By Yinka Odumakin
I HAVE a brother that is always warning every now and then that one should always be wary of mingling with incompetent people as they can cost you everything. Incompetence can be defined simply as lack of ability. This deficiency has led to disastrous consequences for Nigeria, especially as those who lack ability are leading from the front and push their backwardness as the best for the country.
Those who were eyewitnesses in the frontlines during the civil war would tell of how Nigeria lost several troops in the river as some commanders relied on instructions from marabouts instead of formulating war plans. It is a bad thing to cope with incompetence but to have to function under comprehensive incompetence could be worse as we have witnessed in Nigeria.
There is no other way to explain the recent northern summit in Kaduna where northern governors, emirs and President Buhari’s major appointees from the north were present to provoke the rest of the country by poking their fingers into the faces of non-Arewa Nigerians.
There is no way anybody with knowledge about running a plural society would have been comfortable with having the inspector general of police, chief of staff to the president, Senate president, deputy speaker of House of Representatives, information minister and co., all seated at a northern summit at a time a grieving country should be putting itself together building confidence and understanding.
Those who wore the badges of FGN at that meeting and those who gave them the authority are the poster boys of the comprehensive incompetence that is killing Nigeria. They can bury the country if we don’t slow down and reset to save the country from those who have no idea of how to manage plurality and only sing the meaningless and insensible songs of “indivisibility” and “indissolubility” when they have their butts on the necks of “fellow Nigerians.” A presidency with nobody to say “we can’t do this” can only work for a section of the country with conquest mentality but not for a plural society.
That Kaduna meeting is on all fronts a pure sabotage of the unity of Nigeria and the celebration of the victory of the of the supremacist Fulani Government of Nigeria (FGN) that this administration has not pretended about in the last five years. It confirms the charge of those who have seen through “I belong to everybody and nobody” as a message for major components of Arewa Nigeria and not the entire country.
The Kaduna meeting also played what is called Taqqiya with some Middle Belters who were used to filll some wretched chairs by those who asked Benue to learn how to live with killer-neigbours when Fulani herdsmen turned their guns on them killing 78 people in the state on a new year day in 2018. We are yet to hear one word of commiseration from our Arewa friends on the killings as there was no tear shed for the victims of Lekki massacre outside maligning them in death as threat to their power.
Even when Nasir El Rufai the host of the provocative meeting and the one who went outside the country to settle Fulani men who were coming to revenge the killing of their cows years after came to Lagos after their meeting he was only concerned about property lost and spoke only glibly about those “who lost their lives.”
Those who were given the treatment the governor promised international observers in 2019 did not lose their lives. They were-brutally and fiercely taken and all those who were responsible will surely pay for them. It may not be in the order of El Rufai’s Fulani lives taken being an investment which must be repaid with interest, but God willl execute His judgement.
A retired military officer from the north who has my full respect anyday called me when some nitwits in the region were openly celebrating the non-participatooon of youth in Arewa protectorate in the #ENDSARS and wondered if we can ever get a nation out of this country. We have missed that opportunity big time.
Before I end on the gentleman officer’s inquiry, I need to say something about why #ENDSARS was more pronounced in the South. Apart from the cultural fact of the culture of protest being more pronounced in a section of the country, #ENDSARS being a summary of the frustrations of the youth with the brutality of the state and other malfunctions also had some root in the dysfunctional order of a society that shuns cultural democracy called Federalism.
SARS is one symbol of the damage single policing is doing in a heterogenous society. When you have a police dominated by men from a culture among cultures you cannot but have what SARS is being accused of. They do no serious investigation of crimes but mostly profile suspects by their haircuts or boys wearing ear rings. These are mostly profiles of Southern youth which should not criminalise anybody if we have state police and the police officers are relating with their roots.
If I am allowed to be the advocate of the devil for a while, I would say a man cannot function outside of what is in him. Comprehensive incompetence cannot successfully run cow herds in a manner they will not disrupt the lives of others and that is why we have no solution to the herdsmen crisis in Nigeria in the last five years. Apart from the herders having this psychological victory of one of them being in power and having the effrontery to graze even in front of our CBN, our Arewa friends don’t have any regard for other citizens outside their own convenience.
Those who supported the Kaduna meeting will do a million other things that are wrong and would not see anything wrong with doing them because they are focused only on their interests which they lack the competence to balance with the interests of those they cohabit with. This explains the consistent pattern of provocative appointments under this regime. It will always be a perpetual feud with their neighbours.
My dear gentleman officer who earned trust through consistent actions over the years including losing his commission for a national issue that should have united us as a country instead of keeping us divided, is aware that a nation will not emerge here because our differences are too much and we don’t have leaders who can rise above their prejudices to make us rise over them.
All we can do is to build a salad bowl society where people don’t have to sacrifice their identities to become a lie that does not exist. We must recognise our differences and constitute ourselves in a way to be able to live with them and not forget them as some deceivers would wish. In a salad bowl you see different ingredients retaining their identities with their combination producing the salad.
This is the imperative for which we have no luxury of time. Anyone who thinks what is on the ground is sustainable must be a cheap comedian. It has expired and the terminal station Yugoslavia, USSR, etc. reached that they disappeared from world map is not too far a destination if we don’t make the hay while there is still some sun by going back to federalism.
The after thought safari of the Kaduna delegates to the rest of the country after the unthougtful Kaduna meeting is noted as a joke on the rest of the country.
Re:The Foodlums they call hoodlums
THANK you very much for the piece on the above topic. You rightly noted that the “social gap is widening on a daily basis” in Nigeria.
If the rich think that they will go to sleep while the poor keep ‘hunger vigils’, then they must be living in a fool’s paradise. The rich must not only have a rethink, but learn to understand that it is no longer business as usual.
Do hungry men and women discover where food items meant for them are hoarded and just look the other way?
Activities of “the foodlums they call hoodlums” show that many leaders in Nigeria are insensitive to the plight of the poor in our midst. All those who love this country will boldly say that anger and hunger are prevalent today in Nigeria.
I strongly believe that our leaders and lawmakers at all levels need counseling on anger and hunger management before things get out of hand again.
While I do not pitch my tent with those who vandalised private and public property, it is necessary to note that what happened should be an eye opener for all in positions of authority. Muscle flexing and threats by the governments at both the federal and state levels will not resolve anger and hunger in Nigeria today.
We have to engage in sincere and honest dialogues. The leaders must admit that mistakes have been made and take measures to calm heated nerves and broken hearts of those who have lost confidence in them and the country.
The time is now. Let us not postpone the doomsday.