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Sixty years of Nigeria’s unholy matrimony

From external colonialist to insider colonialists, Nigeria’s topsy-turvy postcolonial reality unveils unmet needs of peoples who were happy that the British colonialist agreed to leave the country physically with a strategic plan of remote colonisation of Nigeria 60-years after. Just like the female anopheles mosquito sucks the blood of her host, Britain emplaced a convenient but misfit structure through which it could continually pierce to drain the blood of the administrative convenience entity christened Nigeria. While the British colonial regime was brutal, the postcolonial experiences of Nigerians in the hands of parasitic insider colonialists are more terrorising. Conceived to serve administrative purposes, the 1914 amalgamation of unwilling peoples into a new, but undefined, contraption births the pursuit of divisive interests and clannish considerations. Owing to divergent interests, the frontline men who fought for independence had different agenda on when and how the forced contraption should become independent. Since the physical departure of the British however, the leadership of the most populous Black Country has nurtured an unholy matrimony. It has been sixty years of transactional leadership characterised by ineptitude, irresponsive and cluelessness. From North to South, East to West, tribal parasites have imposed themselves on their people and exploit with reckless abandon. Nigeria metaphorically mirrors an unholy matrimony of her constituents who are tensed up in a marriage of perpetual abuse.

Like children are nurtured by their parents (biological or otherwise), Nigerians endured British parenthood via colonialism. Similar to how relationships may be formed through individual agency of selecting suitable partner or through matchmaking, Nigeria was birthed based on ulterior matchmaking strategy by colonial masters who forced those who would have preferred to be alone into a union of abuse. This is the background of the postcolonial relations among Nigerian constituents whose relationships have been laden with distrust, mutual suspicion, and exploitation. Nigeria at 60 therefore, represents the sociological empty-shell family where leaders portray to outsiders that all is well with the country while the masses who encounter the negative impact of governance and wicked diversion of the commonwealth mouths a sad tale of the state of the nation.

From 1960 when everyone celebrated Nigeria’s independence, succeeding years of internal governance dashed people’s hopes and aspirations and substitute these with injustices represented by poverty, insecurity, unemployment, parasitic clannish policies, irresponsive parochialism and collapse of industries. While the ‘head of the family’ wants to force everyone to celebrate when there is nothing to be joyful about the consistent rape of trust and shrinking of the civic space, contemporary Nigeria manifests all the trappings that contributes to high divorce rate and broken relationships.

Sociologically, the family is the microcosm of the larger society. Although couples swear to live together till death do them part, many have had to review such vows because of unmet needs and near death brutality. Before divorce becomes reality, efforts would have been made to appeal to the abusive partner to make amends, but the abusive partner may deny such exploitation exists leaving the complainant with no other option than to find ways to exit the marriage which has transformed from holy to unholy matrimony.

Our study on divorce in Nigerian courts empowers me to relate the causes of marital breakups with the factors precipitating disaffection and drums of secession in Nigeria. We found that divorce is an outcome of marriages experiencing misunderstanding, lack of love, mistrust, lack of care, infidelity, abandonment, financial problems, and brutality, among others. These factors appropriate why Nigerians are disenchanted with an abusive relationship. Through their 60 years, twenty of which comes under democracy, Nigerians have encountered nose-diving fortunes which elicit positive-pessimism utterances.

Despite all the factors that contribute to divorce, the courts still make efforts to engage couples to see if they could find amicable resolution to the differences. What that implies is that genuine complaints must be attended to rather than mouthing staying together in abusive and parasitic relationship. Despite open denial and struggle by President Muhammadu Buhari and his aides to paint a rosy state of affairs, Nigeria’s topsy-turvy and mood of the majority has moved them away from believing presidential ‘E go better’ pacification. Fuji musician, Saheed Osupa conveys the hopelessness of Nigerians when he queries leadership assertion of ‘e go better’ when in actual fact, things are getting bad. Osupa queries such assertion as deceitful because it is abstract without a definite time when things will get better. Osupa laments that he heard the same assertion while younger. Now married and getting old, the Fuji maestro lamented that things are not near getting better. Challenging the ‘e go better’ assertion as blanket, Saheed Osupa blasts Nigerian leaders who enjoy better conditions abroad but makes it impossible for their people to enjoy same reality in Nigeria. At independence, Osupa recalls that Nigerians who travelled abroad for education returned home because there was nothing there that they could not get back in their homeland. Fast-forward to 2020, Nigerians abroad dread return migration because of the slide of the country into the state of nature where life is short, nasty and brutish. Just like me, Osupa asks Nigerian leadership when the promised goodness, change and next level would materialise and wonder if it will come when Nigeria becomes 100!….Naijiria e go better, e go better le hun so, e go better, e go better lati ojo tati gbominira, e go better so di ogorun odun ni, e go better Odun wo lo ma je na?.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s promised change and next level have remained on the negative for the majority of Nigerians whose dreams are daily becoming unrealisable with division entrenched in policy making while peoples’ rights to complain is framed as either hate speech or inciting violence. Rather than seeing such concerns as expression of love for Nigeria to remain indivisible, their concerns are rubbished and downplayed inspiring the emergence of insurgent citizens. Silencing a partner in a marriage while you continue to terrorise him/her only makes the abused to reflect and begin to find ways of exiting and surviving outside the Union. It makes no sense for a government to prefer to negotiate with terrorists and take care of them while turning deaf ears to genuine concerns of citizens who are drawing attention to injustices before things get out of hand.

To me, the call for secession is a strategic warning sign and also an opportunity for government to engage different groups and harmonise differences in a bid to prevent further fracture in the amalgamation. No one who sees him/herself as victim of clannish killings without seeing perpetrators being punished will believe in the 60th anniversary theme of togetherness. The gliding of Nigeria from holy to an unholy matrimony presents an opportunity to the Buhari administration to address the voices of concern to prevent the marriage from breaking down.

Dr. Tade, a sociologist, sent this piece via dotad2003@yahoo.com

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