Clarence Day was a renowned American poet, essayist and philosopher who lived in the 19th century. Clarence Day could have been a prophet because he captured with astonishing accuracy the trajectory of the collapse of human society. Asked how future generations will know that their society is decaying or collapsing, he counseled his students to always look back into mankind’s documented history. According to him, of all the inventions of man, none is as enduring as the documented histories of human existence. Empires rise and fall, he said; civilizations grow old and die. But in the world of books are volumes and volumes that have seen this happen again and again; still as fresh as the day they were written; still telling men’s heart of hearts of men centuries dead.
However, he regretted that many societies have become lax and complacent; so much so that history means nothing to them. His words, no doubt, accurately depict the Nigerian situation and our leaders’ penchant for collective amnesia. A country that could remove history as a subject from her school curricula is doomed to repeat the tragedies of the past.
Sir John Glubb, a British author and lecturer, has equally argued that most empires, glued together by artificial tendons generally do not last the distance. Citing examples with the Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Romanov Russian Empires, he remarked that such societies do not realize their internal rot even when events indicate that they have entered the Age of Decadence, i.e. the final stage at which such society is marked by delusion, pessimism, materialism, frivolity, and the total collapse of institutions of governance.
I am constrained to remark here that a few years from now, historians would be writing about the total disintegration of Nigeria. Then Chinua Achebe’s prophetic bequeathal of literary ingenuity and foresight, There was a Country would become more meaningful to us. But even now, Nigeria’s history of dissolution is writing itself furiously; accelerated by agents of doom masquerading as religious and pious puritans. In all my life I have never seen a country consumed by the spirit of despondency and forgetfulness as Nigeria; a country on the highway to perdition without knowing it.
By the time the day is done, there would be no more compatriots to stand in the gap for Nigeria, there will be nobody to obey the clarion call of national defense; the love, strength and faith would have dissipated in Nigerians that they call to service would fall on deaf ears and the labours of our heroes past would factually be in vain. This sounds like a doomsday prophecy but it is not. It does appear that all the prophecies about Nigeria’s demise are being fulfilled in our time today. The signs are indeed ominous and the day is far gone for redemption.
The crumbling period of Nigeria started in 1966 when the Nigerian State conspired to annihilate the Igbo population for no just cause than Igbos capacity and ingenuity to survive where others have failed. Though, after that genocidal pogrom, the Nigerian state seemed to get along as a united country with patchy mechanisms, the final descent to perdition began on May 29th 2015 when a combination of political forces anchored on treachery, chicanery and other negative thematic ushered in Muhammadu Buhari into office as the President. Since then, a chain of events, so dire, has occurred that it would seem the Nigerian empire has snapped the fuse of self-destruction, going by the series of catastrophes we have had since 2015.
After the June 12 imbroglio, the aftermath of which produced a Yoruba presidency followed by an Ijaw presidency, the Hausa-Fulani wanted political power reverted to the North at all costs, and the lackey nature of former President Jonathan became a very easy sale for the Hausa-Fulani establishment with active connivance by a Yoruba political cartel. But then the Hausa-Fulani establishment seized the opportunity to push their agenda of an Islamized Nigeria; and relegating even their Yoruba acolytes to the background. It is this Islamization agenda that has driven the final death knell on Nigeria’s coffin.
A few days ago, I had reason to engage an old friend of mine from the north in a heart-to-heart discussion. This friend, who for security reasons, I will simply refer to as Yusuf, is from Southern Kaduna, and a Christian. I had called to inquire from him if he survived the carnage in Southern Kaduna. With a trembling voice, he assured me he was not in town when tragedy struck in Southern Kaduna and that was his luck; but his two siblings with their families were not so lucky. They were captured by Islamic soldiers, slaughtered like goats and buried in a mass grave.
He poured out his grief to me but I commiserated with him and assured him that reprieve would eventually come when this country is fully restructured. However, he did not seem to buy into my line of thought. According to him, not even restructuring will save Nigeria because as he puts it, “Islamization does not admit restructuring”. His response resonated with a remark I made recently that a time is coming; and it had already come, when many groups in Nigeria will no longer subscribe to the mantra of restructuring but would rather choose to opt out of the Nigeria state.
Today, there is no gainsaying the fact that all the indices sign-posting the collapse of Nigeria is starring us in the face. The most worrisome is the sustained Islamization of Nigeria; a disturbing phenomena that has gained freighting currency since the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as President. It is this earth-scorch policy of incandescent Islamization of Nigeria by Islamist forces that I want to dwell on.
On numerous occasions, I have drawn attention to the fact that Nigeria has no basis existing as one country. I am indeed surprised that many people, especially from the North, in their blindness, tend to distort our history. Recorded Nigerian history is generous with the fact that the north never believed in the concept of one Nigeria. It is also a historical fact that the South was amalgamated to the North by Britain, merely to use the resources of the South to run the North, which had become difficult for a Britain to run in terms funding. The north had always existed as an Islamic enclave, and saw every non-northerner as an intruder.
For instance, Sir Abubakar Tafewa Balewa, Nigeria’s first Prime Minister once remarked that the southern people who are pouring into this region (Northern region) daily in such large numbers are really intruders. In Balewa’s own words, “We don’t want them; and they are not welcomed here in the north. Since 1914, that British government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country; but the people are different in every way, including religion, custom, language and aspirations. We in the north take it that Nigeria’s unity is only a British intention for the country they created. It is not for us”.
Even before the foregoing remarks by Balewa; Lord Lugard, the man who sealed the amalgamation plot of 1914 had said that Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria are like oil and water, they can never mix. Obafemi Awolowo never believed in Nigeria’s unity basically because even until his death he had always seen Nigeria as a mere geographical expression, which was sustained by imperial Britain. Awolowo would go on to comment that the amalgamation of 1914 would forever be a reminder of Britain’s atrocity against the people of Southern Nigeria.
Virtually every Nigeria leader before now agrees that there is no basis for the unity of Nigeria. Therefore, if today the northern political elite delude themselves about the indivisibility or indissolubility of Nigeria, or parrot such warped assumptions that the unity of the country is non-negotiable, it is not just because they want to keep the status-quo for their own economic benefit, but moreso to explore the possibility of expanding the frontiers of Islam down to the Atlantic. The command by Othman Dan Fodio to his followers to Islamize Nigeria is truly alive and well. From the time of Fodio, through Balewa, Ahmadu Bello and presently Muhammadu Buhari, the determination and commitment of these soldiers of religious infamy to compel forced conversion of Christians to Moslems has been sustained with murderous vocation. This programme of Islamization has been vigorously pursued, leaving in its trail bloodbath, carnage and terror.
We can no longer tolerate these senseless killings all in the name of religion. Today, Igboland is under siege by these soldiers of Islam. Even in our own backyards, our people are being slaughtered with careless abandon by Islamist soldiers masquerading as herdsmen. Tell me what manner of herdsmen would be equipped with AK47 and AK49 assault rifles and other weapons of war. From Nimbo to Isiagu, Abakaliki, Okigwe, Owerri, Aguata and many other parts of Igboland, there is no end to the tale of woes against our people by these soldiers of Islam. What is even more galling is the tendency for officialdom to label critics of this Islamization as hate-speakers. This is ridiculous. The brutality that was unleashed on our people by so-called Fulani herdsmen in Nimbo was enough to declare a national day of mourning; but till date Muhammadu Buhari has not commiserated with the Igbo nation or the families of the victims; nor has he visited Igboland.
Nigeria may have survived a civil war; but history cannot afford me any example of a society that has survived a religious war. For those who dismiss off-handedly the possibility of Islamizing Nigeria as impossible, I have great pity for them. Turkey was 98percent Christians before now. Today, Christians constitute less than 2percent of Turkish population. The great Apostle Paul in the Bible is from Turkey because Tarsus was a city in Turkey. Syria, Jordan and many countries in the Middle East were Christian countries in the past. When the wave of Jihad started in these areas, the Christians, lackadaisical as always, wave the threat off. Islam has not lost its force or brutality.
For the avoidance of doubt, Islam is not a religion of peace; it is a religion of war, terror and brutality. Virtually every verse in the Quran talks about war against the infidels i.e. Christians (also called people of the Book). There are so many religions in the world. Apart from Christianity and Islam, we also have Judaism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Hare Krishna, etc. Interestingly, none of these other religions, except Islam, enjoins its members to kill those who do not belong to it. Any religion that enjoins its followers to kill is an evil religion. Any religion that places no value on the human life is evil. It is this evil that Nigeria is contenting with.
Only last week, two Muslims, dressed like suicide bombers, invaded a church in Calabar and sent the innocent worshippers scampering for safety. One of the men worshipped in the church as Muslims do while the other one apparently armed paced up and down to the consternation of the bewildered Christians. Tell me anywhere in the north this would happen without violence. Our tolerance should not, for any reason, be misconstrued for cowardice. Let me tell these agents of Islamization that the South-East and South-South can no longer tolerate this bestiality and brutality. We will resist every attempt to Islamize our space today and tomorrow.
The present slaughtering of Ndigbo and other persons of southern Nigeria origin even in our own political space is a development that is so sinister and so pregnant with memories of the past that no member of the south-eastern family could fail to recall its horrible significance. This pre-meditated killings of our people reminds us all of the terrifying mass murder and ethnic cleansing that befell our people in northern Nigeria in 1966 during the most horrifying genocidal pogrom against Ndigbo that mankind has ever seen and which beset our people.
Following the never-to-be-forgotten genocidal pogrom against our people, we have made a solemn vow that never again would circumstances be allowed to develop in which such a catastrophe could happen. Even today we wish to reaffirm that vow; that this kind of pogrom would never happen again.
We wish to warn the perpetrators of the present mass slaughter of our people in Nigeria and also their sponsors that 2017 is not 1966; that the circumstances of 1966 and today are not the same and that all those implicated in the present bloodshed would be held accountable not just in Nigeria but also by the international community. Let no one be deluded to think that such massive liquidation of our people would go unnoticed and unchallenged. If the Nigerian state of today should ever fail to protect her citizens anywhere in the country, then the country should cease to have meaning and our people may be forced into aggressive defense of their lives and property.
We cannot accept a situation where some section of the country would hide under the cover of religion to carry out premeditated attacks on our people with the intention of killing and maiming them and destroying their property. This is totally unacceptable. We will resist such attempt even with the last drop of our blood. I am, therefore, calling on the entire people of South-Eastern Nigeria to rise to the present challenge. If the present spate of Islamization agenda does not stop forthwith, the people of South-eastern Nigeria would be left with no choice than to initiate a process of referendum preparatory for the emergence of their own independent state- be it Biafra or any other.
In truth, Biafra has become the only option for the people of South-eastern Nigeria if there must be a tomorrow for us. As a people, we have paid the ultimate price for the existence of Nigeria. We can no longer pay such price. The killings of our people under any disguise can no longer be tolerated in any part of this country. He, who has ear, let him hear.
Written by Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo