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Opinion

The Oracle: Ethnic Nationalities and Emerging Challenges in Nigeria (Pt. 3)

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By Mike Ozekhome

INTRODUCTION

Ethnic conflict is an issue that, particularly during the last few decades or so, has crept to the forefront of international political debate. Issues that raise the most dust are those regarded essential for the existence and the validity of the state. The result revealed that the six geo-political zones of Nigeria namely; North West, North East, North Central, South West, South-South and South East zones have all witnessed all kinds of ethnic conflicts resulted from the same set of causes. Flowing from all of these, in a bid to address these ethnic nationalities challenges, the CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE AND ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) in collaboration with FRIEDRICH-EBERT-STIFTUNG (FES) NIGERIA with support from the European Union recently held a stakeholder’s consultative forum on Peace and Security Challenges in Nigeria themed “Ethnicity, Ethnic Crises and National Security: Casual Analysis and Management Strategies”.

ETHNIC CONFLICTS AND NIGERIA (continues)

According to Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), the Executive Director of CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE AND ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC), he stated at the forum that there was need for a new constitution that defined rights and privileges of citizenship in terms of residency rather than nativism, ancestry and religious background, adding that the new constitution must devolve power over resource distribution and development from an all-powerful central government to local constituencies to enthrone economic justice and equity.

He stated also that;

“This periodic event brings together key players within the security space to look critically and think of ways to resolve the ongoing fiasco on ethnicity and its implication on national security, which currently undermines human security in Nigeria and has largely become a threat to socio-economic and political culture of our co-existence. Nigeria with over 400 ethnic groups, over 1000 dialects, practicing several religions, with different cultures and histories came under the British imperialist in the 19th century. With the 1st of January, 1914 amalgamation of Southern and Northern Protectorate the foundation of a nation now called Nigeria was laid. Nigeria is now populated by over 200 million people and has adopted the federal system of government with 36 States and a Federal Capital Territory. Mismanagement of national resources and misrule by multi ethnic and multi-religious coalitions of successive rulers since independence have impoverished and denied opportunities to the majority of Nigerians. As a result, religious rhetoric blaming of members of other religious communities and proposals for religious reform as a solution to society’s ills have found purchase among the masses. This genuine, if misplaced, quest for a religious utopia has given some opportunistic political gladiators an excuse to curry legitimacy through politicized appeals to piety and religious fervor. Official graft needs to be tackled headlong, a new constitution that defines rights and privileges of citizenship in terms of residency rather than nativism, ancestry and religious background also needs to be crafted. This new constitution needs to devolve power over resource distribution and development from an all-powerful central government to local constituencies.

This will ensure economic justice and equity. It will also make central political power less attractive, less corrupt, and the contests over national political offices less contentious. The use of religious and ethnic appeals as tools of political mobilization will become less attractive and it will find a diminished reception in a climate of justice, equitable resource distribution, and equal opportunities for all”.

Worthy to note here is that, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) with the support from European Union (EU) has worked collectively to institutionalize a participatory system that is vibrant, robust and effective.

Another approach to curb these ethnic nationalities and its emerging challenges is the Kinetic and Non-kinetic Approach

According to the Defence Minister, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), when he highlighted some of the issues causing further division among the people include, absence of social justice, feelings of marginalization and lack of equality.

He also advocated the use of kinetic and non-kinetic approaches in addressing the issues, noting that force alone would not yield positive result, just as he called for dialogue, noting that the implications of separatist
agitations and other forms of insecurity on Nigeria were enormous.

Again, the Minister noted that, there is no doubt the country is confronted with multiple security challenges that are affecting socio-economic wellbeing and threatening the survival of the nation state. He listed the implications to include under development, social tension, displacement of citizens, destruction of private and public property, disruption of means of livelihood and educational system.

He said and I quote,

“There is no doubt that Nigeria is confronted with multiple security challenges, notably the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east and militancy in the Niger Delta, increasing violence between herders and farmers, banditry and kidnapping especially in the North-west and Central regions as well as separatist agitations for Biafra and now Oduduwa Republics in the South Eastern and Western parts of the country respectively.

The implications of these separatist agitations and other forms of insecurity on Nigeria are enormous. These include socio-economic implications such as under development, social tension, displacement of citizens, destruction of private and public property, disruption of means of livelihood and educational system. Others are fanning the embers of disunity, overstretching of security agencies and loss of lives. Therefore, the combination of the above implications is continuous cycle of insecurity that has led to heighten tension and violence that is capable of affecting the survival and corporate existence of the country. The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies who are constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of protecting the territorial integrity of Nigeria as well as maintaining law and order have continued to confront these challenges through both kinetic and non-kinetic instruments’’.

Specifically, the Constitution, clearly charged the Armed Forces with the primary role of defending Nigeria from external aggression and maintaining its territorial integrity as well as securing is borders from violation on land, sea and air. The Constitution passes the Armed Forces the secondary role of suppressing insurrection and act in aid of civil authorities to restore law and order when called upon to do so by the President. This secondary role provides the basis operations in the country.

However, it is worth noting that the efforts of the Armed Forces and other security agencies using the kinetic means as suggested by the Honorable Minister alone, may not bring the peace and security we all desire in the country. Kinetic and non-kinetic measures must be applied to complement each other.

Comparatively, the non- kinetic measures could take the form of addressing all the major causes of insecurity and discontent through genuine dialogue, economic empowerment, good governance, provision of employment and social infrastructure. Other non-kinetic means include fighting corruption, extreme poverty, hunger and maladministration, provision of equal opportunities to all citizens as well as addressing perceived to the current multi-dimensional security challenges facing our nation.

Quite frankly, some of these security challenges are posing serious threats to the corporate existence of our country and some of these suggestions will assist appropriate authority to address all forms of insecurity implementable solutions that would engender effective policies towards addressing the myriad of security challenges facing Nigeria today.

Amongst all that have been stated concerning this ethnic nationalities and emerging challenges thereof, it is however important to get the lawmakers view on it thus;

“It is promoted by the political elites, embraced by the young and the old, passed from generation to generation, and even has base in the constitution. This explains the assumption that conflicts in Nigeria is motivated by ethnic competition Nigerians must ask, how did we get here, what and who are responsible? Why are other countries (India, Indonesia, Brazil, United States, Switzerland, Belgium, China, etc.) which are as diverse as Nigeria not half as obsessed with their diversity? The ethnic diversity of Nigeria has more or less been a threat rather than a source of national pride and development as countries above have experienced. Why?

Ethnic tensions are boiling over. At the center of it all are herdsmen who for as long as anyone can remember have roamed the country grazing their cattle. Even as a little boy, growing up in my community in Adamawa, I recall coming across the harmless looking herders who usually only had a stick slung languidly across their shoulders. These days, a new generation ply their trade caressing AK47 rifles to ward off threats. Over the years the damage done to farmlands as they traversed the land became a flashpoint. Now, they are regularly accused of being involved in the booming kidnapping business. It’s hard to dismiss this accusation because of testimonies of countless victims on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway and other parts of the country as to the ethnicity of their captors. Unfortunately, despite public outcry in many states, official response has never adequately addressed the problem. This is not the best time to succumb to sentiments. Refusing to address the issues at stake in an honest and unbiased way is the worse form of injustice. For instance, to suggest that what is happening is just a blind attack or ethnic profiling on any ethnic group is unhelpful.

Finally, the constant reference to tribal animosities and differences affects the youth’s psyche and has created a pattern or legacy of hate and suspicion which the successive generation carries like a mantle. Ethnic and religious intolerance has exposed the nation to bizarre conflict experiences with loss of lives and properties, creating uncertainties in the polity. Boko Haram insurgent group is a classic example of the outcome of a long stretch of ethnic distrust and rivalry. Nigeria must not go the way of Sudan, Central Africa Republic, Mali, Somalia, etc. Nigeria has a testimony of resilience and the fact that, even though there are so many distrusts and suspicion, the people still believe in the indivisibility of the country.”

RE-ASSESSING THE ETHNIC DISCOURSE AND SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO MANAGE THE EMERGING CHALLENGES OF ETHNIC NATIONALITIES IN A BID TO MANAGE NIGERIA

Start with yourself, it always works. Take parts in meeting and parades promoting Nigerian, but not tribal unity. Meet friends from other cultures, marry a girl from the other tribe and develop the idea of the difference between tribes as a positive idea. Tell your thoughts at the family reunion dinner and share them with a friend. Do your best to introduce peace and equality into your Nigerian culture. So, there is the problem of ethnic hatred. But today many people claim that this is not the hatred between people, but the hatred among politicians. That is why we proposed the best ways to solve ethnic problems on the level of the political reformation. As you see, every person can contribute to solving this problem. Fortunately, Nigeria is a democratic country at least formally but ruled by its people, and if people do not want hatred, no other factors can influence it.

You personally can contribute to cultural integration. Become a volunteer, travel around Nigeria and promote your culture, tell its stories and present its history and unusual believes. You can also contribute to media and Internet propaganda. Write posts about your own intercultural experience and support groups and articles about ethnic integration and ways of solving the problems of ethnicity in Nigeria to overcome the problems of ethnicity in Nigeria and reach the principal goal – national unity, it is necessary to unite people in as many aspects of life as it is possible. (To be continued).

 

THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

“Hypocrisy is the audacity to preach integrity from a den of corruption.” – Wes Fesler.

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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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