BY COMRADE EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO
‘A Paradise For Maggots: The Story Of A Nigerian Anti-graft Czar” is a book on Malam Nuhu Ribadu and his stint and the media-hyped exploits at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which was set up by then President Olusegun Obasanjo to tackle the hydra-headed monster of public corruption. The book is credited to a lecturer at the University of California, Assistant Professor Wale Adebanwi. It was presented on December 14th 2020 in Abuja.
Whereas this book spoke specifically about an individual in the person of Adamawa born former police officer Mr Nuhu Ribadu who is now a politician drumming up unscholarly praises for Muhammadu Buhari almost to a nuisance point that he can be likened to a turncoat or a sycophant, in the Present enterprise, I have chosen to so title this piece to look at the larger picture of crimes and criminality that have dominated the public space since the last 60yrs that Nigeria gained political independence but with greater attention to contemporary criminal matters that dovetails into terrorism.
This is because there is a unanimity of agreement that Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari has never had it so bad in terms of insecurity to an extent that the security of lives and property of the good people of Nigeria is no longer guaranteed given the extensive operations of terrorists, gangsters, armed Fulani herdsmen and armed bandits. Also, there is a yawning gap in the dispensation of criminal justice to an extent that impunity has become a national pastime with certain criminal elements being allowed to kill innocent people without ever facing the long arm of the law. The law under Muhammadu Buhari has suddenly grown shorter hands that catches only petty crime suspects but allows mass killers free reign.
This time is also when almost all the achievements in the human rights sector that were made in the last two decades have been eroded.
The paradise for maggots and butterflies is devoted to telling the story of how two extremes of human possibilities co-exist in the geopolitical space called Nigeria almost to a point of near collapse.
Nigeria, due to the crass incompetence of the central government has become the perfect paradise for maggots and butterflies because whereas the maggots have practically hijacked political platforms of control in Nigeria and are busy destroying the entire fabrics of the nation-State, the butterflies that are honestly making constructive efforts to pollinate the Country and make the Country a real home for all to live side by side in peace, social justice and Unity, the maggots that have invaded the seats of political powers are rapidly eroding the gains made by these heroic butterflies in the last sixty years and in real life situation, what this means is that whilst the few good people are building the nation, the evil-minded bigots that have used electoral HEIST to gain political ascendancy, are busy demolishing all the democratic Freedoms and structures and attempting to build a FEUDAL SYSTEM of dictatorial government in Nigeria.
These bigots in charge of political control of Nigeria are again engaged in the self-deceitful gambit of organising elaborate but securely guarded events to mark the 60th anniversary of Nigeria as an Independent Country. Already the minister of Information Lai Mohammed has warned ordinary people of Nigeria not to date come within hearing distance of where this show of shame called Independence anniversary will take place in Abuja just next door to Aso Rock.
So about noon in another 24hrs, the Nation under the political leadership of president Muhammadu Buhari, a one-time military despot, who once became a federal cabinet minister in charge of petroleum during the Generals, Murtala Muhammed , Olusegun Obasanjo- led military dictatorship in the late 70’s , will begin a yearlong celebrations of the Nation’s Diamond jubilee or sixtieth year independence anniversary.
This anniversary celebration is ironical given the peculiarities of the moments dominated by systematic killings of Nigerians by a range of armed Fulani herdsmen and armed bandits and kidnappers.
Armed Islamic terrorists have virtually destroyed the North East of Nigeria and have rendered over 2 million Children homeless.
It, therefore, beggars belief that the politicians in power will celebrate but the millions of Children whose future are made uncertain by the evil-minded political misgovernance of the elites are wallowing in abject and absolute poverty.
How can elders who deprived children their God-given fundamental human rights be seen celebrating as if all is well?
All is not well because politicians have turned Nigeria into A PARADISE FOR MAGGOTS.
So, this reflection has become tangential and necessary to further explain an earlier reflection in which I had stated with empirical precision that Nigeria is 60 but is yet a toddler.
The central argument of this piece is to assert that rather than go out feasting and drumming over diamond jubilee of Nigeria’s So-called self-governance, what we ought to be doing is to adorn mourning clothes, make public atonement for our individual and collective wrongs unleashed on the Nation state and to begin a period of sober reflection on how best to rebuild the fallen house called Nigeria given that ab initio Nigeria’s foundation was laid on deceit and deception and for the fact that Nigeria, as it is now, can be called a lie since Nigeria is not 60 but over one hundred years.
The name Nigeria which is one of the symbols of sovereignty did not originate from any Nigerian but a British girl who was the mistress of the then colonial administrator of Nigeria known in 1914 as Lord Lugard.
Lord Lugard created Nigeria but Nigerians who have had the privilege of governing the Country have failed to democratically summon up courage to invite quality representatives of the diverse nationalities that were coupled together by the White man as Nigeria to meet and agree on going forward and addressing institutional inequities tearing down the wall of unity of Nigeria which has escalated with the skewed promotions and appointments by Muhammadu Buhari of only Moslem Northerners to head the entire Internal Security infrastructures in the Country even as these misbehaving politicians gather together at the Eagle square like vultures and maggots to devour our national wealth in the guise of celebrating the 60th anniversary of Nigeria as a self-governing entity.
The truth however is that, from 1914 to now, Nigeria cannot by any stretch of imagination be said to have been erected on the principles of justice, trust and belief in the unity of the country by all and sundry given that a lot of Nigerians are still seen as persons not worthy of ascending to seat of president of the Nation.
Firstly, the illogicality and Fallacy of our origin is from the name Nigeria as coined by the girlfriend of Lugard called Miss. Flora Shaw was basically formulated for the ease of doing colonialism business that will benefit the British and not the indigenous natives drawn from diverse nationalities commonly identified then as northern and southern protectorates.
Reading the text edited by J.C Anene titled; “Essay in African history: 19th and 20th centuries “We will come out with the conviction that the naming of our country was purely for the British. We will then begin to ask why contemporary natives are too scared to convoke a national conference to strike understanding and an acceptable accord regarding the necessity or otherwise of existing as one united entity and on what terms so it becomes easier to frame the steps for effectively putting in check the festering criminal and terrorism tendencies that have sprang up from the north and now threatening to engulf the entire space.
The authors of this scholarly historical text articulated their positions on what part chartered companies played in the partition of Africa thus: “The hurried manner in which the African continent was partitioned made it inevitable that most colonial powers should lay claim to, not made up their minds how best to administer and exploit. Furthermore, some colonial powers found that they could not secure all the African territories they considered themselves entitled to by relying on official governmental actions alone. Intending colonial powers which found themselves in one or more of predicaments sketched above were forced to make use of private enterprise in the form of chartered companies, a solution that had many attractions. In the first place the initial burdens of colonization- conquering the subject People’s, setting up a skeletal Administration, providing means of communication, pioneering commerce and crop agriculture – would be borne by a bunch of private shareholders. In this way, the home government would be saved the embarrassment of being called upon to make increased, and therefore unpopular demands on the taxpayer. In the second place a chartered company, being an unofficial body could take risks which an official Administration would never dare. Goldie’s Royal Niger Company, for instance, was able to contravene the international regulation for the free navigation of the Niger without precipitating as much international crises as would have been the case if the breach had been committed by an official Administration. Depending on the particular situation of the African territory in question and of the colonial power concerned the chartered home countries, territories which their government were reluctant to seize at the time by direct official action or to administer for a time, territories which this government had seized by direct action but had not made up their minds how to rule and exploit “.
For want of space, I will stylishly not dwell so much on the politics of the first republic that resulted in the bloody civil war in which almost three million citizens belonging largely to the Eastern region were massacred.
Suffice it to dwell on the many challenges of crimes confronting contemporary Nigerians coupled with deliberate lack of interest on the part of the central government to enforce the law. There is no gainsaying the fact that much of the bloody violence tearing apart Nigeria have their origin in the failure of law enforcements due to the neglect of social justice by the government at the center.
The bulk of these security challenges began from the show of shame by operatives of the Nigeria police force.
The Boko haram terrorism started when the police extra-legally shot and killed the founder of an Islamic sect in Borno State Muhammed Yusuf whilst been detained in the police custody in Maiduguri about eleven years ago.
Since that extrajudicial execution of Boko haram spiritual leader, over 30,000 innocent Nigerians have lost their lives to terror attacks. Another variance of the violence are the attacks and killings of mostly Christians and farmers by Fulani herdsmen in which over 6,000 innocent persons have been killed without even a single of these killers being prosecuted by government.
Whilst president Buhari practically begins celebrating the Diamond anniversary, it will be nice to refresh his memory about the scale of killings by armed Fulani killer squad since he assumed office and then we ask to know if it is not naked dance on the graves of those killed that the government is doing by beating the celebratory drums whilst the killers of those innocent Nigerians are walking the streets freely.
This diary of the killings is to remind Nigerians that Nigeria has progressively become a paradise whereby maggots are in charge whilst butterflies are haunted and slaughtered. A reading of media coverage of these killings will reveal to the readers how so reckless and LAWLESS a set of killers identified as Fulani herdsmen have been allowed free room by the current administration to unleash terror in farmers and Christians particularly to such a disturbing trend that the British parliament received petitions by British lawmakers demanding concerted effort to stem the tides of genocide going in right under the nose of President Muhammadu Buhari. President Donald John Trump had also confronted President Muhammadu Buhari and warned him to stop killing Christians. Such is the global opprobrium that these spate of killings have attracted to Nigeria but shamelessly, these officials with no conscience are congregating to celebrate even when the thousands of Nigerians killed since 2015 have yet to get closure.
Whilst the politicians celebrate, can I call on Patriotic Nigerians to reflect on strategy for forcing the government to address the fundamental challenges of our existence and to concretely work with Nigerians of all shades of opinion to restructure Nigeria to run like a constitutional democracy in a plural society that it is as would be seen in the closing quotation from the book by Arend Lijphart.
A European thinker has stated what and how Nigeria should be restructured and I will quote from this great philosophical text.
He stated thus: ‘’A plural society tends to be organized along segmental cleavages, and these separate organizations entail a degree of segmental isolation that is conducive to consociational democracy. On the other hand, as we have seen, consociational method of segmental autonomy substantially furthers the development of organizational networks within each segments. It may therefore be more proper to regard the segmental isolation resulting from separate political and social organizations as a method than as a precondition of consociational democracy. There is, however, one especially important type of segmental isolation that is definitely not “created” by consociational democracy: segmental isolation along geographical lines. Here, too, consociationalism can increase the decree of separateness by applying segmental autonomy of territorial kind: federalism. The fact that two of the consociational democracies are federations offers an opportunity to investigate to what extent they have taken advantage of the federal method.’’ (Democracy In Plural Societies By Arend Lijphart).
Onwubiko is the Head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)