba Ojukwu once said, political power, or the real power is more important than economic power because with it you can also get economic power. By setting and exalting one section of Nigeria against the rest a great injury was done to Nigeria’s future. When I talk of the North, I do not refer to the geographical North; rather, what the British did was to vest power in the Royal North, the emirs and their offspring, who still hold the real power and dispense it to whoever they will and think will serve their interests. The northern “Talakawas” (commoners) were not the ones the British foisted on Nigeria although a deliberate policy was crafted by the British to enrol northerners massively into the Nigerian army with accelerated promotions because they knew that eventually, political power in Nigeria would be routed through the military establishment. Is it any wonder that the Ikemba, an Oxford graduate of history decided to enlist into the Nigerian army at the cadet level at a time that, as one of Ojukwu’s military colleagues put it, the Nigerian military was generally for school drop-outs? Is it surprising that the north (Royal North) controlled the emergence of Nigeria’s military rulers, whether of geographically northern extraction or not?
Nigeria was and still is a lie; that is, Nigeria is a project of the British leased to the Royal North to manage and fetch dividends for the master, the British. There is a misunderstanding among some Nigerian scholars when they talk of the “North”. There are two kinds of North—The British Royal North and the geographically northern Talakawas, who were placed under the Royal North; it is beyond mere semantics.
In 2009 I addressed a group of Igbos in Tokyo, Japan on the Nigerian situation in my attempt to provoke necessary synergy for the true liberation (the 1960 declaration of “independence” was only an unannounced substitution of colour; it was the replacement of white colonial masters with a new group, the Royal North). After my talk, I attended to questions from the audience. A remark was made by one of the Igbo brothers that, “unless the North is involved in any attempt to bring about change in Nigeria no attempt shall succeed.” There is this sense of surrender that overwhelms not a few Nigerians when talking about changing Nigeria away from the British-designed course. I wish to agree with the remark if the North in reference means the northern Talakawas.
In the discussion on a sovereign national conference for Nigeria, the talk has generally conveyed the impression that the “North” (including even the equally oppressed Talakawas) must be “resisted”. So long as this remains the perception the journey towards convocation of a sovereign national conference or towards a better union shall remain torrid and unending. My brother, Major Gideon Orkar fell into this unfortunate error. Let us not miss the reality of ambivalence; the recruits of the Royal North abound across the breadth and length of Nigeria. In creating a plot to defeat the prospect of the conference, some of those recruits may adopt a belligerent approach, seeking to turn off the moderates, exclude the northern Talakawas whose participation in the call for the conference is very essential, and then ultimately defeat the objective.
Recruits such as the national legislature will, as a body, remain opposed to Nigerians talking about their British-induced union and overthrowing the structure that is fashioned on falsehood—false population figures, false constitution, false federalism, and ultimately false democracy, which is devoid of accountability, the rule of law, and good governance.
But I see two things happening successively. One, the elastic limit of endurance shall soon be reached by the Nigerian commoners when they get irretrievably peeved at the obscene display of ill-gotten wealth by the Royal North and their recruits across Nigeria while they themselves continue to wallow in increasing degrees of poverty. I understand that more than 112 million ( two-third of) Nigerians live below the poverty line. Two, there shall be conflict among the oppressors, some of whom shall urge negotiation to prevent loss of all they have acquired corruptly.
In order to free Nigeria from the yoke, the creation and order of the British must be broken. The Royal North must be crushed. There seems to be an understanding and growing resentment of this class of Nigerians who exercise so much control over their people and remain the custodians of even lands on which the commoners (the Talakawas) can only farm by their grace. Not a few powerful politicians in Nigeria (including the president) owe their survival to this class of Nigerians. And those politicians in turn are avowed defenders of the status quo because it serves their true masters and by extension them, who owe their political careers to the magnanimity of the Royal North. The protests in the northern part of Nigeria that greeted the 2011 presidential election revealed an emerging pattern of anger and disdain of the Talakawas against the Royal North and its stooges. The fuel subsidy protests of 2012 in northern cities such as Kano and Kaduna revealed what is possible and imminent.
Secret 2: Destroy the opposition
“I was very sorry for the A.G (Action Group); it was a great party, too much for African standard. We planned to destroy Awolowo and Azikwe as well as the west and the east, and sowed a seed of discord among them. We tricked Azikwe into accepting to be president having known that Balewa would be the main man with power. Awolowo had to go to jail to cripple his genius plans for a greater Nigeria.” These are the confessions of Harold Smith. Nigeria has always been against brilliant minds. Those are intimidating to not only the Royal North but also to the British whose interest in Nigeria remains fresh. Did you not wonder that President Jonathan few days ago, while visiting in the Niger Delt
a, turned into the spokesman for oil companies such as Shell BP? He told Nigerians that the oil companies “are not charity organizations.” That is not for the president to say, especially when he has not taken any steps to compel oil companies to clean up the environment and pay compensation for environmental damages they have caused. A president who cannot influence the passage of an important bill such as the Petroleum Industry Bill to bring succour and much benefit to host communities in oil exploration and exploitation areas should be ashamed to make such a defence on the employment policies of oil companies who are raking in obscene profits at the expense of human lives in Nigeria. But it is the unwritten policy of the British, represented by the Royal North, to not allow brilliant minds in the driving seat of the nation. I agree with Mr Smith that now is the time to “see people of intelligent minds with an open and inclusive agenda for all Nigerians in power…people who will really look after Nigeria’s large population.” From the NPC to NPN and then to PDP, Nigeria has had the misfortune of the over weight of political parties that were designed to resist change, being sustained by the Royal North. Renegades such as Aminu Kano, Abubakar Rimi, Balarabe Musa, who emerged out of the northern Talakawa constituency to question abrasive and undermining authority were shown the rough side of the serrated dagger of suppression. Until today, the weapon of opposition to all kinds of opposition is used ruthlessly in Nigeria in order to maintain the status quo that was bequeathed to Nigeria by her founders.
I would discuss the other five secrets of Nigeria in the sequels. But let me say that Nigeria shall not change without a sovereign national conference. I have read a position which suggests that people like me who are advocates should work through our “representatives” in the national assembly. This is one suggestion outside the day light of understanding. You don’t ask your master to set you free; you seize freedom. We are gradually approaching the day of reckoning. Some mockers allege that our demands are incoherent and inarticulate. This is a mere provocation that shall not dissuade us from our path of sustained pressure for a sovereign national conference. I should assert without any lining of doubt that without the convocation of a sovereign national conference the status quo shall not change; worse still, Nigeria shall only know increasing degrees of violence and poverty.
Leonard Karshima Shilgba who submitted this piece to the Economic confidential is an Associate Professor of Mathematics with the American University of Nigeria