• Monday, July 15, 2024
businessday logo


Nigeria’s peace is negotiable 2

Nigeria’s peace

I will start the second and concluding part of this article on Nigeria’s peace with the profound statement in part 1. ‘The advantages of the diversity of knowledge and culture bestowed on Nigeria has been bastardised and replaced with mistrust, insecurity, and the clamour for secessions.’

Our leaders have bastardised our peace. They have led us by downplaying the strengths of our diversity and magnifying our differences. Nations are not built in that way. They did so for their selfish reasons. The game is almost over for them.

Let us critically look at the Nigeria we have today. The strength of Emeka as an entrepreneur, the celebreality of Adeolu, the gentleness of Nasiru, and all the good virtues in over 250 ethnics groups have not been maximised by the government. We should be a solid and prosperous entity with massive restrictions on immigrants. But we are a country where the best of the brains is looking for a way to get out. I thought there was no need for Andrew to get out of Nigeria as advertised by the government in 1983. Nothing has ever remained the same, and we are on the journey of change or disintegration.

Back to the last article’s allegory; Nigerians are living in fear. The insecurity is now a more significant pandemic affecting the rich and the poor. The killing of Ahmed Gulah is an example. Power is not saving the powerful from being attacked by banditry. How many of our leaders can sleep in their hometowns without being guarded by armed officers?

The ultimate responsibility of any government is to secure lives and provide an enabling environment for its citizens to fulfil their aspirations.

Rotimi Amaechi is doing well building the railways, Raji Fashola is building concrete roads, but the fear of being kidnapped will not allow Nigerians to enjoy the facilities. The security challenges have beclouded the efforts of these Nigerians, and the sum of the game is that the government has failed in its principal responsibility. It appears we are in the process of euthanizing a country destined for greatness because of the impunity of our systems and leaders.

How do we revise the trend and avert the experience of Sudan, Yugoslavia and other countries with wasted lives and opportunities for greatness?

Let us negotiate Nigeria’s peace in the interest of an average Nigerian who has no alternative home. Let us shield our unwarranted sentiments for the religions we put ahead of our people. After all, the two major religions are imported. Let us go beyond ethnicity. A country is a country with diversity but with fair treatment for all. The outcome of thinking superior or the dominance of an ethnic group is pending the destruction of the collective benefits of our existence.

Nigeria’s peace is negotiable if we seek fairness and justice above all other considerations. We are at this stage because of injustice. Some groups feel they have the license to control the national resources neglecting the goose that produced the golden egg. Until we understand that the time and season have changed, we cannot have peace.

We need a change in the sharing of power, sharing opportunities, and making the best-fit person have the job irrespective of where he or she comes from. The national character is no longer representing the nation in our appointments.

We must know that the eyes of most of the other regions have opened. No one is a mumu again. Their mumu is over. Everyone is seeking justice. There cannot be a nation without peace, and the peace is in the country’s unity.

What do we need to do? Negotiate our peace! The events around us have shown that our peace is negotiable. Anyone that says Nigeria’s peace is not negotiable is a troublemaker. Let us negotiate before it is too late. Saddam Hussein’s call for negotiation was too late. That was after the US Army captured him. He fought against his people, and his end was the less desired one. Let us negotiate our peace before it is too late.

We need a detribalized leader. Not only a true Nigerian but one that is ready to disrupt the status quo. Who is prepared to say the truth like Nasir El-Rufai did on the need for true federalism and his stand never to negotiate with bandits. Though these are fair and progressive comments, no leader can ever be trusted again. It is either a true statement or one of the political statements to remain relevant. We cannot trust our leaders.

I want a revolution of leadership and service in Nigeria. All youth were not born to be so divided as members of the same country. Our leaders and parents taught us the difference between the religion and the Fulani that is superior to others or the Igbo man that was suppressed since the civil war. It is high time we start a revolution in our leadership enlistment process. Our votes must count and never be on religious and ethnic sentiments. Those sentiments have not helped us anyway.

To start with, we need negotiation with those agitating for succession, not war with them. They have the right to ask for a new beginning if the existing one is not working for them. We need to sit and review our constitution with a genuine desire for equity, fairness, and justice. We need governance and political structure that will not reward indolence and unwarranted concentration of power and wealth. We need to de-emphasise our differences and redress past injustices if we desire to live as one big nation.

No Nigerian or part of Nigeria has an exclusive license for violence. Though some might have in the past, a prolonged injustice cannot be forever. We are at a volatile stage. We must take steps with caution and make the next change of leadership more strategic.

I, therefore, charge the northern leaders to tame the Fulani Cattle Associations and moderate their utterances. The southern leaders should be ready for an uncompromised dialogue with those clamouring for succession and their northern counterparts. If you collect money and negotiate what is not in the interest of everyone, your children will suffer for it. And there will be no lasting peace.

And to all the leaders in Nigeria, this is the time to know that the game is over. The game of domination in appointments, the game of unfairness in all dimension-revenue allocation, for example, is over. Political leaders can no longer get richer at the expense of others. It is, therefore, the time to negotiate Nigeria’s peace. And if you want to be more accurate, replace peace wherever they are in the previous sentences with unity. No unity without peace anywhere in the world.


Babs Olugbemi FCCA, the Chief Vision Officer at Mentoras Leadership Limited and Founder, Positive Growth Africa. He can be reached on [email protected] or on twitter @Successbabs.