Ola Balogun: Nigeria, 2016 and matters arising

Ola Balogun: Nigeria, 2016 and matters arising

Friday, January 1, 2016 5:05 pm

Ola Balogun

Ola Balogun

​​​​​​​By Ola Balogun

​Obviously, 2016 is a year in which Nigeria will be facing a number of very grave dangers. There is absolutely no need for anyone to lay claim to gifts of prophecy in order to comprehend a self-evident fact of this nature. In fact, every Nigerian above the age of 12 should easily be able to understand what is going on…

​Whether we like it or not, the harsh reality confronting us today is that Nigeria is a nation at war! ​War is currently being waged against our people and our land on a number of separate fronts.

In the main theatre of war, the forces ranged against us are hunger, poverty, corruption and under-development. Only a fool would underestimate the potency of the formidable armies that have been marshalled against us by these entities, which, far from being abstract ideas, are actually very formidable adversaries that have destroyed far better prepared nations than Nigeria in the past.

However, there is no doubt that the terrifying forces ranged against us in the main theatre of war can be successfully confronted and defeated. The most inspiring recent example of a people and a nation that rose from the verge of defeat to largely overcome hunger, poverty, widespread corruption and under-development is China, which has now gone on to start vying for the position of the world’s leading nation with a fast declining United States of America, leaving erstwhile giants like Britain, France and Italy far, far, behind…

Thus, there can be no doubt that a visitor from outer space who might have flown past the earth on an exploratory mission on the eve of the Second World War in 1939 and observed the situation in China then would be absolutely astounded if he were to undertake a return mission to observe the earth afresh today.

No doubt, part of the explanation for the extraordinary turn-around that has brought China from the status of a huge land mass in which millions were dying of hunger and disease to the exalted position of a powerful industrial, political and cultural giant in less than one century owes a lot to the dedication, patriotism, and sheer brilliance of the successive teams of leaders that China has thrown up in waves since the 1930’s. The other key explanation however is that the Chinese understood that they were, (and still are!) a nation at war, with a result that the entire Chinese nation has remained mobilized on a war footing for several decades now, beginning from the time of what has somewhat misleadingly been described as the Boxer Revolution…

Unfortunately for us, far from offering worthwhile leadership, the western educated Nigerian elite has demonstrated an astonishing capacity for self-delusion, unrelenting greed and blind attachment to a self-destructive quest for accumulating material wealth since the era of direct colonial rule came to an end.

Indeed, examining Nigeria’s history since we attained nominal independence from Britain in 1960, one is forced to wonder what sins the peoples of Nigeria might have committed to deserve such a thoroughly rotten and incapable leadership class!

In addition to hunger, poverty, corruption and under-development, some of the highly potent forces ranged against Nigeria at the moment are more tangible in nature.

Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that the major nations of the Western World have been waging a relentless war against the peoples of Africa for well over five centuries now, beginning with raids spearheaded by the early European explorers and missionaries, who served as an advance body of spies. Unfortunately, we have suffered many heavy defeats on this battlefront. We continue to suffer one defeat after another in the present era, despite temporary truces and misleading halts in open warfare.

Outstanding episodes include the horrifying experience of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in the course of which millions of Africans perished fighting each other to provide the slaving nations with cargoes of slaves, whose free labour was forcibly exploited to build the United States of America, as well as ensure the prosperity of Britain, France, Holland, Spain, and Portugal.

Ironically enough, a country like France, which seeks to deafen us these days with much empty talk about universal “human rights”, virtually made a wasteland of Haiti after the black slaves rose in rebellion under leaders like Toussaint Louverture and Christophe, after which France imposed a crushing fine on the impoverished Haitian nation as a kind of war reparation, resulting in the devastating conditions that the people of Haiti are currently faced with.

The direct colonial occupation of the African continent and the horrors of so-called “pacification” (i.e. the ruthless massacre of those who dared resist colonial rule) represents another major phase of the war that still continues to be waged against the peoples of Africa by the major Western nations.

However, the major difference between direct colonial occupation of our lands and the present day exploitation of Africa by the West is that the enemy has co-opted some deeply corrupt and highly treacherous members of the African elite class to wage war on our people on its behalf (eg Mobutu, Jonas Savimbi, Eyadema and co.). These plantation overseers are usually closely controlled by Western intelligence agencies, acting in conjunction with “advisory” international institutions like the IMF and the World Bank.

No doubt, part of the explanation for the extraordinary turn-around that has brought China from the status of a huge land mass in which millions were dying of hunger and disease to the exalted position of a powerful industrial, political and cultural giant in less than one century owes a lot to the dedication, patriotism, and sheer brilliance of the successive teams of leaders that China has thrown up in waves since the 1930’s. The other key explanation however is that the Chinese understood that they were, (and still are!) a nation at war, with a result that the entire Chinese nation has remained mobilized on a war footing for several decades now, beginning from the time of what has somewhat misleadingly been described as the Boxer Revolution.

In Nigeria, some of the new recruits who have been launched against us to act as saboteurs and fifth columnists include a recent much-touted Federal Minister of Finance, whose abysmal ignorance of elementary economic issues has long been evident, and whose role in recent episodes of massive looting of our national resources is currently under scrutiny…

However, we cannot blame all our woes on external foes. It is obvious that some Nigerians have, on their own initiative, been waging a ruthless form of warfare on their own fatherland.

How else can one describe a situation in which individuals occupying high positions as Governors, Ministers, Heads of the Civil Service and even Presidents have been involved in looting the national coffers on such a monumental scale that Nigeria would have collapsed completely within the next few years if providence had not miraculously brought Buhari to power last year?

The danger is however far from over : Corruption is fast regrouping for a major counter offensive that is already gaining ground through deliberate acts of economic sabotage (such as the recent petrol shortage) and a desperate propaganda onslaught spearheaded by odd jobbers like Ayo Fayose and Femi Fani-Kayode, whose deafening hypocritical clamour about the violation of the “human rights” of those who are currently being investigated for their role in the recent massive looting of our national resources is obviously being coordinated from somewhere…

In passing, it should be noted that the unholy Fayose/Fani-Kayode duo are extremely lucky to be walking the land freely with impunity at the moment. They both richly deserve to be offered free accommodation for some years in a certain type of government-run hostel where the guests are supplied with free white uniforms and given free helpings of beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It is also certainly not by pure coincidence that a well funded agitation for a new “biafran” homeland has been unleashed of recent on the Nigerian nation, with a dangerous intent to plunge the country into a massive civil war in which hundreds of thousands of lives would have been lost…

Who are the brains and the deep pockets behind this bogus “biafran emancipation movement”?

There is no doubt that there will be many interesting revelations whenever Nnamdi Kanu (a hitherto largely unknown youth who mysteriously emerged overnight as the leader of the so-called Biafra Independent Movement) is brought to public trial for his nefarious role as a puppet in the pay of some powerful individuals who were plotting to provoke a new civil war in Nigeria, possibly as a means of evading arrest and prosecution for their horrendous financial misdeeds during the Jonathan Administration…

​​It is interesting to note that the “Sun” newspaper of Saturday December 12th 2012 contains a number of eye-popping revelations about the mystery man Nnamdi Kanu and his predecessor and original mentor as a “biafran emancipation” agitator, Mr. Ralph Uwazurike.

​​Amazingly enough, it turns out (if Uwazurike is to be believed!) that Nnamdi Kanu was a virtually unemployed youth whom Uwazurike originally hired to run the affairs of Radio Biafra, a kind of pirate agit-prop radio station that was set up in London a few years ago with mysterious funding sourced by Ralph Uwazurike under the aegis of MASSOB, the so-called “Movement for the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra”.

​​According to Ralph Uwazurike (in an interview that forms part of the extensive exposé published on pages 47 to 51 of the “Sun” newspaper of December 12th), Nnamdi Kanu was allegedly dismissed by MASSOB for misappropriating Radio Biafra’s funds, as well as for re-registering Radio Biafa under his own name as a prelude to unleashing a hate campaign against the present leadership of Nigeria and mobilizing support for “biafran” separatism…

​​The fact that Nnamdi Kanu suddenly surfaced a few years later at the head of well funded organization that has been holding a series of disruptive and highly provocative rallies and public demonstrations in a number of major Nigerian cities with the aid of rented crowds and mobs of unemployed youths raises many intriguing questions.

​​In particular, who are the hidden hands behind the alleged treasonable activities for which Nnamdi Kanu has now been charged to court by the Federal Government?

It is very important that the lives of Nnamdi Kanu and his co-conspirators presently in federal custody should be carefully guarded. Judging from the rumours that were skilfully disseminated of late about his death in detention by a mysterious propaganda network, there may be a plot to silence Nnamdi Kanu by assassinating him while he is in detention, while at the same time imputing his demise to the Buhari Administration, thus further inflaming the passions of the gullible crowds who have been manipulated into joining the alleged biafran emancipation drive.

​​Most amazingly, a hitherto highly respected Nigerian cleric recently came forward to recommend that President Buhari should hold “peace talks” in person with the shadowy Nnamdi Kanu, whom the cleric described as the most popular leader in Nigeria today!

​​This flight of fancy might easily have been dismissed as having been provoked by a moment of indulgence in what my late friend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti (Abami Eda) used to fondly describe as “Nigerian natural grass”, but for the fact that this same cleric drew unwanted national attention to himself some time ago by leading what he described as s “peace and reconciliation delegation” to Aso rock some time ago to plead with President Buhari to discontinue investigation into the looting of Nigeria’s national treasury during the Jonathan era… Curiouser and curiouser, as the saying goes in “Alice in Wonderland”.

​​Obviously, the Federal Government need waste no time heeding calls for some meaningless form of dialogue with an indicted criminal like Nnamdi Kanu, who has now quite rightly been charged with treasonable felony.

After all is said and done, however, the easiest way of bringing the whole silly “biafran emancipation” agitation to a quick halt is for the Federal Government to agree to hold a nation-wide referendum to allow Ndigbo residing and running businesses in different parts of Nigeria to opt to return to the land-locked and resource-deficient enclave that will be formed to accommodate the new Biafran nation, leaving all their property and businesses behind, and returning to Okigwe, Nnewi, Umuahia etc with only what they can carry in ‘Ghana must go’ bags.

It is highly doubtful that the so-called “biafran emancipation movement” would survive such a referendum by even a single hour! No need to deploy troops or attempt to prevent the rented crowds of unemployed youths from marching up and down to their hearts’ content!

Simply tell Ndigbo that they are perfectly free to secede from Nigeria if that is what they truly want, with the proviso of course that they will only be allowed to visit other parts of Nigeria after the establishment of the biafran homeland that they claim to want if they produce appropriately issued passports and visas, and that they will be subjected to the same residence and work permit restrictions as all other aliens who wish to visit, trade or work in Nigeria.

Finally, on a more serious note, the Buhari Administration needs to devise a more efficient way of deploying the nation’s armed might against the rag-tag Boko Haram forces, which continue to have some residual capacity to perpetrate cowardly suicide bomb attacks on innocent civilians.

The problem is that the Federal Government is wrong to rely on the current Nigerian Army (which is essentially an outgrowth of the original repressive force established by the British colonialists as a tool for “pacifying” Nigeria) for a task that requires unorthodox tactics and a high degree of motivation, as well as a willingness to confront death.

As the history of warfare abundantly shows, it is rare to find individuals who are willing to risk death simply for a salary. So, as matters now stand, the official Nigerian armed forces should be allowed to continue leading a peaceful existence in the safety of their barracks, carrying out parades as usual.

In their place, the Federal Government should deploy a civilian volunteer force of one million Nigerian patriots, armed only with sticks if necessary, to comb every inch of the Sambisa forest and root out the cowardly Boko Haram louts, who will never stand and fight against a determined citizenry that is not afraid to die. How many of the civilian patriots can the Boko Haram rag-tag army of cowardly renegades actually kill before they are all flushed out and dispatched to kingdom come?

​Even though he is already aged seventy, the author of the present article is eager to volunteer to march in the vanguard of the civilian patriotic militia that should be mobilized by the Federal Government to cleanse the Boko Haram rabble from the face of the earth in a matter of weeks.

If the truth be told, the real problem of the present-day Nigerian army is that it has very few true soldiers of Benjamin Adekunle’s calibre in its ranks today. Instead, the bulk of the senior officers are rather similar to a certain General in the Abacha era, who is reputed to have knelt down and prostrated, begging for his life when he was confronted by an Abacha henchman of the rank of major.


A whole General grovelling on the ground and begging for his life? What did he join the army for, if he was not prepared to accept death when it loomed before him?

Even a private soldier in the pre-colonial Nigerian armies of the Fulani emirates, the Omo-Oduduwa armed forces, the Benin armies, the Ohaffia warriors etc would NEVER have BEGGED for his life to be spared if confronted by the prospect of death at the war front!

So what kind of army does Nigeria have today?

Where are the Nigerian Generals and Colonels capable of emulating Benjamin Adekunle’s scintillating military tactics, in addition to being capable of motivating foot soldiers to march forward unflinchingly under their leadership to conquer an armed adversary in the face of threatened death? That is the million dollar question!

* Dr. Ola Balogun is an author, film maker and musician who currently resides in Cotonou (Benin Republic), where he ekes out a living as best as he can.

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