NIGERIA, STUCK ON ITS HORRIBLE, EXTREMELY HOSTILE FOUNDATION – Smart Ajaja, Ika Born Foremost Activist Based In the United States
…. Says He Is Not surprised At The Current Political Happenings In The Country
…Insists Nigeria’s Current Challenge Is Foundational
…Blames Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe for the Country’s Woes
…. Argues that rebuilding Nigeria will require the courage of patriots to make it happen.
In this interview, Smart Ajaja, Ika Born Foremost Activist Based in the United States speaks on why Nigeria’s social, economic and political challenges have foundational undertones.
The interview which is the second in the series saw Ajaja who is an indigene of Abavo, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta state, Nigeria, explain that he is not in any way surprised at the ongoing hydra-headed challenges bedeviling the country and concluded that rebuilding Nigeria will require the courage of patriots to make it happen.
Ika Weekly: So, do you believe in the assertion that Nigeria is not yet Work in Progress?
Answer: I wholeheartedly believe it. Nigeria has not even found a way to the pathway. They have not even started a discussion on looking for a way to the pathway. That is the truth.
Ika Weekly: Sir, as a follow up to your response, our readers would like to know how we got to this level as a nation. Was it because of a faulty foundation?
Answer: it started from the beginning. If you look at the independence struggle for the liberation of Africa, Nigeria was supposed to be the first to be independent under that arrangement, but one of the leaders, Ahmadu Bello, an unwilling partner, stated that his people were not ready and that they needed some more time.
And so, we kept on waiting and when they decided to be ready, a wobbly foundation was set up.
At the time, two of the three independence pivots were not willing because they feared losing control of the people of their regions to mainstream Nigeria. Yes, Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello were two unwilling partners in the project.
The only person who was interested in building a genuinely integrated Nigerian nationhood was Nnamdi Azikiwe and in his quest for peace, he made a costly silly compromise with one of the unwilling partners, Ahmadu Bello, of accepting to be a ceremonial president without executive power after his party won the independence general election, making the emergence of Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu, the Prime Minister with all the executive powers to create the pathway to where we are right now.
Nnamdi Azikiwe should take the whole of the blame for where we are now because of that expensive compromise with an ambivalent, arrogant, supremacist and hateful anti-Igbo power freak whose regional party came a distant fourth in that election.
That man, Ahmadu Bello with so much hate which he did not hide from day one of Independence in a televised interview with a bewildered BBC reporter because of the gravity of his statement very early in the life of the new country shot the country in the head. Since then, Nigeria has become confused and has never been the same.
Ahmadu Bello on one side and Obafemi Awolowo on the other hands were the engineers of ethnic and regional rivalry that Nigeria has never been able to overcome even if the tribe-regional armies that they left behind are always prepared to go to war with anyone who state these well documented facts because they are driven by extreme tribal and regional or and religious nationalist instincts respectively. This is the major reason Nigeria is stuck on its horrible and extremely hostile foundation. It has now become a generational catastrophe.
I am not surprised now. It is a foundational issue. Can we rebuild it? Yes. It’s going to require the courage of patriots to make it happen.
Ika Weekly: So, invariably the solution will not come from politicians?
Answer: It must come from Nigerians, but they must not define themselves as politicians. It must come from hardcore die-hard Nigerian patriots who want to see the growth of Nigeria; else we will continue to wobble right on the same spot.
Ika Weekly: what is your take about the recent car gift to House of Reps by the Federal Government?
Answer: Those people if you ask me, all of them need to be re-called from that Assembly, even those who come from labor party that were supposed to be a difference making set of people. They all need to be called out and disrobed. I don’t know why it is difficult for Nigerians to go to that National Assembly and occupy it till they all run away. Nigerians have become so weakened. And again, the reason is that they have become extremely poor. When you are poor, you’re weak, you cannot even do anything. Food is now dangerously the main priority of Nigerians. Nigerians are not thinking beyond their stomachs for now and this has an ominous implication for their future and the future of Nigeria.
This is what happens when you have a situation like this when poverty becomes a weapon in the hands of the corrupt and morally bankrupt political elites that have made our people most vulnerable and subservient to the extent of praising their abusers in order to eat crumbs in a country where they are a whopping majority sadly without capacity to rise up in defense of their basic human rights and their rights to the citizenship of Nigeria.
Otherwise, the people of Nigeria need to go to that National Assembly and occupy it and chase those criminals out of that place.
Ika Weekly: Okay, is that the suggestion or solution you are proffering to the nagging political and socio-economic challenges in the country?
Answer: Yes. Right now, politically they should be recalled, but sadly Nigerians have lost self-confidence and as such, are not in that mindset to be able to do it because the way the country is right now, so disordered, the people cannot even come together to get anything done otherwise that would have been the easiest thing to do because there is a laid down mechanism for recalling bad representative. They prefer instead, to pray without action for God to touch the hearts of oppressors who don’t care about God.
But if that does not work, they should organize and go to that National Assembly and occupy the place until they have their way, and nothing will happen to them if they go in their hundreds of thousands instead of the scanty numbers, we see each time there is a protest. That will open a new page for discussion about the way forward for Nigerians.
Ika Weekly: Sir, do you think Nigerian youths will still have the strength to do this in the face of the EndSars campaign experience
Answer: From my understanding of being a part of some struggles, freedom is never given freely. Prices must be paid. There must be a sustained demand for change in Nigeria. It is not enough to make noise one day and go home and expect a magical result from the Pharaohs holding Nigeria hostage. Nigerians must learn how to persist for decisive and far-reaching outcomes in their struggle for liberation. Prices must be paid.
Even the EndSars thing, I started having a problem with it after some time, especially when people in the name of protests started cooking, killing cows on the streets and drinking as if they were in a party. When you have a business as serious as changing your country’s destiny, I didn’t and still don’t think that was the right thing to do. The fact that some people lost their lives because of the involvement of some soldiers who don’t know why they are in uniform, who don’t understand that their job was not supposed to go and shoot innocent civilians as if they were at war with another country who violated Nigeria’s troubled sovereignty and territorial integrity was not enough reason to abort the protest that was nearly about bringing the evil Buhari Government down.
Those soldiers hijacked the functions of the Police who are the only security agency to manage civil protests. It is so sad to see how Nigerian politicians deploy soldiers to kill their own fellow citizens against the provisions of the constitution of their country.
The Police could have been there but not to shoot them. Their job in the first place was to protect civilians and not the Government and its corrupt drivers. They were not supposed to be defending the Government against Nigerians who were asking for better lives for them including they in uniform.
We must start a compelling reorientation of our men and women in uniform including their command leaders who apparently do not understand their constitutional duties and rules of engagement in line with global Best Practices. They do not understand that they were not supposed to be seen or heard shooting at innocent civilians. That is why they did what they did. I have already started it on my own orientation broadcast for the security operatives in Nigeria; Don’t see civilians as your enemies. It’s not you versus them. Their allegiance is to the state.
They were supposed to make sure the Protestants were not hurt. Their job was to make sure even the Protesters were not injured. Their job on that day was supposed to make sure they conducted themselves orderly but to never engage in the use of arms or firing their guns. The civilians had their basic human rights and their rights to the citizenship of Nigeria to peaceful gathering which was what they did before they came under fire by rogue soldiers. Security operatives in Nigeria need new orientation. We should actively get involved in educating them. Letting them know there is something called basic human rights.
Having said that, Nigerians should not be afraid of those who want to shoot them. They should be more afraid of their future that is being taken away from them. That is my concern. But if you ask me, the people of Nigeria must sustain their efforts to change their country’s destiny.
There are other ways of protesting. We don’t all have to go to Lagos; we don’t all have to go to Abuja. Let us use our various localities. Keep every village sealed up. The Nigerian Army will not have the materials, the tools to go to villages and shoot people. So, everybody should sit down in their places. If you are in Ogwashi-uku, stay there and shutdown the place and do the same thing at Agbor, Warri, and everywhere We can desert Abuja. Don’t go to work for one month and see if things will not change. The leadership of every organization in Nigeria is corrupt.
Ika Weekly: Wow. That’s very touching. In our last interview, you made mention that Obi should do more in leading the struggle. Sir, are you aware there is a difference between politics and advocacy?
Answer: There is a big difference between politics and advocacy. Where we are right now in the country is no longer in the realm of politics. Where we are right now is the realm of nationalism. Where we are right now requires true patriots of Nigeria to rise to position setting aside their religious, regional and tribal differences. This country is at the point of death. To save Nigeria, we have to dispense with both religious, regional and tribal nationalism and imbibe the spirit of patriotic Nigerian nationalism. We must just come together as patriots to make it happen. Peter Obi has a huge mass movement that he is underutilizing to get the job done. That is why I call him to do some more that he is doing right now.
Ika Weekly: So, what is your message to him sir?
Answer: My message to him is to first thank him for what he has done. No Nigerian in history has sustained a struggle to the point he has right now in Nigeria. If Nigerians truly know what is happening right now, there is no excuse for not lining behind him. He has demonstrated leadership. He is down to earth. He is a good communicator. He hasn’t shown any iota of tribal nationalist inclination like others and that is a huge plus as the country is in dire need of a true nation builder. I believe that these people holding Nigeria hostage are all cowards that will flee if Nigerians decide to match them for a resolve to retake their country.
They are scared, that is why they are running from pillar to post. The army of Nigeria is no longer the army we used to know. The army is divided, weak and very vulnerable because of corruption from its leaders and the lack of fighting implements to prosecute any serious operations. I don’t even want any military intervention in Nigeria. To be honest, I don’t want another coup with connection to the same class of idiots ruling the country now. I want the people of Nigeria to chase Bola Tinubu out and Africa to be able to look up to Nigeria. I want the people of Nigeria to do it by themselves.
Ika Weekly: so, this is your message to Nigerians?
Ika Weekly: Sir, what do you have to say about the recent declaration by the Lagos State Government that the state is planning to give mass burial for EndSars victims?
Answer: They are trying to cover up something. They are trying to cover up evidence. But they have already compromised themselves by first stating that there were no casualties. Even with the video clips, even to the panel that they set up. Now, they want to conduct a burial. A group of people are trying to cover up something. That is serious.
I think the governor of Lagos and his masterminds should be arrested and sent to the international criminal court for prosecution and hopefully convictions for their genocidal crimes against humanity. Where did they get the bodies, they want to bury from? Where? How can they describe them? Who are they? What are the circumstances surrounding their deaths? Those are the questions they must answer the Nigerian people. The Nigerian vibrancy has been lost due to 24 years of serial abuse and mental degradation of the people.
I am so sad personally right now because of the way Nigerians feel in relation to what is taking place in their country that has now become a sorry sovereign and territorial embarrassment globally.
To be continued.