Tony Nnadi responds to a volte-face opinion editorial by Chimamanda Adichie published in the New York Times recanting her support for Muhammadu Buhari.
Guided by the lessons of Nigeria’s chequered history, (1962-1967), the Lower Niger Congress, LNC, and its Movement for New Nigeria, MNN, partners in the aftermath of the blood-soaked 2011 elections, mounted a vigorous campaign to halt any further national elections under the fraudulent, unitary 1999 Constitution.
Right in the midst of the LNC’s frantic efforts (evidenced by “MNN LAGOS DECLARATION OF JUNE 30, 2011”, LNC’s 2012 “COUNTRYWIDE REJECTION OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION” and 2013 serial MNN Bulletins 1-4, all published as advertorials in several national dailies and on full display on the NOTICE BOARD of LNC’s website www.lnc-usa.org), which yielded a limited outcome in the form of the severely jaundiced 2014 National Conference. We were shocked to find on the muddled partisan highway, a huge bandwagon of enlightened people whose objectivity anyone could have taken for granted, in relation to the grave foundational issues we had so strenuously raised.
With a barrage of abuses and accusations from several strange quarters, directed at the LNC and MNN and with the 2015 elections roaring close like a train with malfunctioning brake systems, we went on national TV, several times, to warn that if the 2015 Elections held with the unitary constitution of 1999 still in place, the winner, whichever party, will not find any Nigerian to govern.
Those who wish to verify these claims should search YouTube with the name “Lower Niger Congress” and view the titles on 2015 Elections and the 2014 National Conference, to see the reasons offered for the halt we sought for the electoral journey at the time. It is a pity that Nigeria is today in the very pit we tried so desperately to save it from falling into, for the very reasons we had canvassed, bordering on geopolitical fault-lines and a fractured foundation.
The 2015 election was basically, an all-out fray between the umbrella wielding “Jonathan-Must-Stay” juggernauts and the chanji-opium-driven, broom-waving “Buhari-or-you-die” mob, led by what could hitherto have passed for the cream of Nigeria’s intellectual community.
On the broom-wielding side of the fray, was my own collaborator-in-chief, Professor Wole Soyinka, lending his awe-inspiring presence to the broomside attack-dog-in-chief, who held court in the defiled Garden City as helmsman (courtesy of robust judicial palm-greasing at apex, as we now hear), and had at the peak of the mudfight, described the bulldozing efforts of the Dame on the umbrella-side as Sheppopotamus!.
Then there was the erudite Professor Tam David-West, swearing for, vouching for and generally guaranteeing the messianic delivery of our man in the other room, under whom he had been minister of oily affairs.
I need not mention the endless heckling of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in her ordinarily difficult tasks at the finance ministry, by the likes Obiageli Ezekwesili, Patrick Utomi, and Chukwuma Soludo reminiscent of the role of chickens in Animal Farm’s Battle of Cowshed. Chukwuma Soludo has almost redeemed himself from that list by his recent bold interjection on the Biafra Question.
Obiageli Ezekwesili topped up her role with the #BringBackOurGirls, BBOG global franchise which was basically a heartless Caliphate electoral gimmickry in which about 300 girls from the all-Christian and so infidel, Chibok community, were to be taken away in the most sacrilegious manner any number of them sacrificed if need be, as evidence of the “abomination” Jonathan represented in the seat of power. Many otherwise intellectually respectable persons fell for the scam, including the US First Lady, Michelle Obama, who helped carry the #BBOG placard before world media.
The girls were taken away, no doubt. But by Boko Haram to Sambisa forest? An emphatic no. That’s my take on the whole saga, to this moment and I sympathize in pain with the Chibok community caught in this political crossfire, even with the recent return of 21 of the girls.
I would have listed the toxic role of the jester in Otta here if not that doing so would ruin the appellation of “intellectual community”, which is the focus of the indictment here, but I must mention how he, (Olusegun Obasanjo), chose the occasion of the global spotlight provided by the grand send-forth for the Great Madiba in far-away South Africa, to regurgitate the $49billion-missing-oil-money concoction of the then Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, now Emir in Kano.
As we watched the broomside macabre dance helplessly, the heartrending point came when our own Chimamanda Adichie, whose rising presence in the global literary space was already convincing the global community that Chinua Achebe was not a fluke, in terms of terms of capacity of the black brain or mind to hold its own on the world stage, suddenly joined the broomside bandwagon.
I mourned that development and immediately had to countermand the instruction already issued the secretariat of LNC-USA in Washington DC, to make contact with her with a view to formally bringing her into the upper echelons of the LNC global engagements.
I recalled with a tinge of pain, my little chat with her, a few years ago, in a Hall at the Golden Gate Restaurants in Ikoyi, in the presence of her lovely professor-parents, the day Fidelity Bank celebrated her for the global accolades fetched all of us by her epic Biafran fiction Half of a Yellow Sun, as she autographed my copy of the the book. The role instruction I had to cancel in Washington, was in furtherance of that little chat.
I had asked myself the following questions, and I’m convinced a whole number of other people would have wandered along the same lines:
(a) With her intellectual depth and knowing what she knew since 1984 about General Muhammadu Buhari and the disaster he was in power, (by her own account in the New York Times op-ed), is it not baffling that an enlightened mind like Adichie would for any reason whatsoever, support a Buhari Candidacy for even a moment, without first interrogating same same thoroughly.
(b), What could have brought Nigeria to the sorry pass of having to dig 30 years into its very dark past, to exhume one of the worst examples of that sordid era, which extends backwards to the xenophobic killings of 1966, in the search for direction into its future, moreso knowing the role of one Lieutenant Muhammadu Buhari in those 1966 pogroms that shamed mankind?
(c) Whether anything verifiable has changed about the man and his clearly outdated and draconian ways especially in the face of the glaring evidence provided by the open bitterness, bigotry, several gaffes, and hardline pronouncements he made in course of the gruelling campaigns?
(d) Did she at all consider the wider implications of the limited options thrust on all by the political gladiators in the 2015 electoral round?
(e) Was it difficult for her to see that the failings of Nigeria for which most people were clamouring for some kind of messiah, was beyond the question of which political party or individual got to power but was rather the outcome of a fundamentally flawed unitary constitutional architecture?
(f) Could it be that she has not heard about the loud disputations around the constitutional arrangements of Nigeria for which reason various agitations rage all across Nigeria, from the Niger Delta resource control wars, to the Biafra-chanting and Biafra-flag-waving Igbo youth, to the gun-wielding OPC that seek to expel non-Yoruba police from O’odualand or even Boko Haram that violently rejects both the democracy and secularity of Nigeria?
As I ruminated on these questions, it dawned on me that Chimamanda Adichie may not be the only one I should be raising these questions about. In a few hours of reflection, I could already see a very long list of other persons whose conduct in that 2015 electoral fray and the general debate on the failing Nigeria society cum federation, leave more questions than answers.
I began to question the efficacy of our own (LNC/MNN) disseminations and public engagements on these issues of what is really wrong with Nigeria and what could be done to address same.
In all, I came to the conclusion that the outcome of that 2015 election would teach its lessons in a manner that would force everyone out of their ignorance, folly, naivety, pretence, laziness, wickedness or greed, whatever was the motivation of each, to embrace the urgent imperative, of addressing dangerously fractured Constitutional foundations of Nigeria which is already addressing itself at more cost in blood and pain.
I am not delighted to declare that I have been proven right. I will only plead with those who may not have followed the the debate on the Nigerian Question, to please pause and verify the references made herein- before to widely published LNC/MNN public communications on the subject, as basis of evaluating what individual answers they may wish proffer to questions (a) to (e), listed above.
Tony Nnadi is a leader of the Lower Niger Congress, an organisation that advocates for a UN supervised referendum to decide the structure of Nigeria. Connect with him on Facebook.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.