June 12, the day Nigeria was made
By Theo Adebowale
Philosophers have contributed immensely to building our civilization. We can only imagine how they laid the foundation for what become the various academic disciplines, how they fathomed out history, the mother of all disciplines, how they embarked upon what we now know as Medicine, Mathematics, Architecture or Astronomy. It baffles me when I remember that concepts that are still problematic to us today were actually addressed by ancient and medieval philosophers.
God bless them and modern philosophers but they continually roll out codes, inscrutable codes. Each time a seal is opened, new discoveries are churned out enriching our civilisation even though several of them are lost. Time and mischief undermine discoveries, intellectual capacity limits the essence of revelation.
Philosophers have dwelt so much on reality, good, justice to make us appreciate peace and the route to it, to recognise our environment and how to make it conducive, that we may wonder why we still lag behind innovations and development.
While the place of abstract pontification can easily be cited for the limitation in our digestion of products and propositions of philosophy, reluctance in employing practical, measurable guidelines is a major cause for concern. Several concepts like government, its forms, functions and duties, as well as obligations of citizens are in no way controversial, yet what use has been made of them by humanity, by Africans in particular?
We need to improve on our understanding of such concepts by ruminating on them and exploring novel grounds to give them expression. That would be a most beneficial enterprise in a democracy. Since Nigeria deems it to dedicate a day to democracy, and even now to reposition it, it is worthwhile to appreciate it within the context of nation building. We must remember that the nationalists demanded for self government and independence from colonial rule so that Nigerians could embark on self determination. In other words, they agitated for the situation when the various nationalities and interests which make up Nigeria would actively participate in constituting their governments and determine the nature of their governance. Various groups expressed their views and made representations. Political parties deriving legitimacy from regional, ethnic and religious sources first embarked on interest articulation which they combined with interest aggregation, their main portfolio. This is understandable in a nation-state put together by a colonial authority granted flag independence in 1960 but continue to offer counseling services to different groups in the federation which primarily led to contradicting federal principles within a federal constitutional arrangement, which also forbids active valid participation of all sections in the running of government ‘for the people’.
These contradictions produced civil unrests that burgeoned into the civil war. The official surrender and end of that war is yet to result in civil peace. Successors and grand successors to actors and gladiators of that war still trade in different narrations of causes and battles that made up the war. They find listeners and believers of their narrations to determine attitudes to Nigeria. Unknown to the common man, this is a devise to keep them from paying attention to the soul of the commonwealth. They have constituted themselves into vested interests with specialized hold on specific arteries of the heart of Nigeria. Their hold on oil and gas, electricity, defense and security, culture and religion, is so firm that they easily undermine the education sector that would have eventually reformed the Nigerian state. For a long time, there was the military intervening on their behalf, to protect and project their interests, for us to roll out the drum and celebrate in our ignorance. Unfortunately, military coup overstayed its usefulness. Ibrahim Babangida, a general and military president, widely acclaimed to be ‘Evil Genius’ was arrow head of the Nigerian political manipulation.
The government he presided over employed various devises to sustain their model of transition without end. But they were confounded as they could not continue with their strategy. In their own economic class, they raised a man after their own heart who they would not confer with authority. The electorate gave the majority of the votes to him hoping to make him do the bidding of the greatest good for the greatest number. The various contradictions not withstanding June 12 was the day the LORD had made, not to glorify Abiola who was a mere mortal, but to employ the foolish things to confound the wise, who continue to be wise to the Nigerian. As soon as they succeeded in murdering MKO Abiola, June 12 was born.
In order to obliterate June 12, they promoted their stooge, the luckiest and the most fortunate political gambler in power to bully, to defraud, to kill and to steal and to pretend to be more nationalistic than the rest of us. The letter writer cannot erase June 12. And there are a legion of them in the Vanguard Against June 12. There are chieftains with international political and economic connexion. They can always reach out to the international community to project their interests as Nigerians’ interest. They also have directors in operation, mobilization, propaganda, and recruitment, well endowed in intellect and resources. The mass media and the new media are at their disposal for ever ready deployment. The constitution and the law they see as mere tools for their personal enjoyment. Every institution of the state must answer to them or be grounded. Independent National Electoral Commission must do their bidding or be made prostate.
The army or the police must act their scripts or be blackmailed. The Nigerian currency must succumb to their pleasure through indistriminate importation. Domestic refineries must fold up so that they can import and export petroleum products and pocket subsidies. Unemployment, a veritable tool in their hand makes many hungry youths available at their beck and call and the social media for self misrepresentation.
In the spirit of June 12 however, we must recognise INEC as our institution protecting its officials from blackmail and molestation. An average Nigerian politician is greedy, shameless, fraudulent and lacks the spirit of sportsmanship. We must protect INEC from them.
We must look inward to our traditional institutions and heritage to protect our lives and property items. June 12 is a rallying point for nation building that is, constructing or structuring a natural identity using the power of the state. It is to unify the people within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run. This is achievable when we employ local skills and facilities to get things done on behalf of the state.
Andreas Wimmer, a Colombia University Professor of Political Science has identified three factors that make nation building succeed on the long run ‘early development of civil society organisations, rise of a state capable of providing public goods evenly across a territory, and emergence of a shared medium of communication. The various governments in the three tiers should work on these factors carrying Nigerians along.