(OPEN LETTER TO FELLOW NIGERIANS ON SOVEREIGNTY III)
Dear Fellow Nigerians,
We shall like to reiterate on the reasons why we suggested the idea of Sovereign Family Conferences after every literate Nigerian has undertaken a self-help learning exercise on the meaning of sovereignty and sovereign. We were persuaded by the knowledge of the fact that a nation is the sum of the households. And that if any constituent part of the nation is defective, the entire nation will also be defective. In order to heal a defective nation, it is necessary to identify the defective parts and to focus treatment on them. Large proportions of the households or families that make up Nigeria are sick and very sick indeed. These households or families are the primary producers of the dysfunctional groups that bestride the corridors of political power in Nigeria. When families have no moral or political power to sanction their wayward members then woe betides that nation.
The family is the first level of government in any polity. Each family must have rights and powers to lay down the principles and values of behaviour for its members. This moral and ethical task should not be transferred to the state. And until each family is organised under some noble values and principles, the nations of Nigeria cannot enjoy peace, progress and prosperity.
This writer is not saying that the task of organising a Sovereign Family Conference is going to be easy. We understand there are some families where members have not spoken together for many years. This is the wisdom behind our suggestion. When blood relations find it difficult to see eye to eye over common issues, how do we think it is going to be easy for the many culturally different nations of Nigeria that were politically forced and wedged together since 1914 to survive without experiencing catastrophic repercussions?
Organising the kind of Sovereign Family Conference we suggested shall entail great efforts from family members: seeking each other out, reconciling age-long differences, forgiving each other and healing the wounds and scars of past misdeeds. Here lies the secret of the healing of the nations of Nigeria.
We believe that when a family is built on a foundation of noble values and principles, members shall be guided by the values they have identified and defined as essential to their wellbeing and collective happiness. It becomes difficult for any member that robbed his/her community or government to find solace or support in the household. Families that have laid down the moral and ethical rules of behaviour on what is permissible or non-permissible and what shall be done or not done with members that defiled the family mores have greater political powers to sanction erring members and to call them to account for their actions.
This is the moral principle behind the SFC. At the moment we observe that members of most families have no moral compulsion against robbing their local government or state government or national government. Family members gladly welcome the looters back into their fold. They assist the looters to hide the stolen and pillaged booties and they give them protection from the hands of the law. They are willing to lie for them and they are happy to stand shoulder to shoulder in crime. This is why national villains are seen as local heroes in their villages and ethnic communities.
These are the observable phenomena that have led to the conclusion that Nigerian societies are spiritually decadent, morally bankrupt and ethically corrupt to the foundation. This is the level where works needed to be done, not in Aso Rock, not in the National Assembly and not in the Senate. The work to be done is not even in the State Houses, or State Assemblies or Local Government Councils or Communities. The work is principally at the family level of social organisation. Fellow Nigerians, as soon as we can get the fundamental of the social equation and principle of noble existence right at the family level, the next levels of the social, economic and political constructions shall become effortlessly easy.
Unfortunately, the power-loving Nigerians love to focus every attention and effort on the central level of government as the only place that requires healing. They are wrong. The centre cannot hold when the constituent parts are cancerous. Nigeria is very sick because each household is sick. In order to heal the nation let us heal the households. And to heal the households let us heal each member of the household. It is a simple equation but we have failed to see it because our erudite political scholars are looking for that academic political theory of governance cultivated and brewed in the ivory towers of Harvard and Oxford. Why should Nigerians trust any idea from the ivory towers? Who says that most of the important ideas that have revolutionised our world emanated from the Ivory Towers?
The ivory towers of the world are not notable for originality. They are like any bureaucratic institution saddled with the management and administration of established archaic ideas. By their traditional orientation as provider of men and women of the establishment, they are not in a position to create original vibrant ideas. They are only good at polishing and recycling belated and bygone ideas.
The reason for this can be found in the professional territorial consciousness of the members of the ivory towers. It discourages inter- or intra-departmental co-operation. It is suspicious and jealous of those that espouse new ideas, and it forbids their new young members from foraging into other territories for innovative ideas. Each school of thought has turned into a little cult where members risk excommunication if they made the mistake of merely peeping out into other areas of thoughts.
So, why should Nigerians wait on the eggheads to lead us out of our national calamities when they are also equally lost like everyone else in their fairyland ivory tower?
But as soon as we mentioned the need to focus on the moral and ethical dimensions of our existence as a marooned people floundering on the sea of life the eggheads will take us through a foundation course in political theories. They give us erudite lectures on the theories of national interest of nations and the political economy of comparative advantages that make nations great. They fill our ears with tales of the immoral history of other nations they count, in their academic wisdom, as successful or great. And they arrogantly advise us to emulate such nations, since they adjudged that the ungodly method of statecraft ditched out by these so-called great nations is the only path to democracy and civilisation.
We beg to differ. We believe that until Nigerian intellectuals begin to conceptualise issues from a fundamental level of premise, begin to engage their intellects for discovery of original ideas and begin to tear into shreds all the god-forsaking polemics of western nations, Nigeria shall remain a beggared, battered and fatally impoverished nation.
We must detour away from the Western and Middle Eastern political values and philosophies. These are the values keeping us under for a rich picking. They are the values killing us. We must shatter the Western and Middle Eastern values. They are the values of slave masters and slave owners. They are satanic values. But we cannot shatter these values unless we start the task from the family and personal level. Abuja cannot do this for us. It is imperative that each Nigerian must have to engage his/her senses for this onerous task.
Dear Fellow Nigerians, this is the voice of reason and of common sense. Our intention is to build a new nation from the scratch not to patch up a sickly dying nation. Our intention is to demolish the existing dilapidated structure and to begin afresh an original architectural design for both the foundation and structural works of a New Nigeria. Our intention is to build a new structure from the foundation level to the rooftop. We are convinced that the hosts of Nigerians have suffered long enough. The fire of mismanagement has synched the entire present structure and the only safe remedy is to demolish the badly damaged structures and to rebuild it.
It is often said that when accidental fire burns down a palace it gives the community a special opportunity to build a more beautiful modern palace befitting an important and beloved king. The kings and queens of Nigeria need a new structure in a New Nigeria that shall befit our status as the newly redeemed and awakened people.
We are a new people or we shall be when we start to listen to reason and the logic of common sense. When we stop hiding under the cloak of ignorance and laziness. When we desist from living in the land of fairies. When we begin to face reality squarely with common sense. When we overcome fear and superstitions in our lives. And when we allow the knowledge of the truth of life to be our banner, our light and our guide. These are the conditions that can hasten the emergence of the awakened Nigerians into a glorious New Nigeria that needs to be designed and built.
THE GLORIOUS FIGHT
The fight ahead of the redeemed and awakened Nigerians is a fight that will rightly and sensibly takes its cue from natural laws. Natural law teaches us not to fight fire with fire but to fight fire with water. Therefore, the redeemed and the awakened Nigerians in like manner will not fight hate with hate but shall fight hate with love. We shall not fight lies with lies but shall fight lies with truth. We shall not fight bigotry with bigotry but shall fight bigotry with knowledge. We shall not fight darkness with darkness but shall fight darkness with light. We shall not fight intolerance with intolerance but shall fight intolerance with forbearance. We shall not fight evil with evil but shall fight evil with godliness.
Similarly we shall fight wickedness with kindness, arrogance with humility, narrow-mindedness with broad-mindedness, competition with co-operation, war with peace and revenge with forgiveness. And above all we shall fight tyranny with civil disobedience. If any so-called awakened Nigerian has other ideas and methods for the fight of liberty, equality, and justice in Nigeria, this writer regrets to say, that awakened Nigerian should count him/herself potentially outside the fold of the spirit of truth, the guiding spirit of our Age.
We shall not expect a free uncontested fight from the group of Nigerians who love or who are gaining from the status quo despite its punitive effects on the majority of the nationals. As each nation of Nigeria comes into being and begin to take its rightful place on the national, continental and global stages we should not be surprised if we begin to hear the wailing cries of prophets of doom from the psychiatric quarters of Eminent Nigerians. Let us take a peep across the seas for a moment.
Last week, on the 18th of June to be precise, one of the voices of the English establishment and a columnist Stephen Glover commented on the rise of English nationalistic passion among football supporters. He noted that most England football supporters were flying the flags of St. George and not the Union Jack at the on-going World Cup Fiesta in South Korea and Japan. He wrote in the Daily Mail to express his fears and the possible implications what such nationalistic fervour may portend for British politics. He writes, “The passionate identification with England, rather than Britain cannot be divorced from the political development of the past few years. Devolution has set Wales and more particularly, Scotland – Northern Ireland is in a category of its own – on paths which are increasingly divergent from England. The tragic endgame could be the disintegration of the United Kingdom.”
Doesn’t that italicised last sentence sound familiar? Whenever the oppressed and the enslaved group of a god-forsaken polity begin to seek redress for justice and begin to carve a room for their self-determination, ‘the patriots’ of such nation will begin the usual singsong of disintegration. Unfortunately for them, this shall be the natural trend of the New Age. The cry for freedom shall ring out from the least expected places.
Our world is overdue for major re-alignment. The global injustices have gone too far. The misery, suffering, agony and pain in the world have reached an unprecedented level. And this writer believes heaven has never neglected to heed the cry of the forsaking people when they call for help. This is our cry that heaven should come to our aid and lift up the oppressed, the enslaved, the downtrodden, the powerless and the dying people of Nigeria.
This is our faith and our belief that in the lifetime of our generation, a New Nigeria shall be born. The expected miracle of the birth of this new nation shall entail the contributions of every true-bred Nigerian. Nigerians shall no longer sit on the fence while hoodlums take the centre stage as ‘leaders’. Every Nigerian shall be taught to see him/herself as a leader.
Every Nigerian shall understand that a leader is anyone who has genuinely and devotedly cultivated noble habits and who has successfully overcome the vicissitudes of the untamed and unruly human nature. Leadership shall no longer be defined by the volume of money in the bank or by the number of wives a man married or by the number of houses a person owns. Neither shall the number of fancy letters before and after a person’s name or by the number of stars that decorate the shoulder of a khaki-wearing Zombie define leadership. These are the lessons we shall come to learn as we progress on the spiritual path of Sovereign Conferences in Nigeria.
Dear Fellow Nigerians let us be more watchful of the unabashed and shameless political games going on in the fatherland. We should not allow anything to distract our attentions – not even the FIFA World Cup – from the real issues of our lives. It was interesting to see the great passion on display across the nations as Nigerians rooted for the Green Eagles to succeed at the Korea/Japan World Cup Festival. How one wishes that similar passion can be extended to the issue of sovereignty? Why is it that it is only the game of football that brings out the spirit of unity among Nigerians? Yet, in spite of the natural potential we have for the game of football, we know that if the patriots had their way the application of the principle of Federal Character in the selection of the national team would have thwarted the little gain Nigeria enjoys in football.
We are not trying to deny Nigerians their love for the game of football but we cannot resist from mentioning that the joy that football gives is ephemeral, a flitting happiness and it is never long lasting. It is like a blur over aches and pains. It is a temporary panacea, an illusion and a pure fiction that can never answer the questions that life is throwing up from time to time in Nigeria.
For the politicians any diversion in the political arena is a welcome opportunity to bury bad news. Nigeria is a bad news any time. Excellence in football should not be substituted for the pursuit of excellence in spirit, excellence in moral and ethical values, excellence in skill development and hard work, excellence in scholarship and excellence in science and technology. Nigerians should be advised never to allow any illusion that the success in football or any other sport brings to becloud our senses or to distort our resolves to pursue the goals of liberty, equality and justice in Nigeria to its logical conclusion.
This writer is aware that the kind of songs he is singing might be offensive and irritable to the sensibilities of a good number of Nigerians but he is equally aware that a good number of Nigerians are finding the songs pleasing to the ears. This is quite understandable. Our nature forbids the culture of herd behaviours in human societies. Each of us is designed to perceive our environment differently. We also have an adaptive nature that is capable of learning and adjusting according to a situation and particularly when it concerns the question of survival of the specie. This writer will advise that we should give each other a chance to present our cases on the best way forward on the issues that pertain to the survival of our people. No matter how stupid an idea is let us put it to the test of common sense, hopefully we might find some merit in the seemingly stupid ideas.
Fellow Nigerians we need to reconsider the hopeless situation in which we have foolishly led ourselves. We cannot allow things to go on this way. If we refuse to think the unthinkable we run the risk of a major social and political implosion. The power to change our circumstances for the better is within each of us. We need to be aware of this power before we can use it effectively. This is why this writer will continue to sing the songs of redemption; of freedom; of equality; and of justice until fellow Nigerians hear and understand them. And then together we can sing the chorus:
Never again shall blind men lead us astray into the cuckoo-land
Never again shall politicians ride on our back to fame and fortune
Enough is enough of individual foolishness
Enough is enough of the present national nonsense.
May the Spirit of Truth continue to be our light, our guide and our teacher. May we have the courage to face our age-long slave masters; no matter in what disguise it is currently packaged, as we demand for a true freedom and a right to self-determination in an unmistakable term.
May the spirit of truth lead every Nigerian into full spiritual consciousness of the true meaning of leadership as we joyously work together as partners and in co-operation to design and to build our own native nations.
In The Spirit of Truth
SAM ABBD ISRAEL
A Concerned Common Nigerian
29th JUNE 2002