Ethnicity: Bane of Nigeria’s stability

Just as a liver is never unconnected with blood, so is tribalism and Nigerian politics. They are interwoven in an intricate manner, forming the centerpiece of the dogma of consecutive administrations that caused the downfall of many credulous leaders. Anybody in power has to give special treatment or unfair advantage to his undeserved kinsmen either in making appointments or while dispensing patronage. Similarly, his relatives and friends will extend to him unalloyed and blindfolded support for his wrongful and inequitable actions even if they were unconcealed and barefaced.

A classical example of this nefarious activity is Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan who had recently been labouring hard to shield her hubby from the barrage of criticisms over his embarrassing role in the despicable saga of abducted Chibok female students.
While the orchestrated clamor for the return of the innocent girls reverberated across the country and re-echoed in almost all capital cities of the world, Dame Patience Jonathan remained unshaken and was totally indifferent to the plight of the distressed parents of the severed girls. Madame Jonathan should have championed the cause of the grieving mothers by consoling them in their protestations while expressing strong disapproval of the callous seizures and then prod her husband to remedy his government’s unresponsiveness and total lack of interest in the whole affair. Instead, Mrs. Jonathan was condemning the distressed parents and their universal sympathizers for attempting to blackmail her lethargic husband in order to tarnish what she called his hard-earned reputation. In that setting it was just a matter of time before Mrs. Patience’s sympathizers began to rally round her especially in an unprecedented show of unanimous support of her reproof of any action insinuating government’s lack of enthusiasm towards freeing the girls.

A former minister, Mrs. Kema Chikwe was the first to discredit the credibility of the abduction, dismissing it as doubtful, incredulous insinuation. Another prominent female singer, Onyeka Onwenu was also skeptical in her attempt to tear the evidence of School’s Principal to shreds to make it unbelievable, all in an attempt to lend credence to Madame Patience’s contention about the sincerity of the abduction saga. It is instructive to note that these two female are demonstrating tribal solidarity with, the First Lady. The blatant ethnic prejudice that blinds Madame Jonathan had allegedly led her to set up a parallel group to that of the parents of the snatched girls but with totally dissimilar objectives i.e. to divert attention from her man’s inability or unwillingness to move or act against the abductors with a view to liberating the flustered students. It was also aimed at shifting the blame from her vulnerable spouse to imaginary enemies. Many were surprised how the other group violently confronted the #Bring Our Girls Back campaigners, forcefully displacing them from their post and smashed their furniture and equipment.

To many familiar with the antics of Nigeria’s First Lady, that was not surprising. They easily recall how she had engaged the governor of her home state, Chief Rotimi Amaechi,  in a gratuitous squabble during which she enlisted the support of a police commissioner, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, another kinsman, to frustrate her antagonist and run down his administration. Mr. Mbu had to be unceremoniously transferred out of Port Harcourt to Abuja where he once again served as a pawn in the hands of the invincible First Lady. He was readily available at the most opportune time for Mrs. Jonathan’s manipulation against the distraught parents of the seized girls. He hurriedly outlawed any form of demonstration in favor of the hapless Chibok female students and promptly dispersed the  protesters.

Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan are birds of the same feather, they both exhibit tendency of ethic prejudice. President Jonathan’s lack of interest in the persistent accusation of corrupt practices leveled against Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, his controversial and flamboyant oil minister, has seriously negated his ability to take the monster of corruption head-on. It was believed that he couldn’t investigate her or dispense with her services simply because she is from his native Bayelsa State, deliberately planted there to ensure ‘dividends of democracy’ to his kith and kin. Surely Mrs. Diezani is doing creditably well in that regard with disgusting tales of unremitting missing funds from a ministry under her charge.

In the same manner, the leader of the Ijaw, elder Edwin Clark had always been beating the drum of disharmony and fanning the embers of hatred against the North by insisting that Nigeria MUST vote for Jonathan in 2015 or else be railroaded to Armageddon. It is baffling to see Chief Edward Clark, a veteran supporter of the North in the past, now turned its arch enemy without any  justifiable cause except that he was brainwashed by his people who never whished it well on account of its vast potentials.  Nigerians should realize that it was the bitter politics of ethnicity and bigotry that led to the demise of the First Republic, and unless we espouse the same factors so as to cause the disintegration of Nigeria we must reject them very strongly and quickly too.