RIGHTSView: When the minority torments the majority in Nigeria

Posted by Emmanuel Onwubiko | 22 January 2014 | 3,347 times

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Richard Dowden is the Director of the Royal African Society. This British journalist who first came to an African soil (Uganda) as a teacher in 1971 was among the first scholars to observe that in Nigeria a lot of pragmatic contradictions that are not possible in other nations do actually happen.

Mr. Dowden in his masterly analysis of political and historical issues in Africa which he documented in his book “AFRICA: Altered States, ordinary miracles”, pointed out an interesting contradiction which goes to show that Nigeria is about the only place whereby the minority among the populations constantly torments the majority.

His words: “In Nigeria more than 100 million people were ruled for twenty-nine years by an Army officially 70,000 strong, of which probably only two thirds were effective. That means only one soldier for more than two thousand Nigerians. And yet in all that time there was not one popular democratic movement of significance.”

This factual lamentation of apathy of the many towards the misrule by the few has contributed monumentally to the underdevelopment of Nigeria and the emergence of phenomenally unusual poverty in a scale unprecedented in recent human history.

In his book “CRUDE CONTINENT: The struggle for Africa’s oil prize”, Duncan Clarke better demonstrated the economic cost of allowing the tiny minority to constantly torment the majority in Nigeria and other so-called developing and/or “third world” nations.

Duncan Clarke drew an analogy with the massive theft by the elite in Nigeria of the significant revenue generated over the years from the export of Nigeria’s obscenely rich crude oil resources and also alluded to the fact as pointed out by Richard Dowden that the docility of the civil populace contributed significantly to this awkward regime of the minority tormenting the majority.

Mr. Duncan Clarke had written thus: “Politics and oil in Nigeria have never been straight forward and this pattern is unlikely to alter much in the future.”

Mr. Clarke wrote further: “Poverty in this oil-rich nation remains extreme. Hostility towards the oil-enriched elites, especially those that have clearly profited from the oil game in ways that cannot be readily explained by normal business skills, is overt. Impoverishment seems unlikely to go away whatever the buoyancy of oil revenues, at least in the medium term, and may be for decades.”           

Graphically, Mr. Clarke demonstrated the stench of corruption that oozes out from the administrators of Nigeria’s crude oil revenue when he wrote thus: “During Obasanjo’s eight-year tenure as President of Nigeria, the country earned $223 Billion in oil revenues. However, basic living conditions worsened significantly for most Nigerians. Around 70% remained in survival mode, living on $1USD per day (80% of oil revenues benefiting around 1 % of the populace). It was politics as usual.”  

This sad phenomenon of the wicked tiny minority using political power at their disposal to torment the silent but apparently confused majority who just sit back and watch believing in some kind of unusual miracles happening in our life time,  is huge, if you ask me.

Same pattern of apprehension in the minds of the majority concerning the constant torments of the minority has always been played up by this ruling minority to hold the apathetic and docile majority spellbound, thereby giving them [the tormenting minority] the abundance of space to unleash further devastating crimes in the guise of providing governance in contemporary Nigeria.

The minority who torments the majority in Nigeria also uses religious sentiments to confuse the docile majority while they continue the plunder of the nation’s wealth relentlessly. Karl Mark never knew he was referring to Nigeria’s tormented majority when he wrote rightly: “Religion is the opium of the people.”

In Zamfara, Borno and other northern states, between 1999 and 2007, the political rulers who clearly had nothing good up their sleeves to provide good and qualitative leadership to lift the majority of their people from their man-made poverty situations, rather went into the inner recesses of the religious reservoir to introduce Islamic religious law of Sharia to the administration of the tormented majority even as this dangerous minority failed to use the massive federally allocated resources to improve the living conditions of their people. The result is that more poor people were churned out and petty crimes became commonplace, thereby exposing only the voiceless and impoverished majority to the harsh reality of their limbs being amputated through a state-sponsored, clearly unconstitutional sets of extra-legal sanctions in the name of implementing the religious code in these northern states.

A certain Mr. Jangebe had his precious limb amputated in one of these northern states for the so-called crime of stealing a goat that is less than N10,000. But the tiny minority who torment the majority go into government virtually broke but retire into a life of opulence. In Borno, a phenomenon of armed Islamic militancy emerged resulting in the ongoing large scale terrorism that threatens the territorial integrity of Nigeria.          

Sadly, the former governor accused of masterminding the existence of these bunch of outlaws, recently purchased an expensive, exotic Gulfstream private jet worth several billions of foreign currency even when his state is ravaged by poverty, terrorism and violence in a scale unknown in the political annals of Nigeria.

The Nigerian citizens who are constituted by this tormenting tiny minority also are standing idly watching these past political leaders from the North East as they enjoy their huge reservoir of cash probably amassed from alleged criminal sources while they presided over in the progressive ruining of their states.

At the Federal level, both the executive and the legislature have found a way of constantly remaining relevant in the scheme of things and to secure the support and loyalty of this tormented majority.

The tiny tormenting minority that make up this class of political elite at the national level have found religion and distribution of slavish patronage and bribes in the name of some ‘policies’ such as SURE-P and YouWin which they dangle before the docile tormented majority who go about suffering and smiling and existing with the delusion that their tormenting political slave drivers have their interest at heart. The reality is far from it!   

The recently signed anti-gay law which most people endorsed is surely one of those sinister schemes to hold the tormented majority spellbound while the tormenting minority continue with the devastating wrecking and destruction of the economy through large-scale theft of public fund retired in a variety of ways to enable these thieving elites escape the so-called long arm of the law.

Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, was in his elements when he announced in the blaze of ‘glory’ seemingly, that the president has signed the anti-gay law which prescribes 14-year-jail term for offenders. Ever since this announcement, the Federal government seems to be enjoying the pyrrhic victory of successfully using this subterfuge to secure cheap popularity because it is a well known fact that majority of us are religious and indeed love the preservation of our revered African culture.

But come to think of it, who were the first sets of alleged offenders paraded for violating the anti-gay law in parts of Bauchi in North East Nigeria? The same poor tormented majority.

In Nigeria the rich do not also cry when it comes to enforcement of the law because they have their way of escaping the long arm of the law through dubious mechanism of deploying the huge financial resources at their disposal to scuttle the rule of law and derail the dispensation of justice. Who says that some big men in government do not have gay sexual orientation?         

But these renegades in government have the security cover and the slush fund to undermine the enforcement of this same anti-gay law already signed which has scored significant political mileage for the current administration which has battled internal rebellion both within the ruling political party and by armed Islamic fundamentalists in the North East.

The rich gay political appointees will simply use our public funds to hire their fellow gay lovers as personal assistants and since they have security cover as members of the political ruling and tormenting class, no poor police operative dare arrest a big man offender for charges relating to violating our brand new sets of anti-gay laws which the tormenting elitist minority have cleverly hidden under the canopy and platform of religion and tradition which have popular appeal among the tormented majority.

Professor Jacob Ajayi has rightly put it this way: “The proper role of tradition as a living reality and an important factor in politics and social change remains to be adequately studied.”

Professor Wole Soyinka brought it out better in the following words: “The fundamental problem for the African intellectual who struggles for a cultural renewal continues to be that of reconciling tradition, and progress.”

In his book “The past in the present: towards a rehabilitation of tradition”, Louis J. Munoz offers us better background knowledge on why traditional sentiments could be used as potent weapon by the tormenting minority to hold the tormented majority spell bound for a long time.

His words: “I hold brief for tradition. I have taken this stand, although it is not an easy one, as it seems to go against the common trends in my discipline, in the sciences of man, and for that matter, against deeply entrenched feelings and attitudes.”

The tormenting minority in Nigeria have successfully brainwashed the rest of us (tormented majority) to view the few people with gay tendencies and same-sex orientation as the real tormenting minority of the majority since same-sex marriage is absolutely forbidden in African tradition.

Luckily, for this tormenting minority political class, the scale of opposition to the anti-gay law in Nigeria demonstrated by the United States and the Canadian political establishments has helped to bolster their claim that after all the real tormenting minority are those persons who practice same sex.

Already, religious leaders of all divides who hitherto were on each other’s throats have found common ground on this passage of anti-gay law in Nigeria.

Who says the Nigerian political class are not masters of double speak and deceit?

RIGHTSVIEW appears thrice a week on Mondays, Wednesday and Saturdays. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).


Source: News Express

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