Nigeria: Caught Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
By: Seun Addie
A Yoruba saying that seems apt for this season in the life of Nigeria: “Oba ran ni nise, odo oba kun. Ise Oba, ko se ko; odo oba, ko se rolu!” The best interpretation is that the country is at a crossroads concerning who takes over from the current president. Having wasted several opportunities to set the country on the right path through selflessness for so long a time, the leaders, and the people, have eventually come to the point where they will no longer be able to continue on the path they’ve been treading. The people have come to the point where whichever person they choose to replace Buhari might not give them the future they so much desire.
It’s no longer news that the much-awaited party primaries have thrown up three major contenders for the office of the president: ‘Bola Tinubu, Abubakar Atiku and Peter Obi. As the country is presently constituted, none of these men can get the country back on its feet. Rather, they are more likely to cause additional damage to the fragile social fabric of the country. Technically, the three men represent the three major groups of the country, corresponding to the old regions.
With Tinubu’s decision to pick a fellow Muslim as a running mate, the Christian community in the country already feel slighted. They believe that the decision is in line with the much-popularized agenda to Islamize the country. This concern is not misplaced given the happenings of the last three decades and a half in the country. There has been a frantic effort to prevent the determination of the number of adherents of the major faiths in the country. Religion is excluded in the data captured by the population agency of the country, right from the first census. The general assumption is that all in the north are Muslims and all in the south are Christians. But lately, many facts have emerged to the contrary. There are many Christian communities in the northern region, debunking the “Muslim North” slogan, and ditto in the south. Closely related to that is the refusal to capture biometrics in the census. If biometrics are important for Driver’s License, Voters Card, etc., why not for the census? The Islamic conquest hypothesis is further buttressed by the attitude and the body language of the present APC-led government to the brazen affront of the terrorists in the country. After much pressure to label them right, the best the government has done is to call them bandits, treating them with kid gloves. Also, among other things, on the foreign scene, what a Muslim president and vice-president portray to the world is that Nigeria is an Islamic country, a notion that is not lost on the Christian population. Actually, it was once touted in the days of Jonathan that ‘Nigeria is the Islamic country with the largest Christian population.’ Hence, a vote for APC in the coming election is a vote for the Islamic conquest of the country, with its attendant consequences.
The experience of the last seven and a half years has reinforced the fact that the north is party-blind. Where Nigeria is concerned, there is a northern agenda that transcends party affiliation. Buhari held much promise of a departure from the nepotistic outlook of the north, given his 1983 precedence; but what has become obvious is that his administration is not only nepotistic, it’s an epitome of nepotism. He has surrendered the rein of the country to men that have no other desire than to hamstring it by installing mediocracy in every sector of the country. A vote for Atiku is definitely a strong effort in sustaining this wicked agenda of the Fulani minority to dominate the country. Evident by the recent demonstration of his inability to take a stand for the rule of law as it concerned the murder of Deborah in Sokoto. Atiku’s administration will be nothing but spineless in the face of the northern agenda. He even had to resort to communicating in Hausa on its Twitter handle to pacify the wrath of some northern commentators. The current extra-judicial killings across the land and the ethnic cleansing in the north and the middle-belt will definitely continue and ultimately escalate in a geometric proportion, with no meaningful response to contain them. Added to this is the tendency of Atiku to mismanage the economy of the country in favour of his cronies. He already demonstrated his willingness to sell off the major assets of the country, the joint patrimony, in his manifesto during the last election. So, as you vote for PDP in the 2023 election, get ready to submit your life to the vagaries of the Fulani domination agenda.
Fed-up with the recycling of clueless and tired hands in government, and coupled with the fear of Islamic domination, Obi has become the hot cake in Nigerian politics. While the youths are drumming up support for him as a veritable alternative to Tinubu and Atiku, the Christians believe that they will be safe with him in Aso Rock. With the huge drive to collect their permanent voter’s cards, both groups believe they are set to alter the political narrative in the country. Assuming their permutation works, and Obi becomes the president, would he really deliver the desires of the two groups? An Obi presidency will be crisis-ridden ab initio! Those from whom he wrests power will do all possible to make the country ungovernable for him as they did to Jonathan. Impeachment threats will hang over his administration, such that as he escapes one booby trap, another is waiting for him. In desperation to remain in office, he will have to bend over backwards to please the hawks in the land, thereby compromising all he stands for. He will hardly have the time to deliver the much-promised new Nigeria. Also, the current terror attacks will be heightened by those that procured it, to destabilize his government. If all fail, the possibility of assassination or a coup d’etat cannot be overruled. In the final analysis, the land will mostly not know peace throughout his watch. Thus, the excitement of changing the spent forces in the polity might not be a lasting one. Vote for LP in the 2023 elections if you will, but be warned that your dream of a better Nigeria might not be realized through LP.
All said and done, the 2023 election doesn’t seem to hold the much-sought relief for the people of the land, even though the political class is carrying on as if it is the panacea for the woes of the land. Equally, it doesn’t appear as a good omen for the continuation of the entity called Nigeria. The level of frustration and restlessness in the society is such that if not well managed, the election may mar the country. In summary, a vote for Tinubu in the forthcoming election amounts to a vote for the Islamic conquest of the country, while a vote for Atiku is a vote for the continued fulanisation of the country, and a vote for Obi, the “people’s alternative,” is a vote for unabated crises, landing the country between the devil and the deep blue sea.S
Seun Addie is a Guest Writer with Text and Publishing. He sent this piece from Ibadan, Nigeria.