by Andrew Obuoforibo
The Bill Of Wrongs will be a series of articles explaining to you as a Nigerian the benefits you have NO right to expect from Government.
You Have The Right To Remain Silent In Death
An Address from the Hon Minister of Leave Matter.
It has come to our attention at the Ministry Of Leave Matter that certain unscrupulous elements are asking Nigerians to take up arms and defend themselves against migrant herdsmen militias. It is the stated position of these rogues that innocent herdsmen fleeing south from cataclysmic desertification in Mali, Niger, and Chad, brought about by Climate Change, do not have the right to cross our borders illegally with unexamined livestock, to feed said livestock on the crops of private farms without permission, or to murder anybody who raises objections. These xenophobic sentiments of course contradicts the spirit of various tenets we as Nigerians hold dear: globalization, ECOWAS, ACFTA, pan-Africanism, and “There Is Love In Sharing”. We should extend to our refugee neighbors the right to practice their culture and way of life, which just happens to include disdain for land ownership rights and human life. It’s just a culture clash.
Yesterday, somebody posted a video in a WhatsApp Group for former Ex Officio Party LGA Exco members, to which I belong, showing General Theophilus Danjuma speaking at a university convocation. I could not determine the date of the speech, as there are currently two hundred thousand universities in the country, and therefore seemingly hundreds of convocations a day. But the date was not important. The content of the General’s speech is what occasioned me to address you today. To my dismay, I watched TY Danjuma tell the people of Taraba State to take up arms, and defend themselves against herdsmen. The General alleged that the security agencies are in collusion with the herdsmen, and therefore the people should not expect aid from them, hence the need for self defence.
Atrociously poor hosts, the people of the Middle Belt have been beating this drum of self defence for months. We have so far met the outcry with the kindest possible response the public deserves: disdainful silence.
Until today. I did not have to answer the rest of you, but I have to answer General Danjuma. Unlike you people, he is actually a Nigerian. Yes, our population is projected to be somewhere around 200 million, but that figure is grotesquely inflated. There are in actual fact, only about ten thousand Nigerians. These real Nigerians, less than three hundred per state, are the ones whose opinions matter to us in Government, because it is they who keep us in power. They fund and rig our elections. And of course, since their being real Nigerians is a function of their importance to our retaining power, some are more Nigerian than others. TY Danjuma is one of the five most Nigerian people alive. This is why he has an oil bloc, and you don’t. This Land Is His Land, not yours.
It is therefore unfortunate to watch a man more Nigerian than the lot of you combined pretend he does not know your first fundamental Nigerian right: The Right To Remain Silent In Death.
We do not want you in this country. We do not need you in this country. We have managed to keep our Ghana-must-Gos and soakaways full of dollars without you paying any tax. We do not need you to pump the crude oil that sustains us. We are not entirely sure why the lot of you have not found your way to Europe via Libya, and left our country for us. But while you are here, at least have the decency not to make too much noise when the things we are doing with our country require you to die. We expect General Danjuma to understand this. After all, when in 1967, as a young officer, he and fellow coup plotters decided the Head of State and Supreme Military Commander, General JT Aguiyi-Ironsi, was no longer a Nigerian, they killed him. Danjuma and his cohorts also oversaw the killings of hundreds of thousands of Igbos, who though they shared ethnicity with Ironsi, were never Nigerians like him. When these resident aliens had the effrontery to secede with part of Nigerian territory – Danjuma’s territory – he and other patriotic Real Nigerians brought war, famine, and genocide to them. Danjuma’s calls for self defence today are as distasteful as the Biafran calls for self determination then. Both things, as their names imply, are selfish. Let us think Nigeria first. After all, Change Begins With Me.
You pseudonigerians selfishly do not consider the negative effects of your fixation with defending your life and property. Leave aside for a moment the poor treatment of visiting herdsmen militias highlighted above. Have you considered how bad you make the Government look? You people always complain about how Nigeria was better in your parents’ day. We agree. In those days, whole communities could be massacred without anybody outside the LGA finding out. Today, with social media and other avenues of hate speech, you people are broadcasting your death rattles for the world, forcing us to answer embarrassing questions from busybodies like Amnesty International.
You are also selfishly putting the middle class in an awkward position. They are mostly pseudonigerians too, but some are Temporary Nigerians, called upon once in a while to lend public support to Real Nigerians, in exchange for some semblance of access and other privileges. It is a morally and ethically taxing job. I am told it is very hard for them to live with themselves while singing for their supper from us, even when all we are “guilty” of is “corruption”. When you add heavy stuff like genocide, then, whoa, you just turned their work into the Ethical Obudu Mountain Race. Why are you so cruel to your fellow Outsider? Allow him to hail us in peace without troubling his conscience with your SOS calls. Please! He has children to feed! Anyway, we have told him what to do. When next you talk about defending yourself, he will ask you why you want to start war, because that is what you are doing? Only Nigerians have the right to life in Nigeria. Our killing you pseudonigerians is not aggression because you have no rights. But your retaliation is obviously a declaration of war.
Returning to General Danjuma, I am still perplexed by his unguarded utterances. He knows everything I have just told you. He taught them to me and my mates when he handed over the day-to-day running of the country. If not for the Right To Die Silently, he would have been tried for treason and murder in the death of Ironsi, and war crimes for the genocide of Igbos in the Civil War. If not for the Right of the Niger Delta as a whole to die silently, he would not have an oil bloc. Why won’t he let us kill his own pseudonigerians now that it is their turn? Why is he reminding them that Government is meant to protect them, and that if we do not, they have a divine right to protect themselves? What is he playing at?
*Sets up Fact-Finding Committee Into The Unguarded Utterances of General Danjuma (FFCUUGD)*
My non-fellow Pseudonigerians, I have received the report from the Danjuma Probe Panel. It is the Panel’s finding that General Danjuma has decided to highlight the legitimately unacceptable plight of his people in a cynical ploy to erode support for President Buhari, ahead of the 2019 elections. As expected, this is the usual “High Level Stuff”; a battle of wills between the half dozen most Nigerian Nigerians. The President has of course returned fire, using his people to undermine the moral authority of General Danjuma to make such accusations. My consolation as Minister for Leave Matter is that you pseudonigerians will be distracted by the drama. You will be too busy choosing which Real Nigerian you are more ready to be deceived by to notice that you are still dying, and we have still not allowed you to protest it or defend yourself. You will do my job for me, which is to make sure you are too busy choosing between the Real Nigerians to realize the true battle should be All Of You against All Of Us.
Until then, Leave Matter.
Thank You. God Help You. God Help Nigeria.
Andrew Obuoforibo is a Nigerian writer and Managing Partner at Harcourt Lane, a Communications Agency. His social commentary has appeared in Mode Men Magazine and Daily Times.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on TheSheet.ng are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of TheSheet.ng.”
This article first appeared on Andrew Obuoforibo’s blog
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