The Guardian Newspaper would remind us that the human conscience is like an open wound which only truth can heal. The fact that a great soldier and elder statesman, Theophilus Danjuma and others like him, would rise up now to call upon the United Kingdom’s parliament to intervene in the growing insecurity in Nigeria is a significant omen. The build-up to that state of insecurity, demanding the call for external intervention, started over 50 years ago, and it is significant that Danjuma was a key player in some of the episodes.
Without recounting what gave rise to the Nigerian civil war and the various interpretations given to what happened during and after it, the significant issue here is that the conscience of many people, living and dead, remains burdened with severe guilt. All the shenanigans, intrigues and sanctimonies that anyone or groups of people can cook up, would not clean up the fact that Nigeria, as a nation, is groaning under the burden of severe guilt.
At the end of the Nigerian Civil War, there was a declaration of general amnesty in a slogan of ‘No-victor, no-vanquished’. Yet, there were obvious acts and policies which bore evidence of malice and vindictiveness, along with a process of post-war reconstruction efforts. Without any talk about penalty or indemnity, there was such hypocrisy in the position of state policies and programmes that made late Senator Francis Ellah to resign as a senator. His “Unfinished Motion” spoke a great deal, and its significance is playing out currently.
It is significant that after 30 years, a younger Joseph Okey Ellah is warning that: “Some individuals appear to believe the oil must belong to them, so they have been trying legal tricks and means to acquire ownership …” Therefore, apart from the concern of Danjuma leading to dragging Buhari to U.K. parliament, there is another act of glaring injustice going on in Nigeria currently.
The Nigerian nation should consider giving special National Award to Danjuma, Obasanjo, Ellah, et al as great patriots or whistle blowers.
Nigerians would wish to know the individuals or groups who have been trying legal tricks and means to acquire ownership of oil and gas assets that should belong to the Niger Delta people. As for Islamisation, Fulanisation and the Sharia stuff, Nigerians are aware of where the smoke is coming from. What honest Nigerians would want to understand is the modus operandi of the conversion process which is probably a major cause of current state of insecurity in Nigeria.
To purge the conscience would require some degree of boldness, courage, humility and honesty. In the first place, key players in the Nigerian Civil War who are still alive should, as a matter of urgency, make a clean breast of what roles they played in the past 53 years of Nigeria’s history. At the helm of affairs during the most critical period of Nigeria’s history as a head of state, Yakubu Gowon is a significant figure. It would be necessary that he should play a most vital role in the conscience-purging process.
Whichever way that this necessary national cleansing process would take, it is important that it is a Task that must be done. Fortunately, Gowon is known to be a prayer warrior who should not have aversion towards a conscience-purging suggestion. In a war situation, fair may be foul and foul fair, but we do not need some juggling fiends to tell us that Justice is the pillar of a stable polity. Revisit 1969 Decree/Act on oil and gas.
Any serious student of the Kabbalah version of Jewish scriptures would recognise the fact that Gedulah or Geburah represents Judgement which stipulates that guilt must be balanced. The process of balancing can come by way of purging the conscience before the Reaper, in the hour of Judgment, comes with a hammer or the Sword of Justice. There is an Admonition that a New Nigeria would emerge only through purgation.
Hardly would any acts of bravado, legal tricks, prevarication, equivocation or sanctimony annul the decree of having to purge the conscience.
Dr. Amirize is a retired lecturer at the Rivers State University, PH.