Opinion: What to expect just in case Nigeria goes to war

by Mustapha Omotayo


As it stands, the South-West is the most vulnerable of all the groups in terms of war chest and arms buildup. The average Yoruba is deeply religious and love life to the fullest; Yorubas naturally abhors violence or anything that will disrupt the every weekend owambe parties. Yorubas enjoy talking; they would rather talk than fight.

The looming danger ahead of the next general elections can be perceived even by the least politically conscious Nigerian. The signs are so imminent; the ethno-religious sentiments are so strong and only the grace of the Almighty can reverse the impending mayhem in our nation.  The North believe power must return to their region since that is the only resourceallocated to them by those who structured our polity and of course by the Creator and Allocator of natural resources who has chosen to give them landmass as against mineral resources; even though I suspect the North would have chosen otherwise if given the opportunity to choose.

The South- South of course believe that been a minority should not be the reason to deny them the rightful tenure at Aso-Villa since providence has dropped the golden opportunity on their laps; letting go without a mouthful will perhaps be considered parsimonious by the recorders of our collective history. Moreso the South –South is considered the goose with the golden egg, why deny them the sufficient taste of the national cake bakedright at their backyard.

The South–West is concluding plans to move to mainstream national politics through the instrumentality of political alliance and mergers with other political stalwarts with seeming ideological congruence. The perceived congruence is without doubt contestable since our political life has not been based on clear cut ideology but rather on the principle of who grabs what, when and how!

In our recent political history, Nigeria has witnessed rampant and entrenched insurgencies; first from the resource control agitation which was later followed up with attacks and destruction of oil facilities and equipment bringing about indescribable leakage on our collective patrimony. The Niger-Delta militants spared no effort to display their military strength. The cache of arms and ammunitions surrendered during the federal government initiated amnesty programme without doubt is a pointer to the readiness of the Niger-Delta just in case Nigeria goes to war. Of course, there is no information to confirm that the source of supply of arms and ammunitions into the Niger–Delta prior to the supposed disarmament has been blocked.  Just recently, one of the established militant from that region was arrested for illegal activities in our neighbouring Republic of Benin and no one has bothered to know the nature of the illegality he perpetrated in Cotonou that warranted an arrest and why he has to fly straight to Aso Villa after his release.

Next come the Boko Haram insurgence from the North. The several attacks on Churches, Schools, government establishment and few Mosques with grievous intensity leaves no one in doubt as to the quantum of ammunition available to the North, again;just in case Nigeria goes to war. Boko Haram believes that anything western is bad and as such must be destroyed and they have carried out the destruction of lives and properties with grandiose sophistication including coordinated bombings with the use of locally manufactured Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The Boko Haram insurgents have equally combated the joint-military task force for well over six months in the North-Eastern part of the country. They have displayed military skillfulness that can adequately rival the tenacity of the military of any small African country; certainly not the Nigerian army.

There is no need to discuss the capability of the South-East when it comes to warfare; the dexterity with which the Igbos coordinated and executed the civil war against the federal troops was well recorded and might have swayed the then head of state;General Yakubu Gowon to proclaim the “no victor, no vanquish” mantra after the war. So just in case Nigeria goes to war again and the interest of the South-east is threatened, they assuredly have the capability to defend themselves. The continuous and unabated kidnapping in the South–East may as well be a shadow preparation for guerilla warfare; just in case Nigeria goes to war.

As it stands, the South-West is the most vulnerable of all the groups in terms of war chest and arms buildup. The average Yoruba is deeply religious and love life to the fullest; Yorubas naturally abhors violence or anything that will disrupt the every weekend owambe parties. Yorubas enjoy talking; they would rather talk than fight. When you see two people on the street of Lagos engaged in ferocious altercation that certainly should result in fisticuffs and you think you have the chance for a comical relief away from the daily vicissitudes of life, you had better not waste your time if a Yoruba man is involved. Such episodes naturally and most certainly will not lead to a fight but empty bravado and plenty grammar. Yorubas no doubt are well educated and can speak of a lot English but in the current political equation, I think grammar will not suffice. The events that led to the civil war when juxtaposed with the annulment of June 12 1993 Presidential election widely believed to have been won by Bashorun MKO Abiola if not greater in measure to the injustice perpetrated by the Nigerian state against the Igbos at the eve of the civil war will surely measure in equal weight with it. The supposed compensation through the installation of General Olusegun Obasanjo of course did not serve the interest of the Yorubas but rather the entrenched interest of those who sent Obasanjo to jail. The Odua People’s Congress (OPC) was a product of the struggle for the de-annulment of June 12 1993 presidential election annulled by the military junta of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida; the self acclaimed evil genius. At formation; the OPC seemed focused and formidable enough to protect the Yoruba nation against unwarranted aggression from any ethnic group in Nigeria. It has however railroaded itself into different factions on the altar of greed and self-aggrandizement.

While one may be quick to give kudos to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his strides in ensuring that South–West Nigeria moves into mainstream national politics; it is equally instructive to note that a generalissimo wins no war without a well-structured army. Balance of power is a viable tool in negotiating political control; it communicates second strike capability just in case things fall apart and someone decides to become aggressive.

I earnestly hope that 2015 will come and go with elections held peacefully and our national lives continue undisrupted regardless of the turnout of elections results. But with the continuous defection of members of the ruling party to the newly formed opposition party; the chances are becoming slimmer for PDP which underhandedly implied that our incumbent President may not make it back to Aso Villa if he eventually makes up his mind to contest the 2015 Presidential elections. If that happens and his kinsmen decides to make good their promise of unleashing mayhem if 2015 election does not go in their favour,then the likelihood of insurgencies and counter insurgencies is very high. For those who have prepared and have continued to prepare; they presumably have nothing to fear but to the man who wants to extract honey from a rocky foothill without a sharp axe; he certainly must be relying on some form of magical powers which of course have limited relevance in contemporary warfare.


This post is published with permission from Abusidiqu.com

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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