By John Iyene Owubokiri
Events in Nigeria reflect the multiplicity of interests, aspirations and priorities of the ethnic groups, religious affiliations and political preferences of her citizens. For many reasons it can be described as a multi-coloured web crafted without design by a variegated species of spiders working exclusively. When we become bold enough to remove the fills that embellish us into a nation, we shall find that there are truly few people in Nigeria who think Nigerian outside the ideas they have conceived our country should exist on.
In the aftermath of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections, the Yoruba of South West Nigeria came onto their compatriots through the intellectual onslaughts of the Lagos – Ibadan press as well as the violent protests of Frederick Fasehun’s and Ganiyu Adams’ Oodua Peoples Congress.
They gave us “watershed”, whatever that means, offered us state police, fiscal federalism and the weakening of the central or federal government in preference of the states. They were so animated by their “loss” to the annulment that they started gathering in the ancient city of Ile-Ife to design their answer to the green white green! Equally animated and prepared in counterpoise was the Hausa Fulani through the offices of the Arewa Peoples Congress.
Theirs was more a preparation to arrest the escalating tendencies of the Oodua Peoples Congress than protest at their lot in the Nigerian State. And then came the third of the musketeers, the presumptuous triumvirate who hold dearly to the tenets of democracy that exult the virtues of the majority. Enter the movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra. No more pretence at last: sovereignty!
Boko Haram is a religious sect with fundamentalist leanings. Some claim it was started by Tuareg and Berber immigrants from across the Northern borders of Nigeria but whether we like it or not Boko Haram has assumed a Nigerian personality.
It is now a Nigerian brand like MEND, Oando Plc and Pat Utomi. Who says they owed Nigerians a duty to announce their entry into our public space noiselessly? They haul bombs like MEND, dish threats like the OPC and make demands like the unpretentious prostitutes who ring the receding fringes of the Bar Beach so that in no way apart from one are they unique: they enjoy the facility of the suicide bomber, a very rare asset!
The sponsors and operatives of Boko Haram want the Nigerian constitution amended so that only Muslims can be elected to the presidency of Nigeria. And why do I suspect that their definition of ‘Muslim’ excludes the converts who dot Oduduwaland, Okunland and the Middle Belt? Let their bombs fall, let them whistle and sing the discordant tunes and the confusion of Boko Haram’s false mission, let them flare the anger of the fundamentalist worshipper; let them rock the foundations of our existence with the reality of their potency.
Perhaps this country was never meant to be and perhaps it is the lot of Boko Haram to set off the conflagration that will blow it into the pieces that the British forcibly molded together; perhaps that is their lodestone or their Haram.