Understanding the Crisis in Nigeria: A Historical Perspective
“Every crisis is as a result of socio economic injustice”. This was part of the remarks made by Dr Sadiq Abubakar who was the guest speaker…
at the morning session of the second day of the ongoing Annual Conference organized by the Resource forum of the Islamic Movement.
The first “accidental mistake”, said the University Don, was the amalgamation of the North and South Protectorates by the British in 1914 to form what is known today as Nigeria. He quoted Lugard as saying: “I knew that (the proposal for amalgamation) was an exercise in futility. However what baffles me most was its approval by the British Authorities.” Those protectorates were in no way similar, observed Dr.
He identified four types of crises in the history of Nigeria, viz., the crises of identification, integration, distribution and that of relevance. On the issue of identification, Dr Sadiq observed, with dismay, that the name Nigeria has no meaning in any language. He lamented that it was a stubborn prostitute, Lady Cameron, who gave the name while drunk. Integration, on the other hand, could only be achieved through socio economic justice and not by coercion. He emphasized that it is only Islam that is capable of full integration of diverse factions.
Distribution deals with the control of natural resources. In Nigeria, observed the Dr., this is a serious point of crisis. This is because of selfishness. It is only Islam that defines wealth and establishes a system of equitable distribution of wealth and resources. He pointed to the fact that nobody believed in the Nigeria Project, citing vivid examples of even those considered as the forerunners in the struggle for flag independence. “Nigeria is a political joke that has gone far; Nigeria exists only in the minds of the British; Nigeria is a mere geographical expression” are the sayings of Bello, Zik and Awo respectively. All these were flashpoints of crisis.
Thus immediately after the flag independence, mutiny on Muslims followed. Balewa refused to compromise his religion, Islam. He exhibited a sense of honesty, transparency and responsibility. This they did not like. He became what they considered as a stumbling block against Zionism in Nigeria. In fact they even branded him as an Islamic fundamentalist. The real victims of that mutiny, reiterated Dr Sadiq, were Muslims. It was distorted to be northerners.
Then the crisis of the civil war came. If not because of the fact that this land of ours is blessed with good servants of Allah, nobody knew when the war could have ended. It ended within a span of only three tears. The Shari’ah debate in the 1978 constituent assembly also sparked dust. Dr Sadiq mentioned subsequent crises including those of Maitatsine, OPC, Bakassi Boys and the current Boko Haram.
In his conclusion remarks, he noted that, we have committed a lot of suicides historically. We should resort back to Islam. Islam is not only in name. It is an activity. These activities are to be coordinated by an able leader. He urged the members of the Movement to give all the support to Sayyid Zakzaky (H) for a better tomorrow.
Dauda Nalado reports