I had expected the Obidient movement to abandon its punitive expedition after the elections and evolve into an ideological pressure group – a worthy opposition. But the movement is still anything but ideological and civil. It has become more brutish, more desperate, nastier, and feral. The Obidient movement is shaping up to be a gaggle of insurrectionists.
For all intents and purposes, the movement seems to be gearing up to make the country ungovernable.
Diligent and disciplined opposition is essential for democracy. In fact, there is no democracy, if there is no educated opposition. No government is short of opposition. In a democracy, the residence of an animated opposition signals the buoyancy of the system. Where there is democracy, there is opposition. Opposition is the mitochondrion of a republican system – it keeps the government on the mill working according to purpose.
But one thing that drives genuine oppositions and that should be the nucleus of every group is national interest. National interest and security should dictate the terms of engagement of any movement.
Any movement not guided by the national interest is a threat to the security of all Nigerians. The Obidient movement appears unconcerned about the deleterious effects of its methods on national security and the national psyche. I fear that some members of the proscribed group, IPOB, may be within the commanding heights of the movement.
The resort to malicious falsehood, threats of violence and violence on those who differ betokens a grimier trajectory. The Obidient movement may just be the political platform for those waging a war against Nigeria by other means.
The movement’s methods are worsening the already deteriorating relationship among Nigerians of different ethnic backgrounds. This is how inter-ethnic dissension is born. There is the assumption that it is the Igbo against the Yoruba or the Yoruba against the Igbo, but this is not true. It is ‘’Obidients’’ against the rest of Nigeria.
The Obidient movement does not represent the Igbo. Let me make that very clear. It is peopled by a melange of persons who pursue the illusory ambition of one man. They are powered by the ambition of one man, and not the interest of any ethnic group. It is important Nigerians situate the present confusion within this context. The Obidient movement does not represent any ethnic group.
Political actors and lovers of Nigeria must wade in with their voices and actions to tame this babel. Nigeria is on a slippery slope. This is not a time for politics, but a time for statesmen and stateswomen to rise and defend the country against internecine strife. National interest and security should govern public comments at this time.
We must put the peace and security of this nation first.
I have no doubt that we will come out stronger as a nation. From chaos comes change. Nigeria will always triumph – over the pestilence of the night; the darkness of Edom, principalities, and powers; snakes and scorpions. Nigeria has survived pestilence, riots and unimaginable chaos that split countries. It is still going.
But why does Nigeria always win – in the end? It is because you, me, they, them, we, us. It is because of all of us who despite our dissatisfaction with the system, come together to steady the ship and steer it aright against the blizzards and tempests.
It is because of you who despite your financial challenges refuse to compromise the public purse; refuse to steal public funds or cut corners; it is because of you who decline to take bribes to get jobs done; it is because of you who against personal trials and tribulations refuse to join the choir of the scoffers who do not see anything good in the country and who will neither make an effort nor contribute a mite to its progress. It is because of all of you who do not give up but stand to fight for the country.
When I say ‘One Nigeria’ I do not deny the very obvious threats to our unity. I do not live in denial of the chasm keeping us apart, but I believe in that uncommon facility of Nigerians to close this gap and work together for the common good. When it comes down to it, Nigerians are their brother’s keeper. We have seen this rare quality in display all the time.
One Nigeria’ is not a political placebo; it does not mean the absence of conflict or a denial of the present realities; it is a term that should evoke hope and promise for us all.
To me, Nigeria means hope and promise of a greater now and future; it means resilience and courage to rise from dust and nothing; it means purpose in disarray, unity in diversity, brotherhood in divergence and love even in dangerous times.