Beating The Drums Of War

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While we should be mourning the deceased victims of the Independence day bomb blasts  close to Eagle Square in the nation’s capital, Abuja, some so-called elders are busy  beating the drums of war and fanning the embers of disunity in the wake of the tragic  incident.

Some northern political leaders, including Adamu Ciroma and Lawal Kaita, stirred the  hornet’s nest when they called on President Goodluck Jonathan to resign because he  dissociated the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, from the bomb  blasts even though the Henry Okah faction of MEND had claimed responsibility for the  deadly blasts. The call by Ciroma and his combative kinsmen is heating up the polity as  Northern and Southern leaders have continued to spit fire and exchange brickbats on the  pages of newspapers.

Ironically, a group called Northern Political Summit took up the fight on behalf of  Jonathan against Ciroma and his Northern Political Leaders Forum. The Northern  pro-Jonathan group has warned Ciroma et al to desist from making inflammatory statements  that could undermine the unity of this country. As if that was not enough warning, what  Ciroma and co. said has attracted an equal measure of virulent and belligerent reaction  from the South-South, Jonathan’s home base. The man who has taken over the beating of the  war drums is Asari Dokubo, the leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, NDPVF.  Dokubo, who vent his spleen during a chat with a national newspaper, said the Niger Delta  region is not afraid of going to war against anybody or group that confronts the people  of the region.

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We are worried that anger and vitriolic attacks have trailed the bomb blasts even as the  incident has been politicised. Should the country go up in flames because of the  inordinate ambition of some political leaders? We wonder who the political gladiators  will preside over if the country disintegrates before they actualise their ambition.  Although we do not subscribe to the doomsday prophecies of some clerics that Nigeria may  soon cease to be one geographical entity because of political intolerance and other  divisive tendencies championed by some conservative elite, the reckless manner in which  the nation’s leaders express their views on sensitive natioinal issues could undermine  the peace and stability of this country. They just have to exercise restraint  in the way  they talk to avoid the backlash their utterances could cause. A handful of leaders who  are seeking political power at all costs are threatening fire and brimstone as if it is  their birth right to rule this country.

If fifty years after independence we cannot speak with one voice on national issues or  issues that threaten national security, can we say we are united as a people? Our  so-called leaders are so hypocritical, myopic and self centred that they see everything  from the prism of ethnicity or religion. They use these divisive tendencies to mask their  parochial political and economic interests and use same to hoodwink their gullible  followers. They have played the hackneyed ethnic and religious cards for the past fifty  years yet this has not taken the nation anywhere. They are at the same vile game of  deceit again. They should stop playing the spoiler’s role so that we don’t have cause to  contend with the upheaval that could be the consequences of their action. Leaders who  have the interest of the people at heart will not descend to the level of threatening to  make the country ungovernable because of  one flimsy reason or the other. Where will they  run to or hide when they make the country ungovernable?