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OP-ED Opinions 

Nigeria: A Montage of Nationhood By Leonard Karshima Shilgba

The recent wave of civic consciousness which is blowing across Nigeria, in spite of the gust of sabotage and betrayals that it has chalked up, fits into a harbinger of nationhood for the Nigerian State. If the #ENDSARS triggers succeed in birthing the beautiful ones that Nigeria needs to transform into a nation, the sweet wine of intellectually stimulating and selfless leadership will be savoured by a satisfied citizenry. 

A country cannot become a nation until a common uniting passion gives birth to its soul.  Ethnicity and religion have for too long been misused  as dividing weapons by Nigeria’s intellectually weak political, religious and other categories of leaders. A nation is founded on inclusive laws, which are the best testimonials of its aspirations. If the majority of its citizens disavow those laws, feel constrained by its laws, or believe they are alienated by its laws, then, without equivocation, the conclusion is that a minority is ruling over and oppressing the majority. In this case, the instruments of oppression, legalized by the laws, are not meant to be challenged, and whosoever challenges this status quo is charged with “treason”. And since the law courts must apply those oppressive laws, conviction is the ineluctable outcome, ultimately. 


Nigeria A Montage Of Nationhood By Leonard Karshima Shilgba

Nigeria is presently operating a Constitution that is both constraining and alienating. Cluttered with contradictions, while on the one hand granting certain privileges and on the other rendering them “non-justiceable”, the same Constitution absolves culpable elected leaders of guilt. I urge Nigerians (especially, the youth) to read Chapter Two of the Constitution: Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy. Having read this chapter, do not rejoice, because Section 6, Subsection 6 (c) vitiates whatever gains you the Nigerian hope to derive therefrom 

The struggle for a Nigeria that works for all and not just for a few cannot and should not be one of brawn but brains. We must read; we ought to familiarise ourselves with the Nigerian Constitution. Then, we can debate and negotiate intelligently the terms of our union, the Nigerian union. Then, we can meld Nigerian components ideologically and come up with a montage that is riveting and attractive to even complements of Nigeria. 

Nigerian youth, admirals of the underlying principles of the #ENDSARS movement, do you have any legislative agenda? What message do you have for your legislators in Abuja? Are you simply content with your “Five-point” demand? If you are, we should expect #ENDSARS-like protests every so often hereafter. What is worth doing is worth doing well. Lessons have been learnt. For instance, it is much clearer now that the breadth of imagination and depth of perception in Nigeria’s corridors of political power at all levels are abysmal. What were the responses by governments to the unprecedented orderly peaceful outing of the #ENDSARS advocates? “48- hour curfews”! Also, there were allegations of infiltration of the peaceful order with violent hoodlums in order to FIND AN OCCASION for Gestapo-style overrun of the peaceful protesters who had offered government no excuse. 

The murder of Nigerian youth at Lekki Toll Gates by military uniform-clad and  gun-wielding men ought to have attracted certain comments by President Buhari, in spite of denials of involvement by the Nigerian military and claims of ongoing investigation by the authorities. I am disappointed that he did not offer as much as condolences to the bereaved. Is this not one more evidence of the undervaluation of human life by the current federal government of Nigeria? These words of one of the youth who escaped the October 20 attacks on Lekki Toll Gates, capture the contraction of leadership in Nigeria: “We elected you, not to serve you, but for you to serve us.” 

Leonard Karshima Shilgba

© Shilgba

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