Welding the sundered parts of Nigeria into an organic whole has remained a will-o-the-wisp. Since 1960, Nigeria has struggled with the possibilities and importunities of unity. The founding fathers of the country longed for a time when a variegated people will become an unbroken, congealed composite. They did not live to see this happen; yet, many years after Nigeria is still far from what the good progenitors envisioned.
Over the years, threats of secession, insurgency, and naked intolerance have become more prominent. The falcon can no longer hear the falconer. There seems to be a general lack of consensus on any matter. But to what do we owe this jeopardous state of things? I believe, there is the place of leadership; there is the place of our predatory politics, and there is the place of atavistic proclivities – in the Nigeria quandary.
The chequered experience of the past seven years has shown that politics is the material provenance of strife in Nigeria. Our politics is besmirched with vile, sinister undercuts, machinations, and devilry. Not long after President Muhammadu Buhari came to power did conspiracy theories springing from his ethnicity and religion pervade and dominate public discourse.
One notorious conspiracy theory was that banditry was the surreptitious agenda of a powerful clique in government who were working at conquering territories and forcibly converting Nigerian locals to Islam. Another was that the government was contriving how to take over lands of citizens and hand them over to the Fulani by stoking the crisis.
Doctored videos and phony photos rippled on social media purportedly showing the military dropping arms and supplies from helicopters to bandits. Bandits were alleged to be enjoying protection as ancillaries of the government. Lies! Fallacies! But all for what? Politics. It was all politics.
The reality is that those who lost the 2015 elections, retreated into covens, and deployed propaganda as a way of getting back at the government, bewitching the nation.
Today, no Nigerian has been Islamised. And no part of the country has been Fulanised or annexed by any so-called ethnic militia. Conspiracy theories are the palm oil of Nigeria’s politics. They give taste to falsehood, tension, fear, and unrest. And often, they are ignorantly eaten, regurgitated and spewed by the unwary.
Nigeria needs to heal; it needs to heal from the corollaries of grimy politics; and it needs to heal from ethnic and religious antagonism. 2023 is for national healing, for closing the chasm and forging new bonds.
As I said in: “Nigeria needs a Nigerian president in 2023 – not Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba,” the country needs a doctor to heal the country, and it needs a carpenter. It also needs a builder and an architect to build the country back better. It needs an all-in-one president. Yes, Nigeria needs healing from seven years of hate-slinging, recriminations, and animosity. I believe Nigeria needs Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Tinubu is Nigeria’s best shot at evolving into an organic whole. He is well-versed in politics and understands the intricacies of dealing with a house of bedlam. His political trajectory makes him the finest breed of statesmen to manage Nigeria. Lagos where he was governor for eight years is a facsimile of Nigeria with its complexities and diversity. So, naturally, he has the requisite experience to manage Nigeria’s diversity. He has lived the experience.
Tinubu had a diverse cabinet as governor; in fact, he is reputed to be one of the few governors who appointed non-natives into state cabinets at the time – when it was unsexy to do so. This expansive quality should not in any way be taken for granted. It is worth restating over and over — knowing Nigeria for what it is where ethnic prejudices trounce reason.
In the course of the campaigns, the APC presidential candidate has shown that he is attuned to the complexities of Nigeria, and he has invested himself in addressing the specific needs of Nigerians across the zones.
Speaking to the need of the southeast zone, for example, Tinubu said: “We will build an ecosystem where traders will have access to credit facilities and create more and better jobs for our youths, as well as support more high-quality home-grown goods. My government will build new industrial hubs in Aba and Owerri. We will establish policies that would widen horizons and expand business reach, while ensuring Owerri-Port Harcourt and Aba-Port Harcourt corridors becoming more active and lucrative trade and manufacturing corridors.”
I believe ‘’a change is gonna come” for inter-ethnic behaviour and relationship in Nigeria. It will happen. If change could come to Rwanda after that hellish episode in its history, it will come to Nigeria. It takes a bold leadership to remove the contours which accent ethnic differences.
We must imbibe and live by the truths of One-Nigeria. We are all connected in the same loop of challenges — whether political, economic or security. We are one nation with a common destiny. Nigeria will heal – with Tinibu.
•Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.