Nigeria: Going back to a terrorist state?

By Nwohonja on 04/02/2015

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Buhari

There is belief in some quarters in Nigeria that the country has been run as a terrorist state for a long time before respite came a few years ago. This writer shares in this belief.

What is a terrorist state?

It is a state which practices state terrorism and is run by elements that employ terror tactics – especially against its own citizens – in running it. Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia describes it as a term “used to refer to actions taken by governments against their own citizens”.

So put differently, State Terrorism is a situation where elements in the government of a country use violence and force, even to the point of using scotched-earth policy and murder, to make its citizens do its biding. Governments that do these are terrorist governments and officials in governments that do it are terrorists in government.

One finds that this is done particularly when terrorists in government arrogate to themselves the sole right of determining the direction of state policy, and go ahead to suppress all dissenting voices, to the point of murder.

Was Nigeria truly a terrorist state? In my estimation, it was. Indeed, I make bold to state that State Terrorism in Nigeria actually started from the time of colonial rule. The British officials that ran Nigeria in those days ran it as a terrorist state and it was evident in almost everything they did.

We saw them perpetrate scotched-earth atrocities against the people. Because they were interested in cornering the people’s resources, they did it by using whatever means available to them to suppress dissenting voices and subjugate the people.

The humiliation of local elites, such as king Jaja of Opobo, Oba Ovonramwen, and several others could well be understood in this light. The slave trade; the Ekulu massacre; the Benin massacre; and the several other massacres, even the hangings of many leaders of the people were powerful indications that they ran what is Nigeria today as a terrorist state.

However, an interregnum in outright state terrorism existed briefly from 1960 at the country’s flag Independence. Then, Nigeria became a negotiated entity. Some of the after-math of a negotiated Nigeria then was that at Independence it was a truly federal entity as the units (regions) had constitutions of their own. Under such a situation, operating a terrorist state was no longer possible.

But the colonialists, who had install their stooges to govern the country after independence were not happy. On the other hand, the colonial stooges masquerading as leaders, but actually imperialists’ agents, were not happy as well, rather they felt handicapped under that circumstances upon which they ruled. In the process they looked for ways and means of bringing back a full terrorist state as shown by their attempt to highjack the government of the Western Region after the 1964 elections.

Eventually, supported by imperialist Britain, Rusia and Arab countries, they contrived the Nigeria/Biafra war and used it as opportunity to obtain full powers to operate state terrorism against the people.  The war as prosecuted by Yakubu Gowon, was in itself the highest state terrorism ever witnessed anywhere in modern Africa. Apart from the murder of millions, it was under Gowon that Nigeria’s negotiated federal structure got truncated to a union of imposition. It was that which effectively removed Nigerians from having a hand in their governance.

From that point of military incursion into governance, and through coups and counter coup d’états, the military took the country fully back into a terrorist state. The will of the people became subjugated to the whims of few myopic military rulers who defined the country’s unity, progress, oneness, peace, et al, through their myopic lenses. And to make sure that their definitions and fads were carried through, state terrorism blossomed.

That was why Gowon unilaterally created states in 1967, and took the people’s petroleum resources and placed it under his junta. It has been like that up till today, and the people are moaning. Under Olusegun Obasanjo’s junta, Land Use Decree was enacted, which took away the ownership of land and placed it under government.

The military government under Olusegun Obasanjo turned the Odi town into a killing field, killing innocent women and children. Same thing was done in Zaki Biam; and from 1999 till he left office in 2007, nothing less than 2000 Biafran activists were murdered in cold blood.

Muhammadu Buhari’s junta brutalized Nigerians to the point that a retrogressive law was passed which saw to the judicial murder of three Nigerian youths. Ibrahim Babangida’s junta smuggled the country into Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in the middle of the night, not minding what it would do to the sensibilities of people who were not Muslims. He also executed people he accused of plotting a coup, who had not even executed the alleged act.

This is why you will find some Nigerians argue that from 1966, when the military took over the reins of governance, Nigeria reverted to a terrorist state, and continued that way until the coming of Goodluck Jonathan. Continuing, they claim that unfortunately for the terrorists in government, Jonathan came with a different style. This is exemplified by the fact that no Nigeria has been arrested since the coming of Jonathan for speaking out their minds; no community has been invaded and upturned; and no Nigerian has been tear-gassed, arrested, shot at, or killed because he participated in a protest march.

Instead what appears to have happened is that terrorist elements have been pushed out of government, from where they have organised themselves, and have started terrorising from outside government. Boko Haram is seen as outright evidence of that.

Interestingly, having argued that the line of state terrorism got broken after Obasanjo’s exit in 2007, those who hold this view argue further that terrorist elements have now resorted to manipulation of the electoral system, horse-trading, gang-ups, etc. The argument is that they are in a struggle to clamber back into power. This is why they see All Progressives Congress (APC) as a coalescing of those elements intent on snatching back power. Muhammadu Buhari, Presidential Candidate of the party, is seen as the arrowhead with which to complete that mission.

There is however, evidently one thing in common with those who ran Nigerian’s past terrorist governments. They are all stupendously rich – they own the oil blocks as well as the top blue-chip companies and businesses in the country, which they corruptly acquired. There is also a foreign connection to it, which is that they own them with the connivance of foreign governments as well as agents of those governments.

With Jonathan’s style of governance, they feel threatened. Their choice of Buhari over Jonathan is therefore well understandable; they have a lot in common.

But a time comes in the life of a people when issues must be understood from their foundations for rational decisions to be taken. There is no time like now in Nigeria’s history when Nigerians must act with clear eyes and deep understanding.

For many Nigerians like me who have always claimed to be apolitical, and claimed disinterest in political affairs, this appears to be one of the times we must show interest. This is because what is unfolding might end up affecting the future negatively. At this time it becomes imperative that Nigerians try to understand the issues on ground so as to be able to circumvent any future disaster.

A vote for Buhari might well be a vote for disaster, in other words, a vote for return to a terrorist state. How many people rooting for him today know that when he was head of state from 1983 to 1985, even though he enjoyed a large measure of popularity, that it was not all rosy for Nigerians?

“Why campaign against Buhari?” you may ask. “But why not” I ask in reply. Was it not him that was once named by Boko Haram as their negotiator? Even though he declined, has the suspicion not subsisted that he has a hand in what is happening. As he boasted during the last election, and a lot happened negatively, has he not boasted again that if he loses again that the blood of the baboon will mix with that of the monkey? I don’t want to see that.

But hate him as much as you want, castigate him as much as you can, and rail against him as many times as you desire, one thing you cannot take from Jonathan is his humaneness and guarantee of freedom in the country. Can anyone trade that for a return to a terrorist state? I will not! But then, I don’t know about you.

 

There is belief in some quarters in Nigeria that the country has been run as a terrorist state for a long time before respite came a few years ago. This writer shares in this belief.

What is a terrorist state?

It is a state which practices state terrorism and is run by elements that employ terror tactics – especially against its own citizens – in running it. Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia describes it as a term “used to refer to actions taken by governments against their own citizens”.

So put differently, State Terrorism is a situation where elements in the government of a country use violence and force, even to the point of using scotched-earth policy and murder, to make its citizens do its biding. Governments that do these are terrorist governments and officials in governments that do it are terrorists in government.

One finds that this is done particularly when terrorists in government arrogate to themselves the sole right of determining the direction of state policy, and go ahead to suppress all dissenting voices, to the point of murder.

Was Nigeria truly a terrorist state? In my estimation, it was. Indeed, I make bold to state that State Terrorism in Nigeria actually started from the time of colonial rule. The British officials that ran Nigeria in those days ran it as a terrorist state and it was evident in almost everything they did.

We saw them perpetrate scotched-earth atrocities against the people. Because they were interested in cornering the people’s resources, they did it by using whatever means available to them to suppress dissenting voices and subjugate the people.

The humiliation of local elites, such as king Jaja of Opobo, Oba Ovonramwen, and several others could well be understood in this light. The slave trade; the Ekulu massacre; the Benin massacre; and the several other massacres, even the hangings of many leaders of the people were powerful indications that they ran what is Nigeria today as a terrorist state.

However, an interregnum in outright state terrorism existed briefly from 1960 at the country’s flag Independence. Then, Nigeria became a negotiated entity. Some of the after-math of a negotiated Nigeria then was that at Independence it was a truly federal entity as the units (regions) had constitutions of their own. Under such a situation, operating a terrorist state was no longer possible.

But the colonialists, who had install their stooges to govern the country after independence were not happy. On the other hand, the colonial stooges masquerading as leaders, but actually imperialists’ agents, were not happy as well, rather they felt handicapped under that circumstances upon which they ruled. In the process they looked for ways and means of bringing back a full terrorist state as shown by their attempt to highjack the government of the Western Region after the 1964 elections.

Eventually, supported by imperialist Britain, Rusia and Arab countries, they contrived the Nigeria/Biafra war and used it as opportunity to obtain full powers to operate state terrorism against the people.  The war as prosecuted by Yakubu Gowon, was in itself the highest state terrorism ever witnessed anywhere in modern Africa. Apart from the murder of millions, it was under Gowon that Nigeria’s negotiated federal structure got truncated to a union of imposition. It was that which effectively removed Nigerians from having a hand in their governance.

From that point of military incursion into governance, and through coups and counter coup d’états, the military took the country fully back into a terrorist state. The will of the people became subjugated to the whims of few myopic military rulers who defined the country’s unity, progress, oneness, peace, et al, through their myopic lenses. And to make sure that their definitions and fads were carried through, state terrorism blossomed.

That was why Gowon unilaterally created states in 1967, and took the people’s petroleum resources and placed it under his junta. It has been like that up till today, and the people are moaning. Under Olusegun Obasanjo’s junta, Land Use Decree was enacted, which took away the ownership of land and placed it under government.

The military government under Olusegun Obasanjo turned the Odi town into a killing field, killing innocent women and children. Same thing was done in Zaki Biam; and from 1999 till he left office in 2007, nothing less than 2000 Biafran activists were murdered in cold blood.

Muhammadu Buhari’s junta brutalized Nigerians to the point that a retrogressive law was passed which saw to the judicial murder of three Nigerian youths. Ibrahim Babangida’s junta smuggled the country into Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in the middle of the night, not minding what it would do to the sensibilities of people who were not Muslims. He also executed people he accused of plotting a coup, who had not even executed the alleged act.

This is why you will find some Nigerians argue that from 1966, when the military took over the reins of governance, Nigeria reverted to a terrorist state, and continued that way until the coming of Goodluck Jonathan. Continuing, they claim that unfortunately for the terrorists in government, Jonathan came with a different style. This is exemplified by the fact that no Nigeria has been arrested since the coming of Jonathan for speaking out their minds; no community has been invaded and upturned; and no Nigerian has been tear-gassed, arrested, shot at, or killed because he participated in a protest march.

Instead what appears to have happened is that terrorist elements have been pushed out of government, from where they have organised themselves, and have started terrorising from outside government. Boko Haram is seen as outright evidence of that.

Interestingly, having argued that the line of state terrorism got broken after Obasanjo’s exit in 2007, those who hold this view argue further that terrorist elements have now resorted to manipulation of the electoral system, horse-trading, gang-ups, etc. The argument is that they are in a struggle to clamber back into power. This is why they see All Progressives Congress (APC) as a coalescing of those elements intent on snatching back power. Muhammadu Buhari, Presidential Candidate of the party, is seen as the arrowhead with which to complete that mission.

There is however, evidently one thing in common with those who ran Nigerian’s past terrorist governments. They are all stupendously rich – they own the oil blocks as well as the top blue-chip companies and businesses in the country, which they corruptly acquired. There is also a foreign connection to it, which is that they own them with the connivance of foreign governments as well as agents of those governments.

With Jonathan’s style of governance, they feel threatened. Their choice of Buhari over Jonathan is therefore well understandable; they have a lot in common.

But a time comes in the life of a people when issues must be understood from their foundations for rational decisions to be taken. There is no time like now in Nigeria’s history when Nigerians must act with clear eyes and deep understanding.

For many Nigerians like me who have always claimed to be apolitical, and claimed disinterest in political affairs, this appears to be one of the times we must show interest. This is because what is unfolding might end up affecting the future negatively. At this time it becomes imperative that Nigerians try to understand the issues on ground so as to be able to circumvent any future disaster.

A vote for Buhari might well be a vote for disaster, in other words, a vote for return to a terrorist state. How many people rooting for him today know that when he was head of state from 1983 to 1985, even though he enjoyed a large measure of popularity, that it was not all rosy for Nigerians?

“Why campaign against Buhari?” you may ask. “But why not” I ask in reply. Was it not him that was once named by Boko Haram as their negotiator? Even though he declined, has the suspicion not subsisted that he has a hand in what is happening. As he boasted during the last election, and a lot happened negatively, has he not boasted again that if he loses again that the blood of the baboon will mix with that of the monkey? I don’t want to see that.

But hate him as much as you want, castigate him as much as you can, and rail against him as many times as you desire, one thing you cannot take from Jonathan is his humaneness and guarantee of freedom in the country. Can anyone trade that for a return to a terrorist state? I will not! But then, I don’t know about you.

 

Posted on February, 14 2015

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