In Nigeria, The Heirs are At War… With Each Other.

By Ikenga Chronicles September 13, 2017

In Nigeria, The Heirs are At War… With Each Other.

— Gboyega Adejumo

The real nostalgia for me will always be my university days.I traveled the length and breadth of the West African region, and also spending some time in Sierra Leone with friends I made while traversing the entire West African space.

Mind you, I was also at Zaria for the NUGA games in 82 and in Sokoto and other places in the North as well.

Picking many friends along the way, even unto the Eastern parts of Nigeria, I went!

Let’s agree on one thing — traveling the length and breadth of one’s country will never be as exhilarating as criss-crossing the plains and hills of another, so it was with my time in both Ghana and Sierra Leone.

In Ghana at the popular Makola market, our Naira was the king currency and being a Nigerian in those days was akin to being a king. Savoring all that Ghana had to offer remains unforgettable.

However, my experience in Sierra Leone was different. There, for perhaps the first time, I witnessed injustice, imbalance, inequity, iniquity and inequality. I shall explain.

Although I was a student of the University of Ife, my most admired friends were University of Ibadan students, and among them were Kweku Minnow and Albert Attah, a fine actor, both from Ghana. My association with this duo, produced a strong Sierra Leonean connection and a love interest with a delectable lady of the Roy-Macaulay family. A trip to Sierra Leone was therefore inevitable.

I remember so well my first impression of Downtown Freetown, a very lovely place it was.In the early 80s, being Nigerian opened doors, favour, respect and that was what was working for me everywhere I went with the Naira, which I paid with throughout my stay at Mamiyoko Hotel in Freetown.

Some nights back, I was on the phone with a good friend who now does his business in both Ghana and Sierra Leone. Some years back I went back to Ghana with my family for a holiday, and was impressed with the modest progress made from those earlier days of a gloomy economy. It was the period of their presidential elections too, and we witnessed a little of the type of violence with those Ghanaians call, “Muscle Men”, but not on the scale to which violence occurs in ours.

Back to Sierra Leone, I had longed to learn more about the war and the aftermath of the war which way back in the early 80s, I felt was inevitable. I have always wanted to know about Avril and Anne Roy-Macaulay, about Ariyo and Adjai, the friends I made.
One might ask, why and how could an impressionable and precocious me, have strongly felt a war could come at some point to Sierra Leone.Simply, this was a basic uncolored explanation to what my perception could muster then — Sierra Leone was a Divided Country.

Oh Dear!Now, I am seeing what I once saw in Sierra Leone that my affluent, laid back, laissez-faire friends in Sierra Leone, didn’t see or pretended not to have seen.The divide then was between the affluent freed slaves, settlers from other places and the natives, the aborigines, who were unpretentiously called, “The Natives”, a most racial word!

This divide was the gory run of cruelty on man’s inhumanity to man that led to the war in Sierra Leone.

“The scar of the war is still very much visible”, my friend quipped.

“It would be.They were very unfortunate,” was all I could mutter in reply.

“Immediately you cross the Atlantic from Lungi into Freetown, you get the feeling something terrible happened there.
You see folks with half limbs everywhere.The scar is still very much visible, both physically and psychologically it is”!my friend demured back retiringly.

There was a palpable silence after my friend had said this.

We both knew why. Our minds, understandably fixated on our own country, Nigeria, a constant reminder that we too are tethering toward the same precipice.

As I recall, the affluent of Sierra Leone, lacked Empathy toward those they had chosen to ride over. Every rich person therefore became a natural for the pent-up angst. So, when eventually they couldn’t take it anymore, not even the hardworking were spared. Limbs were cut, lives terminated!

The poor and the oppressed did these things, for a lack of humanity and empathy to which they were subjected, shamelessly.

Empathy, a hitherto innate African virtue, became alien to the avenging Sierra Leonean–angry, revenge-seeking, hopeless and lost. All they wanted was, to exert the same measure of pain on those that had seemingly benefitted from the repressive system.

That is also becoming our problem.
The average Nigerian thinks it is a crime to be rich. Our sense of {dubious} entitlement makes us think you must have committed a crime to be rich. So no rich man so to speak, will be spared. And if we are to avoid this, it will just have to be a peaceful way out of this quagmire.

For a start, let us avoid falling into this situation by restructuring this country, as the first step to balancing.

On the other side is also the danger of an escalation of the Biafran agitation into a war of sorts.

Buhari is the problem.

And now, I am beginning to get worried, really Worried.

There are a lot of armour going to the East and something akin to an army of occupation is about to happen, with the inglorious operation “python dance” of shame that smells of the spilling of innocent blood, yet again.

The Igbo youths are as restless as they are nationalistic. I wish they won’t provoke a war.

What these young folks don’t get is this; Buhari is so close to where he is going.So all the anarchy he is leaving in his wake, in the twilight of his days in office and elsewhere, he will not be around to experience it!

Sadly, it is as if we do not get this.

Yet we keep saying the older generation is the problem.

In my opinion, it is the younger generation and the ones coming, that are missing in the vision department.

We need to break away with the old ways, without having to fight or shed blood.But that is looking like it may not happen that way.

My advice to the IPOB, is DO NOT PLAY INTO BUHARI’S HANDS!

A war of attrition might be the plan, but, we are in a democracy. No one can occupy anywhere. It will backfire.
Don’t give Buhari an excuse for a war.

In all of this, restructuring of the fiscal, physical and political Nigeria is the only way out.

In 2019, we must make sure we only elect a President and a Parliament that are ready to restructure!

While I believe the error in electing Buhari will be corrected in 2019,
I hope and pray Buhari doesn’t do any more structural damage to our already dilapidated social fabric and ethnic balancing, so that the ethnic cleansing of the type that happened in Sierra Leone, does not happen in Nigeria before he leaves the stage.

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