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Opinion

The Oracle: Ethnic Nationalities and Emerging Challenges in Nigeria (Pt. 1)

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By Mike Ozekhome

INTRODUCTION

National unity is the most important factor that holds the country together. Nobody will fight for the strange people; nobody will care about the parted country and no country will develop and work together without the idea of national unity. After a wide research, one can confidently say that, Nigeria has over 400 ethnic groups, which ordinarily should amplify its rich culture but the reverse seems to be the case.

These groups are broken down between religious, languages, and tribal lines. These divisions existed ever since but were further broken down at independence to a multi-ethnic nation state.

With the divisions, the nation has been battling with the problem of ethnicity on the one hand, and the problem of ethno-religious conflicts on the other, as has been witnessed severally when ethnicity and religious intolerance led to ethno-religious conflicts.

However, according to historians, it was these conflicts that gave birth to many ethnic groups like the O’dua People Congress (OPC), Bakassi Boys, Egbesu Boys, Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), Igbo People Congress (IPC), Arewa People’s Congress (APC), and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).

Since independence, Nigeria has experienced an avalanche of ethno religious conflicts that resulted in loss of lives and unquantifiable damages on properties. No doubt, the violent nature of ethno-religious conflicts, which often take the form of riots, sabotage, assassination, armed struggles, guerilla warfare and secession in Nigeria, have implications on the political and economic development of the nation.

ON ETHNIC CONFLICT

According to reports, ethnic conflict is an issue that, particularly during the last decade or so, has crept to the forefront of international political debate. Stremlau stated that, (1999-03-26:1), “polarization between ethnic groups and resulting conflict between them as they compete for resources, political and economic power and other goals, has spawned negative consequences of tremendous proportions, of which genocide, ethnic cleansing and civil war are but a few examples, have caused several losses of lives, livelihoods, displacements as well as properties”.

An intriguing and or pertinent question to ask here would be, what really is the cause of all these incessant tribulations that seem to gain momentum every decade from one generation to the next generation?

It can simply be put that, Ethnic conflicts in Nigeria and Africa in general arise as result of scarcity of political resources, multi-culturalism, religion, militarization of ethnicity among others. These conflicts cannot be ignored as they are most times often initiated by people who benefit from control of state resources and power which are the bases of their patronage networks, thus they seek to instigate violent ethnic conflict.

They often get away with this because of the high rate of unemployment, illiteracy, marginalization and an unequal distribution of the national wealth in the areas dominated by their ethnic groups.

However, the most painful and regretful consequences of such ethno-crises have been far reaching. The parties always at the most detrimental end are the women and children. One can simply put again that, the consequences of ethnic conflict on women, aged and children had the most damaging impact, thousands of women, the aged and children have been compel to desert their homes and seek refuge in neighboring villages, towns and countries due to the ethnic conflict, they are internally displaced persons (IDPs) in their own country.

Accordingly, the International Journal of Scientific Research in Multidisciplinary Studies further posited that “violence against women, the aged and children is devastating which include emotional and physical injuries, rape as a traumatic injury, sexually transmitted diseases, maternal mortality, unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion and the use of child soldiers’ to fight in ethnic conflict.

Truth be told, Ethnic conflict has certainly affected the government and the people generally and have resulted to political and economic instability, weakened patriotism, breed suspicion, lack of trust and true relationship among different ethnic groups in the country, and the only hope of a common man is to believe that responsive and responsible government would restore confidence among the population and promote de-Ethnicsation policy among the competing ethnic groups in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, the recent wave of ethnic-crises have become extremely alarming as it has become a daily routine practically across all geopolitical zones and states. Instances where we can draw inference from includes but not limited to, the raging and I dare to add,

(a). Unending wars between Farmers and herdsmen, with the former bearing the brunt of the menace.

(b). Gunmen recently attacked the Police Headquarters in Imo State, set several vehicles ablaze, and executed a jailbreak at the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) facility in the state capital, Owerri, where over 1,800 inmates escaped.

(c). In Anambra, they attacked the Police Zonal Headquarters at Ukpo and killed two policemen while setting a found in the compound.

(d) In Ebonyi State, over 18 people were killed in an ethnic clash between locals and armed herdsmen. Same was also witnessed in Enugu State is not left out of the lot being that they experienced almost the same incident like Ebonyi Sate.

(e) Again, another incident occurred at Shasha in Oyo State, an ethnic war followed the killing of a cobbler by a cart pusher that escalated to Ibarapa and some other parts of the state, leaving many people dead and properties destroyed.

(f) The very heart-aching incidents that occurred in Ogun State, where some AK47-wielding herdsmen sacked remote agrarian villager’s in Yewa North and Imeko Afon Local Government Areas (LGAs) such that surviving locals were reported to have fled to neighboring Benin Republic. And the list continues.

So, the picture gets clearer with time. Africa’s largest oil and gas producer, Nigeria, has attracted negative international attention in recent years mainly because petroleum operations in the Niger Delta have created conditions for the eruption of major ‘civil disturbances’ and other forms of social conflict that threaten the country’s corporate existence. A number of issues foreground the conflict.

First, since 1956, when a commercial oil well was struck in the small rural town of Oloibiri (in Bayelsa State) – but particularly since 1958, when the country commenced crude oil export – Nigeria has grown steadily dependent on this resource for its export revenues. For instance, while oil accounted for 57 per cent of total export revenues in 1970, this proportion rose to 96 per cent (1980), 97 per cent (1990), 76 per cent (2000), and 92 per cent (2004) (OPEC 2005). Second, the Niger Delta is composed of minority ethnic nationalities (in a country demographically dominated by three largely non-oil-producing ethnic groups, namely Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo). Third, the Niger Delta is one of Nigeria’s most underdeveloped regions. Lastly, the ‘lack of development’ in the Delta belies the fact that the region’s petroleum wealth practically sustains the entire country.

Grassroots discontent in the Niger Delta has found expression not simply in protest marches but in such acts as oil pipeline vandalism, abduction of oil company employees, and reprisals against community subgroups considered by local activists to be sympathetic to the Nigerian government and transnational oil interests. Of late, armed confrontations with the national security forces have become prominent. All this has occurred amidst sustained environmental and civil rights activism spearheaded by local, national and international civil society groups, as well as the mass media. The Nigerian government has estimated the monthly cost of the Niger Delta crisis to be about US$1 billion in lost Petro-revenues.

The growing body of literature on the Niger Delta crisis does seem to underline one point: there is an ethnic undertone to the crisis. For one thing, the argument goes, community groups in the Niger Delta regard the non-oil-producing regions (those of the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo) as the principal beneficiaries of federal petroleum exploitation and revenue sharing policies. The ethnic minorities of the Niger Delta are treated as objects (property) owned by the majority groups to be dealt with according to their whims and caprices. Therefore, however otherwise the Niger Delta crisis disguises itself, there is a feeling in the region about ethnic domination and hence the main target of grievances (and possible future insurrection) must be the non-oil-producing regions. What tends to give credence to this line of argument is that in ethnolinguistic terms, Nigeria is one of the world’s most diverse countries, with some 510 ‘living languages’ spoken across over 300 ethnic groups.

Let me pause for a moment and state here categorically that this incessant incident has almost become the order of the day such that most person’s do not feel the shock anymore until it hits them one way or another. Unfortunately, across all the states in the South, bandits and terrorists now masquerade as herdsmen and have resorted to raping, killing and kidnapping natives with reckless abandon without recourse to justice. Similarly, in most Northern states, these armed brigands have carried out mass kidnapping for ransom and cold blood murder of school pupils, travelers and anyone. The one I  still can’t seem to wrap my head around is the fact that these bandits now go into worship places (i.e) Churches and Mosques, they even trail their victims up to their residential homes and kidnap, assault, rape and even kill them. So, the list is truly endless and sometimes when you arrest these culprits and enquire to know the aim or the reason for their actions, some of them would tell you it’s an off-shoot of community misunderstandings, some would tell you that they just do it as a means to survive a very though economy, some would also tell you that they are acting based on instructions given to them from unknown sources.

Well, amongst all of these painful incidents and incessant ethnic clash in the country and even the world at large, we must find a civil and very quick solution to these issues because if care is not taken, we may wake up one day and find out that everyone around us have become a victim or we may even be the victim. We need to equip more persons with sound understanding on how to mitigate ethnic gaps within the security framework, processes, practices and spending. Ethnic champions have now arrogated to themselves powers to issue quit notices. This is very unhealthy, dangerous and a big threat to national security. We must do something to rescue this country and corridor it from those misery vendors and merchants of death. (To be continued).

FUN TIMES

“Female foul we I buy refused to lay eggs since two years now. E be like the mother-in-law tie her womb oooo”.  

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“We live in a society that wants to label you with a color, sexuality, religion, or ethnicity. It divides us, but it also allows us to find pride in our identity”. (Logan Browning).

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Opinion

Voice of Emancipation: Hiding in Plain Sight

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By Kayode Emola

What is happening to the Yoruba Nation Struggle? Is sovereignty still an attainable possibility? These questions and many more are on the lips of enthusiastic Yoruba begging for answers whilst awaiting the birth of their new nation. Rightly so, given that many of us in the trenches promised that there would be no 2023 election in Nigeria, as we would have already left the country. Alas, it is less than a month before the 2023 general election is scheduled; only a miracle will be able to thwart the election now.

How did we get it wrong? Why haven’t we got out of Nigeria by now? I don’t think this is the appropriate time to start apportioning blame. However, I do believe that if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, then we are bound to repeat them again and again. We must be mindful that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore, those hell-bent on causing schisms amongst the advocates of independence are not only impairing their work, they risk jeopardising the entire struggle if care is not taken.

The solution to the Yoruba question is hiding in plain sight, yet it is so simple that only a few can decipher it or see how to implement it. Rather than focusing on the practical steps to get us out of Nigeria, some people are now being cajoled by meaningless slogans. Consider the claims of the Ominira Yoruba 2022 team, that if 5 million people signed a petition in support of independence, Yoruba would be able to exit Nigeria and nothing could stop it. The petition surpassed its five million target and yet nothing happened.

So Ominira Yoruba 2022 announced that they would make a declaration of independence and this would be the catalyst that would bring us our own nation. Yet no plan was put in place on how this was to be implemented aside from flippant announcements on Facebook and other social media outlets. When this failed to materialise Yoruba Nation, they then came out with Reclamation, and following its fruitlessness, then Occupation. The truth is that, no matter how catchy a slogan we produce, if we don’t have a concrete plan on how to get Yoruba out of Nigeria, we will continue on this trajectory of big grammar inside empty cannon.

The first step in achieving anything in life is to ask if anybody in the world has done the same thing already. If so, you can learn from them and apply their methods to your situation. If there are none, then by all means go ahead and invent the wheel, do some trial and error and work out a strategy to get you to the finish line. However, in this situation, there are many countries whose precedents we can learn from, including Norway/Sweden, South Sudan/Sudan, Czechoslovakia and finally, former Yugoslavia etc.

Whilst some of these countries exited peacefully, some had extremely violent departures. However, the key element was that they were determined to exercise their right to self-determination. The unifying feature that they all shared was that they all declared their independence from the larger, and dared to face the consequences. For some countries like South Sudan leaving Sudan it led to a long and bitter civil war; in contrast, when Norway left Sweden, the latter accepted the declaration of the former and they parted peacefully.

If the only option that allows for every indigenous nationality to exit Nigeria is through the declaration of independence, then the simplest and most logical route would have been to bring everyone together in consultation. In this scenario, any declaration of independence by one indigenous nation in Nigeria could be followed immediately by simultaneous declaration from other regions. This would dissuade the Nigerian government from attempting to take a stand against these nations or starting a war that they could not possibly sustain.

In light of this, what should we now do? We need to organise ourselves into formations, working towards the greater good. Those in the diplomatic circles need to intensify their diplomatic outreach to those countries around the world that will be sympathetic to indigenes’ independence. Whilst those in humanitarian circles need to embark on massive campaigns with humanitarian agencies, explaining the reasons why Nigeria must be dissolved

If we all come together with this resolve, then Nigeria would have no option but to let us go because we would have the support of our people and the international communities. Undoubtedly, we will not achieve unanimous acceptance from every country, or even across own our people; but those who do believe in the cause must press on until victory is achieved.

Therefore, my advice to those still being deceived by slogans and jamboree is this: open your eyes and see that, unless we do the work, no amount of camouflage or deceit can bring us out. We need to be ready to be open-minded, to put in the effort required to achieve success. Yoruba nation *will* come, but not by lies of ¬_”a tí gbá”_ (“we have collected it”) or “God has done it”.

Even if God has said Yes, if we fail to put in the necessary work, we will remain on this mountain for a very long time. The year of 2023 still has a long way to go: we can work towards something meaningful, or we can continue to deceive ourselves that Yoruba nation will be served to us on a platter of gold with no effort on our own part. A word is enough for the wise.

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Adding Value

Adding Value: The Power of Imagination

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Dear Destiny Friends,

Success and failure start from the mind. The human mind is like a rubber, the more you stretch it, the more it expands. The human mind is the brain, if you don’t use it, it won’t work. We all have the power to change the course of our life without allowing us to be victims. This is because the greatest power God gave us at creation is freedom and choice. Just like you have the power to think positive thoughts, you also have the power to think negative thoughts. It should be noted that whatever you focus on expands.

It’s quite unfortunate that many of us don’t know how we can use our mind to attract opportunities, if properly stretched. For the human mind to work at optimal capacity, it must be capable of using the power of imagination. According to Napoleon Hill, “whatsoever the mind can conceive, believe, it can achieve it. The right question we should ask ourselves is if we are using the power of our imagination.

Imagination takes several forms. The human mind can be artistic in nature, it can be creative, and it can also be challenging. The mind will only work on how you program it. If you program your mind to think like a leader, it will be activated, if you program the mind to overcome challenges it will be activated, if you program the mind to either think positive or negative thoughts, it produces the desired fruits for you.

You may be wondering where the power of imagination comes from? The power of imagination starts from the mind. To understand how the mind works, you have to look at the brain. The neocortex and thalamus are responsible for controlling the brain’s imagination, along with many of the brain’s other functions such as consciousness and abstract thought.

One may ask, is imagination the same thing as intelligence?  One can imagine something, but don’t take proactive steps to implement it, but the man who takes actionable steps can be regarded as an intelligent man because he got the inspiration and knows what to do. According to Albert Einstein, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. This is a fact because the true intelligence level of an individual is not dependent on the facts a person knows but on how he applies them creatively to solve problems in the world.  Albert Einstein further stated that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

The power of imagination cannot be overemphasized. One of the distinguishing traits between wealthy men and the poor men is their mindset. A big difference between a rich mind and poor mind lies in how they process information. While rich and wealthy minds have a positive and growth mindset, poor men have a negative and fixed mindset. While the growth mindset sees problems as opportunities to make impact by solving them, fixed minds see problems as obstacles to making impact. While rich and wealthy minds spend money to invest, poor minds spend money to impress. While rich and wealthy people spend after saving, poverty-stricken minds save from the remnant of their expenses.

This power of imagination works in different ways. Sometimes, it comes like a vision, a revelation. inspiration or even feelings. This imagination can be something you would like to change, or a cause you would like to work on. When you get this prompting, the best thing you can do is commit it to prayer and believe in it especially if it’s a revelation or vision you have been shown. It might look so big and impossible to attain. Whenever you feel this way, just know that you must activate your growth mindset.

Wealth creation starts from the mind. If you want to be successful in any craft, you must envision it in your mind. Most of the great people if not all the great people we celebrate in the world utilized the power of imagination to create a product. If you want to be rich or start a business, you need to take the bold step, if not, you’ll remain where you are.

Nobody can stop a person whose time has come. Nobody can stop you; you are the only one who can stop yourself if you doubt yourself or tell your dreams, vision, or ideas to the wrong person. The wrong person in this case can be your parents, friends, mentors or even your spiritual leader. Don’t get me wrong, these people may not be bad people, they may not understand the calling or vision you had. They may not even see you as the person capable of doing it because you don’t look it. They may be speaking from their experience which may not be your reality. Let me tell you, if God wants somebody else to get the revelation or inspiration, he will put the imagination in their mind. Just to encourage you, God does not call the qualified, he calls the unqualified and then qualifies you.

In conclusion, the power of imagination is a very powerful and creative tool a progressive mind can use to excel in life if properly activated. This is because nobody knows you more than you know yourself.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success

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Opinion

Be Empowered to Remain in Power

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“When you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to “MANifest”! Chase excellence, and success would chase you pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”Tolulope A. Adegoke, PhD., MNIM, FIMC, CMC, CMS

 Commitment has been described as dedication, steadfastness, allegiance, faithfulness or loyalty to a course, and individual, group or a supreme being. It is about giving one’s self to a course with success as the only option. Commitment binds you irrevocably to a course you believe in until success comes. It is not the same as mere involvement, but dedication to seeing a course(s) completed or fulfilled to cause an effect or impact either within one’s self, others, corporates and the world at large.

The world is filled with peoples. Anybody can be involved. Being involved in an activity that involves other people does not make you part of a team. As a matter of fact, it only takes a number of people involved in working together to have a group. You must understand that a group is absolutely not a “team”. The difference? In a group, people are involved in activity(s). In a Team, people are committed to a process and a goal. The difference between commitment and involvement is known by the difference in the “omelette and “corned beef”. In the making of omelets, the chicken is involved, in the corned beef, the cow is committed!

Commitment is the secret to the success of the postage stamp. To get the letter to its destination, it must first commit to the envelope. After that, the rest is a matter of time. A train gets to its destination because of its commitment to the rails.

Commitment operates in five major levels which would be expatiated below:

  1. Commitment to God (The Creator that gives to all that gives and receives)
  2. Commitment to a Course for a Cause

iii.              Commitment to Process

  1. Commitment to People
  2. Commitment to yourself

Commitment to God

Those who have discovered themselves in God have no problem committing to Him. Those who sideline God in success ventures will find out soon enough that it is the pathway to “frustration” and an insignificant “death”.

Commitment to a Course for a Cause

You must always remember that, you were never created to simply pursue wealth and all trappings of the worldly successes. After all your bills are paid, and you have a spill-over, what next? Highly successful and effective people, first of all, find a higher course for a greater cause for which they were willing to lay down their lives if need be, then throw themselves wholly into it. The principle is that, if death does not scare you, the possibility of failure cannot! As the Bible rightly said, “those who keep their lives lose it, while those who lose it, find it!” The other name for it is significance or relevance. Make money in order to enhance your platform(s) for significance or irrefutable relevance. At a recent time, Bill Gate has committed time and resources to finding solutions to the scourge of HIV/AIDS and poverty eradication in Third World countries. What he did caught the attention of Warren Buffet (who wasn’t reputable for charity), the World’s Second richest man at that time. This made him donate the sum of $37billion (US Dollars) to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When asked why, he answered, “Because they know how best to give it away better and faster than I can.”

Commitment to a Process

Everything in life evolves. The only tree that grew to full stature in one day died the same day! Ask Prophet Jonah in the Bible. If you cannot commit to a process, you will forfeit the promise.

To master your skill in life, there is always a process of apprenticeship. Permit yourself to fail…but don’t remain a failure. The Olympic medalist who won the 100-metre dash in less than 10 seconds was only celebrated for what he had invested years of consistency and hours of practice to.

Tiger Woods had played golf as a child and he had always nurtured a vision to win every championship in golf. So he started to work towards that, easily.

The father (being a good Lawn Tennis Player) of Serena and Venus Williams (The World Lawn Tennis Champions) had coached them to always win since they were very young.

What the world celebrate today in these people is actually the process they had committed too long before they started winning laurels.

Commit to Yourself

Budget for self-development. Your greatest investment is the one you make on your personal development. When you are right, everything around you will be right!

Things don’t happen because you chase them to happen, rather they happen become you have become a center of attraction that commands the necessary attention. For instance, when you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to MANifest! Chase excellence and success would chase you, pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”

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