United Ijaw * Welcome to United Ijaw on the web. Our preference is national self determination, the independence of Ijawnation as a Sovereign State. A state that promotes sustainable economic and social development, democratic principles, liberty, free enterprise, equal rights and justice. This is our story, this is our struggle. **** On Kaiama Declaration We Stand **** United Nations Under Secretary-General, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, in Abuja condemned the theft of Nigeria's assets by past corrupt leaders. He said that kleptomaniac leaders stole more than 400 billion dollars from the Nigerian treasury between 1960 and 1999. **** IJAWNATION THINK! THINK. **** Almost $170 billion of the country’s wealth disappeared and ended in the private accounts of individuals between 1999 and 2003 alone... Priye Torulagha ****Nigeria has failed Niger Delta – Nnamani **** Resource Control: Niger-Delta governors are traitors – Evah **** Only the fear of a volcanic social eruption from below can stop barbaric behaviour by holders of political power – Gani Fawehinmi ***** “ if the Confab and Nigerians are not willing to heed to Resource Control, they will take it by force” - Oronto Douglas We Dare To Be Different.
Population: 14,833,421
Monday, August 7, 2000

Priye S. Torulagha  (Ph.D., MHR)


Nigeria is a strange country indeed.  It seems to defy common logic or categorization.  It contains a highly intelligent people that seem to act very unintelligently.  Nigerians are well educated and yet seem to behave very irrationally.  Nigerians seem to be very religious and yet are very materialistic and greedy.  Nigerians are so eager to go to heaven, nirvana or to Allah, and yet, are willing to sell their souls for a fistful of Nairas.  Nigerians are very sophisticated and yet allow themselves to be ruled by leaders whose main preoccupation is to steal.

In short, Nigeria is a class by itself because it is a country in which you can become a millionaire or a billionaire for that matter without having to work for it.  The concept of "making it by the sweat of your labor" does not exist.  You simply embezzle the money and become an instant millionaire like somebody who has just won a lottery.

In Nigeria, no news is a good news unless it involves a leader who has been caught or who is "working" very hard to become a millioanire through stealing from the public purse.  Likewise, in Nigeria, you are considered to be stupid if you do not steal millions and billions of Naira.  Therefore, the shortest course to become a millionaire is through public office.  You can get it through the military, business and politics.  Or you can become one by becoming a stoogeor a praise singer or a paper pusher or an invisible aide to one of the big "ogas" who wield power.

The question is: why are Nigerians, particularly the leaders, become pathological embezzlers?  In fact, it appears that the country suffers from a chronic case of money-grabbing and " I want to become a millionaire" syndrome, so much so that some Nigerians can't help themselves anymore.  They just have to embezzle, regardless of the stupidity of the circumstance.    

To attempt to unravel the mystery of the almost abnormal psychological behavior, one must dig into the politics and psychology of the country.  Perhaps, examining the 1) boomerang effect of the traditional cultures, 2) the resistance to British colonization, 3)the failure of the early nationalists, 4)the personaliztion,tribalization and regionalization, 5) the "Oga did it" syndrome, 6)the oil factor, 7) who is representing who?, 8) the fear of national disintegration, 9) militant reactions and 10) what direction, might help.   

1.  The Boomerang Effect of the Traditional Cultures:  Nigeria is a contradiction.  It was put in place despite serious resistance by the indigenous ethnic groups and political entities.  The pain of conquest has not dissipited, despite independence.  It should be noted that the Nigerian region of West Africa seem to represent the heartland of African cultures.  The traditional kindoms were well pronounced in their manifestations of power, regardless of size or population.  The people were very proud of their heritage.  Pick any Nigerian group and examine  the culture. The proud nature of the cultures are easily  detectable.  When Nigeria conducts a traditional festival of the arts and culture, it is very easy to mistaken it for an all-African festival of the arts and culture due to the diversity and richness of the traditions.  Regardless of education, Nigerians from all works of life participates in cultural activities.

The traditional proudness accounts for the reason that quite frewuently, only Nigerian diplomats appear in traditional African attire at most international functions.  It is always quite easy to pick out the Nigerian representative from the crowd.  Other African diplomats mix it up, sometimes wearing traditional and sometimes appearing in Western suits.  When SubSaharan Africa is closely examined, West Africans appear more often in traditional African attires than East, Central and South Africans.

When people are strongly embedded into their cultures as do Nigerians, it becomes very painful to accept domination by an outside entity.  Therefore, British colonization of the Nigerian region has not been fully digested by Nigerians.  The degree of Africanness among Nigerians is so high that even the most educated and the most Westernized Nigerian still behaves like a typical African.  In challlenging debates, the Nigerian will not give up his/her position and will fight if necessary to maintain that position.  The Nigerian soldier behaves similarly, willing to fight unto death rather than be humiliated.  Hence, many nonNigerians regard Nigerians as being "arrogant."  On the other hand, in many parts of Africa, the educated and the Westernized are expected to behave like Westerners.  This is very common, especially among citizens of Francophone countries.  Likewise, it is not uncommon to hear Francophone Africans say " I am Frenchman" or "We French people."  In heated debates, Nigerian and and Ghanaian students in overseas, have screamed at Francophone Africans for calling themselve French.

a.  Due to the strong attachment to the African culture, regardless of Christianization and islamization, Nigerians appear to psychologically reject the colonially imposed "Nigeria".  The best way to reject it is by destroying it through sapping the financial lifeblood out of the system.

b.  The strong loyalty to the traditional culture also contributes to the Africanization of both Islam and Christianity in Nigeria.  Nigerians seem to practice their Christianity and Islam very differently.  Hence, there is a common saying that other Moslems do not trust Nigerian Moslems in Mecca.  This also accounts for why Church business is a booming economic activity and going to Hajj in Mecca instantly turns a Nigerian (Alhaji) into a wealthy business tycoon.
c.  The aforementioned facts contribute to the reason why while most Nigerians claim to be either Christians or Moslems, they all tend to march to the shrines to worship their ancestors.  Most eminent Nigerians are members of traditional religons, secret, and mystical societies, even though they go to the mosque on Friday and to the church on Sunday.  These contradictory religious behaviours are indicative of a psychological rejection of the imposed religions and the state.  Various Nigerian cultures are reimposing themselves upon the Westernized state.  The cultures are like the Australian boomerangs.

2.  Cultural Resistance:  Although every Nigerian regard himself/ herself as a Nigerian, psychologically and culturally, Nigerians differentiate the colonially imposed state from their traditional state system.  When a Nigerian says "our army," the Nigerian is referring to the traditional or ethnic based military institution.  When a Nigerian says "the Army," the Nigerian is referring to the Nigerian army which is sometimes regarded as the "Government Army."  Generally, the traditional institutions are much more reveered than the modernized Nigerian institutions.  For instance, the Obong of Calabar, the Oba of Benin, the Obi of Onitsha, the Emir of Kano, the Amananabo or Amananaowei of various Izon clans are much more respected than any military or political governor in Nigeria.  Nigerian modern leaders pay homage to the traditional leaders.

a.  LIkewise, Nigerians respect their traditional norms and laws more than the Westernized and secularized Nigerian laws.  Consequently, Nigerians are not afraid of the Nigerian laws but they are very afraid of the traditional norms and laws. Under the Nigerian legal system, a Nigerian can steal or embezzle public money and lie about it without even being afraid of the consequences. If that same Nigerian were to steal from a traditionally connected money, the Nigerian will not hesitate to confess, for fear of being punished by ancestral deities and forces. Can you imagine being compelled to swear an oath in the name of your ancestor?  

b.  It is obvious that since Nigeria is an illegitimate state, it does not have the spiritual package that goes with traditional entities and institutions.  People are not afraid to steal from the Nigerian state.  Generally, they will think twice before getting to the shrine or palace or house of the masquerades in order to steal.  Therefore, it can be said that the secular nature of Nigeria opens the country up for unrestrained stealing by those who have the opportunity to do so.

3.  THe Failures of the Early Founding Nationalists:  Nigeria is subjected to unrestrained embezzlement because, the early founding nationalists failed to legitimized the country through Africanization of the institutions.  Assuming that after independence, the pioneering Nigerian politicians had called a National Constitutional Conference to discuss what Nigerians wanted, the country would have been legitimized since the issues would have been debated and the constitutional package passed.  Unfortunately, Nigerians have never been allowed to discuss the issues in a thorough and proper manner.  Almost all the Nigerian constituitons have been imposed by those who claim to be leaders and who think they know more about what Nigerians want than the Nigerians.  Also, the self-appointed leaders seem to think that if they allow Nigerians to make the decisions, the Nigerians would destroy the country.  They ignore the fact that Nigerians are very sophisticated and practical in their demands.

4.  The Personalization, Tribalization, and Regionalization of the Constitutions:   Likewise, the various constitutions were initiated by leaders who intended either to reward themselves or their ethnic group/region.  This being the case, each successive regime manipulated the constitution to favor its narrowly defined objectives.

a.  This is not an overstatement; during the Parliamentary days, Nigerian constitution was turned upside down in order to enable the regional leaders to assert their authority over the national interests.  During the first military regime, the country was unitarized and unitarization became the popular choice of all the subsequent military regimes. The Presidential regime of President Shehu Shagari briefly attmpted to federalize but the regime was eventually regionalized in favor of the North.  All the military regimes, with the exceptions of the first(January 1966 - July 1966) and second (July 29, 1966 - July 1975)were regionalized and personalized.

b.  As can be seen, the failure to nationalize the constitutional framework led to personailzation, tribalization, and regionalization of the state. This means that Nigeria is treated as the property of those who rule.  They could do as they wish.  The leaders then copy from each other. In a chain-gang manner, each regime tends to repeat the behaviors of the previous regime. However, the level of embezzlement always goes up. It works this way: if a previous regime was known for misappropriating thousands of Naira, the next would increase it to a few millions.  The one following  would increase the amount to more millions.  In a pyramidal order, the amounts eventually climbed to billions.  By the time Gen Abacha got into power, it was acceptable to literarilly take a truck to the Central Bank and fill it up with money.  It also became fashionable to decorate the house with millions buried around the house.

5.  "Oga Did It" Mentality:  Since birds of identical plumage tend to congregate together, the commissioners, advisers, top-level bureacrats, directors, and any official who could be managing some of the public purse follow in their leaders footsteps and embezzled.  To engage in the behavior, one had simply to say "oga take one billion, me I go take 500 million."  The other would say "me too I go take 300 million."  Any opposition was countered by "if others take, why me no go take too?"

a.  The culture permeated every segment of the population to the extent that family members would encourage their own relatives to take their own share by saying "This, na opportunity for you to take your own share."  If the fellow refuses, the family would counter "The government na your papa business?  Everybody dey take why, you no go take."  

b..  This attitude clearly shows that Nigerians probably have doubts about supporting a colonially induced state.  They regard it as a booty.  Therefore, whoever gets into power is expected to loot as much money as possible.  Those who refuse to loot are laughed upon and called derogatory names for being foolish.  It is now understandable why the police, the customs, the post office, NEPA etc are chronically corrupt.  The police and the custom service seem to be more like money collection agencies than law enforcement and tariff control agencies.  Members of these services fight to be posted to lucrative posts so that they can make money.  Generally, the collected money are passed along the chain of command on monthly basis.  No wonder, the Murtala Mohammed Airport is like a highly guided military fortress.  That airport seems to have more uniformed men and women than any other airport in the woorld.  It is always very frightening to land at that airport.  Even Nigerians are scared of it.   

6.  The Oil Factor:  It is not surprising that news of embezzlement and corruption are flying all over the place in the recently installed democratic system.  It appears that many of the politicians got into office not to represent the people but to have their own share of the Nigerian booty.  Infact, many have been salivating and waiting to gobble up any money that comes their way.  The ongoing investigations in the Nigerian Senate simply demonstrate without doubt the endemic and addictive nature of the looting habit.  Although the politicians protested military rule, they are not doing any better, as far as managing the money or protecting the peoples interests.

It is arguable that Nigerian leaders and those in position of power tend to behave addictively toward embezzlement of public funds because they regard the billions that flow into the governmental treasury as "Oil Money."  By implication, this means that the money belongs to no one, so, it is open to "privatization."  Hence, every political and bureaucratic decision is primarily guided by "what can I get from this?"  Consequently, every contract and the price of every government project is inflated.  No wonder, Peoples from the Oil Producing Areas are so angered by the fact that the OIL MONEY is not used for national development.  No wonder, the youths are waging a war of resistance to indirectly stop the looting of the oil money.

7.  Who is Representing Who?  It is arguable, based on the attitudes of many Nigerian politicians that Nigeria is not a democracy.  Nobody is representing anybody and no politician cares about the feelings of any constituent.  The bottom- line is that most of the politicians are in business to fill their own pockets and live like aristocrats for the rest of their lives.

So far, many current politicians seem to be repeating the behviors displayed by the politicians during President Sahagari's era.  During that era, Nigerian politicians were always travelling overseas for one reason or another.  The same behavior is now taking place.  Already, some of the governors have repeatedly travelled overseas.  One governor is alleged to have said that he was going to buy rice. Rice became a major commodity during the Second Republic and it might become one again.

Many citizens of the Oil Producing Areas are worried that monies allocated under the Niger Delta Development Commission might be embezzled by the state political leaders.  

8.  The Fear of National Disintegration:  The attitude by those in power seems to be that they might as well have their own share of the national loot before the national treasury is exhausted.  In short, there is a race to loot before it is too late.  This means that the politicians and those in power have no faith in a future Nigeria.  They seem to suggest that Nigeria would soon cease to exist. Consequently, they want to get as much as possible. This attitude is comparable to people rushing the bank in times of financial crisis for any bank.  Generally, when there is a rumour that a bank will soon default, customers would rush in to withdraw their money before the bank is closed.  Nigerian leaders and those who suppose to manage the country seem to think and act in like manner.

9.  Militant Reaction:  It is not surprising that ethnically based political and militant movements are becoming a major feature of Nigerian politics.  As the Nigerian state is gradually being  destroyed by those who supposed to manage it, youthful groups are coming out of their ethnic regions to redefine the nature of Nigerian politics.  They are playing many roles, including enforcing the law, responding to government strong-arm tactics with militant counteraction, summarily executing criminals, warning the politicians to behave, and attempting to bring equality in the process of economic and poltical redistribution of national resources.  In short, Oodua Peoples Congress. Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Izon National Congress (INC), Izon Youth Congress(IYC), the Urhobo National Assmeby (UNA), Urhobo Youths Movement, Igbo Peoples Congress, Arewa Peoples Congress (APC), etc.  Increasingly, they would become the major opposition to the politicians who want a free hand to party all night with the peoples money.  

10.  What Direction?  Thus, Nigeria is being transformed and  is either likely to remain as a federal state or fold into the many ethnic parts that existed before the British put it together.  In anyway, the rampant corruption is indicative of a state that is being delegitimized. President Olusegun Obasanjo has many war fronts to fight in order to clean the Nigerian House. He must be uncompromising as far as trying to clean up the mess. He also needs to recruit and mobilize Nigerians who have clean records and do away with some of those Nigerians with highly tainted and unrehabilitable Nigerians. The democratic experiment can only work if the generality of Nigerians have faith in it. No government can impose a democracy.

The aforementioned observations are some of the ways in which the incredulous activities of Nigerian power-wielders can be explained.  If not, then it becomes very difficult to explain why those who supposed to run the country are the primary destroyers of Nigeria.


Sunday, July 30, 2000

Priye S. Torulagha  (Ph.D., MHR)

Minority Empowerment And the Stabilization of Nigeria

Power is like a mirage.  Now you see and experience it and now you don't.  It is quite possible to have all the physical and material attributes of power without actually experiencing it.  It is also quite possible not to have the physical and material attributes of power and still feel powerful.  Thus, the ability to control, influence, manipulate, and dominate has more to the do with the psychological state of the mind than the physical and material aspects of power attributes.

This is the reason why  very mighty nation-states like the United States had problems controlling Vietnam and Somalia and the former Soviet Union could not defeat the Afghanistani people. This definitely accounts for the difficulty with which the Russians have had trying to defeat the Chechnyan fighters.  
Since power is  like a mirage, it is very fluid. It can change very rapidly and turn mighty nations into powerless entities and turn powerless nations into powerfull entities.

This being the case, it is rather surprising that the minority groups in Nigeria have for so long accepted to play the role of a doormat to the majority groups.

In other words, Nigeria's minority groups almost willingly accepted not to challenge the supremacy of the three major ethnic groups in the governance of Nigeria.  It is as if God had ordered them never to challenge the authority of WAZOBIA.  Due to this passivity, WAZOBIA became arrogant and assumed that the Hausa/Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba have mandate from God to do as they wish.

Thus, Nigeria's political and economic problems are directly linked with the arrogance of the majority groups and the passivity of the minority groups.  For Nigeria to become a great nation-state, the minority groups must become very active and challenge every political and economic decision of the majority groups so that accountability can lead to a truly representative democratic political system.  This, in turn, will lead to a stable Nigeira. Only the minority groups can effectively play a stabilizing role since the three majority groups are like wild elephants constantly fighting for power.

To support the argument that Nigeria's problems are linked to the arrogance of the majority groups who think that they have power and the passivity of the minority groups who think that they are powerless, a brief historical trek into the balance of power games that have been played in Nigeria will tremendously shade the light.

1.  During the colonial days, the British colonial authority exercised power single-handedly in Nigeria. This form of power could be characterized as a unipolar system.

2.  Between 1960 and 1966,  the three major ethnic groups exercised power in Nigeria in what could be characterized as a tripolar system of balance of power.
The Tiv people of the Middle Belt stired the honest nest by carrying out two major riots to express their frustration with the system.  They were crushed. Nevertheless, this was a warning signal to the majority groups.

This was also the period in which the Late Isaac Boro initiated a short-lived revolution in which he declared the secession of the Niger Delta.  This was a warning shot of the future turbulence in the Niger Delta but arrogance did not allow the majority groups to grasp the scope of the unhappiness of the minority groups.
The Efiks and the Ibibios too mounted serious opposition to the NCNC dominance of the South-Easthern Nigeria.  The people of Nsidung (Henshaw Town) openly declared the NCNC to be null and void in their area of Calabar.  Names like Eyo Uyo and Eyo Ita were frequent commodities.

3.  Between 1967 and 1975, for the first time, minority groups became a dominant force in Nigeria. Gen. Yakubu Gowon, a minority from the North and other prominent minorities literally ran the country, both during and after the civil war.  It was during this time names like Graham Douglas, Gen. David Ejoor, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Dr. Okoi Arikpo, Michael Ani, Wenike Briggs, Chief Joseph Tarka, Gen Theophilus Danjuma etc. became household words in the country. This period could be characterized as a multipolar system because the Yorubas and the Hausas/Fulanis were also involved but they exercised their presence in a subtle manner.

It is not a coincident that this was the best period in Nigerian history, since independence.  The reason being that the country was ran democratically since every segment of the country was represented, even though it was a military regime.  Moreover, since minorities are not necessarily afflicted with the desire to dominate, compared to the majority groups, who are always bent on dominating, a balanced of power was achieved on all levels.

Thus, efforts were made to ensure that all segments of the population were recruited into the federal governmental machinery.  In particular, the Nigerian armed forces were opened up to admit citizens, almost on quota basis.  The purpose was to eradicate the preNzeogwu era in which the officer corps came mostly from the East and the non-commissioned ranks came predominantly from the North and the West was left almost empty with fewer officers and NCOs.  

4.  Between 1975 and 1979 when Gen. Murtala Mohammed/Obasanjo regime took over, Nigeria was characterized by a bipolar balance-of-power system. Basically, the minorities were gradually pushed aside while the Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba exercised power. The Igbos were marginalized due to the civil war.

5.  Between 1979 and 1983 during the reign of President Shehu Shagari, the tripolar balance-of-power system was reactivated so the Hausa/Fulani, the Igbo, and the Yoruba continued from where they stopped before the Nzeogwu military coup.  The federal system started closing up again to serve as the domain of the three majority groups.  The minority groups began to serve again as hapless dogs.  In particular, the people from the Oil Producing Areas (POPA) did not even make any noise as to the fairness of the economic distribution of Nigeria's resources.  At this time, people from the Non Oil Producing Areas (NOPA) felt that they have a God given right to take the oil and loot the money.

6.  Between 1983 and 1985, the minorities were now being treated as noncitizens.  In other words, their rights, concerns and feelings were utterly disregarded in the national policymaking process.  In addition, minorities who were posted to top level federal positions were expected to behave as slaves and do whatever the top dogs of WAZOBIA ordered them to do. Many of them became merely instruments of money transferring schemes.  The tripolar system continued to reign undisturbed by the minorities.

7.  Between 1985 and 1993,  the tripolar system continued.  During this time, states were created most particularly on the strategic interest of the three major groups. Gen. Babangida wanted to make sure that the three groups were on his side.  At this time, citizens from the Oil Producing Areas were now treated as colonial dependents of the Nigerian Government. Their share of the oil revenue had been drastically reduced to pittance.  Money from the oil went directly into individual pockets, not into the federal coffers.  It was allowable for individuals who were connected to the three major groups to literally hire  oil tankers and steal Nigeri's oil in what is known as "oil bungling".

The Nigerian armed forces resorted back to the old ways with excessive tilt toward the North and the West.

The looting of the oil wealth became so much that the minorities, especially the youths, began backdoor guerrilla tactics to impede the further exploration of oil in their communities.  Oil pipe explosions became quite frequent.  Then the Ogonis woke up from sleep and began a vigorous effort to stop the exploitation, marginalization and colonization.

8.  The period between 1993 and 1998 was characterized by a unipolar system since the efforts put in place by Gen. Babangida had materialized to put the North as the only dominant force in Nigerian politics. Other segments of Nigeria looked like doormats as the North wielded power politically, economically, and militarily.  The concentration of power by one region led to serious resistance.  The Yorubas mounted a frontal politcal attack on Gen.Abacha and the Nigerian system.  The Ogonis were rioting frequently.  The Izon youths were preparing for war on all fronts to remedy an unacceptable political and economic situations.  In short, every minority group was ready to explode. This led the Igbos too to begin to talk about marginalization since the end of the civil war.

9.  The period between 1998 and 1999 could be characterized as a period of transition.  Hence, Nigeria was unstable and ready to disintegrate.  Gen. Abdulsalram Abubakar did a good job by attempting to calm the situation. He quietly adopted strategies which embraced a multipolar balance of power system by recruiting prominent Nigerians from all sides into the federal government.

Since it was a transitional period, many groups were already either fighting the government or fighting against other ethnic groups.  Continuing from where the Ogonis had stopped, the Ijaws took up the fight in a big scale and shook the country up.  The Itsekiris, Isokos, Urhobos, etc. joined the campaign.

The period between 1999 and up to the present could be characterized as a multipolar balance of power system since President Olusgun Obasanjo has been working furiously to quiet the country. However, Obasanjo's leadership has shifted the locus of authority from the North to slightly in favor of the South.  Hence, the North is boiling politically.  The religious riots in Kaduna and other Islamic cities of Northern Nigeria show the feeling of powerlessness by those who used to wield absolute power.

Having made a politico-historical trek through the alignment of political power in Nigeria, it can be argued that the minorities allowed themselves to be marginalized for too long.  It is also argued here that minorities in Nigeria will continue to be exploited, marginalized and used as messengers to help ferret away stolen money by individuals from the majority groups.   It is further argued here that minorities can effectively change the situation around and help to make Nigeria a truly democratic country. The following suggestions might help in this effort.

1.  Minorities must realize that power is not a constant phenomenon.  The fact that the three majority groups have huge populations does not necessarily mean that they have to exercise power all the time.  Power is a state of mind, therefore, think powerful and power will begin to reflect your wishes.  Think powerless and power will run away from you.  When the Ogonis rebelled against exploitation, power flowed to them.  When the Ijaws acted, power flowed toward them and Nigeria realized the immense power of the group.

2.  To  exercise power, Nigerian minority groups must realize that they have a common problem, regardless of ethnicity, region or religion.  A minority group in the North suffers from political exploitation as a minority group in the South.  The recognition of a common problem would lead to a reassessment of the situation.

3.  Thus, instead of dancing to the musical tunes of the majority groups, the minority groups must come up with their own strategy to fight the majority groups. In the past, minority groups in the North tended to vote for Action Group in the West, Minority groups in the East tended to vote for the Northern Peoples Congress in the North and the Action Group in the West.  Minority groups in the West tended to vote for the Nationationl Convention of Nigerian Citizens in the East and the NPC in the North.  This tactics did not help that much.

4.  Likewise, in the past, the minorities tended to create their own small political parties.  These parties then affiliated with the three major regional parties.  This strategy was a failure because it helped to divide the minority groups.

5.  Under various military regimes,  the majority applied the divide and conquer tactics by appointing minority individuals who were subservient to the national players.  It is not a secret that many minorities from the Oil Producing Areas served as heads of various federal agencies dealing with petroleum management.  Ofcourse, most of them were expected to serve as figure heads.  They were rewarded with a share of the looted wealth for remaining quiet while their communities were being polluted, exploited and marginalized.     

6.  Instead of forming small political groups and movements, the minorities should put their political resources together and come up with an all-embracing political party that is capable of competing with any of the major parties.  The political head of such a party would be nominated only after a national minority convention has been held.  Any candidate that is nominated must have a national appeal to win a presidential election.

7.  Minorities must realize that they are not powerless as most of them seem to think.  During the civil war, minority officers and men fought gallantly on both sides.  Infact, minority soldiers in Nigeria are some of the best fighting men in the world.  The Middle Belt leads Nigeria in the number of military officers.  This is a potent power.  It should be recalled that Gen. Babangida almost boasted at one time that a military coup was nolonger possible in Nigeria.  Yet, the foiled Orka coup of April 1994, carried out mostly by minority officers and men demonstrated to the entire country the military capability of the minorities.  

8.  The Tiv riots. the Isaac Boro rebellion, the exploits of the Ibibios, Edos, Ijaws, Itsekirirs, Tivs, Idomas, Efiks, etc. during the war, the militant actions of the youths of the Oil Producing Areas etc., have shown that minorities can feel powerful if they choose to express their feelings appropriately.

9.  To form a united front, the minorities in the South should avoid using the geographically motivated appellation South or SouthSouth.  To do so is to divide the minorities into two groups - those in the North and those in the South.  This is a no winner politically, in the context of Nigerian politics. Southern minorities and Northern minorities must work together as one in order to elevate their status.  

This is very important, considering the fact that during the religious riots in the Islamic North, the minority groups in the Middle Belt declared their neutrality.

10.  This being the case, regional political objectives can be accomplished within each region. Such efforts must be done diplomatically so as not to impede the desire to create an impact on national politics of Nigeria.

11.  As a prelude to creating a third political force, all minority groups should hold a convention with the aim of establishing a political party that will compete vigorously in the future.  Such an effort will draw the attention of the majority groups who would want to create political coalitions.

12.  After the convention, a communique should be issued, addressing some of the ills of the nation.

13.  Ofcourse, the aforementioned third force in Nigerian politics will not be possible untill many of the intercommunal and intracommunal conflicts that exist among many ethnic groups are solved.   Thus, Nigerian minority groups must endeavour to resolve interethnic disputes that tend to boil over and cause a lot of damage.  

14.  The first thing to do  is to create a framework for dialogue among all minority groups.  After this is done, a structural framework for other meetings can be put in place.  This is to build confidence and trust.

It is time Nigerian minorities should stop lamenting about their powerlessness and begin to build a political dynasty that will become a potent force in Nigerian politics.

As can be seen, the majority groups have not been very helpful to the development of Nigeria. Their unrestrained ambition to rule has been very destructive to the body politics of Nigeria.  On the other hand, it is very tempting to say that minorities have been responsible for holding the nation together. Their role in bringing peace after the civil war is highly commendable. No doubt, minorities can play a major positive role in reversing the sad situation in Nigeria.  To do so, they must realize that they are not powerless.  They should not wait for power to come to them.  They should not expect the majority groups to hand over power to them.  They must embrace power and do those things that manifest power.
Minority Empowerment And Stabilization of Nigeria


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