Many still do not know it, but Nigeriaâ€™s shameful predicament and ultimate destruction has and still is a consequence of the deliberate decisions of leaders external and local whose colonial, personal or sectional selfish interests trumped that of the subjects within the Nigerian geographical expression. The tragedy began in 1884 when a group of European colonialists congregated in a Berlin conference and divvied up the African continent amongst themselves like a piece of cake, purely for their colonial interests without regard to the combustible mix of incompatible ethnic and religious groups. Nigeria thus became Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria of alien natives forced by colonial decree to live together.
By 1914, Lord Lugard went a step further in the deliberate plot by amalgamating the North and the South for administrative convenience without regards to the ethnic and religious differences of the disparate groups. By that fateful decision in 1914, an impossible nation was deliberately created. In 1945, the first signs of a nation mired in gargantuan contradictions had begun to emerge with the ethnic riots in Jos, followed in 1953 by another gruesome inter-ethnic riot in Kano. These ignored early ethnic conflicts exposed the inconvenient truths of Nigeriaâ€™s impossibility as a nation.
By independence in 1960, Nigeria was a stillborn nation facing an impossible future. The British as usual deliberately manipulated the process to favour their preferred stooges, first by a fraudulent census, then by an election which would obviously guarantee them post-colonial control of the political economy of the nation. Though most Nigerians never noticed, the outcome of the independence election in itself was a clear indication of Nigeriaâ€™s inevitable trajectory to destruction. By the election results, Nigeria became the only nation in the world where the nationalists who fought for independence didnâ€™t assume the reins of power. In an incredible twist of irony, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, representing the coalition that was vociferously opposed to independence took the reins of power.
Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Leopold Sedar Senghor of Senegal a Christian in a nation 95% Muslim, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Patrice Lumumba of Zaire, Houphet Boigny of Ivory coast amongst others around the world were honoured by their citizens for their nationalism and struggle by electing them at independence. Nigeria thus became the only exception where highly educated nationalists in the mould of Dr Nnamidi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo where denied the opportunity of ruling a nation they had risked their life and freedom to fight for. This symbolic but often ignored incident, perhaps more than anything else laid the final foundation for Nigeriaâ€™s ultimate destruction.
Predictably by 1962, all the false hopes that came with a pyrrhic independence was dashed soon enough as crisis began in the Western region. The crisis resulted in the imposition of a state of emergency in the Western region. In 1964 through a deliberate conspiracy by the trio of Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Akintola and Ahmadu Bello, the elections in the Western region was massively rigged in favour of the Akintola-Balewa coalition. As if that was not enough, Chief Obafemi Awolowo together with other AG stalwarts were accused of a phantom coup plot and clamped into jail in a bid by Alhaji Tafawa Balewa to consolidate his unpatriotic designs for a one party state. Loyalists on both sides of the divide began an unprecedented campaign of violence (wetie) that led to the deaths of hundreds of victims on a daily basis. Deliberately ignored by the regime of Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, the violence and carnage continued unchecked until January 1966 when the military struck, putting a bloody end to an inglorious 1st republic.
The bloody action of young officers in the military against the unpatriotic bunch that held the 1st republic hostage quickly fell victim to the contradictions of Nigeria as the coup was deliberately given a tribal colouration. What was supposed to be a necessary revolution to rid the nation of incompetent, fraudulent and unpatriotic leaders was quickly consumed in the searing flames of tribalism. A counter coup in July 1966 and deliberate pogroms sponsored and actively coordinated by emirs, government officials and security agents such as the armed forces and police whose constitutional role is supposed to be the protection of life and property quickly followed which led to the targeting and killing of over 30,000 innocent Eastern civilians. With an initial intent to secede, the North did a volte face, when the British colonial masters intervened with deliberate conspiracies that bothered on a control of resources. An international accord was negotiated in Aburi Ghana as a solution to prevent conflict, but deliberate conspiracies truncated the Aburi accord and led to the declaration of Biafra, and an unnecessary civil war from 1967-1970. The war was followed by an uneasy peace.
â€œOne Nigeriaâ€ Generals And The Final Destruction Of Nigeria:
The aftermath of the civil war birthed a new military political class who thrived on the false propaganda of â€œone Nigeria,â€ however these so called â€œone Nigeriaâ€ generals have through monumental corruption, misrule, injustice, tribalism, marginalisation and incompetence consolidated Nigeriaâ€™s journey to final destruction. From 1970, under the jackboots of the military, the cancer of corruption began to grow. By 1985, General Ibrahim Babangida had seized power. His 8 year malevolent regime institutionalised corruption and saw the nation being listed for the first time as the most corrupt nation on the face of the earth. Basic infrastructure such as roads, pipe borne water, electricity, hospitals, schools and public institutions from Nigeria airways, NITEL, NIPOST amongst others began their final decline during the reign of the infamous â€œone Nigeriaâ€ generals due to deliberate acts of sabotage, vandalism, corruption and incompetence.
The so called â€œone Nigeriaâ€ generals became famous for seeking treatment abroad rather than building quality hospitals in Nigeria, sending their children abroad to foreign schools rather than invest in making Nigerian schools functional, buying luxury homes abroad while electricity and roads increasingly faced collapse in Nigeria and stashing billions of looted funds abroad while Nigerians languished in extreme poverty. These deliberate acts of destruction soon made it clear that the so called â€œone Nigeriaâ€ generals never believed in Nigeria, but rather fought the war for their pockets and selfish sectional interests. Nigeria is today a failed state and a veritable jungle, the consequence of more than a century of deliberate acts and decisions by foreign and local actors who ultimately structured her to fail.
Many generations have lived and will continue to live through the consequences of a destroyed nation. Generations have been dehumanized and deprived of every basic necessity of life and the opportunity to live a dignified life. Generations have grown up in a nation that is closer in definition to a jungle than a human society. Generations have been hacked to death in ethno-religious strife without any consequence. Generations have been shot and killed by the police for N20 without any consequence.
Generations have trekked through the desert risking limb and life to get to Europe. Generations have been forced to seek asylum. Generations have their carcass littered across the treacherous desert route to better lands. Generations have their corpses dotting the forbidding sea crossing to Spain. The generation of the enslaved masses and exodus of over 15 million people. This is the story of my generation, a generation that has lived through the deliberate destruction of Nigeria.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu