NIGERIA: A Nation at War With Itself — By Ogo-Oluwa Adelakun - Penangle | News Portal in Nigeria
Tue. Jun 25th, 2024
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If the very sad tales of the civil war taught us anything, it would be that no one wins when the family feuds.

Various books by authors like  Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Adichie or even former President Olusegun Obasanjo paint very vivid mental pictures of the ordeal born of that war and many Nigerians agree that such ugly events should not be allowed to reoccur in any way, shape or form as we are one indivisible nation under God and law.

However, one would be living under a rock to act like there is not an elephant in the room waiting to be addressed due to happenings in various parts of Nigeria that have either delibrately or unconsciously fanned the flames of ethic differences and divisions. To some, the current obvious and early signs of tensions adorns a vague resemblance with things the country witnessed during the war of the 60s. To others it is a rare opportunity for everyone to sit and have conversations about operating a diverse nation going forward.

From the farmer-herder clashes in many parts of the country or the many allegations that they and bandits are responsible for the current spate of insecurity in country.

One must also mention the eviction notice issued by Sunday Igboho to the fulanis in Igangan area of Oyo State and the recent ethnic crisis in Shasha still in Oyo State. As people continue to bay for blood and reprisals become fashionable, one would not be putting it mildly if we say we are currently setting the stage in the theater of war.

This matter even took several steps further in recent times after reports made rounds that the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN) had embarked on a blockade of foot items in protest of the alleged killing of its members, among other issues.

The union also demanded payment of ₦475 billion compensation for the lives of members and properties lost during the #EndSARS protest and the Shasha market crisis.

There are those who have argued that the blockade of food to these parts of the country was the right thing to do in order to get the desired attention of the appropriate quarters, but there are others who feel the act was a needless show of economic power that could have set the country up for starvation and inflation.

Although citizens have expressed satisfaction that the recent experience of food scarcity has been resolved with yesterday’s supension of the blockade protest, some concerned Nigerians are still lost in their thoughts as they cannot believe that some Nigerians were ready to start a trade or economic war in retaliation to an ethic crisis elsewhere in the country. They are shocked that the owners of the farm produce were willing to let some of their items go to waste in order to send a message without even considering the cost to themselves.

It is true that some subscribe to the gospel of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” in the name of getting vengeance even though it may contravene the law of the land. However, if everyone took an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth for every dispute, would we not become a nation of the blind and toothless ?
Did the war of 1967 to 1970 not teach us that in the end there is really “No victor or vanquished” when Nigerians take up arms against each other?
Has this situation not shown us that we really do depend on each other for survival and that ethnic identity really means nothing more than what it is, an identity. A cultural identity that does not automatically confer either criminal tendencies or God given intelligence.

Killing or starving ourselves in the name of ethnicity hurts the prosperity of the country. Let us instead keep our eyes, so that we can look for solutions to quench tensions born out of our differences. Let us keep our teeth in our mouths and be mindful of things we say about each other. Nigeria should be a melting pot of innovation due to its diversity and not a playground for chaos because we have more gain together than apart.

Arise dear compatriots, so that the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain…

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