IT is true that the whole world generally, and Nigeria particularly are currently at (biological) war with coronavirus. However, while we all pray and work that we survive this war, we should not lose sight of the peculiar issues of national survival, development and greatness on ground before coronavirus warfare arrived. This is to avoid our leaders playing the ostrich while the acidic pathogens eating the pillars holding our nation operate at unrestrained speed. We must avoid the nation being taken unawares just as coronavirus did to the entire world. This is a matter of national survival, development and greatness. Our political leaders will only continue to ignore these issues at the nation’s peril.
Our leaders, just as many world leaders have always neglected Strategic Spiritual Intelligence (SSI). Coronavirus was predicted by Sylvia Browyne as far back as 2008. Prophet TB Joshua predicted it in 2008, and 2011. Prophet Chris Okafor predicted it mid-2019, and in November 2020 told Grace Nation members worldwide to go on 9 days fasting and prayers to survive an impending pestilence that will kill several people around the world. Several other prophets and pastors, including Pastor Adeboye and Prophet Olabayo in Nigeria and others outside, talked of the pestilence long before its outbreak. But world leaders and Nigerian leaders blocked their ears and never took the SSI serious. It was like when Prophet Iginla in Abuja predicted the plane crash at Iju in Lagos, six months earlier some years ago, but nobody listened. Again, Jean Dixon, the American seer, predicted in 1956, the election of J.F. Kennedy as President of the United States in 1960 and his assassination in 1963. Her efforts in the week of his assassination to stop President Kennedy from going to Dallas, in Texas, where his assassination was set, were ignored and eventually, the man died. It is in the same way that Nostradamus, (Europe’s greatest prophet), predicted several decades earlier that France would be conquered by a foreign power that will invade her through a forest. During the Second World War (1939-1945), French leaders and Generals did not take this prediction serious until the Nazi forces of Adolf Hlter invaded France through the Ardennes Forest and captured Paris within 72 hours in 1940.
Most African leaders, including Nigeria’s, since Ghana’s independence in 1957 have not shown any serious regards for knowledge, research as well as the lives and welfare of the people. That is why the annual budget for the education and health sectors have been shameful. The spikes that will occur in Africa, if we do not act fast rightly, over this raging coronavirus war will be as a result of wide spread ignorance and very poor health care systems. If African leaders took knowledge, research and SSI serious, locking down towns and states thereby endangering national economies and subjecting the people to hunger that reduce their body immunity and make them more amenable to coronavirus’ deadly attacks, would not have arisen.
In the year 2000, a Briton, Karl Maier, who had lived in Nigeria for years wrote a book titled ‘This House Has Fallen: Nigeria In Crisis’. This book as far back as 2000, presented Nigeria as a nation already “dead”, and gave his indices. Some of us, out of patriotism, did not agree with him that the house has fallen, even though we agree that the house’s foundation had been shaken badly by pathogens such as injustice, corruption, nepotism, ethnicity, religious bigotry, destruction of our federalism since 1966, and others. In 2003, I delivered the first Igbo Day Annual Lecture in Ibadan, in which I listed 36 factors that united Nigerians and seven factors that divided us. I insisted, however, that out of the seven factors, only one was potent, and that is injustice. Injustice against children, women, youths, the Niger Delta region; and especially the South East that had been denied executive leadership of Nigeria since independence in 1960 (except six months of Ironsi’s military rule), and left with five states where other zones have six or seven states, in a nation in which national revenue and political posts are shared on the basis of number of states and local governments. By then, President Olusegun Obasanjo was in power and I appealed to Ndigbo not to contest the then impending Presidential election so that he can do his two terms. Nobody listened about the injustices and they continued.
In 2005, some Americans predicted that Nigeria would disintegrate in 2015. But in 2010, five American Airforce officers, in a research paper, moved the date to 2030. Many Nigerians did not know of this new date and the 2015 date contributed to the fears and anxiety the country suffered during the 2015 general elections. In the same 2010, I was invited to Namibia by that country’s Ministry of Defence to teach “Strategic Management” to their military officers on course in the University of Namibia. During my stay in the country, Sam Nujoma, the country’s former President and leader of SWAPO, invited me to a lunch in his house. It was as a result of the support the All Nigerian United Nations Students Association (ANUNSA), University of Ibadan chapter of which I was the Staff Adviser, gave him and SWAPO during their liberation struggle in the 1980s. During the lunch, he asked me a question that jolted me. He said, he hoped Nigerians are thinking and watching events critically. He said that Lord Lugard (Nigeria’s first Governor (General from 1900) passed through three big countries: India, Sudan and Nigeria. He said India had been balkanised with Pakistan and Bangladesh seceding. Kashmir and Punjab are still struggling to leave. He said if Nigeria and the African Union (AU) did not move fast, Sudan would also be broken and after Sudan, the next country on the fire line would be Nigeria! When I returned, nobody was interested. Sudan broke into two, soon after.
In 2020, Boko Haram got hoisted on Nigeria as a terrorist and insurgent fighting machine. They started by attacking Christians and churches in the North and demanding that southerners should leave the North. When this tactic failed to set Nigeria ablaze on North Vs South, and Muslims Vs Christians basis; they began attacking Muslims and mosques also. Within three to four years, they ravaged the North-East and captured over 22 local government areas in which they hoisted their flag. Thanks to the coming of the President Muhammadu Buhari government in 2015, and the gallantry of the military with the support of the Multinational Joint task force, and other security agencies, the occupied territory were reclaimed and the terrorists degraded. Even the attempts to rebuild their fire-power and ranks by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) are now being neutralised by Chadian and Nigerian forces. While our forces were engaging the Boko Haram insurgents, the age-long herders-farmers conflict transmitted into herders’ aggression, fueled by foreign elements as we are told and the defence and security forces stand helpless on this issue that has potentials of tearing Nigeria into shreds, especially given its associated kidnapping, human parts and extortionist character.
Who shall save Nigeria from the acidic pathogens worse than the combined forces of coronavirus, Lassa fever, and Hiv/Aids put together? The long standing cries and demands for restructuring the country from the North Central, South west, South-South and South-East zones have fallen on deaf ears. What we hear from those that are supposed to protect Nigeria is that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable; and I do ask, who negotiated the disintegration of Ethiopia, Sudan, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia? The National Confab decisions of 2014 that held so much hope for Nigeria’s survival, stability, development and greatness have been thrown overboard. The world is watching. They know the truth and have the facts. They are not as myopic as some of us. The Yoruba Nation has just been admitted into the United Nations Peoples’ Organisation to enhance their voice over their frustrations in Nigeria. It is their right and it is a lawful move in a country that is supposed to be a real federation, but has since 1966 been run like a unitary state. Leaving the South-East zone deliberately with five states while other zones have six or seven states is an injustice very clear to the world. Justice should be done to the Niger Delta with speed. The proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its labelling as a terrorist body ridiculed Nigeria and exposed the unjust nature of the thoughts of our leaders. That is why that proscription and labelling attracted international opposition. I appeal and plead with the Federal Government to lift the proscription and terrorist tag on IPOB before it is too late for the country. It is double standard for the government to be dialoguing with the Boko Haram that has killed thousands of Nigerians, Nigeriens, Chadians and Cameroonians; wasted the lives of hundreds of our fine military and security officers and diverted trillions of developmental revenue into war fighting; and the same government refuses to dialogue with the IPOB that pursues non-violent principle of agitation. It is double standard to label the IPOB a terrorist organisation and leave out herders that have killed hundreds of people, including soldiers and police men, raped, maimed and razed down several villages. The world is watching, and will act when they feel it is necessary to invoke the principle of Responsibility To Protect (R2P). It is also important here to remind those who are gleefully killing people today because they feel protected that the Jews are still seeking out those who killed their loved ones between 1933 and 1945 and dragging them to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague for justice. So, those massacring innocent Nigerians today should not think it is over.
The heart of governance is administration, and the engine of administration is caring for the people, supported by knowledge, research and development. As we unite as a nation to fight the coronavirus, we should also unite to rid our fatherland of the acidic pathogens that are waiting in the womb of time to disintegrate it. Nigeria is too important to the Blackman, Africa and the world to be allowed to go into historical oblivion. But the issue is, who shall save the country? Where are the statesmen?
- Professor Nwolise, just retired from the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan
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